Paxton Massachusetts is a small town 20 miles to the north of Worcester mass. When I was born it had a population of 500 by the time I finished school it had 5000. It started out as a farming community; all the old time residents were farmers with big pieces of land. In the 1950’s it proved to be a natural bedroom community for the city and many doctors and lawyers followed the developers into town. This created a natural friction between the old and the new. The old were mostly of Yankee stock with strong ethics and morals. The new were upper class new money kind of people. The children of the rich got to run any way they wanted to. The police were bought and paid for. So when some rich kids decided to take our boat out on the pond and burn it the police were blind. But also they were blind when I drove through town at 90 miles an hour, it worked both ways, neither was good for me. When I started to disagree with my father and told him I did not like what he was doing he called the police and they took me out and had a talk with me. They were only concerned with keeping a lid on things, not at all interested in justice. My sister was shipped off to live with my aunt when the state police caught my father being lewd taking a piss. Someone complained to someone and the state police investigated, after court was finished this was the result. I learned that the courts are useless and there is only justice if you can afford to buy it.
I would say that the one biggest lesson I have learned is that people are the same everywhere and only the names are changed to protect the guilty. Every country has had extraordinary individuals that have contributed to the betterment of the world, on the other hand all have had the huddled masses that just sit by and watch the ambitious wealth seekers and power hungry control freaks. People are people, the one thing that makes America great, or did make it great, is the commitment to personal freedom the founder’s believed humanity deserved. Although I have to say I have seen more compassion, kindness and wisdom in animals than most humans, so I question our claim to the title of most evolved species. I wish the founders had the foresight to articulate the responsibility’s necessary to insure freedoms survival.
My ancestors built a log cabin in Paxton before they built the first half of the house I grew up in, in 1756, the second half was added on about a hundred years later. Then the three car garage was added in 1961. Now there is a second story added on top of the second half and the garage. The mills are long gone and maybe no one knows any history to it at all. There are ancestors buried in two different cemeteries in Paxton. When we were still young my mother brought us to the Boston common and showed us a cemetery at the old north church with our ancestors buried there. She also brought us to concord and showed us where or ancestors fought during the revolution. And finally she brought us to Plymouth to show us where our ancestors came ashore and met the Indians. I say this because it makes it understandable how I grew up to be a blind patriot. I was constantly reminded of what stock I came from and that great things were expected of me, not much a pressure.
I learned how to swim at the Paxton center pool. I learned how to smoke cigarettes behind the pharmacy; I started at 8 years old, and I read Archie comic books and drank sodas made at the fountain inside the pharmacy. We had a doctor who made house calls. Old doc Washburn was a real doctor, he never worried how he would be paid or if he would be sued. He just did the best he could and everyone knew it and trusted him. He always told you the truth. The same held true for our vet doc Kelton, he would tell you if it would cost too much to fix. And he worked on anything you brought in.
After I started smoking I would take ciggs from my mother’s purse, one day she told me if I was going to smoke I should do it in front of her and not hide it, Great parenting.
One thing i did not learn in Paxton was how to hold my head up and feel good about myself, or find a place in society to fit in.