Memories of Mason — A Personal Recollection

MY FIRST RECOLLECTION OF MASON, NH WAS WHEN I WAS A child. My parents owned a fruit and vegetable stand in Townsend, Mass., just over the border. Many interesting individuals from Mason would stop in to buy produce. I can remember Curt Dunn’s father, Curtis Sr., stopping by for tea and homemade donuts. His wife, Marion, would make the most delicious donuts and he would share them with us on his coffee break. Many times Curtis Sr. would help my father in the fields and work for him in the summer months. He was a tall thin man with a rugged tan that showed years of hard work in the hot sun. Curtis Dunn, Sr. will always be in my memories as an original “Masonite,” as well as his son, Curt Dunn, Jr.

The hippies from Merriam Hill and Darling Hill Rd. were also regulars in my parent’s fruit and vegetable stand. Many times they would come down in groups — large gunny sack dresses, long hair, lots of cleavage and beads. The men were always in bell bottoms and old T-shirts. Most were barefoot. They loved anything organic and fresh. The vehicles were usually VW bugs or old beat up Saabs. They loved flowers and would buy anything cheap and pretty. I was only a young child, but my memories were of staring up at them while I crunched into a crispy apple, longing for the day to be like them. They always seemed so free and wild, peaceful and adventurous.

The first time I remember setting foot on Mason, NH soil on my own, was when I first got my license. I was looking for excuses to drive my parent’s car. My mother gave me the privilege of driving to Mason one sunny afternoon to deliver geraniums to Marion Dunn. She lived in an old farmhouse on Hurricane Hill Rd. I remember my mother giving me the directions to cross over Rossbach’s bridge and follow Barker Hill Rd. up into Mason. The adventure to cross over the border into another state was exciting for a youngster who just got her license. When I turned down Hurricane Hill I recall seeing a muddy narrow road with grass growing down the middle. It was more like a trail that entered into an enchanted forest. I passed a few little hunting camps along the roadside. There were only about six houses on the road at that time. I found my way to the Dunn’s and delivered the flowers. It was an adventure for a young girl, barely sixteen-and-a-half!

When my husband and I got married, we were looking for a place to live. We were always interested in living off the land and being self sufficient. For some reason, Mason came to mind. Curt Dunn, Jr. whom my father called Murdock, had come down out of Mason to sell tickets for a ham and bean supper that the Mason Fire Dept. used to put on. It was always a treat for us to buy tickets and go to Mason. He told us of a little house he knew that would be up For Sale soon. His neighbor, Gini Winchenbach, was getting married and she would be moving out of town soon. My husband and I jumped into the car and toured our way back up into the hills of Mason. We took one look at the old house. At the time it was a small hunting camp. Our dreams had blossomed, we made an offer and moved in. It was history in the making after that. I don’t know if that makes us a Masonite after 26 years. We have certainly grown to love the place. We raised our son, made lots of friends and have seen the town evolve into what it is today. We hope that Mason will always be home.

Linda O’Grady

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