Polly Squire Gardner
I moved back here in 1980 after being away—living in Newport and Boston, etc., and we happened to have bought a house that belonged to the Barkers back in the fifties. I used to go over there a lot, because we went on snake hunts. We’d go up to the Avila’s off of Coldbrook Road and there was a big pond up there. We used to catch all the snakes in that whole area out of the pond, and we’d catch the snakes out of the mill pond. We brought them back to our house right across from the liquor store where it still is today, and we’d put them in a fifty gallon barrel on top of our well which is still there. We had quite a time and quite a collection—to the point where we were invited to go to the Westport Grange Hall and give a lecture. It was the Barker boys, and myself, and John Greenwood. We’d pass the snakes all around the hall and whatnot! At the end of the evening we all sang, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly…perhaps she’ll die.” So that’s my claim to fame!
We had the water snakes, the green grass snakes. We had garter snakes, the milk snakes. We had the blue racers—or whatever you want to call them. Even in Westport where we lived, we had a big one that lived right under our back steps. It was amazing to watch. She’d come out to sun herself during the day and go back underneath the steps every night. Sometimes she’d wrap herself around a post and put her head in a wren’s nest which my mother didn’t think too highly of, so she’d just go scare her down and say, “Get away.”
There are a lot more winter people around here now. The traffic has certainly increased two-fold! It’s just amazing. When we moved back in 1980, we had a bunch of horses that we could ride almost anywhere. I remember John Dyer Road being all gravel. When we were kids, we could hike down there, cross-country ski. Now everything has gotten kind of—not “citified”—I wouldn’t say that, but it’s definitely grown. But building-wise not a whole lot has happened, which I’m thankful for, and that’s one of the reasons I’m back here. That’s because we still have a little bit of peace and quiet especially in the wintertime which we like.
I know most of the [people in the village.] When I was younger, there were a lot of younger families with kids. When I moved back in 1980 we started this “horsey” thing. There were a lot of young families with kids and horses, and we had a wonderful time. But now as we’re aging, it’s like it’s really changed. There are a lot of elderly people. I don’t think the younger folk can afford to come back here which I think is sad. But, we’ve got a couple of young families which is nice. You know, when you look at the ball field in the summertime with all the little kids that are still in Little Compton it’s a wonderful sight. And the fact that the ball field is going strong and the dads are all out there putting up whatever needs to be put up for backdrops and all those electronic baseball throwers. I guess the biggest change is that we’re all getting older and there have been a lot of houses for sale.
Based on an oral history interview with Polly Squire Gardner.
First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.