Memories from growing up in the Berwi...

Memories from growing up in the Berwick area in the 70's and 80's

Posted in the Berwick Forum


Sanford, ME

#1 Apr 23, 2011
I thought it might be fun to have a memory forum, for the Berwick area. Having grown up there in the 70's and 80's. Some of my fond childhood memories, would be some of the old stores from the past. There was Dru and Bill's variety store (penny candy and soda fountain), Pussy Johnson's grocery store...not sure of the name, but the only grocery store in Berwick at that time. There was Bell's hardware, and Nat Gibb's Service station (they always like tipping a few back, in that business). Vigue's Dairy Dandy, Spence and Matthews, and a mill, that I remember going in, with my dad, many times. The mill has been gone since the 70's, and was located, in what is now part of the Prime Tanning property.(diagonally across the street). Across the bridge, which is now Borderline Beverage's parking lot, was Hilltop, donut shop. Pearl's bakery was also in existance back then, and man, do I miss their donut' one make's em' like they did.
Once in a while, my parent's would take us to the top of the Somersworth hills, to the playground, they called "the pines"...they had some pretty fun swing's and slides..but what was with the outdoor, cement pool? I never witnessed any water in it...must have been even before my time.
Back then, it was pretty safe out on the streets. We pretty much stayed outside, from sun up, til sun down. No computer's and cell phone's for was a black phone,(with a dial), with a short cord on it, that was rented from the phone company. If you were lucky, you didn't have a "party line". I was always getting in trouble for "stretching the cord". We were on our bike's through out the neighborhood, or sliding in the winter, well after dark. Remember putting bread bags on your feet, to keep them warm and dry? Back then, children didn't interupt their mother on the'd be in big trouble, and most of us had a great respect for the rule's our parents laid out for us.
The elementary school, was the Estabrook Duran. It had the long glass hall, with the stairs, that went to the lower level. One day I was walking to school, and there was a Deer, on a lawn, that had alot of blood on it. Come to find out, a dog had chased it, right through that glass hallway. Going to school back in that day, the girls were made to wear dresses alot. It was something I always hated. I was one of those, that brought (snuck) pants to school, and tucked the dress, in my pants...the most feared teacher in that school, had to be Mrs. Bryant. She would assign times tables to you if you talked out of turn. She would make you write out your times' tables...1x1...10 times, all the way up to 10x10. This would take you hours...many remember what i'm talking about here. I definately can say, i'm still good on knowing my time's tables, after all these years.

Sanford, ME

#2 Apr 23, 2011
Back then, there was no Walmart, or Hannaford. Most of us from Berwick, would shop over towards the Dover area. Some of those stores that I remember, would be Carberry's shoe store..the only place to get shoes, and there was also a cobbler to repair shoes, around the corner. It was a treat to go to the Stand Theather for a matinee. The big "Walmart" in the area, was Sawyer Mills...I was always getting lost in that big store, and I always loved the creaky wood floors. Somersworth had an A & P store...and in the early days, it had S & H green stamps, that you could purchase things out of a catalog, by saving them. I got a Tamborine once, and still have it.
The Berwick Dump was open 24/7, and you could just pull up, and throw your trash, on an open burning pile. The Town Hall only had typewritter's and adding machines. Ridlon road and "Wolf's head" on Diamond Hill Rd, were the place to party, and hide from the cops. Long Swamp, really was a long swamp...pretty much a dirt road after the first mile...and I wonder if any one remember's "May day"? Someone would fill a little basket with candy, and come to your door, knock and run. You were supposed to chase them, and if you caught them, you kissed them.
Games on the playground, consisted of kickball, kiss and catch, marbles, tether ball, Red rover, and kill ball. Teacher's could whack you with a ruler on the hand, and the smell of the wooden desks, when we had to "put our head's down". The only time we "got to watch T.V. in school, was Channel 11, pulic television. They would roll the big, tall T.V. stand into the room, so we could see a space launch. Everyone used to love the smell of the fresh, just "run off" paper, and it still felt wet. And don't forget to bring your number two pencil into class during the time of those stupid tests, where we had to color in the oval....ahh the memories...anyone have any???

Rochester, NH

#3 Jun 5, 2011
I was just craving a bismark from the Hilltop this morning, and trying to remember what year they tore that down. I Googled it, just to see if there was any reference online, and this post came up.

Do you remember the Mammoth Mart? It was out where the TJ Maxx is now, I believe. That was back when we had more than one department store to choose from.

