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Carole Caron, Martin Lee

The Wood Road By Phil Pothier ..................................3

Looking Back at 1955 By Clifton J. (Jerry) Noble Sr ....4

The Most Unforgettable CharacterBy Tonie Ann White ...........................................................8

Garden Party By Michael Dubilo .................................10

Support Local Farms By Sage Fury ..........................13

Step into the Unknown By Jeff King ........................14

Mental Health Awareness Month By Ann Garvey .....16

Where are they Now By Elaine Adele Aubrey ..............18

My Memorial Day Speech By Peg Lis ......................20

Bulletin Board ...........................................................21

Classifieds ..................................................................23


by Phil Pothier

There are just tracks now, filled with leaves,

in the woods, where if you didn’t know,

you couldn’t find a trace of what was years ago,

But no one grieves,

For they all use the new road nowadays.

It’s faster, and more fit for modern ways.

You can still use this, with a horse,

If you want, for hauling out your wood.

But most would find another method if they could.

I would, of course.

We haven’t any need for that today.

We’d sooner spend our extra time at play.

But it was different years ago,

‘Fore the flood of eighteen eighty-eight,

When blizzard snows, and rising water sealed it’s fate.

It had to go.

Before the new road came it was the way

To get from here to Southwick every day.

Once there were houses, if you look

By the side you’ll see the cellars there

Just piles of stones, no wall or chimney in the air.

I find no book

To tell us who they were. They have no name.

As to their fate, there’s no one left to blame.

This was the road, the old folks say,

Where the sheep were driven down the hill

And to the train, in springtime rain and autumn chill

And shipped away.

And so they made their living, year by year.

No sign is left of farm or farmer here.

I still walk here, and with my wife,

When we wish to get away from things,

Just being here, an air of peace and comfort brings.

Here there was life.

Now it is gone to where we cannot go

The past can never to the present flow


Looking Back

at 1955

~ Tin Man ~

replaced the access road to Bondi’s Is-land Sewage Plant destroyed by the Route 5 relocation. All fill material came from the big Damato borrow pit south of Cooper Street in Agawam.

Beyond South End Bridge and Springfield Route 5 was projected to run near the railroad through Longmeadow lowlands to the Connecti-cut state line.

My mother “Hester” and I visited cousin Carl Emerson and wife Esther on Connecticut’s Avon Mountain in early January. There we met Doctor Alexis Maltzeff and his young wife. Be-fore coming to America he had been lead tenor at the St Peters-burg opera in Russia. Currently he taught singing in Hartford and directed the Stanley Choir in Westfield, I lost no time in asking if I might take lessons from him. We arranged to meet Thursday evenings before rehearsal on the top floor of Stanley Products home office building on Arnold Street. He had me buy a dollar book of vocalizations by Concone and taught me to place my voice correctly for best quality. He gave me one of his published songs and his book on voice placement

I continued lessons from Emily Yerbury, connected with the Hayle studio in Springfield. She emphasized sounding vowels (which would be fine in Hawaii). I perceived that con-sonants needed stress if an audience were to understand words.

In January I got swim briefs from Coronado Surf Shop in San Diego, California, fine for summer tanning. From Fred Mueller in Denver, Colorado, I got denim shirt with snaps in-stead of buttons $4.75, western style dress pants $8.35, a cow-boy’s spinning rope $1.75, and books of Gene Autry songs for $1.00 each. Elsewhere I got sneakers $2.69, a civil engineering handbook $11.00, Roget’s Thesaurus $3.95, and from Sears a hand air pump $7.95, and an extension ladder $9.88.

Depending on theater and picture it cost between 25 and 90 cents to go to the movies. In May we got mother new eye-glasses for $36. When I worked for optometrist Jack Corcoran in 1942 in Fresno, California, wholesale cost for frame and lenses was about $10.

Rent for out post office box in Russell was $1.20 a year and in Westfield $6.00

My cousin, Lester Emerson, gladly worked two days a week on my new garage-house at $2.00 and hour. The year-end building total, including Lester’s $831 wages was $4,883.12.

