Goochie's Barn

When I was young we lived in Newton Center, Boston's elite suburb, which had just been expanded from a semi-rural area in the 1920's. One of the original owners of the neighborhood we lived in was a man named Samuel Gooch. Gooch was a man of the 19th century - college educated, a bicycle manufacturer, a chemist and a collector of rare books and old maps. His house was a black victorian place on Warren St. and his barn was a big two story bicycle factory about 100 yards in back of his house. In front of the barn was a concrete business office and the rest was the 2-story wood factory painted in red. I was a member of a group of 7 boys who played together regularly in games like "wild west," the "Burma Road" and baseball. The leader of our group was an older kid - Roger McDonald who decided what game we were going to play and how long we were going to do it. He was a war lover and we formed a commando group each having a BB-gun and a poncho. Near Goochies there was a large woods and Roger would lead us up into it and we'd practice make-believe raids on enemy positions shooting into their main bastions. On one occasion we went up to the woods and started to shoot across the Boston & Albany RR tracks which Roger said was being used by the enemy to transport war goods. All of a sudden there was firing at us from across the tracks with bullets whining around from 22 rifles! "Duck quick" yelled Roger and we all fell flat on the ground. After about 5 minutes the shooting stopped and one of the kids shooting at us yelled "you better not come up this way again or you'll get killed!" We waited for 10 minutes and then went home - the shooters had left. Roger said "they're the Thomsonvillios" - a bunch of tough italian kids from Thomsonville - a part of Newton on the other side of the woods. Under Roger's direction we formed a secret club to protect ourselves if the "villios" should ever return to our neighborhood and try to shoot us up. We held weekly meetings on the second floor of Goochies Barn - there was only one way to get up to the second floor and that was by using a ladder and then, after we were all up, we'd pull the ladder up after us so no one could follow us. All went well for two meeting but at the third meeting I looked out the back window and partly hidden in brush on top of an adjoining bluff were about 10-12 kids with rifles. "Hey, Roger!" I yelled the "villios" are on the bluff!" Roger ran over quickly to the window, spotted them, and yelled at the top of his voice - "Down, down, down! - lie down on the floor!" This we did immediately and 30 seconds later the firing began as the "villios" shot through the large windows and we could hear the bullets ricocheting through the Barn. After 15 minutes the firing stopped and the "villios" screamed "ya better not come back again 'cause if we catch ya again we're gonna kill ya!" They left and we went home. Roger said tell nobody 'cause if we did we'd never be able to come back to use our clubhouse. The Thompsonvillios never bothered us again.
JoanneCD2 JoanneCD2
41-45, T
Aug 7, 2010