Remembering Holmes Terrace

    Remembering Holmes Terrace

    By Betty Clough

    When I was little, it was a private road
    Only residents and guests were allowed
    But people traveled up and down the street
    To see the lovely homes of North Plymouth’s “elite.”

    The houses were owned by the Cordage Company
    And the neighborhood was like one big happy family.
    The fathers all worked at the ropemaking business
    And the mothers stayed home to take care of life on the terrace.

    Each house had a driveway and a front walk.
    What stories would be told if the sidewalk could talk.
    The street was quite safe on which to ride
    And to run across to the field on the other side.

    The rattling trucks of the garbage collectors and milkman,
    Jimmy King’s taxi and horsedrawn wagon of the ragman
    Were familiar sounds to our ears
    And regular sights during our formative years.

    The sidewalk was made of big cement squares
    Where we played – alone or in pairs.
    Sometimes we gathered in bunches
    To have fun all day – before and after lunches.

    We played hopscotch, jump-rope and ball and jacks
    And with mothers in mind – stepped over cracks.
    In wagons or on rollerskates, we’d glide
    And in the wintertime we’d slide.

    We enjoyed kick-ball, dodge-ball, baseball and more.
    We strolled down to the beach and skipped up to the store.
    Real and doll babies, in strollers, were pushed
    To get them to sleep, they were rocked and shushed.

    After the town parade up on Court Street
    We had our own 4th of July treat.
    All decorated up, we trailed out front,
    Then ran through back yards on a watermelon hunt.

    On Halloween, there was trick or treating
    And at Christmas time – holiday greeting.
    On these and many other occasions
    Pictures were taken to save childhood impressions.

    We had lemonade stands and front lawn picnics
    And forts in the back woods made out of sticks.
    Some yards had gardens – vegetables and flowers
    I always thought the loveliest was ours.

    There were games of hide and seek and kick the can
    And under the sprinklers we ran.
    Castles were built in boxes of sand.
    We climbed in trees and jumped back to land.

    In Holmes’ Field we flew our kites,
    Testing strings for greater heights.
    And we crawled through hay on knees and elbows
    Creating mazes of matted rows.

    Porches were stages for dance recitals and all kinds of parties,
    Breath holding contests, playing school, spitting grapeskins and sitting at ease.
    And where we shared moments with special friends watching a sunrise
    Or counting shooting stars in summer night skies.

    All sorts of things were sold door to door –
    Violets, rubber bands, Girl Scout cookies galore.
    We were always welcomed with open arms.
    There was no need for burglar alarms.

    As we grew older the houses were bought and sold
    And new ones were built but didn’t look like the old.
    We had new neighbors from all walks of life,
    Who brought change and diversity, but no strife.

    The trek we took twice a day to school
    Gave way to bus rides – as a rule.
    Bicycles and stilts were replaced by cars
    Where we learned – “Women are from Venus – Men are from Mars!”

    Then by threes and fours we left our stomping ground –
    Off into the world, new lives to be found –
    Some to corners far and wide
    Others to places right beside.

    We chased our childhood dreams
    Over mountains, fields and streams
    And while our own families grew
    The time just flew

    During those years some showed no concern
    But others, to old homesteads did return
    To visit and renew old friendships dear
    And keep those happy memories clear.

    Now most of those families are gone
    To other towns or states or the great beyond.
    But the Terrace is still as beautiful as ever
    And will tug at my heartstrings forever.


    Published in the Old Colony Memorial on March 25, 2013.

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