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Field Trips: From Cherry Hill Farm to Cold War Missiles to Don Quixote

— By Dianne Ballon

Cherry Hill Farm

My earliest memory of going on a field trip was a visit to Cherry Hill Farm in North Beverly. I was in the first grade. We lined up on an early, cold, spring morning on the lawn of the Wildwood School, waiting for the school bus to take us to the farm. I remember the cows and the barn, but mostly, I remember the class project after the visit.

With a baby food jar in hand, we were each given fresh cream from the cows that we had just met at Cherry Hill Farm. For a lesson on how to make butter, we were instructed to shake and shake that small baby food jar until the cream turned into butter — which took forever.

What I don’t remember is the refrigeration factor. Somewhere along the line, that one inch sample of cream in each classmate’s baby food jar, needed refrigeration. Especially since, when the cream finally turned into butter, we got to taste it and bring it home to the family.

Aleta Piantedosi Devaney went to Cherry Hill Farm several times in elementary school. “For me, the most exciting part was that we could wear shorts! When I was a first grader in 1958-1959, girls had to wear dresses to school.”

Diane Osbourne remembers, “Cherry Hill Farm was my most frequent school trip destination. I loved it. We saw the cows, the barns, and the silo. Then we ran and played in the field and rolled down a hill. I can remember thinking we were somewhere far out in the country, until I was shocked to see Route 128, in the distance! Nowadays, there’s an ice cream stand in that area called Cherry Farm Creamery, but it is not related to the old Cherry Hill Farm that we knew.”

Cherry Hill Farm
Cherry Hill Farm postcard (Beverly Public Library)

Cherry Hill Farm dates back to the time of the Civil War. In 1912, H.P. Hood & Sons purchased the farm and opened it to the public as a demonstration dairy farm and an educational center. Thousands visited each year. There were cow barns, a silo, a milk processing plant, a picnic area, swings, a petting zoo, and an ice cream shop. By 1965, the farm was not financially sustainable, and Hood closed the farm, and that opened the land for industrial development.

The Babson World Globe

In middle school, we went on a field trip to see the Babson World Globe at Babson College in Wellesley. Built of porcelain tiles in 1955, at 25 tons and 28 feet wide, the Babson Globe continues to be the world’s second largest rotating globe. Eartha, in Yarmouth, Maine, holds the number one record.

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Field Trip to the Babson World Globe

I found these photos of Doris Osbourne and me standing in front of the giant globe in 1965. We were both twelve. Doris looks like a movie star, sleek and stylish. I’m on the chubby side with no waist whatsoever dressed in a heavy pink Easter suit. Notice the orientation of my white socks: one sock up, one sock down.

3-Babson-Dianne

4-Babson-Doris

Some 50 years later, when I showed Doris the photos, she said, “Oy! Look at that stylish dress of mine! Ruffles? My sisters know that I can’t stand ruffles!” Notice that neither Doris nor I waited for the globe to rotate to a continent before snapping a picture. All you see is ocean — The absent mind of a twelve year old.

The time stamp on the photo is dated AUG 1965. That meant that I did not have my own camera, and the Kodak Instamatic was shared by the family. One had to wait endlessly until the roll was finished, before getting it developed.

Bell Corporation, Franklin Park Zoo and Canada Dry

The excitement of going on a field trip was to get out of class. Diane Osbourne recalls, “If we got back from our field trip early, we’d go to Simonds Park. It was always exciting NOT to go back to school!”

Noreen Osbourne Cassidy attended the Union School. The only field trip she remembers was directly across the street. “We walked across the street to the ‘NEW TECHNOLOGY’ building of the Bell Corp. No buses, no packed lunch, and no getting back to the classroom late, in hopes of not having enough time for anymore school work! That was the beginning of my disinterest in technology and has not improved much over the years. But I am still in wonder as to how they get my voice over that telephone wire!”

Bell facility, Bedford Street
“Telephone building” near the common on Bedford Street.

My sister Jackie remembers a trip to Franklin Park Zoo. “I remember in third grade going to Franklin Park Zoo and Miss Lee making me squeeze a snake. Gross!” Doris Osbourne and her brother Dean remember a field trip to Canada Dry in Waltham. Everyone got to bring home a six-pack of ginger ale, a real treat for the Osbourne kids as their father didn’t allow soft drinks in the house.

