I just found out about Glenn’s passing. Like so many of us, I signed up for a bunch of social media services most of which I don’t use but many that have birthday reminders. I always remembered from our days in Hudson Massachusetts that Glenn had a June birthday. He would always have a big extended family gathering in his backyard, cookout, and us neighborhood kids. When I received the birthday reminder, I sent him a brief note wishing him a happy birthday planning to call him as well. I am still in shock to have learned of his passing many years before he should have left us. Life is too short and we don’t take enough time to keep in touch with those we love.
Glenn and I grew up in Hudson in the same neighborhood about 3 houses away from each other. I probably knew him before kindergarten but that’s where our relationship started. I remember that he had trouble learning his telephone number which I helped them with and he taught me how to tie my shoes. I can still remember that sunny day on his front steps as he patiently taught me the mysteries of shoe tying. We went on to take a taxi to kindergarten each day while beginning our childhood activity of exploring the woods around us. I can still remember Friday afternoons when our taxi driver would take us for ice cream and the kindergarten class at Tiny Tot Day School with Mrs. Dragon would have as a treat, orange juice and popcorn.
From those early days Glenn was an outdoorsman. We explored the woods down a dirt road, Shay Road. We fished the perch down in the stream on the right side valley by the road, sledded the pipeline midway down Shay Road, climbed the cliffs off to the left which to us seemed like mountains. There were wild berries we would gather in early summer, blackberries, blueberries, black raspberries. As we grew older we discovered some dump sites where we dug for old bottles and anything else that we thought would have value. We found old stained-glass windows and the lead that came from them. We spent hours digging around imagining the fortunes we’d make selling our treasures.
When we had bikes, some of them reconstructed choppers from the dump, we would race around a cement pool that was built on Shay Road beside a cottage that was burnt down. The pool was large and peanut shaped allowing us to go up and down its sides to pass each other. Of course there were some accidents and scrapes but we carried on. I always remember Glenn telling me why he wore a belt as we explored the woods and raced around the pool. He said, if anyone gets hurt, I can use his belt as a tourniquet. Glenn was always striving to be that Daniel Boone of Hudson Massachusetts.
I remember also that we were both trying to get paying jobs as kids but no one wanted to hire us. We were just too young. At that time, people could get paid for pumping gas but again we were too young. Hudson is also surrounded by apple orchards but the farmers thought we were too young to pick apples. Our big break came at a Honeypot Hill Orchards in Stow where we were given a job picking drops. Glenn and I worked like mad men picking drops in the often wet grass under the trees. The other kids would go under the trees and hideout so they wouldn’t have to work but for Glenn and me it was a competition. We ran as fast as we could filling baskets and getting noticed by the farmer. We were then promoted to work the pick your own events where we would help people put ladders up and watch that the people didn’t hurt themselves. We ate so many apples. I hadn’t mentioned before that Glenn was thin as a rail. I don’t know where he put all those apples.
There were other jobs delivering Sunday newspapers. It seemed after a couple of the neighbor boys picked up routes, we would fill in for them and before you know it everyone in the neighborhood had a Sunday flyer route. We seem to always be looking to earn a little money to go spend at Al’s Market which was a little store off of a house that had lots of penny candy and a few staples. Once we had a little money, we would all ride our bikes there and drive Al nuts with our penny candy orders.
At some point we were old enough to think about hunting. I wasn’t planning on being a hunter but Glenn, old Daniel Boone, and probably through the influences of his brother Mike who liked to hunt and fish, Glenn convinced me to take a hunter safety course with him so that we could get our federal identification cards early. I remember starting the course with him but at some point he bailed out and I wound up with my card. He eventually did get his card and we did do some hunting down Shay Road and other locations in the area. Thankfully I was a bad shot and don’t remember killing more than a squirrel or 2.
I do remember though that Glenn convinced me to go on a deer hunting trip to Orange Massachusetts. His brother Mike had a truck and would take us out and the 3 of us would hunt. I truly had no great interest in deer hunting but Glenn had a way of persuading people. He made it seem like it would be the greatest time in the world. I agreed to go but I should let you know that the Massachusetts deer hunting season is the 1st week in December. We drove out at night and had to set up a tent in the dark using Mike’s truck lights to see what we were doing. It was snowing when we put the tent up. Glenn and Mike of course, the hunters and outdoorsman that they are, had Arctic sleeping bags and cots to sleep on. I brought a sleeping bag with a broken zipper and wound up sleeping with my clothes and boots on in the sleeping bag on the ground. I don’t know if I slept that night but I do know that all of us were dying to have someone start a fire. Once the fire was started, we all hovered around it for hours. We then all spread out that day to hunt with me almost getting shot which is another story but we came up with nothing except being cold. It seems that Mike would use his truck to warm up in but Glenn and I didn’t really have access to it or maybe once. Our 2nd day out we noticed a cabin with a smoking chimney. Glenn and I hovered around the area hoping to see someone and get invited in. Eventually that did happen and I never left. Glenn on the other hand warmed up and decided to go out hunting some more. Again no one succeeded in getting a deer, thankfully if I’m concerned, and we headed back in the nice warm truck.
During the summer, we spent plenty of time swimming in a lake not far from us but as we all began to get our licenses we drove off to the Milford quarries. The quarries seemed like a paradise to Glenn and me. We would hike out into the woods and all of a sudden these big open quarries would appear that we could swim in. We would either drive a car I had access to or one that Glenn had, actually the many that Glenn had. We called Glenn’s cars Sid Supremes. Glenn’s brother’s nickname was Sid and besides being an outdoorsman he could also fix cars. A Sid Supreme was usually a $100 car that brother Mike had fixed up and hopefully lasted through a summer. For a while I can recall Glenn driving an old station wagon to another favorite swimming spot in Southborough, the reservoir there, that had a fire hose swing. As with the quarry, we weren’t supposed to swim there but we did anyways. I didn’t mention earlier that Glenn was also very athletic and could do what seemed to be hundreds of chin ups and I think even one arm chin ups. He had no trouble swinging like a monkey on the fire hose and diving into the reservoir.
As time went on, I went off to college and had my spinal cord injury after that. Glenn was finishing high school and then doing things with his life. It seemed we would reconnect here and there along our paths but not for long enough. When I later moved to Boston, he made it out a couple of times to visit. It always seemed like we just picked up where we left off. Glenn was always an open and straightforward guy. He had no trouble socializing with people and giving his opinion. In his younger days when I knew him he also wouldn’t back away from a fight even when the guy he was fighting was twice his size. He wouldn’t be looking for a fight but he didn’t back down when there was an injustice being done to him or friend. That’s the kind of guy he was and how I will always remember my good friend Glenn.