Norm Birch took the photo above of his shiplap-sided house in 1917. It is surrounded by several maple trees, only one of which - as far as I can recall - survived until 1955.
In 1955 the Harrison family moved into the house (I was 6-years old and Miss Walker, my Gr. 1 teacher, soon whipped me into shape). The house was cedar-sided by then, the front porch had been closed in, and one large maple stood tall in the backyard, the one directly behind the house (directly behind the chimney and peaked roof in photo).
On June 2, 1998, a tornado whipped through Norwich and almost all of the old, mature trees around the house were severely damaged and destroyed. (See “Norwich tornado, June 1998”) The 80 ft. tall spruce tree that stood beside the porch, and against which I daily parked my 1959 CCM bicycle for many years, had been twisted from the ground and deposited 50 meters away onto South Court St. The century old maple that had protected the back of the house from rain and snow and the sun’s heat for decades was ripped to shreds. My Dad barely recovered from its loss, if he ever did at all.
Somewhere in my photo albums I have one reminder of the maple tree that almost completely covered our house each fall with an expansive red, yellow and orange canopy. The colours in the photo have faded, but that’s all.
[Photo by N. Birch and GH]
Trees (poem) by Joyce Kilmer
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