|Home Biography People Places Multimedia: Making It Work On the Water Writings/Presentations|
A Place to Grow Up
95 Lexington St. / 28 School St.
My puppy followed me up town, trotting along behind my bicycle, keeping up. Then we stopped at the light where School Street crosses the Boston Post Road / Route 20 Bypass before getting to the Library and the First Parish Church, and, such a show off, she bounded onto the pavement, chasing and growling at the wheels of a slow-moving big rig. It was the rear wheels she didn't see, that rolled over her. Completely.
The kind burly man who climbed out of the cab told me to go home, and he lifted the puppy into his arms. I tried to explain to him that we could fix the sand-covered dangling eye, straighten the nose, wash her soft fur, make her OK. I asked for his help. With one hand he held the inert puppy against his chest; with the other on my shoulder, he told me to go on home.
My friend, John Harnish, came to my house afterwards, and I couldn't help it: I cried.
Then, a lifetime later, and quite unexpectedly, my marriage got run over. Like a shell-shocked soldier desperately stuffing intestines into his wounded belly, I passed a fruitless half year trying to put love back into its socket, trying to straighten the broken trusts, and trying to wash away the dirt. Until it was plainly impossible. Until it was dead.
A dead marriage is a sad thing, and not easily explained.
But puppies and dogs of all ages are always welcome in the Vaughan family.
"The Weston Golf Club was founded more than 100 years ago by a group of generous and public-spirited Weston residents who wanted a place to play golf. Many dedicated men and women have contributed their time, talents, and financial support to create a warm sporting community of which we can all be proud. It is so very important that we pass this legacy along to ensure that the friendly, family atmosphere can be enjoyed by future generations. It cannot be emphasized enough that although our facilities have been improved over the years, the fiber of the Weston Golf Club is not in the condition of the golf course or the appearance of the Clubhouse but in the quality, dedication, and integrity of our membership!"
During the divorce, when my dad was no longer living at home, he would take us to the Club for Sunday brunches where Lobster Thermidor was served in large trays over alcohol burners, like grits and biscuits at the Holiday Inn's free breakfast for guests. We used the candlepin bowling alley, the squash courts, and spent long summers in the pool, at the snack bar, playing tennis and occasionally playing golf. It was a big part of our world and only a short walk from our house on School Street.
Cat Rock was across the street from our house on Lexington Street. We lived to ski that hill in winter, and, as all children do, we prayed for snow.
"Cat Rock Hill Ski Area in Weston is one of the 172 lost ski areas in Massachusetts. It was run by the Town of Weston from 1957 to 1978. It had 2 rope tows and one open slope with a beginners area on one side and a more advanced side with a cluster of Hemlock trees on the slope. Its summit is 1.65 miles from the top of the lift at Prospect Hill Ski Area, Waltham, that I know you have visited; from across Route 128, by Totten Pond Road, Cat Rock Hill is visible to the west as a wooded hill with an open slope and a green water tower on top. Cat Rock's summit is 344 feet above sea level. The local topographical map indicates Cat Rock's vertical drop as 145', I measured it at 180' with my altimeter. The tows were powered by tractor engines, one still visible in the woods near the summit. The advanced tow has 8 metal poles still standing, the beginner tow has 3 wooden poles.
Cat Rock can be found at the end of Drabbington Way off North Ave (route 117) in Weston - it is behind the baseball field, but not visible from the parking area." "My name is Brian Malone and in 1978 I graduated from UMass Amherst and was hired by the town of Weston as the Assistant Recreation Director. We had a small Department with an even smaller budget. One of my first jobs was to work on the engines, string the tows ropes and check the pulleys at Cat Rock. I replaced some of the pulleys wheels, spliced the ropes and rewired the rope tows motors to meet new safety codes. I spent a lot of time up a Cat Rock that first year, a beautiful place.
We hired a staff but for the next two winters we never got Cat Rock into operation due to a lack of snow. Budget cutbacks, difficulty in hiring qualified trained staff and low daily ticket sale data from the mid 1970 forced us to closed the area in 1980. The winter of 1977 was the last year of operation but the area officially closed in 1980. We continued to mow the hill every year in hope that someday the program might be restored. I worked for the town until 1989."
Prospect Hill in Waltham is another of the lost ski areas in Massachusetts. The area was popular for Boston surbanbites learning to ski and for local skiers looking to get a few runs in at night. Rates were cheaper and less than other nearby smaller areas like Nashoba. It closed for good in 1990.