Hi. I’m Fred.
Here’s our house. It’s on a hill near Chandler Road but not really ON Chandler Road.
And we planted some vegetables across the street. We freeze them so we can eat them anytime.
And we got some chickens, pigs and even a couple of milking cows. Here’s one of them with me and my sister Louise.
Here are the cows all grown up. Brownie and Bonnie. We drink their milk even though it’s not the kind you can sell at a store. If it sits for a while and nobody drinks it, you have to scrape a LOT of cream off the top and REALLY mix it before you can even swallow any. But down it goes, somehow.
We’re calling our farm Hilltop Farm. It’s not the biggest hill in the world, but it’s kind of big. Now that some trees are gone, I can see some things pretty far away, like that new store called Dale Pharmacy. That’s pretty far. Sometimes I can hear people singing down on Mill Street. They belong to a Polish club. They’re loud!
Here we are, all four of us. Louise, me, David and John. Our last name is French.
Louise usually grabs my butt when it’s time to pose for pictures. And that’s Taffy, the cocker spaniel.
Me and Louise like to do grownup work, like cutting logs. We also help slaughter the chickens and pigs when it’s time to eat them.
Here’s me, a little older and very mature, with my friend John Seavey from 100 Locust Street. One day, I chopped his head off.
Me and John, and Billy Hayes from Chandler Road, call ourselves the three musketeers. We ride around the neighborhood on pretend horses that are really just tree branches that we hold between our legs.
Here’s Louise in the dark clothes, rasslin’ with Mikey Mohan from 59 Mill Street, the REALLY old house on the corner of Chandler. Mikey’s real name is Michele, but everyone calls her Mikey because she’s as tough as a boy. So is Louise.
That’s Michele on the left when she was little. That’s her grandfather Wilbur behind her, and her sister Lyn next to her. The hound dog is Chester. He lives with them even though he belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Rahanis at the pig farm down the hill on Mill Street. For some reason, he would rather live up the hill. Maybe it smells better.
Here is Mikey’s house. It’s one of the oldest houses in the town.
My father built a printing shop behind our garage. We were so excited, we invited some other kids for a record hop.
Dad’s printing business is called Northeastern Press. He prints some textbooks for Houghton Mifflin in Burlington, and the weekly programs for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and lots of wedding invitations too.
Now we’re a little older. That’s me on the left, and my friend John in the middle with his head put back on, and Louise.
And that’s my brother David. See that telephone pole lying down with him? It’s on the ground because Otis smashed into it and knocked it over. Otis is our farmhand. He was trying to bring home a turtle for me, but the turtle crawled under the brake pedal, so when he got to our house, he couldn’t stop the car.
Here’s grown-up me.
And grown-up Louise. She became a second-degree blackbelt in karate. And it all started with grabbing my butt.
Our plants might not be around forever. Or even the animals. And not even us. But I hope at least my Dad’s name lives on somehow. His name is J. Ellery French.
Ellery Lane today.
Here’s 7 Ellery Lane, built in 1885. The front looks a little different now, only because the corner “doghouse” entrance was replaced with a central entrance. Plus it has shutters.
R.I.P. David, John and Louise French. David died at 23 after a singing engagement on Nutting Lake, Billerica. On the way home, he crashed his car on Roller Coaster Road (the nickname for Middlesex Turnpike before it was flattened and straightened).
The Nutting Lake scene then and now:
Regarding that singing Polish club on Mill Street: