To The Place Where I Was Born!!

Last Friday night, Barry’s girlfriend, Leslie came down for the weekend.  Barry asked me if I wanted to go to Waterfire Providence with them Saturday evening.  Of course I said yes. Then he mentioned that we should leave early and take a drive around Cumberland and Woonsocket,  Rhode Island.  I was born in Woonsocket and lived in Cumberland from the 4th grade through high school. I hadn’t been back there in I can’t even remember how many years.

We started out heading towards Attleboro to visit Barry’s Dad in the nursing home.  I hadn’t seen him in a year.  He’s almost 97 years old. His mind is fairly sharp though on occasion it drifts but he knew who I was right away.

Isn’t he the sweetest looking guy? He has always been like a father to me.

Then we headed to Cumberland and Barry asked me if I would remember my way around.  Of course, I said yes.   We got off the highway at the exit I said would be the right one and I would remember what road we would end up on.  What a joke.  I couldn’t remember squat.  Nothing looked the same. It used to be country and there were strip malls everywhere.  We had to stop and ask directions.

Once we got onto Diamond Hill Road I was able to navigate us around.  We stopped at the house I lived in from 4th to 8th grade.

Except for the color, this house hadn’t changed a bit. My bedroom window was on the left side towards the back. I shared the room with my sister.

We next headed to the house I lived in through high school.  It was on a back country road surrounded by a bunch of cow farms.  The area was now so built up that I narrowed down the house to two but couldn’t be sure which one it was because neither one looked anything like my old house.  My brother had to tell me which one it was.

It was a small white cape style house when I lived there.  Now it is huge.

This is one of the cow fields they didn’t sell off.  My girlfriend and I used to romp through these fields getting chased by cows all the time.

We then headed to Woonsocket.

This is the house I was born in on the third floor. It looks a little run down.

This is me in that house. What the hell was I looking at?

This is the school I went to.  It was an orphanage though I wasn’t one of the orphans. It is now a nursing home. I was kicked out of kindergarten and flunked the first grade because I ran away so much.

After we lived on the third floor tenement my parents bought a grocery store with an attached house in front of the Peter Pan ice cream factory. Both buildings are completely gone . Then we moved to a house which we stayed in for a few months then moved to another house across the street.

1st house

2nd house

I decided I wanted to see my aunt Doris’ house.  My mother had 11 brothers and sisters and Doris was her favorite.  We used to visit her all the time when I was little.  She passed away when I was about 15 years old.  She always had a collie and it was always named Lassie.

We drove by her house and there was a man tending a beautiful garden where there used to be a memorial to my aunt’s daughter who passed away as an infant.

I was happy to see that the man had kept up with my uncle’s beautiful gardens.  I decided to ask him If I could take a photo. I started to explain to him that my aunt used to live there and before I could even finish he asked me my name so I used my maiden name. Suddenly he is running towards me yelling “It’s me, Danny, It’s me, Danny!”.  Suddenly we are hugging.  It was my cousin Danny whom I had not seen in over 30 years. He was still living in the house he was born in.

Danny is 6 months older than me and we always played together as kids. That’s my mom, me and Danny is on the right and his brother Kenny is in the middle. The photo was taken in front of the school (orphanage)  I used to go to.

We visted him and his lovely wife for 1 1/2 hours.  It was so much fun seeing him again.  We made plans to keep in touch. Now that I have found him I am not going to lose him again.  Then we headed out to Waterfire Providence. I will continue with that story tomorrow.

This whole trip brough back so many good memories.  My parents didn’t have a lot of money but we always had everything we needed especially lots of love.


25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. writerchick
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:27:07

    Hey Joanie,
    What a fun little tour through your past. That baby picture cracked me up – it is so you – the expression the shiny eyes – I loved it. How great that you found your long lost cousin. That’s amazing! Aw, I loved this.

    I’d love to know what I was looking at in that baby picture. It was so cool seeing my cousin again after all these years and to have he and his wife be such warm, wonderful people. I can’t wait to see them again.



  2. Just a Mom
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 12:44:17

    It looks like you had a fun tour! And then to top it off with running into your cousin.

    I wish I had a photo of my face when I realized it he was my cousin. It was a fun day.