Nike Missle Site

At the height of the cold war, Nike missile sites were built in the mid-1950s right in our own backyard to protect Boston from a nuclear attack. Diane Osbourne recalls, “Our neighborhood Nike site did have at least one missile. My Nike visits were always at an open house and never with the school. I walked up from our house. They showed us the facilities including the bunks and mess hall, and mechanically brought the missile up from underground. Our brothers scared me when they said that if the Russians attacked, Burlington would be a first attack spot because of the missiles. We always ended at the mess hall for cake.”

I remember the Nike site. We stood in a room with the missiles in a circle pointing up to the sky! My best friend Donna Casa-Martin was appalled that we were visiting a military site. My sister Jackie softened the blow. “I remember having a hot chocolate with a cinnamon bun at the Nike Site.”

Dew line graphic
Distant Early Warning lines (DEW). For more information about Burlington’s Nike Site, see Straight Shooting About Nike Missiles

Minute Man National Historical Park: Don’t Shoot Till You See the Whites of Their Eyes!

Eventually we would all move toward high school and instead of generalized classes, the learning curve went up and the classes were many.

6-Old North Bridge
Old North Bridge postcard

Aleta Piantedosi Devaney remembers a visit to Lexington and Concord. “We went to Lexington and Concord, perhaps as a combined English and Social Studies field trip. My most vivid memory is that we were allowed to walk around Concord center on our own. My friend Jackie Ballon and I were in Woolworths. My half-slip’s waistband had lost its elasticity and kept ‘hanging’. Totally fed up, I let the slip fall down to the floor in the middle of Woolworths, stepped out of it, and stuffed it in my pocketbook, all to the horror of my friend Jackie!

“I also had Hope Luder as a Social Studies teacher. I don’t remember taking any field trips with Miss Luder, but she did tell us that she knew where Robin Hood’s grave was in England. She wouldn’t tell us exactly where, because she didn’t want us to go there and deface it!”

A Field Trip to the Big City: New York, that is.

Aleta also went on two field trips to New York City. “I was lucky to go on two field trips to New York City by bus. When I was a junior in high school, there were extra seats for the Senior Social Studies trip. Mr. Carl Stasio invited my friend Christine Gilbert and me. I think we went to the United Nations and the Guggenheim Museum.

“We were allowed to wander around by ourselves. Chris tried to call her parents in Burlington from Rockefeller Center, but not knowing much about long-distance phone calls, reached a family in Brooklyn! We also went to Mama Leone’s restaurant, where the young Italian waiters were very sweet and made us feel pretty important!

“The next year, when we were seniors, Chris & I went to New York City with our Problems of Democracy teacher, Joel King. I think we went to the Stock Exchange by subway. Don’t remember much except that the heel came off Chris’ shoe and we went to the cobbler to get it fixed!”

Man of La Mancha

Burlington High School students would go on to attend many film and theater productions in Boston. Chris Toto Zaremba remembers going on a trip to a Greek restaurant with Mr. Fogleberg’s class and then seeing the play Antigone. Doris Osbourne remembers Miss Ross taking her Problems of Democracy class to see the political film Z.

Donna Casa-Martin remembers our Spanish teacher, Mrs. Jellison, taking us to see the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. Starring José Ferrer as Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha toured nationally from 1966 through 1970. The musical had two runs in Boston at the Colonial Theatre in the winter of 1966 and in the spring of 1970.

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1966 Man of La Mancha Playbill, Colonial Theatre, Boston.

Aleta Piantedosi Devaney also remembers her Spanish class going to see Man of La Mancha. “I was impressed that we got to see José Ferrer, such a well-known actor at the time. Once, Mrs. Jellison took us to have lunch at a Spanish restaurant in Harvard Square. I remember that I was stunned to find out that the ‘tripe’ I ordered was not fish, but cow intestine!”

“After we graduated,” Aleta recalls, “Mrs. Jellison invited a group of us to her home for dinner. That is my lasting memory of her, that she treated us like adults, cooked for us and went beyond what you would expect from a teacher.”

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Anne Jellison

Donna Casa-Martin remembers another Harvard Square lunch at a Spanish restaurant serving chocolate chicken mole after a field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. And we also remember when Mrs. Jellison invited our class to her house for supper.

Donna adds, “Many of our Harvard-educated teachers at Burlington High School helped us to critically think about what was happening in the world around us. By taking us to the theaters in Boston, they opened a cultural world. It was inspiring.”

