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Tales from a Townie: Winter fun on Fenton Street

by | May 2, 2024 | Featured, Featured: Features

Back in the 1950s, the winters seemed to be longer, colder and snowier.

Our fun consisted of skating and sledding. The skating part was pretty well covered in my article “The day we burned the bogs” published Jan. 25, 2023.

The sledding part took place in the Thomas family’s backyard at 31 Ash Street. There was a very steep hill emptying through a stone wall into Barry’s pasture, First Field. We had to remove the barbed wire from the opening in the stone wall that held in Arena’s cows in the summertime.

We had snow groomers (many kids’ booted feet). Every time we would go down the trail, we’d pack a few more feet of snow. We started on the lower trail that would take us into the Second Field.

We later packed down the Upper Trail that would eventually take us into the Third Field and all the way to the brook, probably 150-175 yards from the top of the hill. If it didn’t rain or snow more, we could get the whole trail done in three or four days.

Some Saturdays or Sundays, the Thomases would bring out the hot chocolate — those were the days!

Sometimes it would rain and get warm, then cold again, and we would be back skating until it snowed again. Winters generally went back and forth like this several times.

I will end this tale with the most fantastic sliding day I ever remember. It was during February vacation, when I was 10 or 11. We had this really bad ice storm, leaving more than a half-inch of ice on everything.

For one day only, the Highway Department put barricades at both ends of Fenton Street so we could slide down the hill safely.

There was only one problem. It was too slippery to walk back up the hill. One of the guys had the solution. He went home and got his skates. For the rest of the day, we all slid down the hill on our sleds and skated up the hill, pulling our sleds behind us, Some of us bigger kids even pulled the smaller ones up the hill on their sleds so they could slide down the hill with the rest of us.

When it began getting dark around 4:30 p.m., the Highway Department came and took down the barricades and sanded the road. Our magic day of sledding had come to an end.

2 Comments

  1. Judy Boudreau-Hardy

    How well I remember sledding don Thomas Family Hill. It was the greatest place to slide, but you had to make certain you made the opening in the stone wall, or you CRASHED into the stone wall. The Thomas family enjoyed seeing all the kids who came to use the hill, and as stated they provided Hot Chocolate and sometimes home made cookies.

    Thank you Bill for bring back memories to an 82year old TOWNIE who lived on 11 Est Main Street. Bless You for the MEMORY of the GOOD OLD DAYS

    Reply
  2. Paul Moody

    Before my parents moved to Hopkinton, we lived in Framingham Centre and it must have ben the same storm as the streets on Belknap Road had the 1″ or so of nice ice. Being as this area was in the Baiting Brook watershed, it was flat and made for some great skating. I skated almost up to Millwood Farms.
    Bill Hamilton was in the same class as I, and we had some nice days skating on Whitehall. School was called off because they could not get enough heat, so skating out doors was perfect.

    Reply

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