This is a serialization of the new book written by Carl Flowers, owner of Silveus Plantation, the subject of "Groton's Anonymous Mistress." The 300-year-old home is accessed by Kemp Street near the boundary of Groton and Dunstable.
By Carl Flowers
Like most other families, ours was terrified during the polio epidemic in the early 1950s. The Carolinas seemed to be hardest hit of all the states. My parents' plan was to make no stops in the Carolinas but, somewhere on U.S. 301 while waiting for a traffic light, we were rear-ended. I was afraid we would all get the dreaded disease if we got out of the car. Fortunately, none of us got the paralyzing illness.
During these years, open range laws were still in effect. Because cows and other types of farm animals could roam around wherever they wanted, you never knew when you might find them standing in the middle of the road. Your choices were to get out of the car and chase them away, ease the car through the herd or just wait until they decided to move on their own.
My first flight to Boston was on a DC3 propeller driven airplane. To start it, someone had to grab hold of one of the propellers and give it a swift yank to kick the engine over. The first flight I was on by myself left Ft. Lauderdale in daylight and arrived in Boston after dark. As darkness settled around the airplane, the engine on my side of the plane began to take on a glow. By the time it was pitch dark, the engine was an inferno of raging flames yards and yards in length. No one told me to expect this. I was sure the airplane was on fire. No amount of persuasion from the stewardess could put me at ease until we arrived safely in Boston
The times when my parents weren't at the Mistress and my aunt and uncle had to work in Boston, Bill and Ada Simmons took care of me. Their farm abutted my aunt and uncle's farm that they bought from James Fitzpatrick Jr.'s. grandchildren. As soon as Mrs. Simmons saw my aunt and uncle's car go by on their way to work, she came to the Mistress. Mrs. Simmons got me up and made my breakfast. Just for a point of added information, it was Mrs. Simmons' kettle that simmered Grumpy into chicken soup.
After I finished eating my breakfast, we walked back to the Simmons house where I stayed until evening, when I was picked up by my aunt and uncle. The Simmons ran a dairy and vegetable farm. They raised beans, strawberries, corn, squash and a lot of other crops for the farmers market in Lowell. I always enjoyed helping with the harvest and seeing what all the other farmers had to sell, and how much they were charging.
From an adult's perspective, I realize I had to be the proverbial pain in the ass. Back then, however, I thought my help was indispensable. One day, without asking, I thought it would be a great idea to take one of the calves for a walk. I thought the calf would enjoy getting out of its pen to get a little exercise and a cool drink of fresh water from the brook. A problem arose when I tried getting the calf back to the barn.
To be continued.