Helen's brother, Charles, then six,
has been bitten by a neighbor’s dog.

Amy Baxter bound up his leg while Earle harnessed up and brought them home.  Dr. Ward was sent for from New Boston, six miles away.  When the doctor arrived, he said he’d put in only one stitch, as it was on his leg, and a scar wouldn’t matter.  Father used to feint at the sight of blood, so he would have been no good to help.  Uncle Ted happened to come to see us that afternoon, so he and mother held Charles while Dr. Ward put in the stitch.
Of course, he was a very frightened six year old boy.  Mother sent me with Doris, a three month old baby, Ella, and Mable Welch some distance from the house, but we could hear his cries at that distance and were glad when father called us to say it was over.
We kept our distance from Uncle Victor’s dog after that.  Aunt Ruth had a sick headache that morning and was in bed.  When she finally located the children, they were hurrying out of the yard and she thought they were playing; little dreaming what their dog had done.  Charles healed up fine, but what a care for Mother.  His scar is very plain today to remind him of what it cost him to look at those baby chicks so long ago.

A shortcut by footbridge
When Uncle Charlie and Aunt Grace Gray moved to Colebrook River, they lived on the farm opposite us, but across the Farmington River.  So near, but to see them, we had to travel around by the Spencer Bridge – a mile and a half trip, so we cousins were delighted when the grown-ups decided to erect a footbridge for use in the summer months.
The men made wooden horses of two by four pieces of wood, placed long stringers on top from one “horse” to another with cross pieces of boards to form a walk.  They securely fastened the walk with wire run through iron rings on the walk and in trees, so if high water washed out the wooden horses, the rest would be saved.  It looked like a long, narrow picnic table when finished.
How much we all enjoyed the bridge each year.  We three Seymour girls narrowly missed disaster on one of these bridges.  It happened this way: we had had several days of rain and the water was a rushing torrent in the river, nearly up to the floorboards of the bridge.  Esther, Ella, Charles and I took a walk while Mother was busy papering the living room one afternoon.  We thought it would be fun to remove our stockings and sandals and swing our feet and legs in the water.  Leaving Charles, who was about two years old, on the high bank, Esther and I let Ella, age four, go out a little way on the bridge, but she and I went half way.  We had a grand time interrupted after a bit by Mother calling from the bank to come right up.  We had been taught to obey, so we went directly up the bank and home.  Mother scolded us and applied a lilac whip to our legs; to Esther’s for being the oldest and letting us go into danger, to mine for thinking up the stunt, Ella being only four, escaped punishment.  Father walked in to find us in tears, and after learning of our foolishness, went to the river.  The high water had washed the bridge away just minutes after we had left it.  It was a lesson we never forgot.  Then came the order: Never cross the bridge unless Mother or Father had given permission.

Fourth of July Celebrations
For several years Fourth of July started for us about four a.m., when we would be awakened by sounds of gun shots.  Father and Uncle Charlie vied with each other in being first to fire the first shot.  One year Uncle Charlie was first by firing his gun at a minute past twelve o’clock.  It was easy for him to be up late at night, but hard to wake in the early morning hours.
Father didn’t believe in “burning up hard-earned money”, so we had few fireworks as compared with youths of today.  Of course we each had some four packs of small firecrackers about a finger long, 2 boxes of caps for our pistols, a box of sparklers, a few sky rockets, a roman candle or two, perhaps a long-burning red light, and a pinwheel.  Really a lot to us and we were happy.  Before we had cap pistols, we had brass heads with movable jaws for the caps.  The head was attached to a string and we would drop the head on a stone to set off the caps.  We liked the pistols better.
For several years, while Grandfather and Grandmother Seymour lived, the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and a few friends would hold a family picnic.  One of the best, I remember, was held at Uncle Charlie’s farm across the river from us.  What fun we had getting ready.  Grandfather, Father and Uncle Charlie built a long table under the row of maple trees in their yard and put up two swings in nearby apple trees for the children.  The morning of the Fourth the families began coming about nine o’clock with just the nicest looking food.  Salads, baked beans, homemade rolls, pickles, jellies, cakes, pies, cookies and freezers of ice cream.  And wonder of wonders – four watermelons!  The melons were placed in tubs of water with large cakes of ice to cool.  I can picture the food now and feel again that dinnertime would never come.
The men dug a pit and placed large stones in the bottom and built a fire on top.  When the stones were red hot, wet hay was laid on top, then clams and potatoes.  All were covered and left to steam.  We girls helped the women set the tables and bring out chairs and benches.  Big cans of lemonade were made and the food placed on the long table.  By this time the clam bake was ready and opened by the men.  What a feast we had!  Mother finally called a halt to my eating more watermelon; she was afraid I’d be ill.  I wasn’t, though.  Watermelon was a great treat in those days.
Everyone had a grand time visiting with family members they hadn’t seen for a year, and making plans for next Fourth of July.  The celebration ended with our combined display of evening fireworks; a celebration enjoyed by all but our dog.  We always had to tie the dog in the barn and close the doors so he wouldn’t be so frightened by the sound of fire crackers.

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