Cumberland Center, ME

#4 Jun 15, 2011
I grew up in Berwick, corner of Jordan and Bell. I remember there being so little traffic in that area that we could literally play in the street. My mother only allowed us to go around the block, no further. We were not allowed to go to the ball diamond, which is now the rec field. At that time it was just a bunch of sand hills that the kids liked to ride their bikes over. I remember Dru and Bills, the candy was great and the lunch counter intimidating to a little kid. The Post Office was on one corner and later on an arcade on the opposite corner. As a child I remember going up the FRONT steps of the town hall for Halloween parties. Breton cleaners used to be directly over the bridge in Somersworth, NH. Stores were closed on Sundays. Huge snow piles were in the parking lot of what is now TJ Maxx. Siegels was the main grocery store on Central Ave in Dover, with a greenhouse nearby. Sawyers Mills was our 'department store' back then. Creaky floors and super creepy bathrooms right next to the waterfall. They sold clothing upstairs (Granimals) and groceries downstairs. Anyone remember Danish GoRounds? Groceries came out in a cart on a metal conveyor belt and bag boys actually put them in the car for you. Estabrook Doran was an incredible school. I remember Mrs. Hussey, Miss and Mrs. Libby, Mrs. Harmon, Ms. Bisson, Mrs. Toussaint, Mrs. Crandall, Mr. Bowker. Innocent times. Dances in the brick school, which was our Jr. High. Wish our kids could grow up like we did.

United States

#5 Feb 16, 2012
Wow, such great memories, I was raised mostly in Berwick and recall so much of what you all have posted, corner of Bell and Jordan was were my best childhood friend lived, funny because now I live right around the corner in a house I used to drive by as a child and always wished I lived there. Does anyone remember the ceramics place that was next to Dru&Bills? My brother and I used to go there and come home with tons of stuff we had painted, always made great X-mas presents. My brother and I had a paper route in Berwick, we still talk about it today, seeing the houses now compared to then, remembering the hot chocolate we so were thankful for!! And yes the plastic bags!! We used to put them over our socks into our boots to keep them dry and then go over to Spencer Hill and slide for hours!! Or go exploring over the near the dam area, we got in trouble for that:_(
Being in my 40"snow it can be a challenge to remember certain things. Funny story- My brother and I lived next to Our lady of peace Church(now a parking lot)and one of our favorite things to do was to go Dump Diving, yup I said it!! we would walk down there and come home with lots of treasures, we loved it until we decide to "thumb home, we were only 8 and 10, so my brother talked me into sticking my thumb out while he kind of hid down in the gully, well first truck that went by stopped and backed up, well it didn't take long to see that it was our Grandpa’s truck and he opened the door and made us get in, he had to tell our mom but he certainly lessened the spanking we got.
Very happy I found this and look forward to reading and posting more, will certainly pass this along to my brother.

Addison, TX

#6 May 14, 2012
I too grew up in maine during the 70's and 80's. We had a house on route 9 that we built. before that I lived in a house on the corner of annie street with a small barn in the back. got hit by a car there riding my bike one day. you're right about it being safe back then. the only time we locked the doors was if we were gonna be gone more than a couple days. spent a lot of time fishing on matthews millpond. I still wonder what ever happened to Greg Sprague, my best friend for several years before I moved. I wonder about a girl I sort of dated when I started jr. high ( the new one built around '82). she lived in lebanon I think. tall and well skinny. I miss the little ice cream shop down town. we used to go there after cub scout meetings. My father was on the fire dept.

Sanford, ME

#7 May 15, 2012
I was born in 1978 so I guess I don't apply here but It sure is nice to see a post on here, People reminiscing about the good ole day's, No name calling or people outing others on their sexual preferences! I grew up in acton maine and even at my age I remember wearing the bread bags over my socks to keep the rain and snow out! I won't let my kid's walk the 3 miles to school now but when I was a child i would head out first thing in the A.M and not come home until dinner. We would be out swimming in ponds, Building rafts to cross open water or iceskating on very thin ice! It's amazing I am still alive today! I would ground my kid's for a years if they did half the things we did as children. This is a great topic (sorry i am off topic) I love the innocence of it and reading about what other's remember about being a child. Thanks!!!

