Sue Brayton McGoff
Summers in the 1950s
We started coming here [Westport Harbor] as summer people in the very early 1950s or the end of 1949. The summers were much quieter then. Adamsville was where we did our shopping. There was Sanford’s Meat Market, Borden Tripp’s Manchester’s store and Gracie Simmons’. Going to Gracie Simmons’ store for a treat was being able to get a comic book. My parents went for daily newspapers and ice cream. Gracie was a character. Bordie Tripp’s was where we got everything except meat. I remember, bread and milk, the staples. All our meat came from Sanford’s Meat Market. Henry Mulligan would go into the cooler, bring the meat in off a hook and cut off the meat. It was obviously very fresh. Manchester’s was where you got what you needed. It wasn’t fancy. It was nothing like supermarkets today. The pickles were in a big barrel. You could stick your fingers in.
It got to the point where we never wanted to go home in the fall, and so we redid our house. [It was on] the top of the hill, which was then High Hill Road, now Old Harbor Road. I was in about the third grade when we came down and it was very exciting. The winter was totally quiet. We had a few friends but we had to drive to their houses to play. We skated on Cockeast Pond in the winter and sailed pond boats in the summer. We did all the usual things. There were many more people in the summer but nothing like it is now.
The Haweses still lived across the street from us, so Dickie would come over for dinner one night a week. We had a piano teacher come from Fall River. So, various people came to our house for piano lessons from the piano teacher. My parents were involved in music at the First Congregational Church. My father was ultimately choir director and my mother was organist, so we went to church a lot. We sat up in the belfry and played cards.
In the winter Ogden’s closed her little store and the post office, so there was just Simmons’, Manchester’s and Gray’s. Ogden’s was at the Harbor Inn at the Harbor. In the summer, she was a post office and sold bread and milk, newspapers, and potato chips.
Playing with Friends
You had to be driven by your parents. You often stayed the night. We played in the woods. We had an outhouse we painted every spring. You made your own amusements. Lots of playing in the woods, building forts. There weren’t that many kids.
Everett Coggeshall was a totally local character. He was a constable, one of Westport’s two policemen and a local plumber, knew everyone. There are some funny stories about him. One person, as I recall, had him fix a bathtub while they were away. He was fixing the tub or doing something. When they came back in the spring there was a big ring around the tub and they asked Everett what happened. He said, “Oh, I took a few baths while I was fixing it.” He was a character.
An oral history interview with Sue Brayton McGoff.
First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.