The Thrill of the Hill, Making the Curve and Flying Down Glenn St. Back in the 50s

One of the two most highly prized possessions of a boy growing up in Adams Mass. in the 50's was his sled.

Went to bed last night thinking about the blizzard hitting the Northeast US and remembering how often snowstorms past had led to some of the greatest times we all had as kids growing up in Adams, Massachusetts back in the 1950s. First among those memories is the hundreds of days spent out on the hills near my neighborhood with my friends and our sleds.

Next was that any good sized snow storm meant the schools would be closed for a day or two. Snow storms were more mysterious to us back then before satellites, before lottsa stuff. The local radio station usually told us when one was coming but exactly when and how big was left more to the imagination. And we all had imaginations. We all were able to go to sleep, like i did last night, dreaming of snow instead of worrying about school work undone or tests unprepared for. Manys the time an unprepared scoundrel like me was saved from disgrace, and maybe a beating with the ruler, by a foot of snow.

A boy growing up back then in Adams had two prized possessions - a bike and a sled. When i was about to turn 8 my grandfather renovated an old Flexible Flyer down in his basement workshop and presented it to me at Christmas. It was the best sled i'd ever seen. Unlike now, back then the quality of a thing was judged by how well it worked not by its shiny newness. Back then everybody of every age knew a great sled. Everybody knew great sleds didn't come from stores. Great sleds were flexible not only in name but in function, great sleds were long, strong and easy to steer. New sleds had colorful paint, but they were stiff and made of lighter gauge steel.

The sled and its rider, combined with the hill, provided the thrill. Adams, has some great hills but the hill we of the Crandell St. gang rode on big snow days started at the end of the long twisting dirt driveway up to Daniel's place. We'd hike up the snow covered road and careen back down to the Crandell/Glenn St. corner. On big snow days like this the town didn't plow Glenn St. because it was to steep for even the plow so we'd try to make the corner and continue down the hill toward the hwy. to Cheshire. The thrill was that you had to be going fast enough to make it across the flat part at the turn but going a bit to fast landed you in the ravine on the far side of the corner.

Sometimes you'd make it, sometimes not [not usually meant a bit of blood and bruises], but either way, after each rider had come down we'd all turn and head back for another ride. Each time we walked the hill we'd pack the run with our boots. Each ride down would further pack the trail of our rails. By late day we'd all be flying on our Flyers, having to drag our feet in places to keep from flying off into the woods. What great days those were. What great memories they are. Sure hope the kids are still flying down that hill today.