This is Jean McMillen interviewing Mr. Stanley Sherwood at his home 10 Downey Road, Sharon, Ct. The date is Feb.22, 2012. Mrs. Audrey Whitbeck is assisting as is Mrs. Sherwood.
JPM:May I have your name, please?
JPM:When were you born?
SS:Jan. 31, 1930.
JPM:What were your parents’ names?
SS:My mother was Grace Sherwood, and my dad was Stanley Sr.
JPM:Do you have brothers and sisters?
JPM:Would you name them?
SS:Butch Sherwood, Ginger Sherwood, Roy Sherwood, Billy Sherwood, and George Sherwood.
JPM:Did you have sisters?
SS:Yes, I have sisters.
SS:Betty and Lois
JPM:Where did you go to school?
SS:I went to grade school in Lakeville, and then graduated from Regional High School in Falls Village.
JPM:Did you go to Grove Street School?
SS:I think it was 3rd grade.
JPM:What are some of the jobs that you have had; people that you have worked with in town? You mentioned Mr. Kiefer, George Keifer.
SS:I worked with George Keifer planting trees in New Jersey and Massachusetts. I did town work, taking trees down and topping them.
JPM:You were telling me about pruning trees, how you would prune trees by hand. What did you do? Did you climb the tree?
SS:Well, we used ropes in those days as a saddle; you would throw the rope over ahead of you and pull yourself up and prune the tree there; then pull yourself up and do it again until you got to the top of the tree. You would use a pole saw and a hand saw.
JPM:So it was all done by hand.
JPM:No chain saws.
SS:No chain saws, only for take-downs. To take them down we used a chain saw.
JPM:Who was Berkley Kelsey?
SS:Berk, he and his mother and father lived out in Taconic for years. She made good pies. Berk and I worked together, one time we went down to Fisher’s Island; I think I said that before. We worked for Reese Harris and Dave Otis for about a month.
JPM:Where was Fisher’s Island?
SS:Oh geez off the coast down there somewhere.
JPM:Around Block Island?
SS:I would say so, probably south of it.
JPM:Did you work for Tom Zetterstrom?
SS:Yes, we started tree work for Olie, his brother, no I mean his son. We did tree work for him for about 4 years or something like that. Then I went down and took my tree license, passed the test, and went into business for myself.
JPM:What was the business that you started?
SS:We started a nursery business, a green house business right here in town.
JPM:What is now called the Salisbury Garden Center?
JPM:When you bought the property, were there any buildings there or was it just a piece of land?
SS:There was a house, no heat in it and a barn out back. I had a wood stove that I put in the living room and that is all I had for heat for I don’t know four or five years. George Bushnell put the heater in for me so we could have heat.
JPM:Did you built that large building that is there now?
JPM:When you started the nursery business, did you know people that wanted your services or did you have to go out and advertize? How did you get customers?
SS:Well, we lived right on the Main Street. We advertized in the Lakeville Journal, and maybe word of mouth.
JPM:That’s always the best.
SS: It’s a small town so what are you going to do?
JPM:That’s true. How long did you have the business?
SS:1957 to 1988.
JPM:To whom did you sell the business?
SS:I don’t remember his name, maybe Dave Neilson.
JPM:Tell me something that you used to do as a child. What did you do for fun?
SS:I told you we would ski jump off every knoll.
JPM:That’s what I want. Tell us about the ski jumps.
SS:We’d ski over at Hanging Rock (off Locust Ave, first right off Washinee St.) and right there in the center of town. We wore skis down to the ski jump (off Indian Cave Road) we had ski poles and our boots. We’d jump out of our boots when we’d jump.
JPM:Did you have skis that had clamps? Or did you have to tie them to you boots?
SS:Well, at first we used to have straps that went through the skis. We used to take rubber tires and cut pieces out of that and put them over that. When we were teenagers, 15, 16, regular skis had bindings. Satres used to make skis right here in town where the garage is now.
SS: Well, you go across the rail road tracks, and around that circle, there’s a garage right there down by the ski jumps. (I think he’s referring to the Auto Shop run by Steve Ohlinger. ED.)
JPM:Who were some of the people who skied with you beside the Satres?
SS:Well, there was George Miner, our age, Gunnar Jensen, Roy and Billy and Jimmy Derwin.
AW:Did George jump, too?
SS:Oh yes, brother George jumped. He went to Lake Placid.
JPM:Now tell us about Lake Placid and brother George.
SS:He went to Lake Placid in ___. Anyway he skied there, and jumped there. He had G. Rand. He had a coach which we never had. George became an expert skier. The war came along, and he had to go to war. I had to laugh, they put him on the shooting range, and you know to see if he could shoot. Brother George was an expert shot. He shot 5 shot into a hole as big as a dime, so they didn’t send him across, they made him an instructor.
