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Old 04-05-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Center Harbor 1933-1947

Center Harbor 1933-1947

I must first thank Pineedles for setting the stage for this Remembering Center Harbor. His “walk about” has given me the names to make my story more complete.

My story starts days after my birth in 1933, my first home was a summer cottage at the Oak Corner House owned by the Ambiles. My father, James “Babe” Harriman was fresh out of barber school in Boston and he had rented the east side of the building that was Nichols Drug Store and the Post Office. We were only in the cottage for 3 months but I was told the grass growing through the cracks made a great carpet. As fall came we moved to a duplex facing the water front, behind what is now Heath’s Hardware. We were on the east side and Orion and Gladys Bickford were on the west side.

Two stories of living in that place I have heard many times. The first was my mother was upstairs looking out the window and saw a youngster running up and down the docks. Wondering who’s kid that could be, she ran down stairs and found me missing. I guess you know now who the youngster was. The other story may embarrass some, but it didn’t seem to embarrass me. Where Patricia Shores is now was a summer retreat for young priests. The priests would row over in their canoes with their white pants and shirts. And then walk past our house going to the store. My father being a barber also wore white pants and shirt. My mother kept me secure in the yard with a rope. It seemed I couldn’t get the rope off, but I didn’t have a problem getting my clothes off and when I saw the priests in their white outfits, I would call out “Daddy” Daddy”, Maybe they were embarrassed.

In 1937 we moved to Bean Road. George Jackson of “The Willows” had built a bungalow for his son Paul’s family. But Paul’s wife, my Aunt Jerry would have nothing to do with living next to her mother-in-law. So my father bought the house for $1700. He had to sell his 1932 Ford rumble seat car and he got a loan from the Meredith Village Saving Bank for the balance of $1500.

It was just 4 rooms with an unfinished attic. No central heat, but indoor plumbing. As the family grew the children moved to the attic to sleep and the trap door was replaced with a stairway. There were porches to build as well as houses for the goats and chickens and the dog. We had a very comfortable home and Center Harbor was a great place to live.
We got to go swimming every day, there wasn’t a place in town we couldn’t go and every year we got new city kids to meet and make new pen pals. We had the 4th of July Parade, the band concerts, who doesn’t remember “Hold that Tiger” with Lou Kelly conducting the band. VJ Day just happened to fall on a concert night and we had toilet paper streamers all over the trees.

Backing up 4 years, I do remember talk of Mr. and Mrs. Lunt taking a trip to California and the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. I don’t know if the Lunts did the trip, but I do remember the concern for their safety. During the war the motor less Mount sat in Center Harbor with the boat tied to the dock, we could climb the pilings and shimmy up to the 2nd deck for jumping and diving.

Another war time activity was to go to the plane watching station, 1st it was in Moultonboro, just east a couple miles. It was a small building with a phone, maps and pictures of airplanes on the wall. My father had the 4 am to 8 am shift once a week and I had to go with him, I guess to keep him awake. About 1943 the building was moved to Center Harbor beach area. We never did see an airplane.

Pineedles notes AlPine Shores or Road. Alfred and Mildred Johnston came to Center Harbor about 1943. Al was a school teacher in Brooklyn and in the summer he did not want his family in the city. They were friends with Fred and Mildred Edwards. Fred was the Ice Man. The Johnston’s rented the Hersey house next to us, and they were roughing it, no indoor plumbing, but surly out of the city. The Johnston’s had two daughters the same age as myself and my sister Elaine. Alice and Margaret introduced us to “Broadway Plays” and we rehearsed all summer and performed for summer guests. After a couple years the Johnstons bought the land where you now see the development. They had just a small camp, nothing fancy. As I remember as a kid this beautiful beach area was known as Pig Pen Shores. Someone must have had a pig farm there at one time.

My father always had a large garden, We never bought food, the cellar was stocked each fall and it lasted all winter along with all the fish, squirrel, rabbit and partridge my father caught. First the garden was on the grounds of the Willows and later it was in the field of the Pennimans. Hermie Penniman came each evening to milk about 3 cows and put them in the barn. He tried to teach me to milk, but I never had any results. We lived in his woods, picking mayflowers and blue berries, chasing rabbits, climbing rocks and trees. The field drained down to a stone wall and it made a nice skating rink in the winter.

One summer evening we were eating supper when we noticed something unusual about the car or the gate across the street. My father checked and Hermie must have not secured the brakes and the car rolled and pinned him to the gate. He had died.

Besides gardening on the Willow property we could pick berries and I would pick a pail and take it to the back door of the Coe House. I always wanted to go inside but I had to wait for my $1.00 outside. A large horse chestnut tree grew in the front yard of the Coe House. It may be the same one that Pineedles mentioned.

At the time of the 1938 hurricane I was very scared, but my mother told me God would not take down such big trees. Well the next morning all the huge trees from Bean Road to the Coe House were down and the huge roots were totally exposed. I was told not to go near the roots as that was quick sand under the roots.

I remember when the Lunt’s had their going out of business sale, everything came out of the basement and the attic. High button shoes, corsets, that sale was a history lesson.
On the corner of Bean Road and Rt 25 was the Stuckers Inn and just beyond there, setting back off the road was a roller skating rink. I remember hearing the music in the evening. One day Freddie Batchelder and I discovered all these beer bottles behind the rink. We got my red wagon and loaded it up and took the bottles to Lunt’s and collected lots of money. Well news traveled fast across the street and my bottom was quite sore that evening and I never went bottle collecting again.

