Remembering Home

A Workshop for Older Adults

For some seniors, all it takes is one look at a cast-iron meat-grinder, and they can smell their mother’s hamburg cooking. For others, a pair of tongs produces visions of the ice delivery man doling out ice chips to neighborhood kids on a summer day. Objects are universal because they invoke memories of every day life–memories we might not even know we have.

This workshop brings together a collection of twentieth-century objects and images, and a group of older adults. A Historic New England facilitator provides historic context, and invites participants to share their memories in a friendly workshop environment. Participants are invited to record their memories in a creative writing format.


swansons_remembering_homeBook This Workshop

Historic New England is bringing this program to communities across New England.

“I enjoyed the program a great deal. It stirred memories and I found that the memories that were shared by others varied greatly and were very interesting to listen to,” says Nancy Hubbell, resident of Huntingon Common Sunrise Senior Living in Kennebunk, Maine. “I would have loved to have the program for several more weeks.”

Other participating senior residence facilities include Sunrise Senior Living in Braintree, Massachusetts, and Langdon Place of Dover, New Hampshire.

Contact us if you would like to host a workshop at your community center or senior residence facility.

Poems by Remembering Home Participants

Listen: ”I Am From”
by Carole J. d’Entremont
(March 2014)

I am from a black baby buggy and wicker stroller in 1944,Washing Dishes
from homemade quilts and baby dolls.

I am from a home of hard-working parents,
and comfortable surroundings,
from washing dishes and hanging clothes on the line

I am from home-made bread and baked beans,
with their wonderful aroma filling the house on Saturday nights.

I am from the Surette and d’Entremont families,
and from parents who enjoyed music.

From family get together’s on holidays,
I am from parents from Nova Scotia,
and making and eating rappie pie.

From going to the beach on Saturday and going to Mass on Sunday,
and being home before the street lights come on.

I am from milking cows, making quilts and raising mink,
and being asked “Are you going Down East this summer?”

I am from World War II and living in numerous rental apartments,
I am Carole d’Entremont.

I Am From
by Nancy Hubbell
(February 17, 2014)

I am from New Mexico – “Enchanted Land”
Truly raised with a Western brand.
With Yankee ancestors on both sides,
I adopted Western. It still abides.Baked Beans
The 1940s and all things war,
Gave me pride and a chance to soar.
I’m from story book dolls, yo-yos, and jacks,
bikes, skates, and books to crack.
A house that was made of adobe bricks
with a backyard swing for doing tricks.
Family chores, fun trips, and television
Free to play – not in prison.
Years of learning, mistakes, and love.
All resulting in a life-long shove:
Perhaps a memory crisp and clear,
When the war ended we lost our fear.

I’m from Boston baked beans to Mexican Chili,
My foods were varied and far from Hill-Billy.
From a plain boiled dinner to spicy and hot,
I ate it all and mostly a lot.
Mexican from Dad, Yankee from Mom
Always good, never a bomb.
Prunes, Spinach, and liver for our good health.
Prime rib or lobster when we had the wealth.
Never hungry or over-weight
Each tastebud satisfied and kept up to date.
Birthdays – our meals were made to please
Mine: hamburger, potatoes and peas.
Snacks were there after school,
Unlike others, don’t make me drool.
I could go past the ice cream truck
My turn-off to sweets to this day lasts.

I’m from my family out west, who raised many sheep.
Those in the east were culturally deep.
Radio city hall and Broadway shows,
Swimming in the Atlantic, buying New York clothes.
Out West horses were ridden,
Camping and hiking to find relics hidden.
Disliking the snow but loving outside,
Bikes, skates and sports no girl should abide.
Radio each night ‘til TV was born,
And cards and board games played ‘till well-worn.

Both families of note, so now I will gloat:
Grandpop Ley and his brother built the Chrysler building like no other.
Tallest of all at the time, to this day the lights still shine.
Hubbell Trading Post, a historic site, still trades with Indians and makes life bright.
I’m from lessons learned that serve me well: Love, work hard, and no lies do tell.
Pass on to others your fine birthright,
and pray to God with all your might.

I Am From
by Peter
(August 2012)

I am from an ice box made by General Electric.
From peppers wrapped in wax paper,GE Icebox
And eggs for lunch in 1935.

I am from the house I was born in,
Over an Italian pizzeria in the North End.
And it’s still there.

I am from homegrown tomatoes,
Beefsteak tomatoes – pulp left to dry out on a piece of tin foil in the sun.
Those beautiful pieces became our own gravy and paste.

I am from day old and half-priced Hostess Cupcakes.
From no money,
And WPA for $13 a week.
From Schiavonis and Contis,
And from ‘The Old Country’ and things made by hand.

I am from a combat engineers unit in World War II,
Building bridges for two and a half years in the Philippines.
From placing our fellow engineers in burlap bags to be sent home,
And from dancing and telling stand-up comedy up in California before I was discharged.

I am from no mother
But a grandmother who raised me.
From the moments as the only kid in the house,
‘Peter do this! Peter do that!’
But everything is water under the bridge.
I am from going by the book.
A man can hardly ask to be from more.

I Am From
by Arlene Generazzo
(March 2014)

I am from a bicycle in 1954 ,
from TV dinners and Wonder Bread.
I am from a lower middle class neighborhood and a two family house,
and a shared bedroom, one TV, and a few radios,TV Dinner
from dusting.

I am from chicken soup and chopped liver,
the soup with rice, carrots, celery & chicken made by mom.
From Dumanis and Stromer,
and from musical traits (but I go none),
from collector of coins & postcards of Old Medford, MA,
I am from Medford, MA with Russian ancestry.

I am from a mother who made fried matzah for breakfast,
from family picnics at Salem Willows and trips to Revere Beach,
and from a mother who could tell if I was lying by looking in my eyes.

I am from grandparents that took a ship from Europe in the 1900’s to America, they came from Russia,
and from Oy Vey!

I am from the moments of ice skating on Malden Reservoir with my father and living in a two family house.

A person can hardly ask to be from more.

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