The recent death of Beverly Bennett – a businesswoman and charitable activist – who lived her entire life on Andover Street in North Tewksbury across from the First Baptist Church – made me think about the people who lived in our area of North Tewksbury over the years, my old neighbors, friends. When we moved here in 1971, Mrs. Banks then in her 80s lived across the street. There was Mrs. Fitzgerald who lived with her son Winthrop and his family in a recently leveled historic home built in the 1820s. Many of the “newer” families – the Byams – George and Ruth who originally owned our home but built new next door – (we bought from Julia Jenkins Byam), Jack and Nancy Clarke on the other side, the Gerrards, later the Sherrins in the Banks home, the Bloods, the Mahoneys, the Browns, the Frawleys, the Randolphs and down Fiske the Poulos, Murphy, French, Carson, Gaffney families and so on. One of our Andover Street neighbors was Marietta Meloy ~ a charming, articulate lady – a fellow parishioner from St. Robert’s for a while – and someone that I knew when I was much younger. For my mother, I would bring the monthy “electricity” payment to Marietta as she sat doing her job as a cashier at the former Lowell Electric Light Company on Market Street. Marietta had Lowell connections but was deeply rooted in fact and in memory to our North Tewksbury neighborhood. I don’t know if Beverly ever wrote or was interviewed about going to the “Little Red School House” next door to her home or about walking across the “dirt” road to church or of her deep family connections, but Marietta did. She shared her “growing up” memories with the help of David Marcus for the Tewksbury Historical Society. She brings us back to the early 1920s then forward sharing her stories of the neighbors, what families did for recreation, her childhood friends, the farms, the animals and what changes she saw. You can read it on-line here at the Tewksbury Historical Society site.
From the Lowell Sun ~ Marietta T. Meloy, age 93, a long time North Tewksbury resident, died Tuesday evening, February 3, 2009 at the d’Youville Manor in Lowell after a long period of declining health. She was born in Lowell, June 10, 1915, a daughter of the late Frederick and Mabel (Lawrence) Meloy, and graduated from the Immaculate Conception High School in Lowell. (Note ~ her colonial-style family home is located on the curve as you travel up the hill on Andover Street – the beige on the left across from Sheridan Drive.)
A few of Marietta’s memories ~
“When we moved into the house on Andover Street the road was dirt. People would actually help shovel the road after a snowstorm. The automobiles traveling the road were Model A’s and Model T’s. We has five horse chestnut trees on the property… when we were mischievous we would throw the chestnuts at cars… The Eastern Mass. Street Railway Co. ran a trolley from Lowell. It stopped at Hood Road… the trolley would brush the tracks off with an attachment in front of the trolley… We had a hand pump in the kitchen… Many deliverymen came by to sells their goods… Conants Market would deliver meat by truck or automoblie… My father was a general contactor… He built many beautiful homes and the United States Post office located on Merrimack street in Lowell… We had a Victrola and had a lot of records for music… Christmas was the greatest happening for us… Papa and all our friends would go over to Sullivan’s or Martin’s woods to chop down a big pine tree for the back parlor… We knew Butler Ames… Edward and Martha Carson owned many acres of land in North Tewksbury… They had a large herd of cattle… I remember his cows crossing Andover Street to grazeon land where deering drive is now… Ames Pond was one of the greatest places we spent time growing up… skating on weekends… we would watch men cut ice and store it in a building adjacent to the pond…”
Please read the full interview with Marietta Meloy. We’ll be on the lookout for more “growing-up” stories from our neighborhood. Stay tuned…