With all the men off to war my father had to go to work at Scott and Williams in Laconia. There were men left behind that still needed haircuts, so on weekends my father sat a stool in the archway between the dining and living room and cut their hair. I apologize to all whom had to endure my violin practice at the same time. In the summer he sat up a high stump of wood and did the haircuts in the backyard, the city boys loved this, they thought they were getting a real GI haircut. We never told them it was the same stump used to chop off the head of the chickens.

There was the Quinnibaug Outing Club, it gave the adults a place of sharing, with the whist parties, the pot luck suppers and they also sponsored the bike and swimming races, the winter carnival. We always had something to do. Then at Christmas we had a party at the grange hall, with a manager pageant and carols and then no other that Brownie as Santa. He gave each child a box of candy and an orange. The box could be flattened and stored for decorations on the tree for years to come.

I was privileged to get my basic learning at the Center Harbor school, Miss Sargent for the primary years and Mrs. Newman in the Grammer School. There was a lady at the bottom of the hill that fixed a hot lunch for 15 cents a week. Always hot chocolate on Monday, it had to be easy as that was the same day that Mr. Musgrove came and gave us music lessons. Another day was tomato soup and Thursday was American Chop Suey. Sometimes we got a treat like a bushel of apples. We had the swing set on the primary playground, a jungle gym on the Grammer playground and always a softball game in the front yard. Brownies fence was the back stop, the corner of the porch was first base, second base was a tree clear across the yard, most never made it to second base. Third base was the fence and then home. That 15 minute break went fast. In the winter the boys helped feed the woodstove which had our wet boots and mittens drying under it as well as our frozen lunch buckets. “Oh those good old days”. Anyone want to really go back.

I don’t remember any of us really getting into trouble. A lot of kids walked a good distance to school. Barbara Towle, Shirley & Eleanor Walker-walked from the Oak Corner Inn area, and the Irwins walked from the area west of town near the cattle barn. A bus brought in the kids from the W Center Harbor area and Mr. Horne picked up 4-5 kids in a car from way out on Bean Road.

I like the name “Odd Couple” you gave Mr. & Mrs. Simond. I went up to Kelsea Avenue to roller skate as there was a side walk up there. Mr. and Mrs Simond were always playing music, her at the piano and him with the violin.

One of my first jobs was at the Gowdy’s Inn, baby sitting a youngster, Stonewall Jackson Bird, what a name for a baby. Well Janet heard the baby crying and crying and came up to check, I was sound asleep and had come down with the measles. I did do better, I had a steady job babysitting Athlea Leighton Rand and I got 25 cents an hour. I would get a defense stamp for 10 cents and I discovered how good vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce at Nichols Drug Store was for the other 15 cents.

Living on Bean Road I had a direct view of Red Hill and I remember being told daily if I could not see the hill, I could not go out to play. Either it was too foggy or it was raining. That is the only reasoning I can give as to what I did. I got mad at my folks and I was going to run away from home. I found my way all the way to the base of the hill and continued to climb. I remember other hikers asking who I was with, but I kept climbing. At the top I was given the phone and told to call my folks. Which I did, and then I ran all the way home.

Now I am back in Center Harbor, just over the hill, overlooking Winona, life is great, I am staying out of trouble. No more running and once in a while I drive to the village and gaze at the lake and Reminisce.
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Last edited by Winona; 04-12-2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Absolutely wonderful story Winona! You probably knew my uncle who was Ode's brother, as he was just 5 years older than you. When I knew the Oak Corner House, the Caggianos were running it, not sure if they owned it or not. I remember Brownie conducted auctions at his place on the Bean Road. Great memories.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Running Away

I remember running away from home when I was about 5. I announced to my mother that I was "fed up" and was going to run away and join the circus. She told me to wait a few minutes while she packed a sandwich to take with me...in case I got hungry. After she gave me the sandwich, I headed out the front door and got as far as the porch steps. I sat down to figure out what my next move would be.

After a few minutes, I ate the sandwich and went back in the house... NB
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
Absolutely wonderful story Winona! You probably knew my uncle who was Ode's brother, as he was just 5 years older than you. When I knew the Oak Corner House, the Caggianos were running it, not sure if they owned it or not. I remember Brownie conducted auctions at his place on the Bean Road. Great memories.
Brownie did do auctions, my first was on Winona Rd, don't remember how we got there, but my mother got lots of dishes and an antique sewing table, I still have the table. The house where the auction was -was torn down about 3 years ago, so the table outlived the house.
You lost me on Ode's brother, Connie and I were the same age, and she had a brother, but I can't think of his name.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:47 AM   #5
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:39 PM   #6
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Talking Center Harbor 1933 - 1947

Winona, I printed out your story and read it at the lake. It was quite charming and I am glad that Pineedles got you to share with us!
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
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Winona, I just noticed that you are fairly new to the forum and glad you have joined us. Have fun and enjoy the Winni Forum while making many new friends. I would also like to thank you for the great story.
There is nothing better than living on Alton Mountain & our grand kids visits.
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