Winters and Nany Plaisted
In winter paths had to be plowed to the wood shed, to the pump, and to the barn. The roads were often rolled instead of plowed to help sleds and sleighs to maneuver. Leon and Earl Tripp would load their wood and a span of horses would haul the sled over the smooth snow to town. Working out of doors in the winters was hard on Leon; each winter he went to bed with the flu.
One winter Dolly got pneumonia. Leon’s mother, Nany (Mary) Plaisted came up from Somersworth, NH — where she and Leon’s father, Eugene, had another farm — and helped Frances take care of the sick child. “We brought that old comfortable carriage into the big kitchen and kept Dorothy warm by the old black stove. I had a little low chair and I would hold her in my arms right in front of the stove. It was not long before Dorothy was alright.” The floors were so cold that Frances could not let Bob creep on them. So she put his play things on the big bed in the dining room near the old Franklin Stove that Grammy Allen, Leon’s grandmother, had given to Leon and Frances as a wedding present.
Grammy (Catherine) Allen loved Leon — who, folks said, looked a lot like her — and Frances. “She was gentle and kind with a soft voice and a cheerful smile,” Frances recalled. She moved in with her daughter Mary and Eugene Plaisted on the Somersworth, NH farm after her husband James died in his sleep. She often came up and helped watch the children — her great-grandchildren, telling them stories of the past and keeping peppermints in her pocket as treats. She was confined to a wheelchair, having hurt her hip in a spill from a buggy overturned by a frightened, runaway horse. “But you never heard her complain,” Frances recalled. “She always made the best out of any situation.”
Fran’s childhood home, Ten Maple Street in Sanford, became a favorite adventure for the children. Frances recalled taking Dolly to the trolley stop near their farm. They climbed up and then down steps on both sides of a stone wall and walked down a crooked path that wound around rocks through the pasture to the trolley stop — a little waiting room with windows at each side and a door to close so they could see the trolley coming either way while they sat, protected from the wind and sun, rain or snow. When they saw the trolley coming they would step outside and the “motorman” would stop the trolley and let them on.
Frances carried a collapsible stroller and when Frances’ mother Minnie met them, along with some of her friends, in Sanford Square, they’d walk the rest of the way to Maple Street. “Nanny” Davis was proud of her grandchild. “Mother had made special cookies and we always had ice cream.” They would do something fun together and then Frances would get Dolly back on the trolley for the 4 mile trip home in time to make supper.
After Dolly started school it was Bob’s turn to be taken on the trolley to see his Davis grandparents. When any of the grandchildren came to visit, their grandfather William would take an hour off from work and come home. He would lift the toddlers to his shoulders and walk them around the house, show them their tall selves in the mirror over the fireplace, and “they laughed and laughed.”
Sometimes William and Minnie Davis would drive their daughter and grandchildren home to the farm. They’d have a bowl of crackers and milk. Then, “Grampa Davis liked to walk around the farm. One time he planted popcorn on the lower field. Pop corn was another dish we all liked,” Frances recalled — in particular, Brewer’s.