By Tracy F. Seelye, Express editor
WHITMAN — For those who were growing up in the 1930s and ’40s, memories are filled with families making do during the Great Depression and World War II.
But for every time mothers had to make “Cape Cod Turkey” — desalinated and boiled salt cod and fried salt pork served up over mashed potatoes — there are memories of plentiful Concord grapes growing by within easy reach of the road, and roadside tables selling strawberries everywhere.
The gift of a bicycle during wartime, when shortages made them hard to get, was priceless.
For Whitman resident Ed Leadbetter, sharing such memories is a gift to the future. As he writes on the flyleaf of his self-published book, “South Shore Potpourri,” “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
“I started out writing some stories about my experiences in Pembroke High School and some about Whitman,” he said. He sent the stories to a former teacher who was very encouraging about his work and urged him to write a book.
“I had a lot of fun doing it and I’m thinking of doing another one,” he said.
He grew up in Brockton’s Campello section during WWII and went to school there until 1947, when he moved to Pembroke. During the war he was a member of Brockton’s Junior Police.
“We took our jobs seriously,” Leadbetter recalls.
Leadbetter moved to Whitman from Halifax in 1959, and operated a service station and body shop at 333 South Ave. for more than 50 years before he retired.
“Some of the years were really hard,” he said. “But I miss my customers.”
From memories of Howard Johnson’s restaurants, to the work and reflections of local artists, the book recaptures a bygone era on a score of South Shore cities and towns.
“So many memories, so little time,” Leadbetter said with a chuckle. “There’s stories in here that I wrote and some that were contributed. It’s a book written by people that have lived or are still living on the South Shore — and we love the South Shore.”
Contributors include Janice Melanson Ford, John Reddie, Ray Freden, Althea Page Magoun, H.B. Jones, Mike Zaccilli, Roger Anttila, Stella Howard Young courtesy of Marie Young Combs, Kathy Peters and Dana Rodman.
“I included whatever I thought would be interesting and some that I really liked,” he said. “There’s a little bit in here for everybody.”
He arranged for permission from Stonehill College to use some of the late Brockton Enterprise photographer Stanley Bauman that were left to the college. Bauman’s black and white photos are interspersed with full-color pictures from private collections of Leadbetter and other contributors.
He’s sold about 200 copies of the spiral-bound volume published by Harding Printers in Whitman — mostly at his cost of $20. Leadbetter is hoping to obtain a copyright on the work in order to sell it online for a bit more.