When my sister Bertie and I were growing up in Connecticut, we liked being outdoors more than just about anything else, all year long. Our yard was a whole acre of mowed grass, and it was surrounded by fields, woods and rustic stone walls.
When we first moved to the country in 1947, the road that ran in front of our house and barn was unpaved. It was very narrow and had a strip of grass running down the middle. It was rare for a car to pass by, but once in awhile when we were out in our 1936 Plymouth with Ma at the wheel, we’d see another car heading in our direction. Eventually both cars would stop, face-to-face, and a variety of hand signals would indicate which car would wait, and which one would back up until there was a space where it could pull off the road and wait until the other passed. Later on the road was paved, but I missed our old narrow dirt road.
On the other side of the road there were fields divided by stone walls. They ran up the side of a shallow hill, so they were slanted. At the top was the Holcombe’s house. They were our landlords, a wealthy, very nice couple who always had a bunch of dogs that Josephine Holcombe took for a walk every day past our house. The Holcombe’s house was ultra-modern with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a fireplace right in the middle of their huge living room, whose floors were covered with the tiniest tiles I’d ever seen. Sometimes the Holcombes would have a party at their house and invite Ma and Pop. They would take us, too, and Mrs. Holcombe would put us to bed in one of their bedrooms. We’d never sleep, though, and would sneak out of bed and open our door a crack so we could see all the couples dancing to exotic Latin American music.
Bertie and I loved to play in the fields that ran from the Holcombe’s house down to ours. Sometimes we’d play baseball, even though the baseball diamonds we created from bases made of old burlap bags were slanted because of the hill and the grass was hard to run in because it was so deep. There was always a lot of snow in the winter, and we’d slog across the un-plowed road and into the fields, where we’d make snow angels and have snowball fights.
Sometimes, when Pop was still living with us, we’d go for a walk in the fields — all four of us. I remember one time some friends of Pop’s were visiting and we all decided to take a really long walk through the fields parallel to our road, and see how far we could get before we got tired or the fields turned into woods. We ended up walking through some fields we’d never been in before. Bertie and I ran on ahead, while Ma and Pop strolled behind us, chatting with their friends.
Suddenly, Bertie tripped on a rock, or something that felt like a rock, under the long field grass. I ran over and pulled the grass away, and what we saw left us absolutely stunned. Under the grass were four or five (I can’t remember any more) life-sized stone statues, lying side-by-side in the field, face up. They looked very old. We shouted for Ma and Pop to come see, and they came running with their friends. We all stood around staring at the statues, and the grownups tried to guess how they got there and where they might have come from.
Since we couldn’t move them, I think (to the best of my memory) that Ma called a museum and they came and picked them up. That was the last I ever heard about the statues, but I can still see them lying out there in the field as if they were waiting for something or someone. After that, every time Bertie and I went out in the fields, I hoped we’d stumble over some more statues, or something equally mysterious, but we never did.