They say that the best place to start a story is at the beginning but I had a dilemma not knowing which beginning, my own personally, or my children and me as a family.  I decided, the beginning was the beginning, so I will start with me!

The Beginning

Here I am being held by my dad, Lloyd Bancroft, when I was a couple of days old.  My Mum is Catherine Edith Straitiff. When I was born, we were living in Watertown, MA but I don't have any pictures of that as soon after I was born we lived in Sudbury, MA in the first house I remember.  

My first conscience recollection was standing in my white metal crib crying and watching my mom wash clothes in the bathtub.   Aren't I glad that we had washing machines when it came my turn to do laundry!  My next vision inside my head was standing on a sandy beach in my bathing suit with funny little pull on rubber shoes.  I could hardly believe it when going through family photos, here I am. I was at Silver Lake in Hollis, New Hampshire.


Around 1937

 When finding the photo, I thought, heck girl, you didn't 'remember' as I probably had seen the photo before.  But for some reason I can actually feel myself standing on that beach in those funny rubber shoes and I haven't been able to get any kind of a feeling from looking at a lot of the  other photos when I was real young. So anyway, I like to think that I could remember it.

Silver Lake 2005
Cousin Ginni and Patty

At the time we lived in that particular home, our town of Sudbury,  Massachusetts, was having it's 300th birthday and we had dressed up as pilgrims for a celebration they were having.  I had my original dress until we made a move one time a few years back where it got misplaced. Can you believe that I cried over a dress?


Same house 1988 without the porch.

Same house 2005 but now white.

The next home that we moved into when I was about 4 years old, is what we always called, "the big white house on the hill."

The House in 1942.

   The House   
in Feb. 1967

The house in 2005.  It is now a B&B for people with
Arabian horses.


It was a wonderful home!  A double living room that took a whole bunch of furniture to even make it look like something was in it.  It had two screened in porches right on top of each other, a huge cellar and attic, an ice house, a chicken house, a barn with a cupola and over 25 acres and lots of fruit trees!

The two porches are just to the right of the tree in the middle 
and the barn is to the far right.

When ever the fire whistle blew, Dad would run out and into the barn, climb up to the cupola and looked until he found where the fire was.  Then he would get in his car and drive like the dickens to be there.  I never did find out if he ever helped or just looked.

I spliced two photos to get this's a little off but you can see the cupola on top of the barn.  The building on the right was Dad's bakery. The house is in the back of the photo. 

Dad made one of the buildings into a bakery as he made his living by baking bread and rolls.  Man, I can smell and taste them now so it is a good thing that I have his recipe.

The Bakery

One thing that we kids did that really stands out in my mind and puts a smile on my face is when remembering we were eating in the kitchen for lunch.  We had the peanut butter than wasn't homogenized so the oil was on the top.  When the jar was almost empty, the peanut butter was rather dry so we would make balls out of it and throw them on the ceiling to see who could make them stick! ha ha ha ha

One time many years after we had moved, I went back to take a look at the place and the lady told me that she was glad to know what those spots were as she had a dickens of a time taking those marks the peanut better made off the ceiling.

We had a wonderful staircase by the front door that reminded me of the ones you see in those mansions in the movies and all of us three kids (at that time as two more came later) loved to slide down the banister when the folks weren't looking.  

Mom made sauerkraut, and piccalilli (pickle relish in today's world) that I can remember and she had the sauerkraut in crocks on the cellar stairs.  I really wish I could find a piccalilli recipe that they used back then as I would love to be able to make some. It went so good with our Saturday night supper of home made beans, wieners and brown bread with raisins.

Our Trip to the 1939 World's Fair in New York

When I was about 5 years old, Dad entered a contest and we won 5th place for the "Most Typical American Family of Massachusetts"!  This is the photo that was used for the contest.

In the picture above, you can see the tiny ivory elephant on the table by the clock.  It was a gift to me from my dearest friends, the Haynes who lived across the street.   I wish I still had it but it was put with some of our things at my grandma's place when we moved out to California and it was never found. 

Here are all of the five families:  The top winner was the Arthur Madison Family, 
 then the Morse's, Williamson's and Barnes' families and then us, 
the Bancroft's. This was taken at our house during a reunion picnic.

The caterers for the picnic.

Arthur Madison family...they stayed in touch with my parents for many years.

The contest was sponsored by the Boston American Advertiser.
Here are some pictures taken at the World's Fair in 1940. If you look real close you can see the bandage on  one of my knees.  We kids were skipping with dad down the long path that was on the ball and sphere and I fell.  That was the first time and last time  that I ever saw my father skip 

Here we are on the terrace of the Executive Lounge at the Ford Exposition. 
The Trylon and Perisphere, which we knew as the ball and sphere, 
was to the right of where we were standing.


Miscellaneous photos from the New York World's Fair 1940.

Memories of that trip include: seeing our first individual boxes of cereal where you cut open the side of the box and poured the milk into the box (no bowl needed): my very first acquaintance with a little person: and while on the ship to New York, a black porter who baby sat us while our parents attended a dance. We were so frightened of him as we had never seen a black person before, that the dear man, sat outside our stateroom door the entire time. Going up to where they steered the ship and having our picture taken with the cruise director, Collin D. Lawrence.  The ship we sailed in was called the "Providence" and was owned by the Colonial Lines. We were routed from Boston by train and then from the terminus of the ship line, to New York.

Collin D. Lawrence

  I have Dad's camera that he was given for the trip and reading behind one of the pictures, both of the boys each received a smaller version of that camera, too. You can see them in our family photo above.

My Favorite Neighbors

Our neighbors down our lane and across the street were the Royal Haynes'.  They were like my second family as I loved them dearly.  Mrs. and Mrs. Haynes always welcomed me and treated me like I was their daughter.  I sadly don't have a picture of them but here is one of their  home, taken a few years back when we went for a visit and one of Royal Jr. I still keep in contact with him after all of these years and it is nice to talk about old times.


Haynes' home across the street from us.

Patty and Royal Jr. in his folk's place pictured above, abt. 1988.
Royal was my first crush when I was 8 years old.

Also while living in the white house, we had a brook that ran across our property about half way up the lane and on one side of the road right next to the brook was what I called, the twin tree. It had two trunks growing up together and I really enjoyed sitting under the tree by the brook.

 A stone wall ran all around the property and what kid wouldn't love to walk on one of those!  I did my share of that and I think that the kids today are sure missing out on a lot of the fun things that we used to do, way back then. <smile>