Slocombe brothers reminisce
(Editor's note: The "first guy" of Peabody, Mayor Ed Slocombe and his brother Warren agreed to write about their memories of Christmases in Peabody. We hope you enjoy their stories.)
A country school Christmas to remember
By EDMOND SLOCOMBE
I attended Pleasant Hill country school my first, second, and third grades. I think there were 11 in the school. They were Lawrence, Dorthea, Fred, Wilbur, Jim, Mildred, Merle, Betty, Don, John, Mary, and me. (If I missed any I am sure you will call.)
Country school was great, but Christmas was a time we all looked forward to. We carried our lunch everyday, but special events meant special treats.
The Christmas program was just that. We all got to perform by telling a story, reciting a poem, acting in a short skit, or singing a song with a group.
After the program Santa Claus would stop by and gave all the kids (including little brothers and sisters) a small sack of cookies, candy, and an orange and maybe a popcorn ball.
I was in the second grade. It was to be a big event, but it rained, the road was muddy, Dad was busy shipping cattle, and it looked like we couldn't go.
But then the hired man hitched the horses to the hay wagon, hay bales for seats, and we got to the school that night.
Dad shipped cattle that afternoon and into the night by hauling two steers in a pickup, with the help of a tractor, to the cattle truck waiting on Highway 50.
By WARREN SLOCOMBE
I went to Pleasant Hill rural school for the first grade. What I can remember about that Christmas was it was cold and snowy.
There was the usual Christmas program at the school, which was one-half mile south of our farm. The snow was too deep for the car or truck so Dad hooked the team to the box wagon, took the back end gates out, and threw a tarp over the wagon.
My little sister Elaine, my big brother Ed, the folks, and I crawled in the back of the wagon under the tarp. Dad was driving the horses with his head and arms sticking out from under the tarp. This was a big adventure for us three kids. Probably not too thrilling for the folks. Dad picked up some close neighbors that evening on the way to the school.
The Christmas program was exciting as each of us had a part in it. Our teacher that year was Eleanor Hess.
Another Christmas I remember being special was about this same time. Dad had made Ed and me a large wooden barn for Christmas. Ed got a small tractor and wagon set for this barn and my gift from Santa was a set of hard rubber farm animals.
Ed and I had lots of fun hours playing with our gifts. Then one day Dad and a neighbor butchered a beef and a hog out in the elevator. I couldn't watch, but Ed, without Dad or Mother knowing, sneaked out to watch the butchering. This filled him with all kinds of ideas.
The next day he proceeded to butcher my rubber farm animals. When I found out about his butchering, I rescued two or three of the uncut animals and still have them.
When I was in grade school (the old stone school in town) all the classes would gather around the big Christmas tree at the end of the hallway and sing Christmas carols. We had a girl in our class who usually fainted in this mob of people. All us boys would watch for this to happen.
I have many good memories of that old school.
In the early '50s, the Peabody town marshal always parked on the corner in front of the bank. There was always a large Christmas tree in the middle of the intersection. Well, Stub [Derby, the policeman] took off after a speeder one day and bumped the tree and knocked it cockeyed.
He probably couldn't have caught the speeder anyway with his Plymouth police car!