61 Growing Up in Blawenburg

By Anne Hartshorne Allen

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In this Tale of Blawenburg, Anne Allen remembers what it was like growing up in Blawenburg in the 1960s.

I moved with my family, my father, two siblings, and pregnant mother to Blawenburg in 1960. So different from Brooklyn, this little town presented a wondrous new world. While our home was cozy and warm, there was so much to discover about our new surroundings.

The main sidewalk in Blawenburg started at a bustling corner at Route 518 and Great Road and clung to one side of the road for eight or nine houses down to the church, where it disappeared into the lawn of the parsonage house. It was dirt, nothing fancy, and it worked fine through snow, sleet, mud, and dry spells.

People in Blawenburg came from all walks of life. Many fathers were farmers. My father was an editor, another father was a psychiatrist who worked down at the Neuropsychiatric Institute. Other dads were cops, janitors, and professors. As I recall, we were like many small hamlets where people of all classes lived next to each other. They all took good care of their modest houses, went to work, came home, and were around on the weekends. Just about each house had a family, so there was a plethora of children our ages to play with. We all went to school together.

Surrogate Parents

Anne Hartshorne Allen gets ready to blow out the eight candles on her birthday cake, which is held by her mother, Val Hartshorne. Mrs. Elizabeth Brewer, Anne’s surrogate grandmother, looks on.

I discovered Elizabeth and Fred Brewer when I was probably seven or eight years old. They lived across the road from us in a farmhouse that housed two different farm families. Everyone shared spaces in those days; they didn’t think a thing about it.

Fred managed the big, white cow barn that was directly behind their farmhouse. There must have been thirty Guernseys, reliable and gentle dairy c