... and the beat goes on
I'm always anxious to get on with the next phase of my life story so I want to introduce you to how come at age one and one half I called my grandfather "AA". Well, he was called AA by all his social, business friends and relations. I was a copycat. His name was Alphonso Agustus Dority and isn't that just too much of a mouth full for a grandaughter one and one half years old? So remember now whenever I mention AA that's my grandfather. AA and my grandmother lived a couple of streets up from us on Natalie Avenue in Melrose.
Anyway I had a great life which started out with AA coming over at my bedtime just about every night to explain to me about Egypt, the Nile river, camels, the desert, and how camels had special eyes that sand didn't matter and make them blink.
Every time AA came over he could ask me what I would like to hear about. I always wanted the story with the camels. I wasn't quite sure where Egypt was or that desert. He always finished that when I grew up we would go visit Egypt and guess what? We did.
Summers were spent on Lake Winnesquam in New Hampshire. Some farmer, so the story goes, decided to sell his lake shore property and AA bought a five acre chunk of it for Gram and himself. He bought another five acre chunk for my mother and father.
When I was older, really older, say about twelve or so I asked AA how come he bought the property and built two campsites. How did he ever hear of the place? Well, I got a long terrible look from him with a big sigh and he said, "Let Gram tell you."
It turned out to be a story about my mother's brother, my Uncle Ed, Gram and AA's son. He was kicked out of the Melrose High School. He didn't do his homework, skipped school and if all that wasn't enough he smoked in the boys' bathroom. He had gone to a couple of private schools but didn't last, same problems.
AA was beside himself. Well, a business friend had trouble with his son and sent him to Tilton Academy and suggested AA try that school and he did and it worked. I don't know how come it worked. Gram didn't know but he didn't get kicked out. Also the business friend told AA about the lake property. I almost forgot to mention that.
My mother said to stop being a detective. I didn't quit though as you'll find out later. And so by the time I was five years old in 1925, the two camps were built plus two outhouses, a pipe into the lake with a hand pumps for lake water, Coleman lights for the houses. Gram wasn't so sure she liked this kind of camping, no telephone, no electricity, no running water, no nice bathroom, only fireplaces for heat. I agreed but this all changed in 1930 when I was ten. We became modern with electricity, running water, heat, and a washing machine. Gram decided the camp could be okay. The two places got outfitted. My brother Whitney had been born. Golf was the big sport. A high school girl came for the summer to take care of Whitney. It wasn't like the city but it was fun. We even had a telephone, 13 people on the line but it was better then no telephone.
I learned how to swim in my white water wings. I also rowed but I hated that, the boat was a big ocean-going row boat named "Margery". Our camp was named "Margery" also. I wasn't sure I liked all things named after me. We had a motorboat of sorts and we wore those all-wool bathing suits that itched, for swimming. Everyone, adults too, wore those knit wool suits.
Saturday was golfing day for the adults and I'm leading up to my fun times when the golfers weren't home and the high school girl was reading. Whitney was napping. What a perfect time for me to get my father's big bow off the wall and all the arrows and try shooting them into the tall pine trees. What fun, but the arrows stayed stuck in the pine trees. I didn't know what to do but I finally confessed to dad, but he didn't crab at me.
Wasn't I lucky?
Editor's note: To read the previous installment of Margery Carter's research, click here.
June 6, 2003