Windham Life and Times – May 15, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern – 1960

The Trampoline Pit Craze

The year, 1960,  saw the craze of the trampoline pit sweep across America. Windham was home to one of the first trampoline “centers” in New Hampshire, which was located next to Sandy’s bowling alley on Route 28. I know what you’re thinking, “that seems like a lot of fun,” and it was until you bounced off the thing and you landed on your head. This was a phenomenon like many in the 1960’s that was a “hit and run.” These places opened up and were extremely popular but serious accidents soon forced their demise. I remember the pits at Sandy’s and the night we were there a young girl lost her doll down in the pit and she began screaming at the top of her lungs to get it back. The attendant climbed down through the springs and retrieved it for her, and the screaming ceased.

This is the grand opening report from the Derry News: “The Trampoline Tumbling Craze which began in California as ‘kiddie-bait’ at drive in theaters has arrived in the Derry area. Local participants, however insist that it is no craze but actually a health gimmick good for the figure and weight control.”

“John P. Brown, the motion picture actor turned circus star, popularized the trampoline in 1906 and it has been standard equipment under the big top and in gyms across the country ever since. When the ‘kangaroo carpets’ were installed outside Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham recently, passing motorists were mystified at the number of jumping people, wondering if an out of space invasion were on.”

The trampolines were an immediate hit with the people of all ages, shapes, and sizes in the Derry area. Many Derryites including Dick Laney, have become very proficient in a short time. Some go for the acrobatics, but many enjoy gentle bouncing as an aid to digestion and for keeping the body beautiful.”

Trampolining which was a popular act on the American stage since 1789, is thought by some to be dangerous to life and limb. Actually statistics indicate it is safer than Little League Baseball. For more bounce to the ounce, the place to go is Sandy’s Bowladrome in Windham.”

“Caption for the photograph above: “BOTTOMS UP — Derry’s Dickie Laney shown in temporary ‘orbit’ at Sandy’s Bowladrome trampoline area in Windham, has the poise and polish of an old time circus performer. It may come as a surprise to learn that this flight was taken after only a few trips to the popular Windham exercise spot. Experts say he could become one of the best.” Yumpin’ Yiminy! Trampolines were open from 1 p.m. to Midnight, and cost 50 cents for a 1/2 hour.


Windham Life and Times – May 8, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

1959-60 | Rowdy Boaters on Cobbett’s Pond

The Cobbett’s Pond Association met in the lower hall of the town hall, Wednesday evening. Considerable discussion was held relative to power boat nuisances, particularly the noise annoyance late at night. A catered supper was enjoyed by the Cobbett’s Pond Association at Akerman’s Hall in Salem. The seven special prizes were awarded as follows; Transistor radio, Rudy Pivovar; Afghan, Althea Lamson; Dinner Cloth, Bertha Johnson; Grocery Order, Carolyn Cochran; Four Strings of Bowling to each: Mr. Rattatort, Roger Hardy, and R. Cameron; The hand made baby set was won by D. Burns.

Windham Life and Times – April 24, 2020

Almost Deja Flu

The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic.

A conductor checks to see if passengers are wearing required masks in Seattle, in 1918. An open-air barber shop. Public events were encouraged to be held outdoors to hinder the spread of the disease during the influenza epidemic. The University of California, Berkeley, in 1919.

“Between 1918 and 1919, an outbreak of influenza spread rapidly across the world, and killed more than 50 million—and possibly as many as 100 million—people within 15 months. The speed of the pandemic was shocking; the numbers of dead bodies overwhelmed hospitals and cemeteries. Quarantine centers, emergency hospitals, public use of gauze masks, and awareness campaigns were all undertaken swiftly to halt the spread. But as World War I was coming to a close, millions of soldiers were still traveling across the globe, aiding the spread of the disease. While its exact origins are still debated, it’s understood that the “Spanish Flu” did not come from Spain. The name seems to have arisen as reporting about influenza cases was censored in war-affected countries, but Spain was neutral, so frequent stories appeared about the deadly flu in Spain…the battle against one of the deadliest events in human history, when the flu killed up to 6 percent of the Earth’s population in just over a year. The Atlantic. April 10, 2018

