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.