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DIRECT MAILED to 13,500 homes & businesses

in the towns of Southwick, Westfield, Feeding Hills, Tolland,

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Serving Massachusetts and Connecticut

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The House at the End of the Lane

By Phil Pothier ................................................................. 3

Your Newly Acquire Plants By Ed Sourdiffe ................... 4

History of the Congregational Church

By Elethea Goodkin ......................................................... 8

Country Cooking By Mary Kvarnstrom ....................... 11

Where are they now? Debbie Reynolds

By Elaine Aubrey ........................................................... 14

The Dog Bite By Tonie Ann White ................................ 16

Southwoods Bulletin Board ...................................... 18

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

Through the remainder of this year, Southwoods will be running past articles retelling stories of Southwick’s past for the upcoming celebration of Southwick’s 250th Anniversary.


By Phil Pothier

There’s an old worn out house at the end of a lane,

And I long just to see it once more.

For twas there in my childhood I spent happy days

With the family I’ll always adore.

My silver-haired mother is gone now I know,

And the family have all gone away.

Yet somehow that house still brings thoughts to my mind,

Of a by-gone and wonderful day!

That old house gave a welcome to neighbors and friends,

Whatever their status or worth.

For the love that was there was a Joy that we shared.

The greatest of joys on the earth!

The house was quite crowded, but we didn’t mind,

And no one told us we were poor.

There always was food and there always was love,

And that love helped us all to endure.

We had no TV and just hand-me down toys.

But good books and music galore.

And when I think back to those days of my youth,

I long to be back there once more.

On every week-end we would gather around

The piano while mama would play.

We sang all the old songs in tones young and strong,

Oh, how my heart longs for that day!

Those days are all gone, as are mother and dad.

And some of the children as well,

And some other family is living there now,

I miss it more that I can tell.

Sometimes I drive by it and think of the past,

And wonder if they love it too.

That ramshackle house isn’t worth much, they say,

I know that just isn’t true!


By Ed Sourdiffe

Perhaps a good way to start this new gardening column is by introducing myself to those of you who don’t know me yet. My name is Ed, and I have always had a passion for plants. I have grown a wide variety over my life time. I have landscaped and designed numerous gardens, both professionally, and as part of my abiding interest in horticulture. I have built and maintained a variety of greenhouses, including a solar pit greenhouse. We have recently added a twenty by thirty foot conservatory to our home, a timber frame cabin, located in the hill towns of Massachusetts. My home is situated on 34 park-like acres, surrounded by gardens and natural wonders. For a number of years I was the Head of Historic Gardens at Hancock Shaker Village. Here I became well versed in Heirloom gardening, period gardening, and organic gardening. My passions also include, water

Caring for your newly acquired Holiday Plants

gardening, Koi keeping, greenhouse gardening, and a great love of tropical plants. I am a Master Gardener, with the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Organization. I am also known as the Green Thumb Guru. I can be seen on the lifestyles program, Mass Appeal on NBC affiliate, Channel 22. Here I am the resident plant and garden expert. I have presented topics at Museums, Festivals, garden centers and private events. I still find time to assist home gardeners and to continually improve the extraordinary place I call home.

Now to get down to our topic at hand, caring for our newly acquired holiday plants. With the holidays freshly over, and the decorations already in storage, or soon to be, it can appear to be a dismal dark time of year. However, for gardeners, plants people and people who want to start gardening, our holiday plants offer us an opportunity to get a bit more greenery in our lives. Although it seems an eternity away, there are only about 12 weeks before the first day of spring. This fortunately will come sooner than you think. By now most of us have some pretty nice, left over holiday plants gracing our living spaces. Do not be tempted to throw these out with the old tinsel, garland and broken ornaments. Let’s instead let them brighten our homes, and help them to thrive. With the proper care we can enable them to grow lush and revisit the holidays next season, bigger and better than ever. Two top perennial favorite holiday plants we will be discussing today are the Poinsettia, and the Christmas Cactus. A good way to understand the care for these, and all plants, is to find out where they evolved. This will inform us on how to treat them. Then by basically trying to recreate these conditions we are almost guaranteed success with them. Another quick tip, especially for holiday plants that come wrapped in decorative foil, is to always empty the foil wrapper of any remaining water left over after watering the plant. The roots of all of these plants,