Somersworth, NH

#8 Jun 30, 2012
Grew up on Lyman and First Street. My grandmother Eva Bragdon worked at Dru and Bills. Hershey Dept store in somersworth was the best. Hilltop Donut shop, Pearls Bakery and Dions Drug all across the bridge. All gone now. The shell station owned by Nat Gibbs with the old soda machine that always had moxie in it. Riding bikes down george street into the church parking lot. Walking to school everyday and saying hello to Hoppy who was the crossing guard. Like many people have said before, different times, when you left the house in the morning and didn't have to be back until the street lights came on. Also back then, everyone knew where the police lived and if there was an emergency, you had people show up at your house (if your dad was a cop, like mine was) to get help. Everyone knew your parents or grandparents and you would get scolded by any adult if caught doing something wrong. Love reading the comments and remembering life as a child in Berwick.

Orlando, FL

#9 Oct 18, 2012
I lived on Jordan St. as a very young child in the early 60's. I remember Dru&Bills and I remember Hershey's Dept Store it had wooden floors. I walked to sub primary school at the town hall and had to walk past the tannary.

Atlanta, GA

#10 Nov 14, 2012
I gresup in Berwick also...on Route 9 about a mile from where the High School used to be towards Beaver Dam. There used to be a Getty Station there at the fork...we would stop there everyday to buy junk food before and after school.Used to ride my bike from there to my friends house way out in the country on a Saturday...disappear for hours on one ever wondered where Iwas. Those were the days. I too had Mr. Bowker, Mrs Crandall, Mrs Tousaint, Mrs son Scott was in my class. I also remember the Dion Drugs, The Dairy Delight and Hersey's Department store. The first time I saw Harry Potter, I thought the Alavanders Wand shop reminded me alot of Hershy's. I remember my mother taking me there to buy shoes. Mr. Hershey would take that old rolling ladder and climb up, get the box of shoes, fit them on you and if they weren't right, put them back in the box and do it all over again until he found you a pair that fit correctly.

Atlanta, GA

#11 Nov 14, 2012
I am sure all of my teachers would be appaulled at the number of typos in my comment above....

Atlanta, GA

#12 Nov 30, 2012
I remember my dad taking me to the dump to get rid of the garbage. It used to be just a huge pile of waste that they pushed over this embankment and actually filled in the stream valley below with garbage,(how awful)and parts of it were always on fire to reduce the amount of waste in the landfill. OF course all they really did was release tons of toxic smoke into the atmosphere. No telling how many tons of toxic chemicals I inhaled as a kid. Of course now its a transfer station with segragted piles for recycling, a compactor for bagged waste, and you pay a fee whenever you take something there that is considered "hazardous" Gypsum board, paint, oil, all of the nasty stuff you cant put in the trash anymore.

Greenfield, NH

#13 Sep 30, 2013
I am wondering if anyone on this site knows anything about there being a graveyard or poor peoples cemetery at the end of river street in berwick? Any info would be much appreciated! [email protected]

Portland, ME

#14 Jan 23, 2014
I remember them days ,wearing bread bags,going a couple of miles from my house to go sliding all day,freezing cold ,wet ,and walking home after dark,I remember getting penny candy at dru and bills,

Sure wish I was back there again ,pleasent thoughts,


Yarmouth, ME

#15 Aug 3, 2014
Those were the days. We had hobo day with a parade the last day of school. Jessie MacDonald was our bus driver. My mom worked at Johnson's store. My dad was a cop and a selectman. I'm looking for class photos from the 60's anyone have any?

I have pics from Memorial Day parades. Remember Old Home Days. Everyone knew everyone and we were all friends. We went swimming at Hatfield's. We skated the river in the winter.

We had respect and learned from our elders. 4H was a big deal and so was church. I graduated with the Mathews. Bob still lives in the old homestead with his mom.

People were different then, life was different then. Truly the good old days.

Portland, ME

#16 Dec 9, 2014
Wow, bringing back memories for sure. I lived on Route 9, about a mile from the old high school, almost across the street from "Crazy Harry" the hermit that was actually quite sweet and we had over for Thanksgiving. I went to Estabrook Doran and my three older brothers went to the Jr. High and then the High School. I have so many fond memories of Berwick, the penny candy store, teachers (especially the music one Mr. Batchelder), etc. Berwick was a different place back then.
Pamela Berry

Alfred, ME

#17 Dec 26, 2016
"Crazy" Harry is my uncle, and he is not crazy. He doesn't fit your stereotypical person, but then again; who wants to? Probably you. I grew up on Blackberry Hill rd. It was a beautiful farm. I went to school in Somersworth. It used to be a lot less hectic than it is now. I'm like uncle Harry in the decision not to have children. They hopefully would'nt grow up to be ignorant and opinionated like most people today, had we decided to have children. The Rickers are and were, hard working and decent people.Thats more than I can say for some people. We'll laugh all the way to the bank.

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