Sounds of the Neighborhood. Judith Chirnside

I love Judith’s story. I can hear the sounds…

Living at”203″ from 1939 till 1957** was a time of many changes in the world.

Early on I guess I don’t remember too much. But around 1943 I discovered the Victrola in the attic. It was an unfinished attic with a window on each end. In the summer, it was too hot to enter and winter too darn cold.

One spring day I found the Victrola which, one would place a record on a spindle and then the needle on the record. It was not electric so one had to use a crank to spin the turntable. The record I could use was the story of The Three Pigs. Somehow if you wound it too much the recording sounded like someone had inhaled helium. The voices were inaudible and squeaky…good for pigs, I guess.

As I became older it was a fun thing to show friends. Everyone had to have a chance to try it. The recording never ever sounded good. Wonder where that early record come from. Pre-WW2…I don’t know if there was vinyl then?

Other sounds heard at “203” were the voices if the peddlers. We had a man selling fish…barking,” Fresh fish, mackerel etc.”. Along came the ice man and children running after the truck begging for ice. Of course, some people still had true ice boxes! Worst of all was the Rag Man….make sure you weren’t out when he came by yelling “RAAAGS!” Supposedly, he would find bad girls and boys and take them. We all used to peek out of windows and bushes to see if we could see any children in his cart. At night, just as you went to bed the ice-cream man came down the street dinging his bell. Oh, the mothers were just wild.

Those were the days with egg delivery, milk delivery and the milk had cream right on the top. If you did not get it on time the cream froze and popped right up. As a child, we thought it was great to see. Adults not so much.

Slurping an orange cut in half which was a big deal…you had to go outside to play and find a friend to share the other half. Oranges were dear then.
Soothing sounds at 203 were crickets and Katy-Dids….In the spring there were peep toads. Just lovely!

Mostly, life was peaceful. Traffic was minimal. There was no TV. But it did come and windows were open … peaceful evenings changed.

** Judith grew up in Pawtucket


By | 2017-09-25T14:39:49+00:00 September 25th, 2017|Guest Author, Neighborhood, Stories of the 1940's and 1950's|7 Comments


  1. Joe CARNE September 25, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I grew up in PAWTUCKET.Saint Mary’s Parrish and your story is my story.My home,a five unit three story apartment house,had a four room attic which also contained a Victrolla.My friends and I would use the attic for a clubhouse.Many exciting adventures were planned and deployed from there

    • Ed September 25, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Joe. Nice comments that I will share with Judith

  2. peter voccio jr September 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    DR ED ,

    A nice story!
    The experiences that were part of our life in our youth are
    held quietly in our mind and we draw upon them for their
    precious moments that took years to acquire.

    • Ed September 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      So very well said, Peter.
      Thank you

  3. jack dusel September 29, 2017 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Judith, I was Ken’s frat bro at URI. Hope you two are well. We live in Bristol

  4. Mary Jane George October 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Memories, I too lived in a three decker, actually in the attic, it was after the war, around 1947 and apartments were at a premium, so the attic in the family homestead was renovated, heat and bathroom installed, and there we were for many years. Listening to the sounds of Fox Point.

    • Ed October 3, 2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

      So many memories
      Sounds like a warm and cozy place. Do you have a special story of it that you would like to write for my blog, Mary Jane?

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