This story was published by David Wallace in his blog Poet22DCW  in August, 2014.  Lee Trask provided an old photo through the Facebook group, I Grew Up in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

third_tree_lee_traskHanging from third tree up the Ipswich River along the railroad tracks is a rope swing that is as much a part of this town’s history as any historical site or house. In fact, this swimming hole can be directly linked to the development of many town characters as well as the grooming ground of stories passed down through many generations.

So just how old this rope swing is probably has no real answer unless one of our great historians can provide an answer. Yet what I know for sure is that swing was there in 1955 which makes it at least 60 years. Can you even begin to fathom how many young folk have taken the plunge in that amount of time?

Before I venture further with this, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the plunge was often the result of a “I dare you,” or “You got to do it to be in the club.” Through the generations I have no doubt it became a peer pressure issue. Regardless, there was also a persistent risk that existed and the never-ending hackling, “Watch out for the snapping turtles and blood suckers.”

I strongly suspect that the rope swing originated from a young Polish boy, or group of them, due to it’s proximity to the so-labeled  “Pole Alley” where many of them lived in the early years. I also strongly suspect that many romances and lasting friendships began at that spot. I myself have many fond memories from there (as well as some I would prefer to forget). Today when I visited there I thought of many friends and past summer’s fun. I recalled Mike Gianopoulos, George Trudel, Jim Ramey, George and Jim Sotiropoulos, Jim McConologue, Frank Taylor, Paul Smolak, and so many more.

There was no one there when I visited today, just the memories, but I truly believe new ones will develop through many years. I will at a later date be adding more to the story of this area. In the meantime, I hope I have enlightened some of the new folks in our historic town, as well as putting a smile on a “Townie’s” face.

David Wallace

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