Tales of a New England Boyhood: Scituate, Massachusetts 1931-1946
With humor, sensitivity, and a keen sense of history, Don Hattin transports the reader back in time to Scituate as it was during the Great Depression and World War II. He introduces family members, gives a tour of his home, and describes the barn which was setting for much youthful mischief. Next, stories of Hatherly School, its teachers, and its activities, are related in vivid detail. Don entertains with accounts of construction efforts: a "train," playhouse, pirate "ship," underground hideout, tree houses, a boat, and two chicken coops. He acquaints us with several neighborhood characters: "Jere" Ainslie, whose small store featured genuine "penny" candy; "Lonnie" Pratt, hardware clerk at Seavern's Store; "Hymie" Cohen, the ragman; Eloise Curtis, bakeshop entrepreneur; Louis Haartz, hopeful builder of the sloop Rainy Day; "Pa" Swift, builder of $66.00 backyard swimming pool; and a host of playmates and teenage buddies. World War II is recounted in terms of scrap drives; food, gasoline, and shoe rationing; coastal defense; volunteer airplane spotters; emergency training; and air raid drills. Don shares his recollections of work experiences picking apples, sea mossing, grocery clerking, lobster fishing, and truck gardening. He further enlivens "Tales" with vignettes of secondary school teachers, classroom hijinks, athletic misfires, and graduation, among others. The book concludes with his departure for college, where he soon turned eighteen, thus ending a boyhood filled with lively action, lasting friendships and happy memories.
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