LM Child Childhood Memories by Alfred Wayland Cutting:


 

“In a little drawer in my desk is a packet of some thirty letters written to me by Mrs. Child, beginning when I was three years old and continuing until I was fourteen.  Their sequence is indicated by their size; the first being on tiny sheets of paper inn little envelopes not more than one inch by two inches, and gradually increasing in size until the last is a regular ‘grown-up’ letter...The littlest ones were sealed with sealing wax, bearing the figure of a squirrel sitting up eating a nut...They were never mailed, but brought to me by my father on his frequent visits in the winter to our farm, when the family were in Boston.  They are addressed to ‘Alfred W. Cutting, Boston Town, and are all dated ‘Mitty Chile’s...’

 

“As was the custom then with middle-aged and elderly ladies, Mrs. Child usually wore a cap of fine lace.  One day in the spring she washed one of these and hung it on a bush in her garden to dry.  When she went to get it later, it was gone!  Not a trace of it could she find, hunt high and low, and where it had gone, or who had taken it or why, were mysteries she could not solve.  It was not explained for many months.  One day in the autumn Mr. Child saw an oriole’s nest in the bare elm, one side of which was curiously white.  An unusual phenomena were always subjects of interest to him, he proceeded to get the nest, for examination.  And there was Mrs. Child’s cap, woven in as a part of the nest!  They had a hearty laugh over it, and long kept the nest as curiosity.”

 

 



 

David Child, from Alfred Wayland Cutting’s Childhood Memories

 “Mr. Child ...(had) a theory ... for everything that (happened) in life or nature ...  One theory he held was that a child, if thrown into deep water, would at once and instinctively, swim, as a puppy would.  To demonstrate this he once asked the loan of one of us children, and after some not unnatural demurring on the part of our parents, a much modified program was arranged, in which I was to act the part of demonstrator.  Baldwin’s Pond was, and is, an admirable and much frequented bathing place, with a sandy bottom sloping gradually to unknown depths.  Here assembled our party, to prove or disprove the theory.  Taking me by the hand, Mr. Child proceeded to walk into the pond toward deep water.  Now Mr. Child was about six feet tall, while I was nearer three feet.  ... He waded in, oblivious of me, until he was waist deep, and was aroused only by screams from the shore, when, looking for me found I did not exist.  I had totally disappeared, save for one clutching hand in his - the deep had engulfed me.  I did not swim like a puppy at all, but in the (to me) bottomless water was fast expiring.  His strong arm, however, quickly drew me back to earth and breath, and he had to acknowledge that while the experiment had certainly failed, there was in this case not much left of the principle.”

 

“...I think it was when the news came of Gettysburg.  Mr. Child came down to my father’s house, wild with excitement, and asked for our great flag.  Tying this over his shoulders, he climbed to the top of one of the great ash trees in front of the house - an incredible feat even for a young man - and there, sixty feet in the air, he lashed the staff to the tree, and with the flag blowing over him, and with his white hair streaming to the wind, he sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ as loudly as his strong lungs could sing it.”