Mr. Martin

 

    The kitchen was whitewashed. On the wall hung tin and copper shapes. As I moved closer, I saw a copper ladle and saw silver and gold statuettes of fish and people dancing.

    We were seated in the living room. It was during this winter's brutal freeze. Mr. Martin had started the stove before we came. Burning wood cracked from time to time, sending out the sound of warmth. I looked down and noticed that the wood slats were amber with dark red streaks along the grain, and had chocolate colored plugs in pairs on each end of the slats. Mr. Martin had designed this house by himself. He had bought books on house design, and special ordered the white oak planks and the walnut plugs for the floor. Everything had to be done just right.

 

    The porch adjacent to the living room had bright green plants with red flowers.

   Mr. Martin shared how Wellesley had changed during his time there. The dump did not initially have books. The area where the books were was the incinerator. Some boys would climb the six-story tall chimney, just for fun. Later on, the town leased the incinerators. Some women wanted a recycling program at the dump, having been inspired by a similar movement in California in the 1980’s. About five years ago, a swamp got converted into the toy section.

   The playhouse near Bertucci’s used to be a movie theater. The entrance fee was a solid silver quarter. The stores also expanded. One particular store, a family business called Deal’s, sold lumber and yard supplies. A child had started the business, at an age when he was too young to sign business contracts. The store was where Roche Bros. is currently.

      

    Mr. Martin loved gardening. When he was young, he grew carrots near his house. Later, he farmed in the North 40, a patch of sunny land the size of a football field with gardening plots next to Weston Road, and a ten-minute walk from Morses Pond. The North 40 was surrounded by trees, and some grew on the plots as well. Mr. Martin’s garden had bushes and trees in them. He had a large pine tree 24 inches in diameter, and there were 4 branches 10 feet up the trunk. The branches were 15 inches wide. Mr. Martin had to cut all of the branches with a saw, and finally cut down the tree.

 

      Now, the North 40 has many gardeners. In summer, red raspberries and golden tomatoes hang low on their branches. Birds chirped in the morning sun, and happy bunnies dashed around. Neighbors walked their dogs along the garden fences, stopping and commenting at the hanging gourds and blooming flowers.

    And guess who grew the most tasty blueberries and attended the largest pumpkin patch?