My Life In Retrospect

By Dorothy Dean Holman

8/13/1895 - 4/17/1984

"Wayside Farm" - 263 Mill Road, Hampton, NH

Edited by John M. Holman - 2001

I was born August 13, 1895, the 4th girl to Osgood Thomas Dean and Mary Elizabeth (Libby) Dean, in the house on Daniel Street in Millis, Massachusetts.

I had several small moles here and there on my face, with a larger one on the side of my nose, which is probably what gave me an inferiority complex, most of my young life. As a teenager, I was afraid I'd never marry, that no one would want me because of it. But Marshall Holman did, and when Bill was about 3 years old, he drove me to Boston in our Model T sedan to the Colis P. Huntington Memorial Clinic on Huntington Avenue and had the mole (and some of the smaller ones) removed by electric needle, in the office of a Dr. Francine. That was one of the high lights of my life, my marriage and my first-born among the others. Alice (White) Dalton came down to baby-sit Bill for the day while we were gone. The clinic was suggested to me by a customer from around there. When I came to pay and was asked my husband's business and I replied "farming", the price was $10!

When I was about 5, I had thin, straggly hair and Mama took me to the barber shop and had it cut short like a boy. For a time thereafter, Papa used to call me "Tommy", after himself.

Mama also took me to Medway, Massachusetts, on the electric cars to be vaccinated by the nearest doctor, a woman, Dr. Kate Sanborn, to prepare me for school. She, it was who attended Mama at the birth of all us six girls. Other help was provided by a Mrs. Stone, who did the house work, got the meals, and cared for Mama and the new baby.

I went to Kindergarten for a while, then to 1st grade, which with the 2nd grade, was held in the Grange Hall in Millis. The wooden school building on Main Street held grades 3 to 8, plus the High School. I skipped the 3rd grade and went into the 4th grade.

I guess I was always a loner, a meek, little thing, and didn't have any special girl friend of a lasting friendship. But my childhood was happy with my sisters to play (and quarrel) with. Mama discouraged our bringing home any playmates, saying there were enough of us to play with. Once a little girl, Louisa Choate, came to the door, but Rags our Scotch terrier barked at her, and Mama looked so disapproving, that she didn't stay. We had lots of imagination, and made our own fun.

I went through the elementary grades and on into High School and should have graduated in 1912 at the age of 17, but was kept back because of a lack of a few points, so didn't until the next year with a class of five. I didn't have any honors, but was given a passage from Dickens to memorize and recite. We didn't have any caps and gowns, just wore white dresses and that night, Beth came back stage and put her pearl necklace around my neck to dress me up a little.

My brother, Ed (Lucien Wesley) was born in 1912, I think, and perhaps it was because of him, I had to stay in school another year. In this way, I began the care of him, (Mama's 10th), so she was no doubt willing and I adored him as all his sisters do to this day. I'd go to bed early with him in my bed and play with him until he went to sleep, instead of doing my homework. I cared for him until he was 12 when I went away and got married. By that, I mean, I'd get him ready for school every morning. I remember Mama laughing over her second cup of coffee down stairs to hear him holler. "Ow, Doffy, that hurt!" when I scrubbed his neck too vigorously.

When we'd be together as at bed time, when he was 4 or 5, he'd always want me to tell him a story. "Tell me Fairy May," he'd say, our little girl character around whose adventures, the story took place, all made up on the spur of the moment.

They all started out the same way. She'd go down to the shore of the lake, step into her shell (boat) and the west wind wafted her to the shores of Cyprus. (I'd been reading Greek Mythology.) Some times we'd go for a walk in the woods and sit down in a secluded place, while I read to him. One day I was studying my chemistry lesson and came to the word "solution", where upon he roused up to exclaim, "that's my name!". In my story of "Fairy May" to continue, she'd step out onto the Island and walk up a path, "reading the signs on either hand," and at this point, he'd hold up his little hands as though reading them.

After high school (I didn't have any dates), I thought I'd like to be a Kindergarten teacher, but because I was thin and weighed only 106 pounds, Papa wanted me to go to Sargent School of Physical Education, which my sister Ruthie was attending and graduated after 3 years. It was in Cambridge, so it meant commuting from Millis, and the tuition was only $150. a year, paid semi- annually. I went for 2 years, enjoyed it and made some nice friends, one of whom was a cousin to "Oogie" (Olga) Casassa of Hampton. But at the end of 2 years, I still only weighed 106 pounds!

