Shared Memories

From Willard Travell Weeks
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Please add your shared memories to this web page.

The tennis player and the fisherman by Gay Bossart

Don is excellent tennis player and was competing in the finals of a city tennis tournament on the courts of Amherst College on this very pleasant late afternoon of August 1961. Nine month pregnant me was watching the game sitting on the side of this hill leading down to the campus tennis courts with 15 month old Kent and Dick and Shirley Harding (neighbors and minister of Wesley Methodist Church; Don was associate minister). The tennis match is close and Don is winning. And the labor pains commence! I don't want to interrupt Don in such an important game -- but we better do something soon. So Dick, Shirley, Kent and I start up the big hill to their car to go home and get ready to go to the hospital in Northampton. My bag is packed already. Dick left a message with another spectator to tell Don we had all left early and he should hurry home after the game.

By the time we arrived home, the pains were more intense and closer in time. Shirley took care of Kent, and I called my doctor, Dr. Weeks, immediately to tell him it was time to go to hospital. "He is not available now I'm very sorry," says his wife Bev. "He has gone fishing and quite far away." (No cells phones 50 years ago.) Bev volunteers to jump in the car (good thing the Weeks had two) and try and locate him by some river (lake?) and tell him to get to hospital to meet me, as I am ready to deliver a baby. Bev found him, Dr. Will went right to Cooley Dickinson and arrived at the same time as Don and I did. We three rode up in the elevator together: I in a wheel chair and the guys on either side. Don in his tennis whites and Dr. Will in his fishing gear. I want to sincerely apologize to both men for interrupting their sports and good times to have to take care of me. Alan Dana was born a very sort time later.

The customized sweater by Virginia L. Weeks

Willard Weeks 2002.JPG

I love this photo, especially because I got him that sweater with the black labs on it. He loved it but something was missing. Then he got some yarn and changed one of the labs to Butterscotch (his yellow lab) with her red collar. Problem solved. Classic!

Uncle Willard by John Bergamini

The Uncle Willard that I knew, and will remember, is that proud father of 2 cousins, the complete woodsman, architect and creator of Funland, and laughing little brother that would still tease his older sister given the chance, and the patient (and brave) uncle (with an eternal great smile) that taught both Herbert and I how to use a fly-rod at a rather early age...

The recreation director by March duPont

My fondest recollections of Will are of him in his role as "recreation director" for our many outings, and for his priceless remark as we drove in deep snow on the way to ski: "March, sit here, we need the weight in front."

The Hardy Boys books by Paige Leavitt

The delicious and healthy bounty from his garden is forever in my memories of Will, along with all the photographs of the fruits of his labor. Also, there was the summer I was 10 years old and engrossed in the Nancy Drew series. Will's office was robbed and he so gently humored me as I searched around for clues to solve the case. Of course I never found anything but he had an idea that would console me; to this day I clearly recall following him to the attic and opening a large box that contained his treasured Hardy Boys collection. They were so much more exciting than Nancy Drew! Twenty years later I sat with my son as he read the series and was so thankful to Will for introducing me.

The grace by Dan Weeks

Will often said this short Scottish grace before meals:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

Memories of Willard and Merryfield Farm in Sheffield, MA by Marilyn Renee duVigneaud Brown, MD

I first met Willard when my parents were invited to spend a week with Bobby and Jack Powell during August 1948. He was a frequenter of the farm having spent many a July at Merryfield Farm growing up. He was the constant at Merryfield Farm for most of his life and our life at Sheffield. We built a house down the road and knew Willard for many, many years.

He was frequently at Sheffield. He was the handyman, the maintenance man, the son/brother/father/cousin who would come to Sheffield frequently to do whatever needed to be done, and then some. He built ponds, cut down trees, fixed water lines from the spring, fixed toilets, planted vegetable gardens, managed the lawn, managed the Chapter 61 plan, walked the fields and forest, always working. He would come over from Amherst to get things ready for the upcoming group of whomever was coming for the week/weekend. He loved his labrador retreivers, and had many who loved Sheffield. One summer we all pitched in to build a raft for the pond. It lasted many years.

As everyone knows, Willard liked to hunt. He came to Sheffield for many, many years to hunt turkey and deer especially with his hunting friends or by himself. He would come by every year to get written permission to hunt on our land. There were the blinds to sit in while waiting for the right animal to meander by. One Thanksgiving evening just after dusk as we were sitting down to a large family feast, there was a knock on the door, and Willard joined us for dinner. Many times he offered us some venison or turkey.

