• Joanne Mason

Summer of '21

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, I'm sure our descendants will read all about this summer of '21. But today, let's go back a century.

In the summer of 1921, my grandmother Gladys was 18 and a new high school graduate. She worked as a housekeeper at the Squaw Mountain Inn, a resort on Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine, about 25 miles north of where she grew up.

My grandfather Alfred, who turned 30 that year, lived in Boston and had a job driving tourists about 260 miles to Squaw Mountain. (I can only imagine how long that took in 1921!)

I have lots of photos of them smiling, swimming, hiking, and rowing boats in 1921, but I'm not certain what happened during the next 6 years. I think Gladys moved to Boston for a short time during their courtship, but I don't know if they were together for the whole duration.

Still, they were married on New Year's Day 1927.

According to their marriage certificate, the wedding took place at a private home in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Alfred had moved. But Gladys's mother sent out an announcement with Dover-Foxcroft, Maine as the location. I have no wedding photos, and their marriage certificate booklet lists no witnesses and no guests.

They started married life in Springfield and had a son, my father Robert, in 1929. The family eventually moved across the Connecticut River to West Springfield, where my father finished high school.

And in 1955, with my father grown and Alfred retired, they moved to Abbot, Maine, not far from Gladys's home area. "Your grandmother always missed Maine," my Mom often told me.

They were married 42 years, until Alfred passed away in 1969. Seven years later, Gladys passed. Her funeral was held on New Year's Day, 1977, on what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.

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