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Among the pleasant memories of the past, are many scenes that transpired during our youthful days. A striking figure on the stage of recollection is Nathan Childs, the village baker, who had his shop in the good old town of Medford. He drove his cart through the streets from door to door, and continued on through the neighboring towns. In Woburn town, on Pleasant street, there stood a cluster of houses, at the junction of two streets, one of which led directly to Lexington—that town of historic fame—while the other wound its way to Burlington, the town that protected Hancock and Adams, while the British soldiers marched to Concord.

The coming and going of Nathan Childs to and from this little group of neighbors, was like the old clock that stood in the corner of the family room—tick, tick, strike, all the day long, always on time. Nathan Childs had an eye to business—he was a friend to the old and the young. His cart was not unlike other bakers' carts, while the jingle of the old sleigh bells was heard from afar. He was always ready to share his seat with one or more, and was sure to treat them to his good old-fashioned molasses gingerbread.

One day, a new sound was heard in the distance— music came floating through the air, when lo and behold! there appeared a new cart painted in gaudy colors, a new [p. 42] horse and a new harness. Attached to the saddle was a chime of bells discoursing silvery music to the ear. Painted upon the cart, in imitation of his shop, was the partially open door, over which we read Nathan Childs, baker. There was the painted sash and the green blinds, the shingle roof and the old red brick chimney, all as natural as life, and mounted upon his seat, sat Nathan Childs, monarch of all he surveyed. Keith of Keith's Theatre fame, in this our day, with his advertising scheme of the four-in-hand with its numberless chimes of bells ringing through the streets, is far behind the times. Nathan Childs led the van, while those of today simply follow on. On the muster field, at the cattle shows, and at the auctions, Nathan Childs was sure to be found. On the day that Massachusetts went to Concord and fought there the great battle for the election of President William Henry Harrison, Nathan Childs was seen in that countless throng that followed the great ball as it rolled on, while in the rear came the log cabins, the hard cider and the striped pig. Nathan Childs gained the field, and upon it, he rang out his chime of bells. The country lads and lasses were soon eating that good old-fashioned molasses gingerbread.

One day Nathan Childs disappeared—he never came again. On looking for his epitaph, we find in the History of Medford the following tribute by the historian:

Mr. Childs continued to sell bread in the neighboring towns, for a long time. Many of our Medford people have pleasant memories of the genial countenance and kind words of Nathan Childs, the deaf baker, who went from house to house, with his ear trumpet in hand, bound to hear precisely what his customers ordered, and sure to fill all orders.’

Who can fill the blanks?

Nathan Childs.

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b. d.

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