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We Bought Some Currier And Ives....

by Vera Pera

...when we moved to New Ipswich from the outskirts of Fitchburg. The old Sterns’ place was a wonderful antique center chimney farm house that had an attached summer kitchen, pantry, woodshed, and covered back porch.

There was electricity but not much else. The water supply was a big old blue hand pump situated over the black kitchen sink. The plumbing was outside with “his” and “hers” seating. The heating system consisted of a one lung coal/wood furnace which roasted and toasted you in the living room, however the temperature waned as you left that tropical area. Upstairs every bedroom window was designed by Jack Frost, who created the most beautiful frosty designs - both on the inside and on the outside of the window panes.

Along with all this “fun” we found “the river” that was the back bound to the property of this newfound adventure. She was to become, and still is, so much a part of my life.

That old glacier slid down and plowed out the river basin and at the same time it formed the perfect backdrop called Whittemore Mountain. It was a perfect Currier and Ives picture postcard.

Why would I ever consider that this wonder could or would ever change? Webster’s Dictionary defines change: to alter; to make different, to cause to pass from one state to another, as, to change the position, character, or appearance of a thing. All of the above happened to the Souhegan right in back of our place.

In the 1950’s a flood control dam was constructed and now my River was a small pond. Change begot more change. After her retirement my mother sold some building lots on the westerly side of the pond. Then a cul de sac appeared on the mountain side to the east; new construction followed on both banks. But because of the flood easements and the steepness of the mountainside no one is too close to the water’s edge, mercifully retaining the natural beauty of her banks. [The picture above shows Whittemore Mountain on the left and is a view upstream, acrossed the pond towards Massachusetts.}

The wildlife population does not seem to have suffered. By the very unscientific eyeballing technique of observation and calculation, there seems to be no less activity than before.

After the "100 year rain" that we had back in 1987, we took the canoe out to survey our much changed landscape. The pond had swelled to at least 10 times her normal size and the waters reached right to the cellar walkway, stopping shot three feet in length and 6" in height from entering the basement.

As we traveled away from the lawn area and headed toward the middle of the pond we were passing over the tree tops! What an awesome voyage that was. To peer down into the depths of the waters and view the submerged countryside as if airborne.

That ole ("man" River’s a she) River just keeps on rolling along - I have swum in it, washed in it, drunk from it, fished it, rowed on it, canoed on it, tried to sail on it, plowed it in order to skate on it, fished it, fallen into it, tobogganed onto it, admired sundry wildlife around it and on it, rescued a frog man from it, and now I sometimes entertain the thought of a houseboat on it.

My Currier and Ives house* is gone and so is my Currier and Ives river. Change over and above my wildest imaginations have taken place. Neither good nor bad are they. I loved and miss the river and now I love the pond mainly because they are the same, only different.

*The old homestead was photographed, measured, marked, disassembled, moved, and reconstructed in Wilton by an antique home lover.

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Last modifed: 7/20//99 11:15 PM

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