TOWNSEND — As Townsend approaches its 275th anniversary, this series has recognized the many generations gone before us. Their stories live on in books like 1992’s “VOICES from their times and places.”

Here we listen to more memories from our fellow townspeople. We invite you, our readers, to share your own Townsend experience, to appear in this newspaper. E-mail your recollection or memory to, or call the Townsend Historical Society at (978) 597-2106.

For more than 30 years, Diane Eaton has been the first person the children of Townsend see when they walk through the doors of their library. Ensconced amid the books and desk toys, Eaton still greets her young readers with a smile that says, “I’m glad you’re here.” Eaton has been here in Townsend since her birth at home on Dudley Road 75 years ago.

Diane Eaton

I have always lived in Townsend, except for when my husband was in the service. I couldn’t wait to get out of town, but I was very happy to come back. My life growing up here was a privilege most people don’t have today. There aren’t many towns like it. The people are so good.

When my husband was sick — Lawrence died of asbestosis at age 55 — neighbors would come in and stay with him and read to him, so I could go out. People just wanted to help.

High school: All the grades were at Spaulding. I was manager of the basketball team. One cold day in March I couldn’t open my locker after a game, so I had to walk home, about seven-tenths of a mile, in the cold. By the time I got home, my mother already had two phone calls wanting to know why I didn’t have a jacket on. That’s the kind of small town we were then.

I remember the 1938 hurricane very well. Not knowing how bad the storm was — there was no radio — my father took us for a ride. We got the idea it was pretty bad when we watched the grandstand behind Spaulding collapse like falling dominoes in the wind.

He decided to go back home to check on the chickens and as he walked between the barn and a maple tree, the wind shifted and the tree fell down on him. We were watching all this from Bunk’s house. I was eight years old and too scared to cry.

Bunk and his brother, Hap, got my father out from under the tree and to Dr. Goldfarb’s house on Brookline Street. A limb had cut his lip and he had a broken leg and many bumps and bruises. The doctor did as well as he could.

My father was delirious for three or four days and my mother was busy taking care of him, so I got to do things she would not have let me do. That is when I ran to Spaulding to see if it was still standing. I was so mad that it still was.

Later, when we realized he had lost his glasses, my mother and sisters, Corinne and Marilyn, looked and found them outside, lying on the ground as if he had just put them down.

The library: Gert Hale worked very hard to get the children’s library going. The town was using this space to store historical items. People offered to house them, to make room. I wonder if they were ever brought back. The Friends bought a lot of the books and the Couples Club was very generous. We were up and running in 1969, and we’ve been here since.

It’s a crime that we can’t have programs in the library. People look at us amazed when we tell them that story time is held at Town Hall. We don’t have the space to hold programs, and the building isn’t handicapped accessible either. These days we don’t have enough space. In 1969 the only book shelves in the Children’s Room were the ones right up next to the walls. The ones in the middle were gradually added (thanks at least in part to the Couples’ Club’s generous donation). Now there’s no place else to grow. We have very limited space for kids to study in. In 1998 we had to send three grades (six through eight) upstairs because there was no room to keep their materials in the Children’s Room.

Despite our limitation as far as the physical space is concerned, I still feel we provide a good quality and personal service. I have had many people tell me that other local libraries may have beautifully renovated and expanded buildings, but they still treasure coming to Townsend’s library because of the cozy feel and the friendly, personal touch.

It’s flattering when I mention retiring and people say, “You can’t. You are the Children’s Room.”

It’s nice to see second- and third-generation patrons come in. That’s what’s nice about a small town. You get to know your patrons and they get to know you.

Today I think the children are much, much brighter, but maybe in other ways they are missing out on things. Parents have to work and they have less time to read to them. I see them come in and the child says, “I want a book,” and the mother or father says, “No, no, pick a movie.”

Their all-time favorite book is still “Make Way for Ducklings.” Mine is “Christy,” by Catherine Marshall. My favorite poem is “The Raven.”

If you asked me how children’s books have changed over the years, I’d have to say that today’s books are more adventurous. There are more fantasy books being written. Also the picture book illustrations have come a long way. Colored ink is less expensive than it was, and illustrations can be published in full color. It makes a big difference.