“Just don’t change anything!” That’s the advice we got from a “local” when we made the long anticipated move to Alton Bay, NH in December 2015. What would we want to change? We moved here because we love the place. Why would we want to change anything?
Change is unavoidable. Change is inevitable. Change just happens.
In the late 1800’s my great grandparents were farmers on Avery Hill Rd. in Alton Bay, NH. Glidden was their name. My grandmother, Florence, grew up on the “mountain” with her sisters and brothers. There were seven children in the Gliddenfamily. Back in the early and mid 1900’s there was a one room school house on Avery Hill Rd which the Glidden children attended. After completing her schooling at the one room school house, Florence Glidden, my grandmother, went off to Teachers’ Normal School in Salem, MA, now known as Salem State College. Florence met Lester Mudge in Massachusetts, they were married and Florence moved away from Avery Hill. They had five children.
Avery Hill, or “The Farm” as it was affectionately known for three generations, was a wonderful place to come to, especially in the summer. In the 1930’s and 1940’s “The Farm” was a special place to come and pick blueberries when my mother Trudy Hunter (one of Lester and Florence’s children and also founder of Trudy’s Thrift Shop in Alton) was growing up in Lynn, MA. Each summer Trudy and her siblings would ride up to “the farm” in the back of Unkie’s pick up truck to help her grandparents pick berries at the height of the season. The season usually lasted a couple weeks. The berries were raked from the bushes along with leaves and twigs, pulled on a sled down from Avery Hill to “the farm” by horses and then put into the winnowing machine where the twigs, leaves and unripe berries were blown away and then they were boxed and sent off to Boston.
Picking berries was hot, hard work. Memories of hornets and anthills are still a part of the stories told.
Trudy’s Cousin Elsie lived across the road from “The Farm” with her parents, Charles and Lillian Glidden and her two brothers. Seeing Elsie was one of the highlights of coming to “The Farm” in the summer. Life for cousin Elsie included the one room school house.
For many years, “The Farm” was a neglected building that brought so much joy to Glidden decedents each summer when they came up to explore the woods, pick blueberries and climb Avery Hill. Six generations of the Glidden family have wonderful memories of “The Farm”. Many tears have been shed when it was time to leave.
Our long anticipated move to Avery Hill happened in December. We brought Suzanne’s Window Treatments our 20 year old window treatment business with us. Our tag line is “beautifying your view one window at a time”. I guess in a way, that is changing things. All our clients like the change. We make custom Drapes, Valances, Roman Shades, Sheers and Cornices. We sell Hunter Douglas window fashions. We come to your home with samples, discuss your needs and goals, present designs and solutions to you. We design, fabricate and install your window treatments and look forward to your satisfaction. You can check us out at suzanneswindows.com or call us at 781-272-7878.
We are also planting a garden again this year. That’s something that my great-grandparents did each year because they needed to. We do it out of the joy of working on the land and sharing produce with our family. We love Alton Bay. We love Avery Hill. “Don’t change anything?” Come mid July, we will be picking blueberries and making blueberry ginger cake, like my grandmother did. I won’t be smelling it bake while sitting on the breezeway because the breezeway is gone but my visiting grandchildren will smell it baking and with mouths watering want a piece fresh out of the oven just like I did many years ago. My grandkids (generation six on Avery Hill) might even get a piece with fresh whipped cream from a local farm.
As I look around, much has changed since the 1800’s the blueberry fields are now taken over by forest, the old dirt road is now paved, snow rollers have been replaced by snow plows and sanders, and the one room school house is gone. But it’s nice that some things haven’t changed. Family is still here and working hard. Cousins enjoy getting together at their grandparents houses. It’s good that some things don’t change.