After a hot July, rain poured on August 2. Stopping at Ami-don’s field office to leave survey books I saw a car sunk to hub-caps in mud and said to my crew, “Let’s get out of here.”

Crossing the Route 20 concrete bridge in Russell I noticed that Blandford Brook water was nearly up to the deck. I heard that wash out had caused a train wreck between Russell and Woronoco. I parked safely in our new garage across Herrick

May 2013

By Clifton (Jerry)

Noble, Sr.

By June 1955 construction on the West Springfield tunnel and traf-fic circle approach to North End Bridge were pretty much completed by the Ber-ke-Moore Company. Also finished were the flood wall, ends of Park Avenue and Park Street south and north of West Springfield town green, fence lines and granite bounds to mark edges of highway property.

My survey party personnel was Ernie Rapisarda, Jim Geagan and Vincenzo G. Penna. Things were so busy that we worked several Saturdays overtime at regular-rate pay. Oc-casionally department chief Frank Brown from Greenfield brought his party 40 miles south to join the fun.

We had started making final measurements on new ramps that were open to traffic. With survey needs less at the tunnel site I began work at the next Route 5 interchange south at Me-morial Avenue where Dean Amidon was resident engineer. Here the new, divided highway of Route 5 was far enough from the end of Memorial Bridge so that two overpasses, instead of a tunnel, sufficed to carry the big traffic circle. Again I was re-sponsible for location and elevations for the bridges. A retain-ing wall was needed and, of course, the usual ramps.

Reconstruction of Agawam Avenue and a new underpass


Road from our schoolhouse home. That evening I found water from steep Herrick Road running across the corner of our front yard. A curved stone deflected it back into the road.

Next morning the intersection with Carrington Road was a ten foot chasm down to ledge extend-ing shallower up Herrick Road. Our car was in the garage on the far side. There was little hope that mountainside Carrington Road to Russell would be passable.

It was HOT. I was out in Coro-nado briefs when the road super-intendent, his helper, and two selectmen came walking south. The town’s road scraper had been left in the gravel pit at the top of “Shanty” hill across Bear Den Brook and they needed it. I had a pile of sand in front of the garage for mixing cement. They asked if they could have my sand to fill the shallow Her-rick Road end of the chasm. Thus they got the scraper across, and I got my car back in the schoolyard.

Dotty and Paul Barnes came from their new house across the brook. Paul’s father, Clarence, lived in the former Clark-Duggan place opposite our schoolhouse. With his pickup truck we followed the scraper to throw big stones out of the road. When the north end of Carrington Road was opened Dotty and I rode on a plank placed across the low sides of the pickup body.

At Main Road I expected Clarence to turn around and go home, but instead he went two and a half miles farther in Hun-tington, and me in swim briefs!

Dorothy had her purse with money and asked if there was anything she could get me at the grocery store. I said, “A box of dry milk.”

Later I walked two miles to Russell and took pictures of the landslide at the town line and of Russell’s flooded Main Street. From there I was able to phone Supervisor Tattan and guess when I might be able to get back to work.

My biggest surprise of the year involved singing. The next recital planned by Marjery Fielding Hayles was to be based on the Wizard of Oz. Instead of being blacklisted for bowing out of the 1954 Court Square Theater show, I was given the part of Tin Man in which I would sing “If I Only Had a Heart” and Mrs. Hayle’s own composition starting “People Help Each Oth-er When They’re Lost in the Wood.” I bought gray tights for $6, a long sleeve, gray turtleneck and ballet slippers that could

be painted silver. Tin foil stapled to a collared and sleeveless buckram shirt looked well with a funnel cap and a gray foam rubber blade on an axe handle. Swim briefs made perfect underwear. Head got white grease paint and gray hair spray.

Audience filled the 800-seat auditorium of Springfield Techni-cal High School. My cousin Lester’s family brought mother. The trio of Scarecrow (Maurice Wilcox), Tin Man (me), and Lion (Art Smith) don’t show up until scene three. Then we were on stage with Doro-thy (Mrs. Yerbury’s daughter) till the end.

