Concord Oral History Program
Renee Garrelick, Interviewer.
My father was a doctor during the horse and buggy days. His office was in his house and he kept three horses in the barn. His black bag was filled with instruments. He even pulled teeth. Tuberculosis, pneumonia and the flu were major concerns then. My sister, during her first year of teaching in New Hampshire, died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Ft. Devens was hit very bad, so many died. There was row upon row of coffins laid out.
Though my father couldn't carry a tune, he often came into the house singing (on one note)- he loved music. He remained a farmer all his life, surrounded by the cows, horses, chickens, of the farm, on what is now Old Pickard Road. He would rise at 5:30 in the morning to go out to the woodpile to feed the furnace.
I peddled vegetables, you might get paid, you might not. I went peddling by "shank's mare" (by foot). That's why I have such well developed legs, I walked all of the time.
I grew up as one of eight children and never left the Highland Street house. You knew everyone in town then. I played the usual childhood games of run sheep run and Hopscotch, went to church socials and was active in sports.
Joe Hay On Dr. Pickard- a neighbor on Highland Street. Dr. Pickard was a typical hearty fellow. The sort who would stand on the front porch and say, "It's going to be a fine day." He owned farmland in Sudbury and sold milk before pasteurization. He said after all that "milk is milk."
He was a next door neighbor of ours and I would see him giving haircuts on the porch with horse clippers- and a bowl. Or making ice cream, I would help him break the ice up with a hammer and my reward was licking the blades.
The barn and shed were in the back, with a Model T Ford in the barn. He bought other cars such as the Hudson and the first cadillac that had two cylinders and looked like a buggy without a horse in the front. He seemed to prefer the Model T. There was also the old surrey with the fringe on top and I drove the horse.
He was an excellent diagnostician and when you called him, he'd come. There was plenty of whooping cough, measles and scarlet fever, where patients had to be quarantined then. He'd even pull your teeth if you needed it, by wrapping a rag around blacksmith pliers.