like most plants, do not want to be left in standing water. It will lead to root rot and the final demise of your plant rather quickly. For our first plant a true queen of the holiday plants we have the Poinsettia. This is truly a marvelous winter addition to any home. It is amazingly colorful and comes in a wide variety of sizes, from staggeringly huge, to almost miniscule. They come in a variety of colors ranging from the clearest of whites, to the reddest reds, to pinks and every shade in between. They even come in variegated and spotted and streaked forms. I personally like the unusual patterned, and the colors that don’t necessarily shout Christmas. The reason for this is because they work well for adding color to my other house plant areas after the holidays. I tuck the poinsettias in amongst my other house plants to brighten up the area. I always have a visitor asking me what a type of coleus or other type of plant it is that has such marvelous color this time of year. The Poinsettia itself, comes from the warm southern part of Mexico. They like to live in an environment that mimics this. They like to go slightly dry between watering’s. Ideal temperatures should be about 67 degrees to 75 degrees. These plants like most plants, do not want to be exposed to cold winter drafts. Also, do not let their leaves touch cold window panes or you will lose those leaves. Six hours a day of bright light is perfect for them. If you would like to get them to bloom next year, there is a simple process to follow. When the flowers, which are actually the colored leaves of the plants, look faded and dull, around March to May, prune them back to about 6” to 8“. Bring the plants outdoors after frost. Water the plants, and let the soil become slightly dry to the touch before watering again. Fertilize like you do your other house plants every two weeks. Come October, bring the Poinsettia indoors. Now for the slightly tricky part. You need to find a place that will give the plant complete darkness for 12 to 15 hours a night, but make sure it gets at least 6 hours of light a day. Towards Thanksgiving you will see the plant starting to set flowers. Stop fertilizing, but continue to water as before. Leave the plant out and enjoy the unfolding show. Our next holiday favorite, is the Christmas Cactus. The flowering display of this plant always brightens up the

darkest of winter days. These cacti flower in a myriad of colors, ranging from whites, to yellows, to fuchsias and every tone in between. These plants, despite the name, are not to be confused with desert cacti and they do need more water. These plants come from the mountainous regions of Brazil, along the ocean coast. Here they live in the branches of the rain forest as epiphytes. Thus they like to remain moderately moist, with good humidity. Temperatures of about 65 degrees are ideal. The light they receive should be moderate with some direct sun. From spring though early fall feed them every two weeks. During late fall through winter feed them monthly. During this time to trigger flowering, let the plant be exposed to 50 to 55 degree temperatures. The plant will need to be in the dark for 14 hours a day. This usually happens naturally in the home, unless there is strong artificial light. If this is the case then just cover the plant for this time period. There you have it, the keys to success for growing the two most popular holiday plants and reblooming them. Next time we will be discussing prepping for Spring, making garden plans and dealing with the flood of catalogs and everything related. Also if you want more information, on this and more plant related topics like this go to Until then,“You ought to be gardening”!




As the folks of South-wick Congregational Church engage in plans to repair and refur-bish the front of their historic, old meet-ing house, it would be interesting for all of us to learn more about the history of this structure. In future articles, other churches in town will be studied in the same manner.

The present Congregational Church building was constructed in 1824, between spring thaw and winter freeze, as was neces-sary for a building of that size at that time. In those days, it should be remembered, the Congre-gational Church and the town were not separate, as they are today. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, and con-tinuing until 1833, was a from its inception theocracy, and there was only one church, the Congregational. Many may have thought that our Pilgrim forefathers and mothers would have extended religious freedom to other denominations in their new land after they, themselves, has experienced religious per-secution in the old one, but that did not seem to be the case.