19 thoughts on “Field Trips: From Cherry Hill Farm to Cold War Missiles to Don Quixote Leave a comment

  1. Noreen Osbourne Cassidy talks about her trip to see “technology”. That must have been when she was in the 9th grade. The “college section” was in the original high school so we could have Latin and Algebra. So I didn’t get to go on that exciting trip. I didn’t get to go on a trip until Problems of Democracy but instead of going to New Your City the class of 64 went to Boston to the Fine Arts Museum and then to see the movie Judgment at Nuremberg . In 10 1/2 years in Burlington Schools that is the only field trip that we took. Our Senior class trip was a visit to the Nantasket Amusement Park.

    • I remember well many of the school field trips. Always the bagged lunch of dagwood sandwiches. Great memories. I also remember all the trips that the recreation dept took us on pleasure island, Bensons wild animal farm, stone ham zoo and many other attractions. Then of course we had Burlington day. So many memories. Thinkinking back on it my generation Burlington had so many great programs for it’s youth. Thank you Burlington for so many memories. Shout out to all the families of winnmere who I grew up with.

  2. Some of my best field trips was when I was in the First Grade and had my Aunt, Marion Howard as a teacher. We went to the Union School Annex. As a school field trip, we went to Johnson’s Grove on Prouty Rd. off of Wilmington Rd. I was so happy because it was only a few streets from where I lived so I was able to walk home from there instead of going back to school. My next favorite trip was our Senior Class trip to the NY Worlds Fair in 65. Some great memories.

  3. My brother, Leon, also remembered the field trip to Johnson’s Grove. Let’s not forget those famous bagged lunches which always seemed to have a ‘dagwood’ sandwich. Thanks Dianne, for compiling and writing these sweet memories!

  4. George! I remember the Dagwood Sandwiches… tuna salad..3 slices of bread,,,, cheese …pickles on top held by a toothpick … sandwich sliced diagonally! They were delicious!

  5. Great article Dianne, it is amazing how many outings we had with school. I remember my first airplane ride, flying to New York City to visit a drug rehabilitation Center. The Center was in Harlem. I think the trip was organized as part of a campaign against drugs.
    Loved the dogwood sandwiches!

  6. ahh, those dagwood sandwiches, with that small bag of Sandy’s potato chips, made in Billerica. to this day the only way i can eat a tuna sandwich is with a slice of yellow american cheese and sliced dill pickle chips. awesome article remember those field trips, Stoneham Zoo, 2nd grade. Saugus Iron Works, 3rd grade. Museum of Science, 4th grade. and the Freedom Trail & State House 5th grade.

  7. It’s got to be a Burlington thing, “the Dagwood Sandwich” ! I live in Milford Ma. and work in Marlboro Ma. and I have never met anyone who has heard of a Dagwood Sandwich. I too loved those sandwiches and as I was reading the article about the field trips, I was waiting to see if someone was going to bring up the Dagwood. And low and behold there it was, thank you for the great article and the stories that followed. Oh those days growing up in Burlington. Now if someone could put together a story on the Bowl-Away-Lanes and the DeVincent family who was such a part of our youth growing up, that would be fun to see. Keep up the great articles, Really do enjoy them.

    • I do remember the sandwiches also and in the Union School Cafeteria you could buy an “H” bar for 5 cents after lunch. Does anyone else remember the bus that took us from in from of the Town Hall to the Wal=Ex roller skating rink on Friday nights?

  8. Yes. I remember a bus to the Wal-Ex roller skating on Friday nights. Yet, during the years I would have been able to attend, it left from St Margaret’s. Although you, specifically were looking to see if anyone remembered taking it from Town Hall. (so then my answer should be no, right!). Perhaps it started at Town Hall and through the years wound up at St Margaret’s – although Town Hall seems more central. I never went to Wal-Ex…and now, I wonder, why not? Dunno. I do remember a bus from Town Hall taking us to Red Sox games – Burlington Day they called it. In fact George! I remember you going as well. Great fun. And probably why I have interest in baseball. Oh yes, Union School Café was in a dark/dank basement if memory suits. Cannot remember any candy (that, I would certainly remember!). I spent just one year, 6th grade there and walked up to Center School for gym. I was expecting to attend Center School for my 7th grade….then double sessions were introduced. So my years 7th-12 were at High School on Winn St.

  9. Delightful story. Makes me think of many a field trip. Those stand out in the memory of school, somehow much more impressive.

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