The Street I Know

The Street I Know

The Street I Know

The Street I Know

Excerpt

WHY," one of my alert classmates at Harvard once asked me, "do all the old autobiographies begin with the statement, 'I was born, at so-and-so on such-and-such a date, of poor but honest parents'?"

I shrugged my shoulders to indicate that I didn't know. He enlarged upon his question, his tone becoming mockindignant.

"Why 'but'? Would it not be more correct to say, 'I was born, at so-and-so on such-and-such a date, of poor and' - therefore or consequently being understood -- 'honest parents'? Why the opposition expressed by 'but'?"

My classmate snorted.

"For God's sake," he said with great weariness, "if ever you come to write your autobiography -- a fate I wouldn't wish my worst enemy -- please, at least, begin it with this sentence: 'Born of poor, and consequently honest and decent parents, I reluctantly saw the light of day at -----"

At Barre, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1891.

Or so I was told later -- and have every reason to believe. Certainly my earliest recollection is of running after a "horse and wagon" -- in which was a boy I knew -- along a country road near Wakefield, Massachusetts; and I couldn't have been much more than three or four, because I didn't go to school until later. And going to school, in the Massachusetts of those . . .

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