Valerie Crowther Turcotte
Dr. Warden’s Barn
I lived in Dr. Warden’s House, the big house, right in the center of the village next to the ball field. All of the bats and balls were kept in what is now Michael Harrington’s office. There was an outdoor toilet, and the kids who played all used that. That was a very popular ball field.
That barn was beautifully built. Mrs. Durkee used to allow a young man who lived down one of the little roads to keep his car in there. He used to have a little old car with a rumble seat, and I used to pretend I was Nancy Drew in it. We had imaginations! The upstairs—the floor up there was just beautiful and it was set up like a basketball court. The kids used to play up there. Nobody ever worried about anybody getting hurt, because those stairs were very steep. You just didn’t worry about those things.
The Old Stone Barn
When I first moved to Little Compton I lived in the Magnuski house on Old Stone Church Road, and I lived across from that wonderful old stone barn in the Moniz family, or the Souzas as they were. And learned everything I needed to learn about animals and cows, and feeding them and what you had to do in the gutters to keep it clean.
[Editor’s note: This home is on Stone Church Road, not Old Stone Church Road.]
I remember Hurricane Carol and the water coming right up the Harbor Road up to the village, and finding little dead fish in the road, and the days and days and days of no electricity. There was a pretty terrific, I guess you’d call it a tidal wave. I had a couple of friends who were involved in it.
There was a young man who had summered in the village, Dana Plant, and he was trying to grab the last bus because we had bus service at that time. In fact that was the end of it and what was that, 1954? He was on the bus with Jimmy the bus driver. When they were coming down in front of Elephant Rock, the wave hit and they were washed into the pond there. Dana was a swimmer and a strong young man at eighteen or nineteen, and he managed to keep Jimmy, who didn’t know anything about the water, afloat, and they both of course survived. Dana was quite a hero at that time for having managed to get them afloat and get them back up to, I believe, the Acoaxet Club where Dana’s twin brother Dale worked. The bus stayed in the pond for a while until they finally hauled it out.
The bus came from Fall River. I think it was a Cozy Cab. It came down the Harbor Road. At one time there was an inn right at the Acoaxet area there, and so it stopped to let people off or on. Then it ran down by the water and back down the other road. There were a lot of other people who depended on the bus, too. So that was the end of that, and there never was another after that, ever.
We were free to walk everywhere. I meandered the whole village my whole life. I don’t think there was a house on Old Stone Church Road and through the village that I hadn’t been in a hundred times. Grace Simmons—who is Grace McKivergan—I was there a great deal when I was a kid. It was Grace and her sister Marie—that we called Mimi—and they were a nice, nice family, and her mother made a great impression on me. She was very interested in everything the kids did. She ran our local 4-H Club. That’s how I got involved with 4-H and got to go to camp, was through them. Everybody called her Billie Simmons. You know her name I think was Imelda. I’ll bet nobody else knows that, but I remember Billie Simmons. She used to be in the store quite often, because they owned Simmons’ store.
Cookies at Gray’s Store
You could buy many groceries in there, and he also had the cookies. You could fill a bag with them, which was so unique. There was a store in Fall River, Grant’s, I think, that used to have a whole wall of cookies. You had the girl take so many Malomars and so many Lorna Doones and so many whatevers. Eddie Cook had like six different cookies there. Also, that’s where your newspaper came. There were very few home deliveries because it would have been The New Bedford Standard Times or the Fall River Herald News. Most of us had, like you had a post office box, you had a paper box. So every day of my life, and I kid you not, that was my job. Didn’t matter what the weather was, you had to go get the paper, pay for it daily. You put your coin down, and Belle, Ed’s wife, who was Harry Souza’s sister, took your money, and quite often I had to buy a loaf of Robert E Rye bread. And you went to the post office and I got the mail every day. It didn’t matter what the weather. That was my job and that was it! And I enjoyed it.
Stone Wall Bake Sales
The stone wall at the Spite Tower was very well known for its bake sales. Every organization in town used to use it if they had a bake sale. It was a huge success because of the traffic in the village in the morning. People came up to Manchester’s and Eddie Cook’s. That house was, when I was little, owned by Carrington Lloyd and his first wife, Ginny. She was a good cook. Beautiful. That was a big event there, and especially in the warm months, every little organization in the world, from 4-H-ers to Ladies Aid, people from the church, used to have their bake sale on Lloyd’s stone wall.
Odd Fellows Hall
They used to have dances in there, and there were a lot of wedding receptions held in the basement, and the dancing was held upstairs. It was Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s, and there was a girl’s group called Theta Rose, strictly for Protestants and no Catholics—seriously! But that was a very, very well-used building. It had pretty nearly everything in there in the basement for kitchen facilities, a couple of bathrooms. It was just huge and open. I’d love to take a peek.
The Other End of Creation
One of the other things that stands out in my mind is Adamsville was always sort of the other end of creation in Little Compton, in as much as we had the last bus in the morning, and we were the last bus in the afternoon. Getting to school with a very old rickety bus, Lewie Rogers as our bus driver, it seemed to take forever. I read many Nancy Drew books on my way to and from school. Growing up in the village was the best!
Based on an oral history interview with Valerie Crowther Turcotte.
First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.