JPM:Sure, if he was that good, he could instruct.
SS:We had a rifle range out in the back yard. Do you believe that?
JPM:Oh you did? Where was your back yard? Where did you grow up?
SS:Butch lives there now (56 Main St.) in that house just by the cemetery.
JPM:On East Main St. same side as the cemetery?
AW & SS: On Rt.44
JPM:Then you must have done some hunting as a young man?
SS:You wouldn’t believe how many deer I shot over time.
JPM:Good for you!
SS:We shot deer,
SS:Wild turkey, I’d have a turkey before anybody else did. I used to call them, and they would follow. I shot a few turkeys over in your yard.
AW:Yeah, that’s true.
SS:I remember that time I shot that coyote. Fred said,”Did you get a turkey?” “No, I just shot a coyote.” “You fool, there are about 9 turkeys over here; you’ll scare them all.”
JPM:Yes, you did something as a first? What?
SS:I got the first turkey in the town of Salisbury. Nobody was getting turkeys in those days.
AW:Well, they re-introduced the turkeys, didn’t they?
AW:When was that about? I can’t remember.
SS:It was the mid 50’s wasn’t it?
JPM:There was something in Judge Warner’s Journal (written 1926) about the wild turkey flocks that were around here that had multiplied. Oh my, the Lakeville Journal in June 4, 1981, “Stub Sherwood learns to Talk Turkey” and that was written by Daniel Jacobs. Quite a nice article, too. And a turkey feather along with it. Was it good eating or was it tough?
SS:Oh no, they’re good eating.
JPM:Well, you’ll have to come in my back yard because I have a flock of 13 turkeys.
SS:Oh, that many?
JPM:Yep. I’ve got a couple of hens, and about 7 or 8 little ones and there’s one Tom. And they go through the yard making noise. They don’t stay, but they do go through, so I have seen wild turkeys. Did you do any fishing?
SS:Are you kidding, I fished. Well, I guided the Housatonic for Harold for 12 years. I taught fly fishing and guided them on the river there, and then I fly fished in Chile, Argentina, went to Russia fly fishing.
AW:Did you do Alaska?
SS:I went to Alaska 5 times. One time I went with a guy…
JPM:Oh gracious, oh my word, I am being shown another newspaper article and this one is “Stanley Sherwood casts his Line” (Lakeville Journal June, 1989 Ed.) and talking about all of the fish that he caught.
Mrs.SS:This is a picture of Roy and him when they were little.
JPM:He and his brother when they were small and it looks like they have a dozen good sized trout. We have another picture and he’s holding a large fish, not that I know anything about it. Then we’ve got some flies that he… Did you make your own flies?
SS: Yep. Oh yeah.
JPM:Oh my goodness, there’s Royal Coachman, a Tan Humphrey, a Green Machine Salmon Sky, an Elk Hair Sates, and it looks like a Wooly Bugger.
SS:Wooly Bugger, yep.
JPM:What kind of a fish do you catch with a Wooly Bugger?
SS:Big trout, big fish
JPM:Big fish. Big mouth bass, big trout, that sort of thing?
SS:Yep. One time I was fishing down on the Housatonic River a few years ago down Route 7 down towards Falls Village about a mile and a half, there is a span there with that much water, a little ripple. I was fishing for trout. I got in a bunch of small mouth bass. I betcha I must have caught 35 or 40 of them. I had a great time because they really bite.
JPM:Yes, they do. They’re hard.
SS:So I had a good time. But I had good time fishing; there ain’t many guys that have fished all over the world.
JPM:No there aren’t. You have been holding out on me! You didn’t tell about that the last time. Audrey told me on the way home that you had fished around the world.
SS:Yeah. She’d know.
JPM:That’s wonderful. You’ve had a good time.
SS:Yeah. I’ve done…
JPM:You’ve done some wonderful things.
SS:Yeah, over in Russia, geez we got to laugh, we got over there, the Russian hired helicopters were clean and nice and shiny. Our helicopters were dirty and I said,”Oh geez I hope we make it.” Then we got into the helicopter to fly out to the Penoi. There were 4 people besides me and two other guys, and dropped them off in the middle of the woods. “What are they going to do?” He said, “They’re hiking.” They were nowhere. Then we got down to the Penoi River and setting there fishing like that. I never got over it. This guy comes down with 2 wheeled mules and a wagon full of wood and right through the river. I almost flipped. I don’t know where he came from; we were 50 miles from nowhere.
JPM: Oh my goodness! Did you have any connection with Mt. Riga?7.
SS: Well, I worked up there for one summer. My job was to…They had a log cabin, when you go up to the dam around a little bit, the big house there. In back there is a log cabin. I stayed in the log cabin all summer, and I used to grow carrots and beets and stuff like that, and I raised chickens. People would give me a lot of stuff for the next week whether it was a chicken or vegetables or things like that. I did that all summer.
