Category Archive: Childhood Memories

Mar 21

Movies – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

The first movie I ever saw was Song of the South (a story that continues to enchant me even today) at the Capital Movie Theater in Concord, N.H. Peter and I were about five years old and I recall that we had to wear a bandana over out mouth and nose in the movie theater. You see, Nana Perkins had suffered from polio and she and our mom were scared to death that the twins might become inflicted. We were rarely allowed to be in a crowd of people. At the time our family lived with Nana Perkins in the little village of Loudon located east of Concord.  This was the only movie theater I was ever in until I was in high school.

When we were about six our family moved to Walpole, N.H. and I recall that on rather rare occasions Mom and Dad would bundle us into the car and we’d go into Bellows Falls, Vermont, to the drive-in-theater. I have no recollection of what movies we saw.

When some of our high school friends got their drivers license it was easier to get into Bellows Falls or Keene to see a movie, that is if I’d saved up enough money to pay for a ticket.

Growing up in small villages (Loudon and Walpole, N.H. where I graduated from high school) did not lend itself to easy access to movie theaters.

During the past twenty-six years I think I’ve been to a movie theater about four times—to see Gettysburg, Jane Eyre, Cold Mountain, and recently the King’s Speech.

Copyright. Linda Woodward Geiger. All rights reserved.


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Mar 17

Two Special Women: Alice & Virginia

Today I mailed three quit blocks for the quilt to be raffled off at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree on Saturday 11 June 2011 at the Marriott Burbank Conference Center. The block challenge is being sponsored by Genea-Quilters with the assistance of the Glendale Quilting Guild.

My three blocks were inspired by my maternal grandmother Alice (Brown) Perkins whom we called Nana Perkins, and my father’s sister, Virginia (Woodward) Smith.

I grew up in rural New Hampshire where I never knew anyone to produce a quilt that was not made from scraps left over from sewing clothing. The backing was generally a sheet, and instead of batting, the innards were generally two sheets that had been patched and/or very worn. It wasn’t until I left rural New Hampshire that I learned there were delightful block patterns and that some folks actually purchased fabric just for quilt making and that cotton (and later polyester) batting was available for loft and warmth. Nana Perkins started me off quilting, but we never used a particular pattern or “block design.” We did pre-determine the size of the squares and the width of piecing strips and the number of square we’d need for a particular project. Our blocks were built from non-descript strips and sometimes with embroidered elements (generally inspired by Aunt Virginia who did lots of hand embroidery and crewel work).  The squares I’ve submitted reflect the teachings of the two special women in my life, Nana Perkins and Aunt Virginia.

The first full size quilt I made for my son was a combination of embroidered and appliquéd squares of our favorite things. As I had been taught, the back was a sheet and the interior layer was a couple of worn sheets.

Copyright. Linda Woodward Geiger. All rights reserved.

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Mar 01

Childhood Pets

Richard holding Gale with Tippy-Tip-Toes at their side

One of my dad’s maternal cousins in Pepperell, Massachusetts, raised Norwegian Elkhounds and gifted our family with Eric. Eric was a marvelous dog and our family loved him dearly… so did many of our neighbors. We lived in a small New Hampshire village about two long blocks from the village hub. Eric was very clever! Every morning (except Sunday – back then stores were never open on Sunday) Eric would trot down to the back entrance of Bemis’ IGA where Mr. Boulay, the butcher, would give him a bone. A neighbor, Mrs. Selkirk loved Eric so well that at least once a week she make him a very special stew. On many occasions, Mrs. Hubbard would call to see if Eric could spend the night because he looked so comfy and peaceful in front of the fire place. As I recall he was just a loving dog — no special tricks. When he passed at a fine old age, Mr. Selkirk asked if he couldn’t please be buried under her clothesline. My parents obliged with the consent of my brothers and I.

Its a wonder that our family had any cats or dogs. Mom disliked dogs and Dad despised cats. None-the-less we did have a couple of more dogs and one very special cat we called tippy-tip-toes. Tippy loved to play the piano when guests dropped by. Another of her favorite antics was to hide behind a piece of furniture and attack our little brother when he walked by.

Buster Beagle was an interesting dog given to the family by Pippy Baldisaro. Buster was grown when we got him. Dad, who liked to tinker with carpentry, made Buster a wonderful dog house complete with shingled roof and wood siding painted to match the siding of our home.  Buster didn’t realize that a dog house was to sleep in or to be used to escape the elements, he thought it was something to munch on. Buster caught distemper, at the time it was rather rare for a dog to survive the disease. A vet prescribed some medication and Buster was allowed to have his sick bed in the kitchen. We nursed him carefully and were well rewarded when Buster made a recovery. Mom discovered the great event when she went into the kitchen and found that Buster and chewed a large area of linoleum from around one of the registers. Buster survived distemper but did not survive the wrath of our mother – so-to-speak. Dad took Buster back to Mr. Baldisaro that very day.

(c) 2011 Linda Woodward Geiger, All Rights Reserved.


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Feb 27

Sweet Memories

Vivid memories of visiting the farm to watch Uncle John tap the trees, gather the sap, and turn the sap into maple syrup flow over me every time I pull out my stash of pure New Hampshire maple Syrup. I do wish I had some pictures of those days! In latter years cousin Jerome would carry on the family tradition. The batch of syrup I used on my pancakes this morning was produced by Jerome’s son, Steve. He lives on property that was part of the old farm and I’ll bet that Steve taps many of the same trees that his grandfather and father did in years gone by. Steve markets his product under “Far Hill’s Maple Syrup.”


The farm had (still does) many sugar maple trees that produce delicious maple syrup. Of course the entire process is rather delicate and requires a great deal of perseverance! For those that are interested in the process, an account is available at a site called “How to Make Maple Syrup.”

(c) 2011 Linda Woodward Geiger, All Rights Reserved.


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