The war (WWI) was going on in Europe about this time, (1915-16) but Marshall was in the National Guard in Vermont (Springfield Armory) and was in the reserve, I guess, because he came to Millis to work at a farm, up the road from the big house where we were living temporarily, and where I met him for the first time. I was friendly with the wife of the foreman (Mabel Dunlap), whose son Robert went to school with my brother Ed (Lucien). One day, while calling on her, she took me out to the barn (it was milking time) and introduced me to Marshall who was milking a cow. Romantic, huh?

There was another hired man there, a young fellow, too, called Sandy, but I didn't take to him ... he wasn't my type. I think he walked me home one night, if I remember correctly, but kept his place, or else.

Then Marshall was called back to Springfield, Vermont, and the Dunlaps had taken another job in Cornish, N.H.. Ashley had itchy feet, never stayed more than a couple of years at any job. I rode up with them and we stopped at the Armory and Marshall came out to see us, this being the second time I had seen him.

From there, he was sent to a camp in the northern part of the state and that summer was the beginning of the Flu epidemic. Mabel caught it and Ashley asked me to come up and keep her, when she was practically over it, and Mama reluctantly let me go. I stayed till Labor Day and really had a lovely time. At intervals, Marshall would come down for a week-end and we took long walks together. Our song was "A Long, Long Trail" and he used to sing it. He had a lovely voice.

Meanwhile, he'd been transferred into the Regular Army 1st Vermont Regiment, 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division, all volunteers, or most all, and was sent to Camp Bartlett in western Massachusetts, coming to see me once or twice from there. I can't remember the year, except that he was overseas a year and a half, but they went over from Bartlett to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then across to Europe. We weren't engaged, but I was the girl he left behind and wore a button from his uniform (one similar) on my dress, and a sweetheart pin on my coat. Wonder where it is now, I always had it. He told me when he came back, he didn't ask me before he went, to marry him, for fear he'd be crippled, but aside from those few visits, our courtship was carried on by letters.

I wrote often and he'd receive a bunch at a time. He wrote often, too, when he could. I saved them all for years, tied up with blue ribbon. They were nice love letters. I could have shown them to any one, but I don't remember whether Mama saw them or not. One day, I decided to tear them up after reading each one over again and put the bits and pieces in an envelope with a note to be burned at my death, but pieced 2 of them together, gave one to Bill and left one in the strong box with John's name on it.

Marshall was in France from the fall of 1916 (or was it '17?) until April of 1919, the Armistice having been signed on November 11,1918. I'd heard his troop ship (The New Jersey) was to dock in Boston at Commonwealth Pier, on the 23rd and through some organization, each or any soldier's next of kin could get 2 tickets to go down the harbor on an excursion boat to meet it. Knowing his folks wouldn't make it, I applied for the tickets and Mama and I made plans.

I bought a red beret-type hat for the occasion, but that's all I remember of my outfit and the night before, wrote Marshall a note telling him to look for the red hat. We sailed down the harbor as had been planned and met the ship coming in. We got so close that the boats touched and I gave my note to a crewman on board who handed it over to a sailor on the New Jersey (I wrote this up for "Good Old Days" magazine once). Then we watched. Of course, there were khaki-clad soldiers literally swarming over the decks of the troop-ship and as I looked and looked, I finally saw a soldier way up on a high deck, waving my letter. He had spotted my red hat and we waved back.

Both ships returned to the pier and the troops entrained for Camp (now Fort) Devens. We sent a telegram to my sister Glad, who was teaching school in East Concord to tell her to watch out for the train which would be passing through. She and some other teachers were down by the tracks and spying Marshall, hollered out "Oh, YOU, Marshall!" But before leaving the pier, Mama and I saw him, hanging out a window in one of the railroad cars, and I had just time enough to run and grab his hand before the train got under way.

I don't know how long he was at Devens where he was eventually discharged, but came out to see me once or twice while there. Yes, and Papa hired someone to drive us over to see him once. I had a picture of that, but don't know where it is, of the group eating a picnic lunch. I think sister Mardie is in it.

Then came the big parade with General Edwards leading it (if my memory serves me right). Some of us went to Boston and viewed it from the library steps. That evening, they held a Ball, but I didn't stay (Glad and Ruthie did). Perhaps I figured Marshall would come out to Millis. I was no dancer anyway and certainly hadn't the proper clothes for a Ball. He came out later by train and we kissed when we met at the station.

To regress a little ... While he was overseas, I stayed home for a while following my two years at Sargent School, while living in that big house (White Lodge) off Exchange Street. Then I decided I'd like to got to work and applied to the Higgins Machine (Office) School in Boston on Tremont Street and was accepted on a deposit of $15. Which Mama borrowed from her brother, Uncle John. We knew Papa didn't approve of girls working in offices, so kept it a secret from him.