The congregation prays on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to attend mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, in San Francisco, California

“The strain was not only virulent and lethal but extraordinarily violent. It presented a suite of symptoms rarely seen with influenza—symptoms so unusual it was sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue, cholera, or typhoid. Patients exhibited a range of complications including hemorrhage from mucous membranes in the nose, stomach, and intestine. Flu sufferers sometimes bled from their ears and eyes, or even right through unbroken skin…And the 1918 flu targeted young adults. Those between ages 20-40 accounted for most of all deaths. The over 50 age group was far less affected. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the actual flu disease was not responsible for the majority of deaths associated with the influenza in 1918-19, it was secondary bacterial pneumonia so nasty pathologists conducting autopsies found the lungs in such a devastated condition the only thing they could compare it to was victims of poison gas. Military doctors called it “atypical pneumonia” back then. Today it’s referred to as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The Army’s board judged that ‘more than half” of all the deaths among soldiers came from this atypical pneumonia.”

University of Montana, Missoula, 1919. During the influenza epidemic, classes were held outdoors. Influenza patients getting sunlight at the Camp Brooks emergency open-air hospital in Boston. Medical staff were not supposed to remove their masks. Photos from the (National Archives)

“Intense and protracted prostration led to hysteria, melancholia, and insanity with suicidal intent,” reported New York City Health Department’s chief pathologist on patients bedridden for so long if the disease didn’t kill them they were often driven mad with depression.

“Putting infected patients out in the sun may have helped because it inactivates the influenza virus. It also kills bacteria that cause lung and other infections in hospitals. During the First World War, military surgeons routinely used sunlight to heal infected wounds. They knew it was a disinfectant. What they didn’t know is that one advantage of placing patients outside in the sun is they can synthesize vitamin D in their skin if sunlight is strong enough. This was not discovered until the 1920s. Low vitamin D levels are now linked to respiratory infections and may increase susceptibility to influenza. Also, our body’s biological rhythms appear to influence how we resist infections. New research suggests they can alter our inflammatory response to the flu virus. As with vitamin D, at the time of the 1918 pandemic, the important part played by sunlight in synchronizing these rhythms was not known. Doctors who had first-hand experience of open-air therapy at the hospital in Boston were convinced the regimen was effective. It was adopted elsewhere. If one report is correct, it reduced deaths among hospital patients from 40 per cent to about 13 per cent. According to the Surgeon General of the Massachusetts State Guard.”

Today’s Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 or whatever they’re calling it this week shares many of the attributes of past influenza outbreaks. Only time will tell if this time its different and to what degree. Hopefully, its not nearly as deadly.

California A Physics class, University of Montana, Missoula, 1919. During the influenza epidemic, classes were held outdoors.



Windham Life and Times April 17, 2020

What are You Afraid Of?

Living a life without fear, even in fearful times.

In the 19th century people were tough and resilient in the face of adversity. The Clark family pictured in the photograph above look as if they could have taken on just about anything. Their barn was burnt to the ground by a passing train. Look how the son, arms crossed,  models the determination of his father. Fear is one of man’s worst, latent, emotions, that gives rise to all of the evil found in the world. It lies behind hate, racism and oppression. We live in this world in order to find a path which overcomes fear. Jesus of Nazareth’s most commonly uttered line, in the face of disease, hatred or difficulty was, “Fear not!” I was always impressed by that, considering he was destined to be hung on a cross. The Buddhist insist that we should live as observers of the world, detached and utterly calm. After all they claim, all sentient beings, living organisms and even inanimate objects are connected; and our very act of observing brings the world, with God within all things, into existence. The Campbell Family is pictured below. The son doesn’t even have shoes to wear. They too look like they also could take on the world. Today, with all that we have, we certainly can too; fearlessly, with dignity and grace!