In a small town such as Southwick, this interlocking of church and state translated into the requirement that every town have and support a Congregational minister and meetinghouse. The

Church was gov-erned spiritually by the Church membership and temporally by the Congregational Society. To become a Church member, one had to be elected or approved by a Church committee that deter-mined that the candidate had undergone a suitable conversion experience.

However, every voting member of the dis-trict or town belonged to the Church Society because all were required to pay the ministe-rial tax to support the Church. (Women were not allowed to vote, in those days; not until 1860 were women accorded the right to vote for deacons of the church.) It was the male property owners and voters, re-gardless of their religious persuasion, who were held respon-sible for the financial support of the Congregational Church. Finally, in 1806, legislation passed excusing “dissenters” from paying this tax “if the dissenter lodged with the Town Clerk a certificate stating that the dissenter was a bonafide member of a religious persuasion other than the ‘Standing Order’.”

It is not clear if early Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopa-lians in town used the meetinghouse for their own services since they were paying for its upkeep. ln any case, the town-wide tax for the Congregational Church was a source dissen-sion among the different denominations, Finally, the Baptists built their own meetinghouse in 1822. It was located about where Dunkin Donuts and the Eagle Mart now stand. Then, in the summer of 1823, the original Congregational meeting-house, on Bugbee Road, across from the Old Cemetery on Col-lege Highway, burned to the ground.

This event brought to focus, a strong disagreement among Church Society members as to where the new church would be located, whether in the southern or northern part of the town. According to the Church history booklet “Two formal Town Meetings were called, these met and adjourned to meet again¡

September 1996


a total of thirteen times; more than six months were to pass; the recommendations of both in-town and out-of-town committees were rejected; and at least one-half of the Congregational Soci-ety (especially those in the southern part of Southwick) with-drew and formed their own Episcopal Society before the issue of merely where to place the new Meetinghouse was finally decided.”

The people who had wanted the new meetinghouse in the southern part of the town broke away from the Congrega-tional Society and Church and built their own church in 1826, the present Methodist Church located at Gillett Corners. Ac-cording to Maud Etta Gillett Davis in her Historical Facts and Stories About Southwick, “The so called Episcopalians living in town were probably instrumental in building the church, though the Methodists in town shared the expense-and used the building from the beginning.” An agreement was made that each denomination would have half the Sabbath to wor-ship in this meetinghouse.

The people who had wanted the new meetinghouse in the northern section of town were the ones who created the pres-ent Congregational Church meetinghouse. Mr. Enos Foote of Southwick donated one half acre of land in the present center of town to the Congregational Society with several reservations and stipulations, one of which was as that he or his heirs be al-lowed use the basement of the structure for storage. This right was finally purchased by the Ladies Benevolent Society of the Church from his heir, Mr. John Boyle, in 1885-1888 for $138.25.

If we could return to Southwick in 1824 before the new meetinghouse was built at the intersection of what is now Col-lege Highway and Depot Street, this is what we would see: on the Northwest corner of the intersection stood the Southwick Inn, not the present building but an earlier, lower, rambling building that burned in 1905. On the southwest comer, where the Southwick Public Library is now, was the house of Thadde-us Foote, a lawyer and brother to Enos. On the southeast comer, in the present Old Colonial Gift Shop, lived John Mills, also a lawyer and son-in-law of Enos Foote. His law office was located just across Depot Street, then called Mill Street, about where the town green and war memorial are now located. From his office there was an open field that stretched north to the home of Enos Foote, located just north of the present Congregational parsonage. Foote built this house in l500, but it is remembered for its later owner, Matthew Field. The house burned to the ground in 1928.