AW:I say that is a good idea; they ought to do that now.
SS:I stayed up there. I had an old 35 Ford, and I stayed up there until way into October. Nobody was up there.
JPM:No, not then. Were there huckleberries up on the mountain then?
SS:Yeah, they were further up toward Massachusetts, up on the right hand side. Remember a guy we used to call “Huckleberry”?
AW:Yeah, he used to pick them and bring them into town.
SS:Yeah he’d bring in a bucket of them, wasn’t very big hardly 3-4 quarts. He’d walk all the way up the mountain to do that and bring them downtown to sell them.
JPM:Oh my word, I don’t think I have ever seen a huckleberry. What do they look like?
SS:You Haven’t? Just little round ones like that, they aren’t very big, like a pea.
SS:Blue, dark blue.
JPM:Really dark blue, do they have seeds?
JPM:It is just a round berry. I’ve seen Elderberries, so I know what they are.
JPM:I am backtracking to the ski jumps. You were very specific about some of the places where you had these ski jumps; one was by the Lock-Up, one was…
AW:Off of Cobble Road
SS:Out where Sonny Rider lives there now.
AW:By Hanging Rock (Locust Ave. Ed.) down toward Fowler Street.8.
SS:We had a ski jump in Sharon town, but we’d have to watch it. We had one up there by the hemlocks on Farnam Road. We had one across from St. John’s church.
JPM:Where Chaiwalla is now?
JPM:I’m so far in the future compared to what you are telling me about that sometimes it is hard for me to identify these places. I am working at it though. You said there was one by the Chittenden House?
AW:I think that’s the one you are talking about by Chaiwalla.
SS:Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about.
JPM:OK coming down that hill. I’ve had references to roaring oaks; what’s that? Or hanging oaks?
AW:Roaring Oaks that is on Locust Ave. a dead end street.
AW: Hanging rock is right off it.
JPM:Were they vines that the kids swung from?
SS:Trees. (When Lester Hoystradt started his flower business in Sharon, he named it “Roaring Oaks” after this childhood memory spot. Ed.)
JPM:Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you would like to talk about? And I see your wife is nodding her head. Give me some clues.
SS:I think we’ve covered it all, the Lock Up and the barns down back.
AW:How long did you jump at the meet? How old were you when you stopped jumping off the hill, the big hill?
SS:Geez, I can’t…
Mrs. SS:When you started the business?
SS: Probably about then, yes.
JPM:That would be about 1957ish, so you had been jumping as a young boy through a young man.
SS: Yeah because over at the ski jumps we had 20 meter, 40 meter, and 60 meter. We all used to jump the 20 meter and the 40 meter all weekend, guys like George Miner, Gunnar Jensen, Roy, Bruce Lock and I.
JPM:You must have done a lot of practicing.9.
SS:Yeah, we did.
JPM:You’re supposed to!
SS:As I said before we left our skis and boots over there and nobody bothered them. The local guys used to come down while we were jumping and start a great big fire. They’d sit there drinking beer and watch us jump.
JPM:And you all had a good time.
SS:We had a damn good time.
JPM:That’s what it should be.
AW:Weren’t you a Director of SWASA, Salisbury Winter Sports Association? You were very young when you were a director.
SS:Yeah, I was not a Selectman. I think I told you what happened.
AW:Were you there for the 1950 FIS meet, that big meet?
AW:It’s international meet.
AW:Ski jumpers. We must have had 40 or 50 entries for that.
SS:No kidding, that many?
AW:It was a big field.
JPM:Was it specifically jumping?
JPM:No cross country, just downhill jumping.
AW:Well, I can’t remember; I don’t think they had cross country. I don’t think it was a combined event.
JPM:When did they start giving prizes for the ski jumps?
AW:Forever and ever.
SS:Yeah, even back with the Satres back in the 40’s.10.
JPM:Oh really? Is that when it started with the Satres in the 40’s?
SS: Oh yeah they started it. Remember they used to have benches all along the side there on the bend inside facing the jump? But they don’t use them anymore.
JPM:Well, everything has been built up and expanded so much now that there probably isn’t really left of what you knew when you were jumping.
SS:Of course we rebuilt the hill because when we jumped the hill, the jump wasn’t right. You jumped off the jump and instead of following the hill you were up in the air. Yeah you were 50 yards up in the air. Now they have rebuilt the jump right? Now when you come off the jump, you are going faster, but you are only about 20 feet above the ground and following the contour of the hill which is better than hanging up there 50 yards in the air.
JPM:Less chance of getting hurt.
SS:You got it.
JPM:I think I am going to run out of tape so I am going to stop at this point.