  3. threeboys1mommy
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 13:01:58

    I’m always tentative about sharing these things because I wonder if anyone would even care, but I love reading posts like this.

    I like to see where people blog from, the homes they live in. Even though I’m on the other side of the country, some things are a lot alike, but I’ve never seen a house like the one you were born in, neat. Thanks for sharing.

    I always figure if a person wants to read it they can and if they don’t they don’t. I like writing them because it will be like a journal for me. Granted, not a private one but that’s OK.

    Rhode Island is full of those tenements. I lived in four of them. The one in the photo I was too young to remember. We moved out of it when I was about 2 years old. The second one was in Pawtucket, R.I. which we didn’t get to visit on our tour. I lived there for the 3rd and half of the 4th grade. I do remember that one. That one only had two floors and we were on the second. The other two I lived in when we first got married. We lived on the second floor in those two.


  4. birdpress
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 13:07:54

    What a great trip, and you chronicled it so well with all your pictures. How cool that you found your cousin, Danny! You know, I’m surprised you didn’t recognize him because in those pictures he looks exactly the same!

    I was in the street and couldn’t quite make out his face when I was yelling to him asking if I could take a photo but when he got closer I sure did recognize him. He looked just like his father, my uncle Bucky. I can’t believe he still lived in that house.


  5. Little Miss
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 13:39:29

    What an awesome story about finding your cousin again. That’s so cool that you could go see all your old homes. I love doing that. I got to see the houses I lived in as a child in Portland, until I was 7, but to see the others, I’d have to fly to California and England. Um, not possible. Thanks for sharing a bit more of you with us. It’s awesome to read.

    Maybe someday you will get to England again. I’m really happy to have found my cousin again.


  6. Hay
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:46:16

    *sniff* awww Joan, thanks for sharing this walk don memory lane…and YAY for reconnection. Just perfect.
    PS, I love that three story house, beautiful.

    Those tenements were prevalent all over Rhode Island. I lived in four of them at different times. It was a fun day going down memory lane.


  7. Hannah
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:57:14

    What a wonderful trip down memory lane! I really loved reading about the places you lived and seeing the photos. How awesome that you were able to reconnect with your cousin after 30 years, that’s incredible!
    Glad you had such a wonderful trip!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was afraid people might get bored. I wanted to write about it because I don’t want to forget about it.


  8. Peter Parkour
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 17:19:03

    I didn’t get to watch your videos yet, but what a wonderful post. What a wonderful trip. I’m so happy for you, I have a huge smile on my face right now. 😀

    Well, I’m glad I made you smile. The videos are short. One is under a minute and the other is 1 1/2 minutes. It was a really fun day.


  9. thebeadden
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 18:36:24

    Thanks for sharing, Joan. That trip into your past must have brought back so many memories for you. How neat that you ran into Danny.

    You’ve posted that photo before, I recognized it. I bet you never thought you’d be seeing him so soon! 🙂

    That garden is so beautiful!

    It was a memory overload. My uncle was a great gardener and it seems that Danny took after him. The rest of the gardens are beautiful too.


  10. odette
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 19:49:43

    oh joan, thanks for sharing the videos, i’m laughing with you, if you could hear me! especially when you were in your old school, and barry said those were the people you went to school with. hehe. you had so much fun i can tell!

    and what a surprise for you to meet your cousin again! i am amazed reading about it, and you still have your old picture with him when you were younger. that’s so sweet!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the videos. Barry is always making me laugh. He has a great sense of humor. I still can’t believe I met my cousin again after so long.


  11. Joy
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 20:21:24

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this. It was wonderful to watch and listen. Barry sounds like such a good friend and I really like that he, his girl and you get along like this and can travel together. It really shows a lot of maturity on all sides. I loved when he said “there’s nothing small about you!” I thought I was going to wet my pants. You get along so well. Probably because you divorced.

    I loved the scene’s as well. How wonderful to find that your cousin lived in that house. What a beautiful garden and yard and I especially love the bird feeders.

    I’m so glad you had fun and I’m glad to see you up and blogging again. I really miss it when your not here. How’s Damon doing?

    It was a great day and Barry is hilarious. I’m glad we have stayed such good friends. I would certainly miss his sense of humor. His girlfriend is great and has the same type of humor that Barry and I do so we all have a blast together.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I wasn’t sure if everyone would be bored. I was just so happy to meet up with my cousin I had to document it.

