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.
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.