Mom and Dad had been married two years when they made the best move of our lives. They were married in April 1929 and saw their world fall apart as the Great Depression began at the end of the year. When 1931 arrived, they were living in an upstairs flat located at the bottom of Garden Street. From their rear window they could see a vacant house up on Dexter Street.

Young boys were gaining entry into it when Dad had an idea. He made an offer to pay the interest on the mortgage until times got better and, in the process, save the house from being ruined. The banker agreed to the terms and the young couple moved into 10 Dexter St. with their young daughter, Frances.

I was born in the living room of the house the next year and this was the only place I ever lived before getting married. Ma was only 25 years old at the time and we lived directly across the street from a Lawrence woman named Eva. Just after Christmas, Eva gave birth to the first of four children. It was a boy, whom she named Billy, and we grew up together like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

In the beginning, Billy and I played in our own yards located across Dexter Street. It didn’t take very long before he was my best friend, and wherever one was found, the other was usually with him. If either one of us came up with a penny that could be spent, we went to the corner store and made our picks together.

Our relationship was like a marriage — not every day was perfect. There were times when we argued and we would stand on opposite sides of Dexter Street and hurl stones at each other. I don’t know whether you would call him lucky or not, but he succeeded in breaking my front tooth when I was in the seventh grade. This wasn’t totally unusual because there were a lot of stones that could be found on the sides of the roads. The two of us spent a great deal of time together knocking out street lights using them.

I was born in May and older than him. We were supposed to go to school when we were 5 1/2 years old, but I was two months short of that age when my father succeeded in getting me into St. James Grammar School. My mother never said anything until I was ready to leave. She spoke to my father, explaining that I was small and Billy couldn’t go ’til the following year and that I should stay home until that time.

During our time in the first grade, the two of us used to take a shortcut through the 6th Avenue garage on the way to school. One of the businesses in Haverhill at that time was the manufacture of wooden heels for shoes and long lengths of lumber were stored throughout the neighborhood. The boards were different lengths and some stuck out from the pile so as to provide a springboard for those who sought adventure. I did, and tore a six-stitch cut in my head that prevented me from going to school.

Speaking of the heel industry, there was a large sawdust mill located near the mills at the bottom of Dexter Street. This was a great place for the two of us to crawl through an opening in the east wall and play in the sawdust. The build

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