Shared Memories Page 2

The Lexington that I remember had the feeling of a small town with various neighborhoods surrounding the town center. I lived within easy walking distance of that center and have great memories of browsing through the stores there, getting ice cream at Brigham's, and spending time at the public library. We were blessed with fair weather, wonderful snowstorms allowing for forts to be constructed, and sunny summers with open windows at night for ventilation. My mother drove all of us to school every day, first Munroe School, then Muzzey Junior High, and finally LHS. We walked home or rode our bikes with no thoughts about danger or how long it might take us to be with our friends. collecting acorns and multicolored fall leaves off the sidewalks in the fall or flirting with someone special as we grew up. We woke at 7AM hearing what we called the town whistle coming from the town offices, and as kids we longed to hear the 3-3-3 call that meant no school on account of snow! We took our first tentative skating strokes on the frozen pond near the area where our high school would be built in the mid-60's. Our childhood summers were spent at the town pools taking swimming lessons and making pot holders and gimp lanyards in the afternoon. Fourth of July meant a carnival in the same area, and the town fireworks were the first fireworks I ever experienced! I looked forward to marching in the morning parade on the 19th of April and returning in the afternoon for the "big" parade after "Paul Revere" rode through town. My first daughter was born in time for the bicentennial celebration of the 19th, and she received her first balloon to mark the occasion. Our family went to The Church of Our Redeemer every Sunday, I attended the youth group at Hancock Church, and I had my first driving lessons with my father in the parking lot of St. Brigid's Church! My world was really in a sweet bubble of a small town with great schools and happy memories. When I left for college and adulthood I felt totally prepared to participate in whatever came next in my life! Christie Branch McKibben

Okay, after graduating college in 1969, I spent the summer at a former migrant labour camp in California learning to speak Swahili with the Peace Corps, but the project was cancelled when politics turned to shooting in the host country. I then went back to New England where I sold cameras for a year before starting to teach at a rather sketchy school of broadcasting in Manchester NH. I got laid off the next spring and decided to go to Alaska where a college chum assured me that we could have a great old time riding around on airplanes, fighting forest fires, and chasing women if I’d come. I took a bus to Montreal where I caught the train to Vancouver right around the 1st of July.
As the train headed west, it began to fill up with art student going to the Banff Summer School for the Arts, and cowboys going to the Calgary Stampede. By the time the train left Winnipeg it was a giant rolling party, and as I got caught up in it I thought “This Canada place is pretty cool”. At 4:00 am the next morning, as the train stopped in Regina, Saskatchewan, the conductor and two Canadian Pacific police officers came and broke up the party, tossing about 40 of us off in Regina, with instructions that if we came back at this time the next morning, sober, we could continue our trip. Instead I ended up in graduate school there and never did make it to Alaska. My friend Tim later confessed that there were not that many women to chase in Alaska anyway as all the smart ones headed to the lower 48 just as soon as they could.
When I was little, my mother would read to me at bedtime from Uncle Wiggley, and every story ended with something like, “and so if you eat your vegetables and make your bed, next time I will tell you the story of Uncle Wiggley and the giant carrot” or some such thing. This is starting to feel like one of those stories, so if you behave and promise to wear your mask when you go shopping, next time I’ll tell you the story of how I met my wife when I was a guest on a national radio program, and she was working 1,500 km away. Richard Gustin