Mrs. Yerbury was supposed to play Wicked Witch of the West but substitution was needed because she got slightly in-jured by connecting her Buick with a Connecticut Company bus. However, she was in the audience to watch her daughter.

I was unaware of the audience beyond the footlights un-til the King of the Monkeys carried me across in front of the curtain. I remarked, “It’s lovely weather for flying.” People laughed.

Removing grease paint, hair spray, and getting back into street clothes made me last out of the dressing room. I found the Hayles to thank them. George kindly said, “We couldn’t have done it without you.

When Doctor Alexis Maltzeff sang at the St. Petersburg op-era, Anatole Bourman was leading male dancer. In America he had settled in Springfield at 441 White Street to teach ballet. Thus when Bourman came to see the Hayles’ recital of “The Wizard of Oz” he met Maltzeff who had come to see his student as Tin Man.

Flood August 2, 1955. Main St. Russell, looking East




By Tonie Ann White

Back when I was a child, Mom’s Reader’s Di-gest magazines had a section called: “My Most Unforgettable Character.” My most unforgettable character has to be my mom. She was a capable person, whether calculating custom draper-ies from rich fabrics at Forbes and Wallace in Springfield, managing Fabric Fair in Agawam, or supervising a crew of teenage girls at Lo-renzo Lambson’s Tobacco Farm in Southwick. She was equally comfortable selling her fresh-picked asparagus to the locals as she was giv-ing her talk on the Twelve Days of Christmas on the Kitty Broman TV Show. She was her confident, pleasant self no matter what she was doing, who she was with, or where she was. She had a warm smile and a happy laugh. She listened well with a compassionate heart. She worked hard, serving even the most ungrate-ful and difficult of relatives. At the end of the

day, she sat and knit baby blankets and sweaters for missions, afghans for the Soldier’s Home, and preemie hats for an area hospital. Her amaz-ing energy was focused on meeting the needs of others.

Mom had trademark ex-pressions and some of them still ring in my ears. Some even come out of my mouth. When she saw graffiti she would chirp, “Fools’ names and fools’ faces always appear in public places.” When my outfit didn’t look quite right, as I was heading off to school, her words of assurance were: “Nobody will know on a galloping horse.” “A galloping horse, Mom? At school?” If we started to eat our meal before everyone was seated at the table, she would quip, “We’re waiting, like one pig for another.” If I laughed at something she didn’t think was funny, her response was, ‘’T’aint funny McGee,” a quote from the Fib-ber McGee & Molly radio show. She had other quotes. “I would rather be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.” “It’s not that I don’t trust people, it’s that people can’t be trusted.” Her good words for inspiring and motivating creativity were, “Boredom is an insult to your intelligence.”

It’s winter, so I am feeding the birds and recalling how Mom loved birds and kept her feeders full of seed with fresh suet hanging nearby. She knew the names of every bird that stopped by her feeder. She even recognized the birds who were not from our area and she would point them out. “That bird came in from the mid-west on last week’s storm. He’ll be gone back home in a few days.” Like most bird-feed-ing people, Mom waged war with the squirrels. I can attribute some of my poor hearing to the day we were standing by the window, watching a squirrel rapidly devour seed, when she suddenly blasted her air horn next to me. I don’t know about the squirrel, but I sure didn’t want to get near that feeder again.

Mom valued all birds, dead as well as alive. One day, I found a dead Ruby-throated Hummingbird outside her picture window where it probably broke its neck. She placed it in a clear

The Most




clamshell plastic container, the kind in which you bring home a sandwich or donut. That little bird went with me to church the following day for a show and tell at our Vacation Bible School. Years later, it was still in that plastic box sitting on the end table by Mom’s couch. He was King Tut of the Hummingbird world. Unlike most women, she didn’t mind pick-ing up dead things. She appreciated and ad-mired God’s creation. So, one day, when she found a dead Starling, she reached down and picked it up to show me its surprising beauty. She rotated it so that I could see the sunlight shimmering off the little heart-shaped designs in the feathers as well as the deep blues and purples and greens that I never would have seen when they were out feeding in the yard or flying by.