    I missed you too


  12. sheng
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 20:31:44

    That is a nice post Joanie dear. Seeing your relatives for such a long time definitely brings back lots of good memories, too bad for me, I only have one first cousin left. And we weren’t even close.

    You have shared a part of your life to me, and it brought tears to my eyes that you have reunited with your cousin Danny.

    Thanks for sharing!

    I’m happy you enjoyed this post. My mother had 11 brothers and sisters so I am sure I have lots of cousins that I have never even seen or know about. But my cousin Danny and I played together when we were little and I was closer to him than any of my other cousins so it was great to see him.


  13. kaylee2
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 21:58:00

    Glad you had fun, but, i cant bear to looko at the photo of his dad.I love you joan! I am doing great been pain free for a couple of days 🙂

    Barry’s dad has had a good life and seems to be still happy. I am glad you are feeling good and not in pain. That is awesome!!! 🙂


  14. laura
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 22:04:17

    The house you lived in from 4th to 8th grade looks a whole lot like the house I live in now! (I’m putting it up for sale in a couple of months). Your cousin Danny is adorable and what a great story! The house you were born in has great character and with a little fixing up would be very interesting. Your baby picture is you all over!! And I think the ‘wasband’ is very patient, how many times can you tell a man to make a left on yellow, at the last minute!!!!

    Ha! Ha! –About the yellow light. Barry was great and took me where ever I wanted to go. He is very patient. It was the greatest day. I’m going to try and find a photo of the house I was born in at the time I lived in it so I can post before and after photos.


  15. teeni
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 23:26:36

    This is awesome! What a wonderful trip you had! And you got to reconnect with a long -lost (well, okay he wasn’t lost as he was right where you left him – LOL) cousin. How cool! I am having video problems – I thought it was youtube but I guess it is me so I’m gonna go upgrade some stuff and see if I can get it working. The pics of you as a kid are adorable! You used to run away when you were that young? OMG! You are such a character and always were I guess. Can’t wait to read more!

    I ran away from school so much. I mean who flunks first grade? They did put me in the second grade after a couple of months in the first grade the second time so I never got behind.

    You know I was reading about the new Google browser and learned that different browsers use up different amounts of CPU when you run YouTube. Supposedly the new Internet Explorer Browser uses up less CPU than either Firefox or the new Google browser. I just can’t remember where I read the article but if I find it I’ll send you a link.


  16. tw
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 23:41:28

    What an amazing walk down memory lane for you, Joan; and thanks so much for taking us with you.

    Reading about Barry’s Dad (what an incredible age!) and your reunion with your cousin after 30 years brought tears to my eyes.

    Very much looking forward to the next installment of your trip. You tell such a great yarn, do you know that?

    Well, I definitely have more yarning to do. It was a wonderful day thanks to Barry and Leslie. I’m glad you enjoyed my drive down memory lane.


  17. witsandnuts
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 03:56:02

    Hi there! Dropping by from Jeanny’s blog. Old photos never fail to amuse me. Btw, you might want to join us in the book club:

    Happy weekend!

    Hi!! Thanks for stopping by. I actually think I would be interested in the book club. I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books over the years but not in a long time. I wouldn’t mind rereading them. I’ll stop by your blog. Thanks for the invite.


  18. boundandgags
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 09:14:08

    What an awesome day!

    Years ago I was in the city I grew up in, Dorchester, so we make a trek past the house I lived in when I was a kid. As we’re driving down the street I start relating some of the events that took place on the street, things like,

    “That’s where I broke my first finger.”
    “That’s where fought George every day one summer.”
    “That’s where I crashed Bob’s head through a glass door because he spit at me.”
    “That’s the tree I fell out of. I was up there because a hurricane was coming and I wanted to get a good look at it. I got scratched to shit and broke my shoulder.”

    I never said I was smart.

    Finally, we got to where my childhood home was.

    And it was gone.

    I said, “Move along, nothing to see here.” So we continued down the street where I kept the tour going.

    “That’s where we used to play baseball every day. That looks the exact same.”
    “It’s a glass strewn asphalt lot.” The driver pointed out.
    “Yeah, we spilled a lot of blood there. Oh, see over there? That’s where we used to chase rats with sticks and throw rocks at them.”

