Tag Archives: write your story

Joe DiPietro reflects on being a first generation immigrant, teaching and more

Joe DiPietroJoe DiPietro has been a fixture in the Bellingham, MA educational program for as long as many of us can remember. He was the superintendent of Bellingham Schools his last five years in the school system, and before that he taught high school, was a guidance director and spent twenty-five years as elementary school principal of South School Elementary, Pinecrest, Keough, the old South School and Assumption School when it was under the purview of the Bellingham School Department. [As told to Marjorie Turner Hollman] Continue reading


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Pierrette Corriveau: Fond memories of Silver Lake

Pierrette 2Pierrette Corriveau was born in Bellingham, MA at Silver Lake, but says that she and her mother must have been transported to Woonsocket, RI immediately afterwards since her birth was registered in Woonsocket. She has stayed in this area her whole life, raising seven children with her husband, the late Eugene Corriveau, who for many years was the town collector and Treasurer in Bellingham. [As told to Marjorie Turner Hollman] Continue reading

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Six Excuses for NOT Sharing Your Life Experience—Good or Bad? You Be the Judge

As a personal historian, I frequently have conversations with people about sharing their life stories. They often give several reasons for not passing on those stories. Whether those are good reasons or just excuses, though, is worth considering.

“I’m too busy.”

Many people are juggling jobs, elder care, childcare and community and/or coaching responsibilities that would overwhelm the most organized. If that’s you, you already have your plate more than full. On the other hand, “a full plate” can be an excuse to avoid all sorts of important things in life until it’s too late.  Listen to Harry Chapin’s song Cat’s in the Cradle and see if you’re still sure you’re too busy to offer your family precious stories they will cherish long after you’re gone.


1. “I don’t want to.”

Fair enough. Everyone’s allowed privacy if they wish. Of course, there’s often someone else who will tell their side of your story, which may be quite different from your own perception and memory. Continue reading

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6 organizations that need items you don’t want

Most of us are overwhelmed with more stuff than we can find places for in our homes. I hate to throw things out that I believe might be useful to someone. Many objects in my home have stories that remind me of events, beloved friends or family, and letting go of those objects feels like letting go of the events or the family members. By writing down the stories of these mementos, you may find you can more easily let go of the object itself

But how to connect what I have with the person or organization that can make better use of it? If this is where you are, start here, check out the websites, and if it seems to be a good match, sign up for a pick up or call to talk with someone. This is not a comprehensive list, merely a place to start. Happy cleaning!

1. Freecycle: http://www.freecycle.org/

By giving freely with no strings attached, members of The Freecycle Network help instill a sense of generosity of spirit as they strengthen local community ties and promote environmental sustainability and reuse. People from all walks of life have joined together to turn trash into treasure. Continue reading

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There’s no Place like Home

Barbara Eldredge Eltzroth has lived in Bellingham her entire life. She and her brothers grew up directly across from the First Baptist church in the center of town at the corner of 126 and 140. In those days almost anything they might need was within walking distance of their house.

 I don’t think I did much exciting growing up, sitting on our front porch and watching the army trucks go by on Saturday mornings. Continue reading

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Harpin Recalls Adventurous, Mischievous Times

Courtesy Bellingham Bulletin by Marjorie Turner Hollman

Roland Harpin cropped head shotRoland Harpin was born and raised in Bellingham, and other than his military service and ten years in California, he has lived in this area his whole life.He now lives in Blackstone and has been a home builder, architectural designer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Semi-retired, he is working on his latest business venture, ProSaver Cards, which offer discounts on services from hundreds of area merchants.He sat down in his office in Hopedale recently to talk about growing up in Bellingham. [As told to Marjorie Turner Hollman]

Poirier Street in South Bellingham, where I lived from 1951, was a dead-end street. The cul de sac was added later, along with more houses. Just through the woods at the end of the street is a brook, part of the Peter’s River. We had plenty of fun there, playing with frogs and snakes. Continue reading

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Jeanne Kempton remembers Bellingham

Jeanne Thayer Kempton has lived in Bellingham her whole life. Many people know Jeanne from her days as the secretary at Clara Macy School Elementary School. On top of her secretarial duties she also played the piano for school functions. She started getting involved in elections as a clerk, back in 1949. These days you’ll see Jeanne working at the polls on election days, or playing the piano for weeknight services at the First Baptist Church. [As told to Marjorie Turner Hollman]

I was born in the house right next door to where I live now in Bellingham. My grandfather owned the Thayer General store—the building that is still right across from the police station in the center of town. The [present day] nail salon was the horse barn. Continue reading

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Kathryn Whiting: Growing up with a mother who loved all of her children

Many people in Bellingham know Kathryn Whiting and her husband George from when they ran for many years Country Charm, a hair dressing salon on South Main Street. George was born in Bellingham while Kathryn moved here from New York when she was six months old. Both Kathryn and George grew up here in Bellingham, met in high school, married and raised a family here. Kathryn spoke to Marjorie Turner Hollman about her mother who was widowed when Kathryn was six years old, and the challenging life her mother led as a single parent.12-4-27 George, kathryn

My father had a successful upholstery business in New York City and met my mother there, where she was a registered nurse. My father was from the Boston area and took sick when I was just a tiny baby. Because of his illness he lost his business in New York. They came back here to Bellingham when I was six months old. Continue reading

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Intergenerational Personal Histories

Published article (by Marjorie Turner Hollman) in Perspectives, the Quarterly Journal of the Association of Personal Historians. Front page article details ways families can include multiple generations as they write and celebrate personal and family histories.


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! New England Regional Chair for the Association of Personal Historians, she is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com



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Ida Hood Parker—Electricity Comes to Bellingham, and Simple Stories of Farm Life

Ida Hood Parker has lived nearly her whole life in Bellingham. She has lost two beloved husbands, seen many changes, and is still ready to make new friends. She shared some stories with Marjorie of growing up in Bellingham and has clearly retained her sense of humor. The following is an edited version of the conversation Ida and Marjorie had in Ida’s home.

The day electricity came to town here in Bellingham everyone else but me was in school, so I stood alone on the front steps as they put the poles in on South Main Street (where I lived), one pole after the other. I was five years old. The workers had to trim so many trees to get the wires through. Continue reading

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