I don’t remember us posting on this. When I read it this morning, I cried. What a beautiful writing by Tom Bergeron on his hometown, growing up, his family, and how he got to where he is today. From The Boston Globe, “From Haverhill to Hollywood”. A must read….and while you do so, keep in mind Tom wrote this a month before his Dad died….
‘A little shack by the railroad track.”
That’s how my parents would affectionately refer to my childhood home in Haverhill. “Shack” was crucial for achieving the rhyme but inaccurate for describing the house. Built in 1925, it might not have been a mansion, but it was hardly a candidate for Shanty Town. Literally the “last house on the left” on a narrow dead-end street, it had one small bathroom, three modest bedrooms, and, beginning in my high school years in 1971, a comparatively sizable addition that quickly became the home’s social centerpiece.
Not all of the rhyme was exaggerated. We did live near an active railroad track, a winding river, and thick, inviting woods, which, taken together, provided a setting for countless flights of imagination.
As I child, I convinced myself that the adjacent tangle of trees was, at various times, populated by Nazi soldiers, extraterrestrials, Dracula, the Mummy, and Bigfoot. So of course on a given summer’s day, or after a grueling few hours in grade school, I would bravely disappear down its haphazard dirt path to see whether I could find them. I never did. A stray bunny, occasionally, but never a goose-stepper or vampire.
I ran away from that home once. This was due, no doubt, to some cruel indignity foisted upon me by my parents (“No, eat ALL of your vegetables!”). I “ran” about 20 yards to an opening in the brush by the dirt path. I brought with me a pillow, a wind-up alarm clock (a runaway doesn’t want to oversleep), and a peanut butter sandwich….
More at The Boston Globe.