    Ah, childhood.

    Great story B&G!! I was remembering lots of tidbits like that as we drove by different places I lived. Most of them having to do with being chased by cows. We lived a couple of houses up from the Greek owners of Cumberland Farms Dairy- the people that own all the Cumberland Farms stores. I used to babysit for their children and get chased down by their cows.


  19. dropofkim
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 13:28:31

    That is so awesome you were able to go on a ‘blast from the past’ trip AND find a relative to boot! I would love to be able to do something like that, but I was a military brat and don’t think they would let me go traipsing around the bases to go on a ‘tour of the past’. I would have to go overseas for some of them! Thank you for taking me on your journey though. And how cool about Danny!

    I’m glad you enjoyed my trip, Kim. It was a “blast from the past”. I wonder how many different bases you lived on?


  20. lifesstory
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 14:30:30

    I know this was fun. That’s why I’m writing about my life and digging up pictures of stuff and people. What you’re doing will be something your family can look at for years to come even after you’re gone and say, hey, she was some lady. I wish I could have known more about her.

    I guess that is why you call your blog “Lifestory”. Great name for a blog. That’s a very good point about my family. They will appreciate my thoughts probably more when I am gone then they do now. 🙂


  21. Peter Parkour
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 16:33:18

    Ok, got to watch the vids. Fun, fun, fun and fries??? 😛 You have such a fun, bubbly personality. It’s infectious. 😉

    I’m glad you got to see the videos. NO FRIES!!! Barry lied I tell you, he lied!!!!! He’s such a tease. I do like to have my fun.


  22. duskydi
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 04:07:40

    Hi Joans Of Mums

    Haha!! I love this. its great for em to see how and where you live. I love looking at the houses, there so very different to ours in the UK. I love looking at the differences.

    You look really happy with Barrys dad and how cool is Barry. He sounds really special Joan. I love the fact that everybody humours you and just lets you ge on with Joan sets out to do. Everyones seems so obliging. I can’t wait to start vidoe’s.

    Your a beautiful little baby and hey your Godmother found you. Aww!! How wonderful. Yes!! Twas the faeries. I was looking at the house that you were born in and was thinking its quiet posh but with a run down balcony. I wonder why they don’t paint the bloody balcony

    Great to see your life Joan and how fantastic you’ve got the energy and have found what you enjoy doing. Yous seem to get so much pleasure from your little trips and videos and sharing them with us.


    I love sharing my life with everyone. It’s not an extraordinary life. It’s actually very ordinary but then most of us are very ordinary but we are all special at the same time.

    Whoever lives in my old three decker should paint the “bloody” balcony.

    You know, everyone does humor me which is great. It makes me feel loved.

    I love the little cottages in the UK. I hope someday I can visit you.



  23. JavaQueen
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 06:16:49

    Aw Joanie, great post. So many things I don’t even know where to begin. Your laugh is just heart warming. That picture of you in the highchair is priceless, I don’t know where you were looking either but you were beautiful doing it! Tell your Wasband I said, “Yo! supp?!” and also tell him that a yellow light doesn’t mean “floor it”. LOL!

    And, the pic of Barry’s father and you just melted me. The way he’s looking up at you – I felt teary eyed. You all must have made his day. I just want to hug grandpa- he’s so fucking cute!

    This was great!

    “Yo Barry! Chow baby!”

    I will definitely give the wasband your messages. He’ll love it. I love that photo of Barry’s Dad and me. I am going to get it framed. I sure wish I knew what put that expression on my face in the highchair.



  24. mrsvierkant
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 13:38:51

    What a great look back! It could be a “This is your life” sketch. 😀 I especially love the story about how you found your cousin Danny. Thanks for sharing!

    Actually, this is my life and I am so happy to have my long lost relatives in it.


  25. romi41
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 15:00:07

    Oh my goodness, this whole story made me feel so warm and fuzzy! 🙂 I can see now why you had said something amazing had happened during your trip: i.e. what are the odds of going to that house and your cousin still living there? I’m so glad you found him again, how wonderful 🙂

    Yea, it was certainly weird. I could not, for the life of me, believe it was my long lost cousin and he and his wife turned out to be so cool. I can’t wait to see them again.


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