Papa was working in Boston at the Elmer A. Lord Insurance Co.. I think I commuted for perhaps 3 months, learning the different office machines, but being better at figures, I concentrated on the comptometer. When sufficiently efficient, the school would get you a job and you'd pay so much a month out of your salary to complete your tuition cost.

I think my first job was with the Clinton Wire Cloth Co. on Washington Street (?) where I sat around a table with 6 or 8 other girls, adding up figures on our machines. I didn't like it there, the girls did more talking than working and I was always a conscientious person and gave my notice. The Boss understood, as he could see us from his office and said he was considering giving me a raise and keeping me on. I was sort of on trial.

Well, the school didn't like it very well since I hadn't finished paying up, but sent me to the New York New Haven Railroad Yards for an interview. If I worked there, I could commute free, (show a pass). When I went back to the school, the woman who ran it said, "You didn't get the job because you met the boss giving him the impression, "I'd like the job, but I may not be good enough." No confidence in my ability, "me all over, Mabel." My inferiority complex.

So, after a little lecture, she sent me to the Gillette Safety Razor Co. in South Boston. There my boss, a Mr. Flynn, hired me for the payroll department, probably because I knew his cousin in Medway. I commuted with him, on my daily trips to and from work in Boston, along with other young people from towns beyond Millis.

I forgot to say Clinton Wire Cloth paid me $15. a week, out of which I paid Mama $5. And had my commuter ticket to buy, besides (monthly). I think I started Gillette at $18. And got up to $28. When I left in February to be married in April, just a year from the day Marshall came home. Sometimes, he would come down from Cornish, N.H., meet me at the Gillette plant and go home with me, sometimes I'd take the train Friday P.M. and got to visit Mabel till Monday morning.

By this time, we were engaged. One evening, the summer of 1919, we were sitting on a window sill in Mabel's kitchen and he finally got up courage to ask me to marry him. He said, "You wouldn't want to marry a farmer, would you?" and, of course, I said "Yes." He bought me an amethyst (synthetic) ring which I wore until we'd been married 40 years, or so, that he gave me a diamond for Christmas.

Our wedding date was set for April 23, 1920, just a year from the day his ship came in. It was a home wedding and took place in the big white house. My brother Junior (Charles Osgood) played the Wedding March as I came down the stairs on my father's arm to join Marshall in front of the fire place. It was a small affair with relatives, a few friends and a girl from my office. Mardie, my younger sister was my maid of honor and a buddy of Marshall's, best man. (I've forgotten his name, but he lived in Rye, afterwards married, although we didn't see much of each other.

Papa wanted Marshall to wear a dress suit, so he could wear his "tails" but it wasn't that kind of a wedding, so Marshall bought and wore a dark brown suit. A friend of the family in Medfield, made my dress of crepe-du-chine, simple, but with ruffles down the sides. I think John put it in the Tuck Memorial Museum, along with Marshall's uniform.

The Holman's didn't come down from Vermont, but Mabel and Ashley did. They trimmed up the wrong car, as we went away in Ashley's coupe. When we said "goodbye" to Mama, she said, "Now, Marshall, I don't give my girls away to be abused." She needn't have worried. Our honeymoon consisted of a room (with twin beds, both used) in the Natick Hotel, only 6 or 8 miles from home (now demolished). Our stop on the next night was in Nashua, then home Sunday and back to work for him on Monday morning.

Mabel had fixed up a bedroom in the farmhouse of the Haffenreffer Farm ("Forest Hills") on Post Road in North Hampton, and Marshall had bought new furniture for it. (He used to work in a furniture store in Springfield, Vermont before enlisting.) There was a double bed, dresser and vanity, with hand-made braided rugs on the painted wide-board floors.

We lived with the Dunlaps all that summer which was a mistake. They were good to us, but I was jealous, she made as much of my husband, all harmless, but she was a flirt, although 10 years older than I. Even though we ate together, whenever she saw him go by the window, she'd hurry to wave to him. I went home often that summer, sometimes he'd borrow carfare for me, so I could.

The Dunlaps had a son, Robert, about 8 or 10 years old, and I enjoyed playing with him. We used to go out on a raft on a pond on the property until his folks put a stop to it. Marshall was the teamster there, in charge of a pair of work horses.

By fall, Ashley began to have itchy feet again and was about to move on, taking Marshall with him, but I refused to go. I figured we'd never have a place of our own if we followed him. Maybe I made a mistake there, who knows. But we stayed on, Marshall as foreman or manager. With not too much experience along those lines, it must have been hard for him, although he had a barnman for a herd of cows and another for other jobs like the pigs, chickens, horses and garden. As the horseman, his pay was $90. a month and "found", which meant free rent, eggs, milk and garden produce, so we made out all right. He probably got more as manager, but I forget how much. I think all that responsibility made him nervous (up-tight) and to cap the climax, Mr. Haffenreffer asked him to build a swimming pool. What did he know how to do that? But he went ahead with it.

