Posts

Showing posts from September, 2010

If you can't smile, don't come in.

I woke this morning to a slate-gray sky and cool breezes blowing across my bedcovers. I love to sleep with the windows open and will covet every morning for the next two months until the frost sets in. My mother scolded me as a girl for running around in my bare feet: "Donna May, Dr. Schneider's already told you that you'll catch pneumonia... put some socks on." I'd roll my eyes and make a u-turn back to the bedroom. Why she felt the need to throw Dr. Schneider into the conversation, I'll never know as his office visit lollypops were no match for her oak twig switches. To this day I associate doctors with tubesocks.

Winter mornings, I'd sprint from my bed to the livingroom and straddle the floor furnace in my long cotton nightgown and let the warm air fill me like a balloon before heading for the bathroom. Floor furnaces in those days were large natural gas burners with a blower and an iron gate fitted tightly across the firebox, then dropped into a crawl…

Martha Allen Carrier

August 5, 1692 five residents of Andover, Massachusetts were led to the gallows and, in front of a large crowd of witnesses, hung atop Gallows Hill in Salem for practicing witchcraft. The frenzy behind the Salem witch trials was based on the testimony of three young girls: Abigail Williams, Elizabeth Hubbard, and Susan Sheldon, and reinforced by townspeople who used the accused as scapegoats for their own misfortunes and to escape persecution. Four of the condemned were men, including John Proctor, the main character in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible." The lone woman was an Andover housewife named Martha Carrier. It is Martha, my 8th great-grandmother, I'd like to honor today.

She was born Martha Ingalls Allen in 1643 to Andrew Allen and Faith Ingalls, two of the original 23 settlers of Andover, Massachusetts. In 1674, she became pregnant with the child of an older Welsh servant, Thomas Carrier, who she married. The newlyweds relocated to Billerica. In 1676, they…