It was this open field that was given for the location of the new meetinghouse. The money for the structure was raised by subscriptions and came to about $5000. The builder chosen

was Captain Isaac Damon of Northampton. He was a contrac-tor and builder with a Good reputation, as he had already de-signed and built the Congregational Church meetinghouse at Court Square in Springfield, Mass. In 1819. Other structures he built included the meeting house on the hill in Simsbury, Con-necticut, the Center Church building in New Haven, and the Northampton Congregational Church meetinghouse.

He was also a bridge builder and his structures spanned the Connecticut, Penobscot, Mohawk, Ohio, and Hudson Riv-ers. “The committee showed great wisdom in their choice of builder,” says the Congregational Church history.

Imagine in the spring of 1824 watching skilled workmen as-sembling from many communities in western Massachusetts to construct the Congregational meetinghouse. “Materials were contracted for, stone was quarried, hardware forged and fashioned, and lumber sawed. From New Hampshire came the huge logs from which were made the beams that support the structure. These logs were floated down the Connecticut River to the mills near Holyoke, there sawed to the desired propor-tions, the timbers were then carted overland to Southwick.”

Construction of the meetinghouse began on May 2, 1824. Teams of horses pulled scoops that removed the earth for the cellar hole. Blocks of stone, pre-cut and dressed, were set in place for the foundation, Skilled craftsmen, Mr. Jones and Mr. Miller of Springfield and Mr. Alvord and his two sons of South Hadley were recorded as masons for the construction.

Timbers were prepared in the old way by cutting tenons and mortises (interlocking connections) and drilling holes for the wooden pins and iron bolts with auger bits. Each joint was numbered so that every beam of the frame would be put in its proper place.

The timber frames for each wall were assembled on the


ground. Tenons were fit into mortises and these were secured with hardwood pins that had been presoaked in brine to shrink them. The pins fit in ugly at first, but after they had swelled from the moisture in the air, they would hold firm “for all time” up until this very day.

Early on the morning of June 11, 1824 workers gathered to raise the frame. It took three days with horses and oxen strain-ing at the winches to raise the frames into place with “sweating men” driving home pins and tightening nuts on bolts. By evening of June 13, 1824 the setting sun gleamed through the upright framework of the new meetinghouse.

Then carpenters, masons, and pew makers set to work to complete the meeting-house. Special struts and structure had to be built to support the round, domed ceiling of the meetinghouse. Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Whitmarsh of Springfield and Mr. Daniels of New Haven, pew maker, completed the pews and altar and other work in the sanctuary. “On the floor of the Sanctuary were 48 white boxlike pews with hinged doors. There were two aisles with double pews between the two aisles and a section of sin-gle pews extending from the aisles to both the north and south walls. In front was a small platform upon which sat a large pul-pit. Flanking the small platform on each side was one wood-burning stove with a short stove pipe thrusting into the two chimneys in the east wall of the Sanctuary. The pews extended 12 deep from near the stoves and platform to the west wall so that in order to get from aisle to aisle in the rear one had to enter the Narthex. Today, only the seats in the balconies remain exactly as they were the day the Meetinghouse was completed.

Erastus Hunt and his apprentice, Erastus Bardwell, fash-ioned the four graceful pillars for the front portico. Much later, in 1950, when the original pillars and steps of the Church had to be replaced, two letters and other papers wrapped in coarse brown paper describing the building of the Church, were found under the north column. They had been put there by the workmen and included, among other things, a list of the work-

men, the minister at the time. Rev. Calvin Foote, the statement “No accident happened of any consequence” during the rais-ing of the church, and the conclusion, “To the people of Southwick who may be living when these columns shall be removed and oth-ers erected instead, these few lines are respectfully dedicated by their friend one of the workmen. Ama-sa Wade, Sr. of Williams-burgh, Mass.”

When the new pillars were constructed, a metal box containing copies of a letter dated March 15, 1765, the papers found in the pil-lar, a newspaper account of the findings of these pa-pers, a list of members

of the Church at present, and a list of the officers of the Church for that year were placed under the south pil-lar. The originals are “in safe keeping in the bank,” according to the church history booklet.