    A mother in the 18th and 19th century, faced the prospect of losing half of her large brood of children in one plague or another, that often swept through America.  That’s why people had large families. Doctors were few and far between, people couldn’t afford them anyway, so parents often had to face down devasting viruses and diseases alone in their homes. If you were badly hurt in a factory or on the farm you likely died or were forever maimed. There was no ambulance to rush you to a nearby hospital and no safety net to pay your bills. Yet, Americans faced the peril and went to work, unafraid. In the nineteenth century, it was common for embers of passing trains to cause huge forest fires that burned down many farms, even right here in Windham. Nobody gave a thought about banning trains. Hell, the settlers of Maine had to face down Indian attacks, scalping and forced slavery, in order to try to establish a home in America.

Morrison tells us in his history of Windham that, “Spotted Fever” Plagued Windham in 1812. “This alarming disease first appeared in the spring of 1812, and prevailed to an alarming extent that spring, but subsided somewhat during the warm weather.” (Because people were in the sun getting Vitamin D3 into their systems) “On the return of cold weather, it broke out afresh, but not with so much violence. Persons attacked with it would die in a few hours, and the disease was generally fatal. After this it prevailed for several years, but not so extensively (Because people exposed to the virus built up anti-bodies and immunity.)  Many persons died, three adults and thirteen children, a total of thirteen persons having died (in Windham) in one eight day period.”

“In the paper, “Character Trials, Managing Epidemic Disease in 19th Century America, PhD student John Runge states, “ ‘There is nothing that deprives men of the natural use of their reasoning powers so quickly and entirely as fear,’ a New Orleans newspaper reported in 1878. These written words, intended for the eyes of local yellow fever hysterians, speak to an unending struggle to cope with fear and its consequences. For those suffering from infectious disease, fear twists and fits into the very essence of a person or population, shaping the malleable perspective of the afflicted.”

“In the nineteenth century, infectious disease ravaged humans across the globe. Typhoid, cholera, the bubonic plague, and tuberculosis, to name a few, besieged the people of the world in epidemics and pandemics, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Cholera, a disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, killed roughly half of those who contracted it. In the nineteenth century, epidemics in 1832, 1849, and 1866 in the United States alone were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, so many that physicians, in some instances, ‘did not even bother to report their cases.’ Similarly the bubonic plague, known for its fourteenth century decimation of the European population, resurfaced in late nineteenth century Pacific-linked port cities like Hong Kong, Bombay, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and elsewhere. Tuberculosis, meanwhile, was the number one cause of death in Europe and the Americas from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century…”


Windham Life and Times – April 3, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

Miss Cobbett’s Pond: 1958-9

Left: Miss Marie Chadwick, Miss Cobbett’s Pond 1958, places the sash on Miss Cobbett’s Pond 1959. Above: The 1959 Miss Cobbett’s Pond Pageant. From left to right are unknown, Carol Drowns, (Miss CP 1959), Polly Ann Sanborn, and Marie Chadwick (Miss CP 1958). The little girl with the flowers is Ronnie Lou Thwaites.

“The Cobbett’s Pond Association held its annual banquet, entertainment and Miss Cobbett’s Pond beauty contest Wednesday evening at the town hall. Out of 37 original entrants , eleven finalists were selected: Anne Marie Barron, Mary Brady, Marie Chadwick, Linda Donovan, Charlene Twaites, Jerry Spawkett, Jackie Robinson, Paula Kelly, Michelle Roy, Sharon Price and Barbara Murray. The contest then narrowed to five; the Misses Baron, Chadwick, Kelley, Murray and Roy.”

“The three finalists were Michele Roy, 14, third, Anne Marie Barron, 16, second and Marie Chadwick 16, winner. Miss Patricia Larrabee of Salem, ‘Miss New Hampshire,’ crowned the winner and received special thanks for her help and cooperation. She was made an honorary member of the Association and invited to ride in a place of honor in the boat parade. Each contestant was awarded a gift from the Association and runners-up received cash prizes. Miss Chadwick received a cash award, flowers and gifts. All three will participate in the annual decorated boat parade at Cobbett’s Pond on Sunday August 24, at 2 P.M.” (The Derry News.) (Photos courtesy of Charlene Kane.)

