I Remember Nellie Bright, and Beautiful
The move from Warwick, R.I. to Seekonk Mass in 1941 was complete, and we were ready for school.
The first day, we headed up Newman Ave with other young boys. I was in the 1st grade and my brothers were in the 3rd 5th and 6th. On our walk to school, we passed the fire station where in our teens we became volunteers. Every day at noon the fire whistle would sound one loud blast to let the folks working in their yards it was time for a break and some lunch.
Nellie resided across from our house on the corner of West and Newman Ave and didn’t attend Newman Avenue School. The first time I saw Nellie, I said, “Oh my how beautiful.” Our paths would cross again when I was about 11.
The residence where Nellie resided was called Hope Farm, named after Mr. McKenny’s late wife. He had cows, chickens and hens that sat in a wooden box packed with hay. The cows were milked by Tom the handyman, who on weekends could be found at the Silver Dollar Saloon on South Maine Street. Tom would roll his own cigarettes, and if you got close while he was milking you would get a quick squirt.
Mr. McKenny had a live in maid, Esther. Every Sunday in the summer at 2 PM, Mr. McKenny and Esther put on a show you could hear with enjoyment in the neighborhood. Esther played the piano and sang very loud gospel type, and Mr. McKenny played the bones with a clickety-click and sang along for two hours.
I spent days in my youth with his grandson doing chores without compensation, but rather many nice trips to Little Compton to Pop Packham’s, swimming, and crabbing with nets
One day back at the farm, it was noon and the fire whistle blew. Nellie came down the gravel road in a beautiful stride into the barn to feed on her own. Nellie was a beautiful grayish-white horse that showed me her intelligence.
I remember Nellie Beautiful and Bright.