By November, 1824 the Congregational Church meeting-house was ready for its dedication service. The Portico Narthex with steeple, and the Sanctuary were all that were built of the present complex at that time, and nothing would be added for one hundred years. The first addition, the Parish House or Old Fellowship Hall, was completed in 1924, and second, the New Fellowship Hall, was dedicated on March 17, 1957.

A photograph of this Church has been included in at least one book of old New England meetinghouses, because, as was well put by the Church history regarding the dedication cer-emony, “The building stood on that day, as it does now, one of the finest examples of a traditional New England meeting-house to found anywhere,”

Sources used in this article: Thanks to Geneva Baillieul for permission to use her line drawings that illustrated the South-wick Congregational Church History. 1773- 1973 (Southwick Congregational Church History Comrnittee,1973), Also used: Historical Facts and Stories About Southwick (Maud Etta GiII-ett Davis, July, 1951) and Southwick Massachusetts 1770-1970 Bicentennial

The Congregational Church early 1890’s. Architect Isaac Damon designed the Southwick Congregational Meeting House. Over three days, July 11th, 12th, & 13th 1824 the building was raised.


Add water to mushroom liquid to measure 1 /2 cup. In bowl, combine liquid with next five ingredients. Refriger-ate, covered, 30 minutes .. On sheet of waxed paper pat meat into 12x8-inch rectangle. Drizzle with bacon fat. Leaving a 1 /2-inch border, sprinkle on basil, parsley., bread crumbs, oregano and thyme. Then scatter on onion, mushrooms, ba-con and cheese. Starting on short side, roll up meat like a jelly roll, using wax paper as a guide. Press .down on meat when necessary, to contain filling. Place seam side down into a 9x13-inch pan. Pour tomato sauce over. Cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

1 can (4 oz) mushrooms (save juice)

1 lb ground beef

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1 egg

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 strips bacon, fried and crumbled (save fat)

1 tsp dried parsley

2 Tbsp dry bread crumbs

1 small onion diced (about 1/2 cup)

1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

16 oz tomato sauce

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp thyme

Meatloaf Bracciole

February 1999

In large bowl mix together and make into tiny meatballs (marblesize). Drop meatballs into simmering soup. Debone cooled chicken and return chopped meat to soup pot. Rinse and separate 2 large heads escarole, chopped. Place in sepa-rate pot and parboil about 15 minutes, using enough water to allow escarole to wilt down. Remove escarole from its pot and place in soup stock and meatballs. Let everything sim-mer on low heat for long time to .allow flavors to mingle. This soup also freezes well.

2 large onions, chopped

6 carrots, chopped

6 ribs of celery, chopped

3 celery tops, choppedLet this simmer 1/2 hour.

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp basil

2 Tbsp parsley flakes

Italian Wedding Soup


1 cup bread crumbsmoistened with water

1 lb ground chuck or ground round

1 Tbsp parsley flakes

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

1 egg beaten




Debbie Reynolds

By Elaine Adele Aubrey

On a typical Wednesday, three days after Christmas, peo-ple were catching their breath while a well-known celebrity was breathing her last. Debbie Reyn-olds unexpectedly passed away at age 84 from a stroke on December 28, 2016 one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died.

Back in the 1940’s Debbie was a welcomed change from the glamorous-looking starlets. She was more like the girl next door, very down to earth and unpretentious, all 5’ 2” of her. Proof of that was the way she grew up. Debbie was born in El Paso, Texas on April 1, 1932, as Mary Frances Reynolds and according to her son Todd Fisher in his book My Girls, when her family moved to Burbank, California, she was a “seven year old aspiring gym teacher and a proud Girl Scout.” In high

school she played the French horn and was a member of the Burbank Youth Symphony. As an adult movie star “She insist-ed her shooting schedule allow her time to attend her daugh-ter Carrie’s Girl Scout meetings on Friday afternoons.” Debbie wanted her kids to have time with her - to give some structure to their lives with “most nights dinner together at preciously 7:00 PM and Mom was there every night to tuck us in.” Todd Fisher’s book My Girls is worth a trip to the library.

