Looking Back

Remembering the fun of fall

Recently a friend forwarded to me a Facebook picture of my friend Betty Clark and me in a huge pile of leaves. The picture had been taken in front of my house and it appeared in the Rutland Herald in 1956. Our arms are raised up in the air and our grins go from ear to ear.

Soon after receiving the first Facebook forward I received another one. This time my cousin Betty Mumford and I were in an even bigger pile of leaves and I was holding the rake. Super smiles were on both our faces, as if we didn’t have a care in the world! This picture was taken in 1957 and also made the local paper.

Both photos were taken by Rutland Herald photographer Aldo Merusi, who to this day is still respected and appreciated for his collection of Herald photos. I feel quite honored to think I was his subject two years in a row.

If any locals want to take a trip down memory, lane many of the Merusi photos can be viewed on the Rutland Herald website. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day.

Seeing the pictures on Facebook refreshed my memory on how much fun we had in something as simple as a pile of leaves. I was also reminded of other childhood memories from the autumn season.

The activities that my parents did with me prove that parents don’t have to spend a lot of money in order for children to have fun.

Back in the day people took Sunday rides . . . a car trip with no destination! My mother was happy to let my father head out in any direction he chose and I was happy as long as an ice cream stop happened along the way. Being native Vermonters, both my parents knew a lot of back roads, so during foliage season we could take our time and snap some pictures along the way. We had a Kodak Brownie camera, which of course needed a roll of film. Because we wanted to see foliage pictures in season, we used up the whole roll so it could be developed right away. After all, who wants to see foliage pictures along with those of Christmas?

Another great memory I have is going apple picking with my parents. I always thought the best ones were at the very top of the tree. Thank goodness the “apple pole picker” let even a short person like me get any apple I wanted. They would drop into the little pole basket and then they went into our bag to take home.

Once we got home I knew the aroma of an apple pie would soon be coming my way. Like all kids I wanted to help my mother in the kitchen. I only wish I could have learned from her the knack of making a good pie crust. I still haven’t mastered that art. They say the more crusts you make, the better you get, so guess I will have to make more pies! I know my husband will be OK with that.

Of course this time of year also meant thinking about what you would be on Halloween. Since most mothers were homemakers in the 50s, you might think they sat at their sewing machines and made our costumes. Not on my street! A white pillowcase turned you into a ghost, and baggy pants and a floppy hat turned you into a hobo. Another option was going to Woolworth’s store in downtown Rutland to choose a costume. They weren’t expensive and we traded them with one another in future Halloweens. Once you knew what you would be, “trick or treat” day couldn’t come fast enough.

While we were out for our Sunday ride we stopped at a farm stand and picked up a pumpkin to carve. I drew a face on it and my parents did the carving. We put a candle inside and it went on top of our mantle. I learned a lesson about the timing of this project, because if it was done too early, by Halloween the facial features were totally squashed together and it was not a pretty sight.

Around the middle of October some downtown merchants very graciously agreed to let students paint their storefront windows. The results were surprisingly good. Of course, you had to bring everyone you knew downtown to show them the window you worked on. People could vote for the best window and a prize was awarded.

It’s a great time of year to get out and make some memories with the young people in your life. They will enjoy looking back on the fond memories each autumn as they grow older.

And why not relive some memories yourself? Jumping in a pile of leaves still sounds like a whole lot of fun!

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