From times past: 1981, 1941

... scraps from the piles of a lifetime

Don Norris

First, while digging through old files, we found a 30-yrear old sketchbook. It encompasses the early eighties, when I was a member of the art group called "Atelier" -- all Melrose folks. The site is a lone farmhouse in southern New Hampshire, and is perhaps representative of several hundred sketches, done of the last 82 years.

Second, an even older piece of history: This notice was handed out to school children in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where our family lived through the '30s and '40s. It is hardly nostalgic for that war was terrible. But things were different then, and the country -- all the people -- came together as a nation, to protect our ways of life, our shores, our very lives.

The doodles were done by my PhD brother, Douglas, when he was a senior in Bloomfield High. The school system let the senior class graduate early so the boys could join the armed forces -- and fight in World War II. In less than two years, Douglas went from raw recruit to first sergeant.

In 1947 our family came to Melrose -- which wasn't too different than Bloomfield. Same size, same type of people, similar schools, teachers were (I think) the same ones I had in New Jersey. But it was different; while friendly enough, the people were a little more stiff, and required an introduction before they would acknowledge you. That is somewhat of an exaggeration, but it does reflect the stand-offish attitude for strangers.

We -- my wife and I, both from Jersey -- have lived in Melrose for the better part of seven decades now. And in retirement, we can't think of anyplace better. But if you could turn up the heat a little, please.


October 4, 2013

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