Debbie’s life changed at the age of 16 when she entered the 1948 Miss Burbank beauty contest impersonating Betty Hutton. According to a biography by Ray Hamel and Dale O’Connor she initially entered the contest because everyone who entered received a silk scarf, a blouse and free lunch. Debbie won the contest and the day after she was offered a screen test by a War-ner Brothers film scout. That same year she was in the film June Bride and followed that with the musical The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady. Although once thinking of becoming a physical edu-cation teacher, show business won out. She became one of the most popular actresses of her time.

Throughout the 1950’s Debbie made many memorable mov-ies such as Three Little Words and at age 19 my absolute favorite Singing In The Rain. Maybe you too remember The Tender Trap, Bundle of Joy and Tammy and The Bachelor to name a few.

The 1960’s brought the public more with How the West was Won and The Unsinkable Molly Brown for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Debbie continued to act and sing for more than 40 years in film, television and the stage where she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for the 1973 revival of Irene. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s if she wasn’t on stage she was on television guesting in episodes like The Love Boat, The Golden Girls and Will and Grace.

During the 1990’s, Debbie owned a hotel/casino in Los Ve-gas which also housed her collection of Hollywood memora-bilia. The items ranged from famous gowns such as Marilyn Monroe’s windswept dress from The Seven Year Itch and Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. She had a collec-tion of 3,000 posters and drove to the homes of actor friends for autographs. Debbie considered herself a “movie-oholic” and had “over 4,000 costumes from the silent screen period to the 1970’s.” In 1979, she established a dance studio in North Hol-lywood specifically for dancers and over the years attracted many celebrities and renowned choreographers. This year the dance studio is adding a museum for Debbie’s collection. Opening day has not yet been announced.

When I visited Vegas in 1992, I made a point of going to Deb-bie’s Casino to see her show. As my sister and I stood in line for tickets an usher came along and handed us a huge birthday




Singing in the Rain, with Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O’Connor was a huge hit in 1952.

card to sign as it was Debbie’s 60th birthday. Her performance on stage was more than spectacular as Debbie danced along a not-so-wide wall that went around the perimeter of the room. As she danced six feet in front of us, I snapped her picture and was surprised to hear her laugh and say, “Your flash didn’t go off!” Debbie was still the girl next door. Unfortunately by the time the show was over, her movie collection museum had closed for the night. Five years later I was sorry to hear her casino closed due to financial difficulties. But around that time a bright spot appeared in her life as she was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

During her lifetime, Debbie con-tributed to many charitable causes. One in particular involved mental health issues She became a co-founder of the organization The Thalians. In November 2015, Debbie received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Debbie’s successful career kept her life going in spite of her “personal life’s ups and downs”. She married singer Eddie Fisher and divorced him four years later after a media scandal that involved actress Elizabeth Taylor. Debbie had two chil-dren with Fisher - daughter Carrie Fisher, writer and actress, remember Princess Leia in the Star Wars series, and son Todd “director, cinematographer, and producer of television, films, and documentaries”.

Two more marriages followed - one to shoe mogul Harry Karl but in their 13 years together he gambled away his fortune and hers. Number three was Richard Hamlett, also “the source of significant financial turmoil” in an 11-year span. These hus-bands, trusted by Debbie, left her with huge debts. During her lifetime she survived so much. It took a stroke to bring her down.

On January 6, 2017, Debbie Reynolds’ funeral was held at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. She is buried there with some of her daughter Carrie’s ashes.

POSTSCRIPT - On September 30, 2018, I was working The Big E taking admission tickets from the swarms of people com-ing