Bill was about a year and a half then. I used to warn him about crossing the road to the barn, telling him a car might hit him, giving him a slap on his bottom to demonstrate. He was slow in starting to talk and would try to say, "Car, bump!", but it came out "M ü B ü", hitting himself as he said it. One day I missed him and found him standing in front of the bull's stall. He'd probably gone in if I hadn't got to him in time.

One morning, Marshall was going to take a wheel-barrow to Charlie Raymond's blacksmith shop on Dearborn Avenue, to be mended and he put it in the farm's "Black Maria" truck. There'd been a stray black dog hanging around, stealing eggs, and that morning, Marshall said he was going to take him down the road and shoot him. He got the shot gun to put in the "Maria" and then was coming for the dog which I had called in. He put the gun in from the back, muzzle toward him, so it wouldn't be toward him as he drove (I guess). The safety catch was off, and it hit against the wheel-barrow and went off, hitting him in the upper right arm muscle. My neighbor in the eli of the farmhouse, ran in to me saying "Miss Holman, he's shot himself." I ran out and he was wandering around, in shock, no doubt, his right arm hanging limp.

Another hired man ---—-- Peters from Winnicut Road, was just coming up the road to work. Someone told him and he went back for Helen Spear, a nurse, who came right up and took charge until a doctor came (Dr. White, of Cable Road, Rye, N.H.). Before she got here, I'd heard or learned of tourniquets to stop the flow of blood, so told Mrs. —-—-—--, my eli neighbor, to get me a piece of wood, and she brought me a piece you'd use in the kitchen stove. I guess perhaps I used a cloth to tie above it and was glad to have Helen Spear take over and help him in the house to lie down. Then we sent for the town taxi, which was run by Charles Batchelder, just a limousine (Packard or some high priced car), and put him in back, packed with pillows to take him to the Portsmouth Hospital, and I went along with him. All this time, Bill was sitting on the potty chair. Someone went for Abbie Norton (Thelma's mother) who came up to stay while I was gone.

The arm bone wasn't broken, but the flesh was taken away. I waited for the report of 5 doctors who said (one of them) that the arm could be saved, but would be useless, and later might have to come off anyway. Marshall gave his consent and I mine. I think he was in the hospital 5 to 7 weeks and I went in every day, if I remember correctly, either driving myself or someone taking me, the Peters fellow (Melvin).

When he came out, he walked with a cane and the first thing we did was go down to pay for the taxi, but Charlie Batchelder wouldn't take any money. The insurance company for the Farm help, tried to find a loop-hole to get out of paying, but my father, an insurance man himself, fought for us and got the hospital bills paid for anyway.

All this time, an employer had been acting as foreman and Marshall continued to work under him all that summer.

So we moved from the Haffenreffer farmhouse to a big old 2 1/2 story house on Winnicut Road, opposite one owned by Tom (Ed?) Marston and his daughter-in-law Effie. Charlie Barton owned it and the rent was $8. A month. There was no central heating, no water, which Marshall brought from the farm in 40-gallon milk jugs, but we managed some how. Marshall put in some chickens, and one day Bill crawled in through the tiny opening, and was caught by Marshall playing in the feed trough. I came out to see Bill running toward the house, his father licking him all the way. I guess it was the first time, but not the last.

Then Earl Spear gave him a job on the road for $15. A week if it was a fair week (no rain) and we began to look for a place to buy to put our roots down. There was a small one half up the hill on Winnicut road, a cute little place called "Helerides", someone's summer place, for sale ........"

[Ed.: End of "My Life In Retrospect" —
Dorothy Holman passed away on April 14,1984
and the article was never finished.]

(Footnote: Marshall Sidney and Dorothy Dean Holman had two sons, William Dean Holman, born March 15, 1923, died October 24, 1998; and John Marshall Holman, born December 16, 1928 who lives in Hampton with his wife Constance A. (Purington) Holman. Connie's grandfather, ironically, was Jacob Purington who owned the Holman property at 263 Mill Road, Hampton, N.H. called "Wayside Farm" in 1925 and sold it to Marshall & Dorothy Holman in 1925.

Marshall was born in Goshen, MA on 1/25/1898 and died in Exeter, NH on 8/5/1965 at the age of 67 years. Dorothy was born in Millis, MA on 8/13/1895 and died in Hampton on 4/17/1984 at the age of 89 years. They were married in Millis, MA on April 23, 1920 having been married for 45 years at the time of Mr. Holman's death.)

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