The famous red pants

Will liked to wear red pants, so much so that he became locally famous:

WTW famous red pants.jpg

Deer watching, written January 16, 1988 by Dan Weeks

Crickets sing shrilly

amidst warm humid haze.

Shimmering green of trees,

Cicadas hum.

"Let's go deer watching."

Bright-eyed kids
scan dimming fields
so green against green trees

"Stop the car

there's some!"



Brown bursts of life

bounce with white flags,

as the sun sinks

and the crickets sing.

In a cloud of steam, written April 9, 1988 by Dan Weeks

In a cloud of steam
bare backed over the sink
you filter melted fruit
handpicked wild cherries
grown in sun and wind
by God
Now mashed, mixed, boiled
become poignant jelly
the proud creation
of my father

Unfinished dreams, written September 18, 1988 by Dan Weeks

My Dad lives
in an unfinished house
full of unfinished dreams.
The scaffolding remains patiently
hidden under hanging plants.
The unpainted walls slowly slip
behind towering bookcases
lit by a bare light bulb.
The bathroom doorway
shrouded in old cloth strips
awaits its conjugate door.
The walls of pink fiberglass
surround a floor
crowded with relics
of many dreams
And the second sink
awaits the second wife
to wash it.

The gas leak by Dan Weeks

Will thought he smelled a natural gas leak, and so he called the repairman, who came and searched for the leak. He didn't find any leak, but did figure out where the smell was coming from - Will had gone hunting and had left a dead game bird in the back pocket of his hunting vest, which was hanging in the front closet, letting off a foul smell. Will thanked the repairman profusely, and said "Would you like some smoked pheasant?" The repairman said "No thank you", and hastily retreated out of there (as he probably was not sure how long the pheasant had 'cured' before being smoked)!

One of the coolest uncles ever by Herbert Bergamini

I wanted to offer some favorite memories of Willard, one of the coolest uncles a nephew could ever have.

My earliest memory of fishing is with Willard in a canoe at Connery Pond. Feeling a fish tugging at the worm he had put on my hook was a truly watershed moment for me. I still remember his laugh when I asked "do you think it was a pickerel-trout?"

1967: I recall going to the World's Fair in Montreal in what seemed like a huge station wagon. Willard, Beverly, Malinda, John, Danny, Ginny and I had a blast. Looking back, taking a crew of 5 youngsters across the border to such an urban experience was a pretty brave thing to do. I remember big crowds and the distinctive geometric sphere building that still is part of the skyline today.

Summer 1970: I spent a week in Amherst. In one incredible evening Willard and a friend took Danny and me fishing for perch. We must have caught about 100 of them! At age 10, this is when Willard introduced me to the art of tying flies and how to fly fish. I still have my custom made fly-tying bench at Connery Pond and greatly look forward to the time in my life when I can awaken the old muscle memory of getting a royal coachman to gently kiss the calm surface of some calm water. This summer also featured hanging out at the Funland cabin where I was encouraged to practice my saxophone without disturbing the neighbors...

Hunting season 2-3 years later. Dad/Hub, John and I were special guests to a hunting weekend at Funland. Willard and two friends treated us to a weekend of sitting in the orchard (freezing our butts off) in the snow. The deer stayed safe and I learned how much hard work it is to pull a fully loaded toboggan up the snowy hill to where we had parked on the plowed road. I also learned that you can use melted snow to flush a toilet and that moose-loaf tasted a lot like meatloaf...

Winter about the same time: ice fishing has lots of cool gadgets associated with it (and more opportunity to be freezing your butt off...)

So, Willard definitely had quite an influence on me as a teacher! However with the time he spent softly and gently encouraging me to see and do things in the outdoors he also demonstrated the patience of a practiced and accomplished gardener/pediatrician. He knew when to spread the compost/fertilizer(!), plant the seeds, weed them and help them grow strong and tall. His patience/patients is/are quite the legacy.

My very first memory by Lisa Ann (Carey) Maynard

My very first memory is being in your Dad's office, him squatting on the floor, holding his arms out and saying "Lisa, walk to me." Of course, he had a "sinister" motive for that ... he didn't like the way my legs were turning outward and for months made me wear those horrid shoes that were attached to a bar! Yes, I know I was little more than a year old but clearly remember that office visit and its end result!

I also remember spending a day at your cabin way out in the woods, and your Dad pointing out little holes in a tree and telling me a woodpecker made them. We were fortunate to live in a small community where your doctor was also a friend of the family, and the children were classmates.