14 Jun 2022

A Bit of Americana

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HT: Vanderleun.

When I was a boy, I walked to school every day, and the daily morning walk featured human landmarks.

On the 400 block of West Lloyd Street, a fierce old man with long white hair (at a time when no men wore long hair) and a white beard would be found standing high on a second floor porch. He stood there, as if at attention, and greeted passing schoolchildren with a grave nod and never a smile.

Turning north on Chestnut Street, at the corner house just before the alley, we would find Henry Walukewicz, the undertaker, standing on the sidewalk level porch of his house waiting for us. He subscribed to weekly humor magazines, and thus armed himself with a repertoire of corny riddles, which he would dispense daily to an appreciative audience of schoolkids. After the chilly reception we got from “the wild old man” back on Lloyd Street, Henry the comedian provided a refreshing dose of human warmth.

All this was in the late 1950s.

I lived much of my adult life in Newtown, Connecticut. Our house was built in 1712 and I had a great deal of fun researching our home’s history and the history of the town itself.

At the intersection of Church Hill Road and the Boulevard, there is a stately Victorian house (now law offices, alas!) on one side of the Boulevard and a splendid large barn right across from it. An old, old man who’d grown up in Newtown told me that, long ago, when he was a boy, as the schoolkids passed by that barn, the farmer would stop feeding his cows, come out in front of the barn and do a dance for them. This would have been back in the 1920s.

(I went to Google Earth, thinking that I’d grab an image of that impressive old barn and post it here. It and the Victorian house were both gone! Tempus fugits.)


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