Windham Life and Times – March 20, 2020

Windham Mid-Century Modern

Childhood Vaccines: Polio

If you went to school in America during the early 1960s, then you remember those ubiquitous sugar cubes laced with vaccine that we were served up in a little paper cup in public schools. Polio was a fearsome virus. “Few diseases frightened parents more in the early part of the 20th century than polio did. Polio struck in the warm summer months, sweeping through towns in epidemics every few years. Though most people recovered quickly from polio, some suffered temporary or permanent paralysis and even death. Many polio survivors were disabled for life. They were a visible, painful reminder to society of the enormous toll this disease took on young lives. Polio is the common name for poliomyelitis, which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow, referring to the spinal cord, and the suffix–itis, meaning inflammation. Poliomyelitis, shortened, became polio. For a time, polio was called infantile paralysis, though it did not affect only the young.” The most famous polio victim was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd. President of the United States.

According to Wikipedia, “The first successful demonstration of a polio vaccine was by Hilary Koprowski in 1950, with a live attenuated virus which people drank. This vaccine, however, was not approved in the United States. An inactivated polio vaccine, developed a few years later by Jonas Salk, came into use in 1955. Another oral polio vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin and came into commercial use in 1961…  During the early 1950s, polio rates in the U.S. were above 25,000 annually; in 1952 and 1953, the U.S. experienced an outbreak of 58,000 and 35,000 polio cases respectively, up from a typical number of 20,000 a year, with deaths in those years numbering 3,200 and 1,400. Amid this U.S. Polio epidemic, millions of dollars were invested in finding and marketing a polio vaccine by commercial interests…”

“In April 1955, soon after mass polio vaccination began in the US, the Surgeon General began to receive reports of patients who contracted paralytic polio about a week after being vaccinated with Salk polio vaccine from Cutter  pharmaceutical company, with the paralysis limited to the limb the vaccine was injected into. In response the Surgeon General pulled all polio vaccine made by Cutter Laboratories from the market, but not before 250 cases of paralytic illness had occurred. Wyeth polio vaccine was also reported to have paralyzed and killed several children. It was soon discovered that some lots of Salk polio vaccine made by Cutter and Wyeth had not been properly inactivated, allowing live poliovirus into more than 100,000 doses of vaccine. In May 1955, the National Institutes of Health and Public Health Services established a Technical Committee on Poliomyelitis Vaccine to test and review all polio vaccine lots and advise the Public Health Service as to which lots should be released for public use. These incidents reduced public confidence in polio vaccine leading to a drop in vaccination rates…Once Sabin’s oral vaccine became widely available, it supplanted Salk’s injected vaccine, which had been tarnished in the public’s opinion by the Cutter incident, in which Salk vaccines prepared by one company resulted in several children dying or becoming paralyzed. ”


Windham Life and Times – March 13, 2020

Windham | Mid-Century Modern

The Cobbett’s Pond Boat Parade


The boat of Walter H. Robertson, 90 East Broadway, well known Derry jeweler, won the trophy for the ‘most beautiful’ entry in the second annual decorated boat parade at Cobbett’s Pond Windham, Sunday afternoon. Pictured above in close-up of the prize winning entry are left to right, Jacqueline Roberston of Stoughton Mass., and Carol Trayers of Windham, seated on the deck of the Robertson’ Cris craft, dressed in genuine Japanese Kimona, sent back from Japan by Mr. Roberston while serving in the Far East. The background depicts the Rising Sun and the sign reads, ‘Till Nest Year, Sayonara!’ Winning the most original was Roland Claremont of Lowell, Mass. ‘Most comical’ award went to Joan Theriault.