You might think that anybody who could handle a dead bird without gloves would not have a problem with dirty money. On one visit to the farm, I found her ironing money. When asked what she was do-ing, she explained that these bills were “dirty and smelled.” So, being a practical-minded good citizen, she just washed them and now she was ironing them. Most people would have just “spent it” on its way. “Money laundering” took on a whole new meaning.

At one time Mom worked with our vet, Dr. Boardman. He had the sad job of “putting to sleep” unwanted animals. Pudgy, an old, heavyset Beagle, had been surrendered in tears by his very elderly owner who could no longer care for him. Every week, Pudgy would be taken out of his cage to be “put down.” Every week he would be put back in his cage because nobody had the heart to end his life. Finally, Mom’s tender heart moved her to bring Pudgy home where he happily finished out his days at Caltonie Acres, our farm in Southwick.

Mom loved to read and write and was a lifetime student. She loved her encyclopedias, her books, and the town library. I didn’t know any other moms who had 3x5 cards spread across their dining room table with books and notes for a research project just for fun. My brother and I would be groaning about having to write our high school term papers. Here she would be happily writing one for the sheer joy of learning! That was admirable, like so many of her unique qualities.

My most unforgettable birthday cake was the usual angel food cake with a spectacular twist. She walked it out of the kitchen and into the dining room with sparklers lit, fizzing, and shooting in all directions!

Both my kids were little and their eyes were big as saucers. When the fireworks ended, Mom discovered that the sparklers had left burned holes in her beautiful crystal cake plate. She sure kept life interesting.

When Mom, known to others as Skippy, lived her last 13 months at assisted living near me, she was 94. She was still rising ear-ly, showering, dressing, and off to breakfast. One day she told me that she was tired of picking up people’s dropped Kleenex, cut-ting up their food, rebuttoning their lop-sided buttons, straightening their collars, cutting their fingernails, and sitting with them when they felt lost and afraid. I as-sured her that she didn’t have to do ANY of those things. The morning that I found her passed away by her bed, two of the nurses told me, “Skippy never thought of herself as a resident. She always saw herself as one of the staff.” She was capable and caring right to the end and undeniably unforgettable.


By Michael Dubilo

The month of May paves the way for garden preparation. So welcome to the party and let us have some fun. I call it fun due to the fact outdoor activ-ity benefits you. What a privilege it is to have fresh air space to create something useful, in this case tasty, savory, highly favored vegetables and herbs for season-ing and medicine. This party attitude is fueled by real-life thinking. Good for the brain. Consistent brain engagement keeps old age type of stuff at bay.

Now to the detailed plan. Survey the scene. To produce full, mature, tasty crops we need to start with enriched soil saturated with natural organic nutrients and security for our harvest. We tend to link security measures with everyday life, but not much attention is given to a vegetable garden. However,

the rabbits I encountered last summer, munching down my labor-filled crops transformed my mindset. My setback was a sign of a comeback. Experience is a profitable, reliable friend. Persevere among challenges. We are more than conquers.

Rabbits are remarkable creatures. They can run within an hour after birth. Their physical skill set is much like a gifted NFL player running for a touchdown, amid opposing anatomically powerful, determined men. Defensive football players are hungry guys, they want to eat you up. Paid with a contract that you and I can only dream of. Tackling the man with the ball inspires rewards and cheers. Rabbits can move lat-erally back and forth, weaving through dense grass like no human. And escape they do, with touchdown experience. The breed is extremely quiet with top-notch hearing and the power to per-ceive odors or scents utilizing sensitive organs in the nose.

When they find a suitable mate, they exercise by hoping over one an-other repeatedly. That is how a male attracts a female. If the lady rabbit is receptive, she joins in jumping. Vertical jumps reach twenty inches in a single bound.

Given this power of knowledge, a steel bar panel two feet high, vertical bars placed at one-inch intervals, was constructed around the garden. I needed Fourteen panels to form a defense. It will be put to the test this season. I am hopefully confident the rabbits will travel onward to other locations.

