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Southbridge Recollections- Maple Street:

Growing up on Maple Street in Southridge -
Karen Arpin Karsinski

  I have so many fond memories of growing up in Southbridge that I do not know where to begin .  Soooo today I took a journey in my mind.   My parents were born in Southbridge and returned after moving away for a short while. They purchased a home on Maple Street in 1963; I was 5 years old.  Maple Street is a cul-de-sac with only 10 houses.  Walnut Street ran parallel to Maple with only 2 houses.  However, within those 12 houses resided 32 children!!!!! Being an only child, this was Heaven!  I could play all day/night and come home to solitude! We had an incredible amount of fun playing the usual games that children played back then such as Hide and Go Seek, Dodge Ball, Mother May I?, Red light,  Red Rover, riding bicycles and so on. No video games, computers wii etc.  

     One of the greatest memories I have is when we had a Block Party.  All the parents got together and planned a day long celebration.  They cooked and cooked and cooked lobsters and steamers as well as the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob.  We had pony rides and games from morning to night.  Just imagine all those children running around in the street having a wonderful time.  The neighborhood consisted of the Benvenuti's, the Arpin's, the Ethier's, the Lehonczak's, the Simonelli's, the Borey's, the Lee's, the Landry's, The LaFrance's, the Baker's,  the Vespucci's, and the Boyles'.  What a Grand time...if memory serves me right we had this party once a year for a few years.

     I remember that the Boyles' had no children.  Mrs. Boyles had a piano and we would knock on her door , almost daily and ask, "Can you play us a song?"  She would happily allow us to enter her living room and we would take turns sitting on the piano bench with her.  She would play and we would sing.  The songs that I remember her playing the most are "Three Little Kittens who Lost their Mittens" and "On Top Of Old Smokey". What a sweet lady she was!

     Memories, Memories, Memories....all fond and wonderful....a cherished childhood growing up in Southbridge, Massachusetts from the age of 5 until the age of 21 when I left to get married.  I am currently a teacher at Eastford Road School in Southbridge; the same school that I attended in Grades 1-5.  Can we ever go back?  No, but our memories can bring us there...to a simpler, quieter, more peaceful and precious time.       


Karen Arpin Krasinski

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