Indian Hill School

Thanks to Gail Vickstrom for adding these photos.
Making snow forts was always a highlight.
This morning I woke up to see wonderful pictures and hear terrific stories about my elementary school reunion. I'm sorry I missed it and hope to go next year.

When I was six, my parents moved to the north end of Worcester, Massachusetts. I attended Indian Hill School. It was a big brick school with beautiful woodwork. Almost every kid in the neighborhood went to Indian Hill School, and most of us really loved the school and neighborhood. That's why there's a really successful Facebook page that's filled with images and memories of those days.

Our neighborhood was tucked in and around hilly Ararat Street and Indian Hill Road. The houses were mainly small capes with a few split levels, Victorians, and old farmhouses in the mix. My days at Indian Hill followed a typical routine for the 1960's family. I got up, had breakfast with my family, walked to school, came home for lunch (in the early years), walked back to school, came home, played with my friends, had a family dinner, watched TV, and went to bed.

We had big families and lots of friends. Here's my
brother and his best friend.
I lived in a small, busy house with my five siblings, mom, and dad. Nana lived across the street while aunts and uncles lived up the hill. Most of my 56 first cousins and many, many relatives lived in the Worcester area. There was always a sense of warmth and love during those early years.

At Indian Hill, the teachers were nice, and as in every school, we all had our favorites. A teacher beloved by one student might be the most difficult teacher for another. That variability still exists. We had lots of friendship groups too. I had my best friends. In the early years, that included Penny and my first cousin Karen, and later it was Patty, Maureen, and Nancy. We spent hours playing, talking, creating, walking, bike riding, and active with Girl Scouts, CCD, and family events and outings. Most of our moms were home at the time, and many were friends with each other. Coffee parties were common as was lots and lots of volunteer work at the church, school, and other organizations.

There were lots of great school, church, and other activities.
Here's a picture from a Girl Scout outing about 50 years ago.
The big events that I remember most were the fall church fair and Halloween Parade. We all looked forward to those events. Regular weekly events included buying candy at the corner store, the church coffee shop, CCD, and lots and lots of backyard play with all the neighborhood kids.

There were some challenging events too. Right after I moved in there was a big fire in the woods and five of our neighborhood teenagers died. They were brothers and friends to so many students we went to school with. Everyone was saddened by this horrible event. I remember all the cars lined up outside my house on the day of the funeral--it was terrible and an event that our neighbors and classmates still remember and talk about today. The drug culture was big in the neighborhood too. I was a grade school student during the Vietnam era. People wore bell bottoms, long hair, and chains. The news was filled with stories of hippies and yippies. Some children had relatives who fought in the war. I remember one who lost his dad. Drugs had become a mainstay in the neighborhood which caused many families sadness and struggle. Some neighborhood kids lost their lives due to tragic accidents too.

Next week some of our old neighbors and classmates are getting together. I'm  not sure if I can go or not, but it seems that some of my siblings will be going to reconnect, tell stories, and celebrate the camaraderie that lives on to this day.

I have so many wonderful memories of those days, memories I'll be sure to write about in the days ahead. Until then, I just want to give a shout out to all my former classmates, friends, and neighbors and wish them a terrific reunion.


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