Looking out my garden window, I see a menagerie of an oak tree trunk positioned in a horizontal lean. Its purpose was to provide a support system for some unique activity. Ropes were tied to the trunk to set the stage for five swing sets ready in waiting. Seated comfortably were five rabbits dressed in col-orful outfits smiling with their elongated ears flapping in the wind. They were captured in a picture on April 1.

No this was not an April Fools joke. A vision of creative imagination foretelling future events was the reality. I quickly discerned: that these cottontails were happy to see me prepar-ing the environment for growth. “Their Food” for the summer can be entering their “Bugs Bunny” minds. Without a vision, May’s garden will perish. Not going to happen. Homegrown vegetables are grown for human consumption. Faith in appli-cation.

Throughout the year I save most vegetable scrapes, along with egg shells and coffee grounds mixing them in soil. Or-ganic remains encourage topsoil with a shot of vitamins, trans-forming it into useful plant fertilizer. Calcium for the soil is provided by ground-up egg shells. Veggie scraps and used cof-


fee grounds are food delights for healthy worms. Earthworms provide supercharged excrement generating growth in the plant kingdom. This is the golden key to the secrets of nature. Natural labor with huge payoffs. In addition, wood ash from my Soap Stone wood burning stove is mixed in the soil to ensure ad-equate PH levels. Ash from hardwoods is best. I use an old-time pitchfork to open the winterized garden bed, al-lowing fresh air to dive in. Joy fills my heart when I observe mature and red, baby worms jumping around when pitched forked about. The next step, wait for warm temperatures to cozy in. The ground must be warm, facili-tating plant root extensions. Similar to like-minded and spirit-filled friends, working together toward high-end outcomes.

A long, long time ago, the Lord God planted a garden with a sparkling river in the middle to water crops and every tree that is pleasant to the sight. Imagine the safe, productive oppor-tunities that a fresh environment would offer. A garden provid-ing all your needs, every day. Just take on a diligent steward mentality for what is given to you. Invest for gain.

May is an opportune time to cut or order firewood for the coming winter. This way the wood has time to season and prices are the best in spring. I can envision a path in my fu-ture when firewood may be delivered by something other than truck power. The image occurred when I saw a news video of four newborn Clydesdales on a farm in Boonville, MO. Stand-ing at about three feet tall and weighing roughly 150 pounds, these baby horses have some more growing to do before they can officially join the World-Famous Budweiser team. Meet Ser-geant, Razor, Barron, and Stinger. As soon as they can stand, gentle training begins. Consistency and bonding relationships

are keys to obedience, willing attitudes, and top performance. To make the traveling team (or hitch), the horses must be at least four years old, about six feet tall, and weigh around 2,000 pounds. They’ll eat up to 20 quarts of grain and 50 pounds of hay per day to grow.

The majestic horses first made their debut in 1933 to celebrate the re-peal of prohibition. Ninety-one years of tradition. Our waterfront home lo-cation would welcome a delivery from these well-built horses. As an option to transporting beer, let’s say a food, water, and medicine delivery that will be distributed to Americans in need. Acts of kindness and generosity would energize our communities. The “Good Samaritan” character would eventually spread to individuals who have the means to act accordingly. Picture in your mind, personal time with that certain Clydesdale, for as long as you desire. By the way, a trained maintenance person is available, awaiting your request—vision of the power of love and sharing impacting our neighborhoods and nation. May’s outdoor party lasts all month, be involved you will be glad you did.



By Sage Fury, Southwick Agricultural Commission

In 2022, Southwick was hit with drought during primetime growing seasons, as were many other towns, cities, and states. Crops rely on healthy fertile soil with the right moisture content to yield a good harvest of heathy produce. In times of drought, there are options to get what you need to continue a good healthy crop, from irrigation techniques, types of crops used, expanding grazing areas and so on. Programs exist through the USDA to help build drought resilience and Federal programs that can aid partial losses for reduced use of land due to droughts of specific

severity. Droughts are not always obvious however, the soil can appear normal on the surface, but under the surface where the roots reach out could be too dry to feed our leafy plant friends.

