... causes recall of quite a lot
It was a hot day (as I recall) in July, 1922 when I was born in Malden, Massachusetts. Perhaps my parents were en route from their Everett apartment, which they decided would be too small for a family of five. I had two brothers who preceded me, but no one asked me about moving to Melrose.
The fact is we moved to Washington Street, Melrose. There was a fieldstone wall on the west side, marking the property line of the Russell Estate. Perhaps this was the origin of my first name. I don't know because I was napping at the time. This estate proved to be my favorite spot at the time. Acres and acres of field, hill and swamp provided areas for recreation. If you question the value of a swamp, well, drag up a chair...this may take awhile. In the summer, we were able to play Tarzan, swinging from tree to tree. The first jump took some courage, but we became more adept and confident.
In the winter, you'll recall that balance was essential to skating. What better place to learn than a flooded swamp with trees? Start to fall, grab a tree. Later, when becoming more confident, we would weave around to skate while avoiding the trees. We were also allowed to use the open land areas for baseball or football, or just lying on one's side and rolling down a steep hill. In the winter, since the estate was on top of a mount, the area was filled with skiers, sledders and an occasional tobogganner.
The estate had several fruit trees and grapes galore. Since there was only a single housekeeper living there, we felt obliged to help her consume the crop.
Other favorite spots: the Middlesex Fells Reservation, across the street from our home, contains hundreds of acres for birds, small animals, hiking trails, and countless other features. We can't overlook our other playground area. It was the vast open area between Washington, Gould and Pleasant Streets. We had a baseball diamond and a full-size football field.
In conclusion, you've read about three 'spots'. Hey! Wait a minute! Most of us are aware that our town (now city) was for decades called the "Spotless Town". There is no way I can pick a favorite spot in a "Spotless Town".
June 4, 2010