Saturday, November 21, 2009

Earliest Memories

Now a blog is not a book but it is a way to get started on the massive amount of information I have collected in almost three years of doing family history. One way of structuring this blog is to use the same format of questioning that I used when I interviewed Jack and Pauline. In this regard, the contributions of other family members will make a completed family history more rich. Thus we begin with earliest memories.
Jack's earliest memory is one from nursery school . He attended Catherine Morrill Day Nursery on Danforth Street in Portland. The nursery has been in operation there since 1922. Apparently, how to eat crackers without getting crumbs all over the place was an important skill to learn in those days. Jack tells us how to do it: 
"The teacher showed you how to eat graham crackers without getting crumbs all over the place.  I remember that because I still do it today.  When you're taking a bite out of a cookie or a cracker like that you suck in so that the crumbs don't go all over the place, they go in your mouth."
After hearing Dad's story, I am surprised that the nickname of 'Cracker Jack' did not come to be!
He also remembers being served curdled Macaroni and Cheese at school and not ever liking it again. It's interesting how experiences with food can stay with you so long.

Mourning Wreath
An earliest memory of Pauline regards a custom no longer practiced. Wakes used to occur in the home of the deceased. She tells about it here:
"On the front door they used to have a wreath and you knew then that somebody had died. That’s the first time I had seen a dead body and she was laid out in the living room and my two sisters said, “Come on, let’s go see Aunt Marie.”  Her name was Aunt Marie. So they brought me in and I knelt down at the casket and I'm looking down and I didn't like it.  Then my sister Lorraine said, “Touch her, she’s cold.” I said, “No, I don't want to touch her!”  Aunt Marie was Memere's oldest sister who married an Irishman, John King. They lived on a farm in Limerick."
One of my own earliest memories is darting around Westwood Road in Augusta in my little metal car shown below. By this time, my oldest three siblings had begun school which left the youngest three to terrorize the neighborhood but it was much fun. In Augusta and Westbrook alike, our family was fortunate to have playable streets and friendly neighbors with lots of kids.
So what is an earliest memory of yours?


  1. I didn't know the Captain went to nursery school in Portland, it's two blocks from our apartment and we walk past it several times per week!

  2. Claudia Siulinski GallantNovember 23, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Around four years old, I remember being allowed to run around in my PJ's outside our Chesley Street home in Westbrook...on summer nights before it got dark. I also remember the crab apple tree in the backyard and I loved the sour taste of the apples. Mom used to say: “Don’t eat those apples-you’ll get a tummy ache!”

    Early beach memories include:
    +family reunions and lobster bakes with the cousins
    +Pepere taking her to the creek with her doll. When the doll got wet, the eyes got rusty from the salt water.
    +the adults speaking in French if they didn’t want the kids to hear them
    +having baths in the wash tub after swimming in the ocean
    +playing “restaurant” by making sand pies and placing them on the sea wall.

  3. I clearly remember sitting up in the apple trees of our neighbor, the family doctor (forgot his name), and eating little sour green apples with my friends Mark Carry and Ricky Laferier. We occasionally even brought a salt shaker from one of our houses to get a nice-n-tangy taste. This still makes my mouth water when I think about how good these little apples were. Oh……the good ole days!

  4. James August SiulinskiDecember 1, 2009 at 10:41 PM

    The earliest thing I can remember was getting a shot from Dr. Russell in Augusta. I remember lying on some kind of window seat (or something) close to a window. I remember crying hard. For me to remember that at 2 years old or younger means that I must have had quite a fear of needles! I had never given blood or had blood drawn until my 42nd year (when I had my first real physical).

  5. Paula Lowell SiulinskiDecember 1, 2009 at 10:43 PM

    My early memories of Augusta are playing with the 2 Cary girls and Donny Russell across the street. His mom used to play 'Alley Cats' on the piano. One time Donny and I took off on our tricycles and his Mom came and picked us up. We were heading to the store up the street. Boy was she mad!

  6. I also remember being in the woods in the neighborhood with my friends Ricky and Mark. It was in the fall; a Saturday in October I think and I was probably 8 years old. The 3 of us took turns bouncing up and down on a long wood plank that was over a pit filled with pine needles. I thought it might be fun to light the pine needles on fire and we could still walk across the plank bouncing up and down with the fire underneath us. Well, as one might imagine, the fire got out of hand so the 3 of us split and each went to our own homes. A few minutes later a fire truck came screaming up the street, siren a blasting, and went to put out the fire. I recall mom and dad asking me if I knew anything about this. I said no, but they knew I was lying because my clothes smelled like smoke. I do not recall but am pretty sure I was disciplined in some manner; usually being grounded was the punishment in those days. I think this was the start of me being a pyro.


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