Some Family Stuff

This picture is what I’ve been all about this past week or two.


In the above photograph are my cousin Bobbie (brunette) (next to me on the cart, blonde), my (late) cousin Barbara (behind us), and some neighbor boy named Ed. This was probably taken around 1952 when I was 4 and Bobbie was also 4 but 4 months older than I. This is the only picture I have of Bobbie and me so I cherish it. I haven’t seen my cousin Bobbie since we were children. The reason I was in this picture was because my parents had bought their house in Marblehead and were moving there. My brother, being only 2, they kept with them and they shuffled me off to western Massachusetts to stay with cousin Bobbie and her family while the move took place. Once they were all settled, my family sent for me and Uncle Bob drove me across Massachusetts all the way to my new home in Marblehead.

And I remember that day but just bits of it. At the end, when we were in his big honking car and we turned into Evans Road, my new road, and he slowed way down and then stopped right in front of a shack…

That shack looked kind of like this!

It was in an overgrown lot full of debris and junk… the shack was a falling-down little house set way back from the road, and he stopped the car and looked at me and said “Well, here we are Becky! This is your new home!”

I can remember being very very unhappy and crying… I did not want to live in that haunted looking house at all! I was so upset that he finally started up the car again and kept on driving down Evans Road until we got to my real new house which was much more normal looking.

Here’s a picture of my “new” house:

My old home on Evans Road, Marblehead, MA

It was a big old Victorian style house with dark woodwork, only one bathroom, 3 bedrooms and 1 tiny room that ended up being a bedroom, a big old nasty dark, wet, stinky, scary basement where the “boogey man” lived in a closet there that was kept locked (until my brother and I broke into it once and only discovered lots of empty mason jars on shelves!). We had been told a lot of bull about the Boogey Man living in there just so we wouldn’t go in there. After we got in, we made it into our clubhouse!

I lived in this house from the time I was 4 until I was 19 when I finally got the heck away from it all and moved into Boston on my own. I worked in Boston at a major hospital for about a year while my then boyfriend, Bill, was in the service and went to Viet Nam, and then I got a job with the U.S. Dept. of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, based in Washington, D.C. I moved down there with the help of my brother and a neighbor boy who drove the U-Haul truck with all my belongings – I was 20. They dropped me off at my apartment and left with the truck the next day. I was on my own in Arlington, Virginia, with very little money and a new job to start in a week. I took home about $52 a week at that job. It was rough going.

I lived through it, got married to Bill in about a year, moved with him out to Indiana to attend Indiana University (Bill in a Ph.D. program and me working at Bloomington Hospital). After about 2 years I quit working at the hospital and enrolled full-time as a freshman at I.U. I was 25. We lasted another 6 months or so there, but the marriage was on the rocks, so I was leaving him and going back to Marblehead. He decided to drop out and come with me. We started over in Marblehead, living back on Evans Road again with my parents until we could find our own apartment.

That’s all for now on that chapter. I’ve been living here in this area ever since, back and forth between Marblehead and Salem, and finally, after divorcing Bill and then, 10 years later, marrying Paul, we bought this house in Salem and here we still are, 28+ years later. Actually, it’ll be 29 years ago in January that we moved into Crow Cottage. Our last home, hopefully.


So what was the point of this entry? I forget! Oh, just that first photo of Bobbie and me. We had “found” each other online back in the 90’s but then lost touch again. She lives in Eugene, Oregon. I live in Salem, MA. We almost couldn’t be further apart geographically and still in the same country. But now we are getting acquainted again and it really feels good. At long last.

[Bobbie, I want you to know I love having you back in my life again! A couple of gray-haired old ladies… separated by many years and many Life adventures.]

I don’t know if we will ever meet up in person – but we can only hope so, somehow, one day, maybe…

Cheers for finding long-lost cousins!


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Check out my other blog, “From the Hawthorne Tree”

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Pages from the American Notebooks, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Passages from Hawthorne’s English Notebooks

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14 Responses to Some Family Stuff

  1. Sandy in Chicago says:

    What a great post! It’s so great that you and Bobbie have reconnected. You know, if you both have PCs, you can load Skype on them. It’s free software that will let you talk to each other and see each other on your computers.

