Westborough – Hayley McLeod has been named as the recipient of the Westborough Historical Society’s (WHS) 2016 scholarship. She received a check for $1,000 from WHS President Cary Mulrain at a recent event. McLeod plans to major in business at Emmanuel College in Boston this fall.
For this scholarship, applicants were asked to write an essay about a personal memory that exemplifies Westborough. The winning essay will become part of a growing archive of the Westborough Historical Society, to be read by future generations.
Here is McLeod’s essay, “Times with my Grandpa”:
Our seatbelts were clicked into place. Grandpa and I were ready to take off on our usual adventures during our time together while my mom was at work. I am a townie, the third generation of my family to live here and to attend the Westborough Public Schools. Although I know the school has changed a lot since when they attended, I will soon graduate from the same high school my parents graduated from, on several occasions even having the same teachers that my parents had.
My grandpa and I would leave from my home on School Street and would pass through the downtown historical district. We would pass the cemeteries and historical houses that I would later hear about on the Westborough historical bus tour field trip. My grandpa would point out where he used to live with his family downtown above Blois’ Drugstore. He told me the story of how sometimes his mom would leave money for him before she left for work. He would take the money, go downstairs and around the corner from where he lived, going to Wagner’s for fresh, hot, chocolate covered donuts that had just come out of the oven. I could almost smell the donuts as he told me how delicious they were.
Our first stop was always the Westborough Fire Department. My grandpa was a Westborough firefighter for over 40 years and retired just a few years ago. The fire station was his second home. He was completely dedicated to his job and is an amazing man. I spent a lot of time visiting in that old fire house and let’s just say it had character. I loved to visit on a nice day, the garage doors would be open, and sunlight flooded the engine bay making the trucks shine. My grandpa and I would sit at the picnic table inside the station and he would ask if I wanted to sit in the fire truck. Grandpa would lift me onto the high, black seat and I would turn on the sirens and flashing lights, sometimes even honking the horn. When the fire department was demolished I felt sad because I used to drive by and remember these times with my grandpa, but I know that even though it’s not physically there, it is still a special place.
Our next stop would usually be the Town Hall where my mom worked at the time. I remember walking through the hallway and downstairs towards the Selectmen’s Office looking for anything to catch my attention. It was nothing special, but for a toddler it was pretty captivating. Sometimes familiar faces from other offices would stop me to say hello or to comment about how big I was getting. We would stop to say hi to my mom and I would excitedly show her the candy or chips that I had been allowed to get from the vending machine at the Fire Station.
We would hop back in the car and continue on to Harvey’s Farm. Once we arrived, Grandpa would unbuckle my seatbelt and we would head into what is now Emily’s store. I went straight for the brown bag full of animal food, then to the cooler for a raspberry lime rickey soda and some more candy. With my arms full, I would run to the register to pay for my treasures with the money my grandpa gave me. We would walk over to the pond and grandpa would sit me on his shoulders to throw the animal food over the railing of the bridge and into green slimy water. The ducks raced and squawked to eat the food. I cheered. I loved watching them fight for the food. There were also bunnies in wire cages. I would stick a carrot in between the wires and the carrot would slowly disappear. It wasn’t much but it was a special moment both my grandpa and I have shared.
The time I spent with my grandpa means the world to me, even though it was a simple thing, it is a memory that is precious to me. I have been lucky enough to hear a wealth of stories shared from my family members about their experiences in Westborough, which I am grateful for. Westborough is our home. It’s really neat to think that my grandpa, mom, dad, aunts and uncles could have been in similar situations or made memories in the same locations as me, just like I am now.