WHITMAN — Connor Clough, 12, of Whitman spent a portion of his summer with a debt looming over his head — he had borrowed $25 from his nana and was determined to pay her back.
Mission accomplished — and then some.
With assistance from several family members he decided to open Connor’s Lemonade Stand in his front yard on Beulah Street to raise the money he needed.
Spunky, amusing and tall Connor is on the autism spectrum and has been learning life skills including handling money at school. He recommended the new raspberry lemonade or the fruit punch to this writer as he sat behind his fold-out table while his mom Heather Clough recalled the busy few weeks they have had.
Heather told him that, once he paid his nana back, he could save the rest of the money toward a Nintendo Switch and they headed out again to sell more lemonade for his next goal.
Two weekends ago he got a big surprise from a local car group when members read a post from Heather on social media, inviting people to stop in for her son’s lemonade stand.
The Mopars of Mass., and car club members from Whitman, dropped by and presented Connor with a Nintendo Switch and welcomed him to be a lifelong friend.
On Saturday, Sept. 7, the stand opened on a rain delay with Connor later serving lemonade happily posing for photos and greeting neighbors.
“He told me the other night he might be famous,” said his Nana Peggy after they saw his story on the news.
He has, indeed realized some celebrity, which according to his family has done wonders for his self esteem.
He attends the League School in East Walpole where he is learning social skills, interacting with others, forming friendships, managing money and lessons in giving back.
When asked what he will do with earnings Connor with side coaching from Nana Peggy, said he was being “forced” to save money by opening a bank account.
His mother gladly accepted the role of accountant knowing that was his next step in learning about saving and handling money.
Connor quickly chimed in that he thought opening a bank account with added interest was a good move and he would re-think the idea.
The family is also planning on donating money toward a local Autism program to help other families.
In a special moment Nana Peggy was the prime receiver of the largest hug Connor could muster. At least a foot shorter than Connor, his nana softly reminded him during their heartfelt embrace to squeeze her only a tiny bit.
They Clough’s also expressed their appreciation to the patrons of Connor’s Lemonade Stand and the positive response from the community including a local woman who gave Connor a game to go in his new Nintendo Switch, hugs and high fives from the Whitman police and firefighters, and visitors from all over town who stopped to offer Connor encouragement for his fund raising efforts.