Audrey Mae SpencerSpencer Historical CemeteryHenry Straight / William Spencer Family Cemetery
Vaughn Historical CemeterySpencers of East Greenwich, RI

Posts Tagged Artic

13 November 2002

Heather: How did you get to the Anthony Library building?

Postcard of Audrey and her mother standing in front of their home on Washington Street in Coventry, RI

Audrey: The trolley train went by the front yard (at 742 Washington Street). You could not park a car there because of the trolley. Two houses down was the stop for the Trolley. The trolley went from Knotty Oak to Arctic and turned around and came back. Maisie, I and her mother went to Rocky Point on the trolley car. The side was opened in summer. The gate was closed so the people would not fall out. My mother did not care much for walking around.

My Mother was as tall as Aunt Edith (Audrey’s older sister). I was taller.

Heather: Mother, in those days, a tall woman was not considered as pretty as a shorter woman. But you were pretty. You just happened to get the tall gene. Your mother and your sister didn’t. That is why you did not think you were pretty. You were pretty, but you were tall. Standing next to your mother and Edith, you are a head taller than them, but still you were much shorter than Grampa. I could never understand why you said you were not pretty. Now I know why!

14 February 2004

Heather: What was it like when you were a child on the farm?

William J.B. Spencer and Audrey Mae Spencer

Audrey: There was much more snow then. I could walk over the five-foot fence and not sink in as the snow was frozen. I could walk over the fence!!

We would get a snowstorm and I was always sick in bed with the croup. I would lie in bed and look out this nice big window by my bed. I’d keep watching for grass. Mother (MaryJane [née Vaughn] Spencer) would shake out the tablecloth on the snow. I would watch the birds come picking up crumbs that were dropped on the snow.

When I was a child, a sled as wide as the street was hitched to a couple of big horses. This sled swept the road of the snow. We used to have five feet snow storms! The people would be out plowing the road the minute the snow started until the snow stopped. Without plowing the roads, the snow on the road would have frozen and no one could even get out of their yard. Everybody got up and plowed their own driveway and then the road. If they wanted to get anywhere, they had to help plow the road.

The mailman came with horse and wagon. The buggy had a little top to keep you from getting wet or you could open it to get the sun (like a doll carriage-canvas to open it up or fold it over back). The mailman came by every day when I was little. My job was to go to the mailbox and get the mail. I was small and didn’t know enough to read.

I played with little stones by the house. I made a little fence and made a stove with stones. I would stand there and pack the stones and play for hours with the stones. I was always out in the yard, but I never went near the road.

The road was for the mailman and mail wagon.

Clara Tarbox would go by. They went down to the Village (Arctic) every day to get groceries or something.

Mother and I went down to Arctic every week to get groceries. Arctic used to be a nice place. Then a lot of hoodlums hung out in Arctic. You had to look out for yourself in your wagon. Mother would say “You stay right close to me now”.

Mother would go catch a horse, hitch the horse to the wagon and drive to Arctic. That was quite a job to go out in the yard and call “Prince”. Prince would come right away. Prince was afraid of hay loads. We tried to keep him away from hay loads. He was the only horse that was afraid of hay loads. When we got to Arctic, Mother would get out and put reins around the hitching post.

I would hang on to my mother’s clothes. Mother would go into the Bedards store. There was one little aisle or hall where I could see two little old ladies there. Mother always sat there and talked with them for a while. I sat there. I was quiet.

3 April 2004

Heather: How and where would you go when you left the farm as a child?

Mary Jane Vaughn Spencer and daughter Edith Anna

Audrey: Grandma (MaryJane Vaughn Spencer) would go out to the field and call “Come, Prince” and Prince would come right away. Grandma would put the harness on the horse and hitch him to the wagon. Grandma and I would ride to Arctic, where the Bedard sisters owned a store. Grandma would always have long talks with the Bedard sisters as they must have been good friends.

Grandma was very brave. When we would hear all the cows bellowing out in the barn, she would light the lantern for me to carry, and Grandma would take her cudgel, a big stick as she called it and go out to the barn. The dog, Ned, always went with us. There was never anyone there. It was just a cow stepping on another cow that caused the ruckus.

A tramp or beggar could come along and go into the barn and sleep in the hay. Each beggar had his own nick (mark) on the gate, so the farmer would know who was in there. They would go along unless the farmer needed help and then the farmer would hire him.

If hired, Grandma cooked three meals a day for the hired hands. Grandma was always there for anyone that needed (help). If people were on the farm, they could eat at Grandma’s. Grandma was sharp enough to know who deserved a meal. It was only those men who were workers who deserved a meal. Grandma was so sweet and gentle, but yet so strong and brave! She’d light the lantern. Ned was barking. She was strong and brave!

(There was a student that graduated [1960 from J. F. Deering High School] with Heather whose last name was Bedard.  Mother and I met his brother at Alpine Nursing Home when the brother was visiting his parent at Alpine. Mother told him that she knew the Bedard sisters in Arctic when she was a child.  Bedard said that there used to be a street in Arctic that was called Bedard, but they did not know how that name originated and he did not know anything about the Bedard sisters who mother had met.  The street most likely was named after the Bedard sisters (family) that owned the store in Arctic.)
17 April 2004

Heather: Tell me something about your childhood or teen years.


Beatrice Shippee

Audrey: Beatrice Shippee and I were best friends from the third grade to high school. Beatrice went in the commercial and I went into the college bound. Beatrice worked after high school. She worked near the Thornton Theatre in Arctic. Beatrice moved and I never got to see her again. She died when she was younger, around 60 years old.

15 August 2004

Heather: Did you work in the barn?

Audrey: No, I was under ten. I was always holding the lantern! I got up in the morning and fed the dog. Grandma had gruel for the dog.

She brought gruel in Arctic (a shopping area in West Warwick) . Anthony (a village in Coventry) had a store or two– a post office and a store. Arctic was called Jericho and before that something else. I can’t remember now.

Everything changes. Moves up. I don’t know where we are going next. We’ve been down in the sea and up in the sky. What next?