    I’ve reconnected with some people that I grew up with and we talk all the time now, which has been a real gift 🙂


  2. TopsyTurvy says:

    Yes, but the trip to Salem isn’t straight across the state. First, you go across and then you have to go up, northeast, to get to Salem. And, yes, I do remember that adding in that second leg can add a half hour to an hour of travel time, depending on the traffic.


  3. Bex says:

    I had to laugh TT – it would take an hour just to get to the other side of Boston from here – the traffic around here is gridlock at any time of the day. And once we get on the Mass Pike, of course it would be faster, however, we don’t drive fast, we go as slowly as the law will allow! No high speed driving for the likes of us geezers! I can guarantee you that if we left our house now, it would be a good 2-3 hours before we reached South Deerfield. No question about it.

    see: Directions


  4. TopsyTurvy says:

    Hooray for finding long lost cousins! I’ve also been very lucky to reconnect with a few family members, thanks to the internet.

    Yes, some of those basements in New England can be pretty scary. I remember the basement of my house in Seattle (when I was 10-11) just being a regular poured concrete basement. Totally non-scary. But when my family moved to New England you’d never find me going down into those dingy, spiderweb-filled cellars that had more dirt in them than concrete.

    BTW, that long drive all the way across Massachusetts? It only takes about an hour now, at highway speeds.

    I remember thinking the drive from Lawrence to Burlington was long. Then I moved away and when visiting I realized the drive was a mere 20 minutes. Funny how experience can color your thinking.


  5. Nina Camic says:

    For the second time tonight I want to write – what Eric said! But I must think my own thoughts so I’ll just say this – I’m happy that your family brings you (mostly) good memories. And the picture — it’s adorable.


  6. Eric Mayer says:

    Very interesting post. Always is fascinating to hear about the roads other people have taken to get where they are.

    Amazing what we manage to do when we’re young isn’t it? A good thing we don’t know any better!

    Now that was a really mean trick to play on a four year old. Sheesh!


  7. I wanted to add…this is to be continued, right? I’m hoping! x0x0x


  8. sandy freel says:

    Great story of your younger life..always learn more about you


  9. Karen Cheesbro DiCicco says:

    The more stories you tell Bex, the more I think we are twins separated at Birth!


  10. Bonnie says:

    Your Uncle Bob sounds like my Uncle Delmar. Some of Delmar’s jokes weren’t funny either. 😉

    Glad you found Cous’ again.


  11. Bex says:

    When we started going to England, all the houses there have names, so it followed, when we got back from our honeymoon in England, that we would name our cottage, and since we are the Crowells, it was Crow Cottage. Funny, too, because Paul’s folks had an airstream trailor for several years and would live in it half the year. They had a little sign on the door that said “Crow’s Nest”.

    Funny about “my room” because I had my room moved every few years, first it was the back left, then the back right, then the big front room (with 3 windows over porch) which I shared with my “baby” sister. So it all depends on which age you caught me at, which room was mine!

    My Nana renovated our attic and had a cosy apartment up there for the last part of her life.


  12. Bex, Just love the photo of you, Bobby, Barbara and Ed. That’s you on the left? All smiles. Four years old….precious!

    Uncle Bob should not have teased you into tears. Not even a fixer-upper!

    The new house is sweet. Is your room visible in the photo? Looks like the house got good lighting. Scary basement…my Uncle had one too. Now why do they do that? I was horrified to even go near the door that lead to the basement. I’m glad you tackled the demon and made it into your clubhouse. I never investigated the boogey man at my Uncle’s. It was no doubt his shadow.

    That was a brave move to work with the U.S. Dept. of Defense by yourself like that. You obviously have moxy.

    Married Paul and have been at Crow Cottage for almost 29 years…wow! I have never lived anywhere more than 8 years and only once. It’s an adorable home. How did it get its name? I love the rock wall and plants.

    Congrats on finding Bobby again. x0x0x0x


  13. l'empress says:

    It’s always great sharing memories with long-lost cousins, as you fill in gaps for each other.

    family trees


  14. Thanks for the walk down your memory lane Bex, it is great to see the young you, still in there I’ll bet!


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