In the beginning

Hello World

Life, for me, began on a fall day in the first half of the 1950’s. I was the oldest of three boys and grew up on my families poultry farm in the small town of Peacham, Vermont. As far as I know Peacham was as good of a town as any to grow up in.

Many of the kids I grew up with lived on a farm, mostly dairy farms, but the one thing we all shared in common was the lack of money. None of us had any. But that didn’t seem to bother any of us or slow us down at all. Sure we were poor by today’s standards but none of us knew that…………….As I sit here searching for the next word to write I began to realize how much our world has changed in the few years I have been alive. I grew up in a time much different than the one we have now. The more I look back at the past the more I realize how much it has changed. The trouble is the change happened so slow that you didn’t realize it was happening until it had already happened. And if you did notice the change there was always someone there to point out that it was only progress.

When I first started school, Peacham had three one room school houses with two grades in each school and Peacham Academy. Even though the seventh and eighth graders were not part of the academy until their freshman year they were housed in the same big old building.

The school house that held the third and forth graders didn’t have running water so one of the jobs our teacher had was to bring in a fresh jug of water every day. She would then pour that jug into the water cooler. All of us kids had our own paper cup with our initials on the bottom of them so we knew which cup to grab. After recess there was always a big line at the water cooler as we waited out turn. You never did dare to put your guard down while waiting in line because there was always one kid that would take his cup of water and pour it in someones back pocket.

The lack of water also meant we had an outhouse instead of flush toilets. Us kids didn’t think much about this until December and January rolled around and the temperatures dropped to below zero. This shortened the bathroom use at least by half.

Our town also had a ski tow which was run by an old ford flat head v-eight engine. Old telephone poles had been set in a straight line on the steep hill with car rims bolted to the top of them. At the foot of the hill was a shack just big enough to hold the car frame with the engine exposed for easy access to be worked on. An endless tow rope was laid on the car rims and went from the old ford engine to the top of the hill and back. Skiers had to grab onto this moving rope and squeeze until they started to move along with the rope, letting go when they reached the point where they wanted to get off. Also at the bottom was a ski shack which had a couple of picnic tables set up and an wood stove so the skiers had a place to grab a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, a hot dog or a bag of pop corn and warm up.

During this time us kids were also kept busy trying to come up with things to do to keep ourselves busy and out of our mothers way. For a while, my brother Greg, who was two years younger than I was, and I were busy building go carts. For some reason having a couple pieces of wood nailed together with wheels under it was high on on our list of things to have. At first, our go carts were small and crude, but soon our building and design improved to where they were big and crude. After about the forth one we built we discovered one big flaw, these go carts had to be pushed. Our last go cart had three major improvements. It had a steering wheel and not just rope tied to each side of the front axle, a hand brake and an old chain saw engine. As it turned out the steering and brake needed a little more improving.

Since those early days the three one room school houses have been closed and there is now one large elementary school in the middle of the town. The academy graduated it last student in the spring of 71 and the old school building burned to the ground in 76. The ski tow no longer exist and the hill is now so over grown with trees that you would never know there was a time when the hill was alive with young people with long pieces of wood strapped to their feet, with bindings that did not release under any circumstance …… I can only assume all of these changes happened to make way for progress.

In the days, weeks and months ahead I would like to share with all of you stories about life during a time that, like the ski tow, no longer exist. A time that will soon be forgotten.

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