But droughts may not be the worst of it. As one Southwick farmer says, Give me a drought any time. I can BRING IN water!”

In 2023, states up and down and all around felt mass flood-ing that felt almost endless as wave after wave came down upon us. Weather seemed to be either 90 degrees, or pouring rain! Perfect for weeds! Suddenly you get some clear skies followed by another surge of immediate flooding once again. Farmers feel this more than anyone, now facing oversaturated fields and loss of soil fertilizations, this can become a big financial loss. What’s even worse, due to these oversaturated fields, small rain fall can now drown, or wash away any attempts at adding new fertilizer, seeding, or plants with small root systems. Corn, for example, has a shallow root system and when the soil is saturated, it can easily blow over in the wind. Several Southwick farmers dealt with this in the 2023 season. This gets very expensive with a high risk of more losses as the water slowly works its way through the soil, before the next rain falls.

A video taken by Southwick resident Diane Gale (viewable via the QR code) shares the damage the small storm on Saturday, October 7th 2023, had with one of the farms, with oversaturated soil.

Please keep in mind our farmers in town and when you need supplies, consider stop-ping there first for your produce - after all, fresh is best!


I want to build confidence in you the confidence to step out into the unknown.

When you type an address into your car’s navigation sys-tem, one of the options that may come up is “Route Overview.” When you click on that, it gives you all the details of the trip. There may be 15 instructions: “Travel 6 miles on the highway, get off at Exit 10, go 400 feet, turn left at the intersection.”

I like that because your whole trip is clearly laid out for you. You know where you’re going, how long it’s going to take, and what to expect. Knowing all the details makes me comfort-able. I can relax.

Well, did you know this? God has a “route overview” for your entire life. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, He laid out the plan. He not only knows your final des-tination, He knows the best way to get you there. But, unlike the navigation system on your car, God doesn’t share the “route

overview” with you. He leads you one step at a time.

The problem is: We want details. And God doesn’t give us details. We wouldn’t have any problem with taking that step of faith starting that business, going back to school, moving to that new location if we knew how long it was going to take, where all the money was coming from, and that all the right people were going to be there for us at the right time.

But here’s the key: God doesn’t give details. He’s not go-ing to give you the entire “route overview” for your whole life, because it would overwhelm you.

Instead, God says, “I’m just going to show you the next step. You’re just going to have to have faith and trust Me.” And, when you trust Him and take that step, He’ll show you the next step. Step by step, He’s getting you where you’re sup-posed to be.

The Bible says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” A “lamp” implies you have enough light to see the path right in front of you. He’s not giving you the light that shows the next fifty years of your life.

It’s more like the headlights of your car. When you’re driving at night with your lights on, you can only see about a hundred feet in front of you. But you don’t stop driving be-cause you can’t see your destination, which is twenty-five miles ahead. You just keep going you keep going in the light you have, seeing what’s right in front of you, knowing you’ll even-tually arrive at your destination.

My question is: Will you move forward with the light you have? Will you trust God, and take the next step that God gives you? Because if you’re waiting for all the details, you’ll be wait-ing your whole life.

Life Lesson #1: Move forward with the light you have.

This is what Abraham did. God told him to leave the place where he was living and go to a land that He would show him. Abraham had to pack up his entire household, leave his extend-ed family, and head out to a land that God was going to give him as his inheritance.

The only problem was that God didn’t give him any de-tails. The Bible says, “Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going.”

I can imagine Abraham telling his wife, Sarah, “Honey, I have great news. We’re going to move. God promised me He’s going to take us to a new land where we’re going to be blessed in a new way.”

I can hear Sarah saying, “That’s so exciting, Abe. I can’t wait. Where are we going?”

Abe answers, “I’m not sure. He didn’t tell me.”

Step into

The Unknown


She asks, “What should I wear? Will it be hot or cold?”

Abe answers, “I don’t know.”

At that point, reality sets in for Sarah. She says, “Well, Abe, how are we going to make a living? How are we going to feed our family? This seems like a mistake. Are you sure God told