Windham Life and Times – March 6, 2029

Windham | Mid-Century Modern

Mason’s Super Market

Mason’s super market was a mainstay of mid-century modern life. Located on the Windham-Salem line, it had a full butcher counter which was very convenient for picking up something to barbecue, on a summer afternoon, overlooking one of the surrounding lake and ponds. It was a real, well stocked super market with five or six aisles with shopping carts. You have to love the mid-century modern architecture used to update an old country store! The building is still there on the corner of Range Rd. and Rt. 28

Windham Life and Times – February 27, 2020

Windham – Mid-Century Modern

Articles from the Derry News 1957-8

From Left to Right: A playbill from the Windham Playhouse showing the very photogenic, Pamela Law, who was an actress in production of “Second Threshold.” The middle photograph shows “Chic” A. Everett Austin Jr., on the ladder, as an actor in one of his stage productions in Windham. The photograph on the far right show the Windham playhouse as it looked in the 1950’s on Range Road in Windham.


“The Windham Playhouse, colorful summer theater located in Route 111A at Cobbett’s Pond in Windham, New Hampshire is presenting this week, Monday July 13 through Saturday, July 18, a comedy, ‘Second Threshold’ by Philip Barry. For this recent Broadway hit the Playhouse is bringing back three people who made the opening week comedy, ‘The Moon is Blue,’ such a success. Roy Mosell will play the role of rich and respected Josiah Bolton, a lovable though stubborn father whose life has lost meaning. Michael Lipton is cast as his son Jock, and Pamela Law will be seen as Thankful Mather, a pretty and unpuritanical girl who never dreams life is anything but a barrel of fun.”

“Gladys Richards, fresh from her triumph as Elizabeth in ‘The Circle’ will play Bolton’s daughter, an attractive girl who opens up for her father a ‘second threshold’ and in so doing becomes a finer person herself. As her admirer, a newcomer to the Windham Playhouse for this play will be John Conwell of the Chicago Company of ‘The Moon is Blue.’ He will play Toby Wells, the young doctor who helps in Bolton’s regeneration while seeking the affection of his daughter.”

“Following ‘Second Threshold’ the Playhouse will present ‘Gigi’ with Claire Kirby, a member of the original Broadway Company of the hit.”


“Members of the Boy Scout Troop 266, left Monday, August 18 and went to Dolly Copp Park in the White Mountains and made camp. The following boys made the trip: Dennis and Timothy Butterfield, Gerald Corbin, Andrew, James and Robert Devlin, Myrvin Gilchreast, Kevin Hill, Raymond Lemieux, Alvin Peabody, 3rd., Roland Sousa and David and John West.”

“Scoutmaster Alvin Peabody, 2nd., assisted by Harold Gordon, were in charge…they started to climb Mt. Washington but were forced back due to severe winds and cold. They were told it snowed on the mountain.”

“They went to Glen Ellis where dinner was enjoyed. They then travelled down to the new Wildcat Aerial gondolas and visited Cranmore Mt. skimobile, turned off through Crawford Notch to the base of the cog railroad of Mt. Washington, they returned to the Dolly Copp park by way of Jefferson Notch, thereby completely circling the Presidential Range.”

“While at Dolly Copp park the boys met scout groups from Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Philadelphia, PA. On the way home, they came through Franconia Notch, visited the aerial tramway there and observed the work about the old man of the mountain. Picnic lunches were enjoyed on the road…”


“Barring another shooting war, the greatest problem this country must deal with is further depreciation of the dollar. The stage is set for a massive new round of inflation. This year’s federal deficit is expected to reach $10 billion. It may be much more.”

“Inflation can be compared to war in its destructive capabilities. It wipes out savings. If it goes far enough it can lead to internal disorder on a vast scale and even revolution. It can produce dictatorship and the death of all freedoms. It can bring on economic collapse…which is what our communist enemies are hoping for.”

“Labor and business are asked to show restraint in the important matter of wages and prices. This is certainly needed. But the foremost need of all can only be supplied by the government. Unbridled government spending, accompanied as it must be by huge deficits, is the most powerful of all inflationary forces. It bears the principle responsibility for the fact that the dollar’s value has been cut in half since 1940. A government which attempts to be everything to all its people, and do everything for all its people, is a government that can ruin all its people.”