(The below is taken from my autobiography, “My Life”, available on Amazon.com)
We had a lot of good activities which involved our extended family. The entire Pierpont side of the family celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together. For Thanksgiving the Christian Science church had a special morning service. After church we went to Grammy and Grampy’s house on East Main Street. All the other family members joined us there. Grammy and Aunt Edna had been cooking all morning. Everyone else brought the dessert (apple pie, chocolate cream pie, lemon meringue pie, and sometimes others). They put all the leaves in the dining room table so that it filled the room. The younger kids ate around a card table in the front hall (it was a big deal when you were old enough to join the adult table).
After lunch while the ladies all cleaned up, the guys were overcome by the tryptophan in the turkey and sacked out in the living room (we have a lot of pictures of my dad and uncles slumped over in various chairs/sofas). But the kids were then in for a special treat – the annual trip to the Maple Hill Dairy with Grampy Pierpont. It was just down the street and it’s where he used to get the milk for his deliveries when he was a milkman. It was owned by a couple of his cousins, so we were allowed to go there every November. We could look at the cows, in the milk room, and even walk around the outside of the cement pool in the front. All of us cousins together with Grampy leading the way like a mother hen with all her chicks.
We also all got together at Christmas time, but in a different fashion. The kids all were dropped off with Grammy and Grampy – the older ones taking some responsibility for the younger ones. We had earlier drawn names, so each child got one gift from someone else in the family. There was a dollar limit on the gifts, so each child got something of roughly equal value. I think that Grammy and Grampy enjoyed having us there as much as we enjoyed being with them. The adults had their own Christmas party – alternating the location at a different house each year. They also did a gift exchange among themselves.
Besides these holiday get-togethers, there were two other types of events that often drew us together. The first was the annual Pierpont Family Association meeting in the summer. This was for ALL Pierpont family members, including some very distantly related to us. During my growing up years the descendants of Wilson Pierpont (Grampy Pierpont’s father) always won the award for the most family members in attendance. And the years that my Aunt Alie was visiting from Arizona she won the distance trophy. These were always held at different locations around the state.
The final opportunity had to do with Grampy Pierpont. He was a long-time member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. The AMC had a cabin right on the Appalachian Trail where it passed through the Northwest corner of Connecticut. But they also had a cabin on Bantam Lake which was available for rent. Grampy would often rent it for a weekend in the summer and all his descendants would gather there for a picnic and swim in the lake. So while most of my swimming was in the various bodies of water in Wolcott, I also swam in Bantam Lake on a number of occasions.