Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton’s book, When They Took Dad Away, published by North Country Press, brought back many of my childhood memories, but not because they took my dad away.
Barbara’s dad suffered from mental illness and spent a lot of time in the mental hospital in Augusta. The first time he was admitted they lived in Woolwich, but for most of her life as a child they lived in Houlton.
While Barbara is shocked at losing her dad, much of her story is about her experiences growing up with lots of siblings and relatives. And a lot of that story is wonderful.
I had forgotten about the years that my family collected green stamps, until Barbara wrote about that. She grew up in the 50s and 60s as I did, and after reading her stories, I could appreciate and remember how special those years were for us kids.
She tells us all about her school, teachers, friends, siblings, relatives, and lots of other things as she grew up in a busy household. For example, schools closed down so the kids could harvest potatoes. Barbara struggled to keep up with brothers in that job.
Her dad eventually returns to his family, but still struggles. Barbara graduated from Colby College and is now a retired teacher with three grown children. While she and her husband live in Brooklyn, New York, they still spend their summers in Aroostook County.
I have to thank Barbara for sharing her story with us. I promise if you grew up in the 50s and 60s, this book will bring back lots of great memories. And even if you didn’t, you will enjoy these stories.