Portraits
MEET THE CHARACTERS


Some of the major characters from the Trolley Days books are described in their own words below. A quote is also provided for each. Try to identify the character, then click "Who am I?" to see if you are correct. To hide the answers, reload this page (F5).






~ 1 ~
I was born in Québec in 1898. My family moved to Holyoke in 1901. My earliest memories are of the animals on the farm in Westfield - chickens, sheep, and a cow. My dad worked six days a week at Wellington Textiles – he traveled to work every day on the streetcar. I can remember watching him walk up Southampton Road to the car stand early in the morning and wishing I could go along. When I was fourteen I finally got my wish.
“I noticed the Christmas stockings over the fireplace, one for you and one for Anne. Who was the third one for? Who is ‘M’?”  (Trolley Days, Ch. 3)
 






 


~ 2 ~
Although I was born in Canada, I grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts. As a little girl all I wanted to do was follow my mother around the house and do everything that she did. I called it “helping,” although, as I remember it now, I don’t suppose Mother saw it that way. She taught me to cook, to sew, everything a girl would need to know when the day came that she had to raise a family. That day came much sooner for me than I could ever have imagined.

“I heard her telling someone she wasn’t going to the Senior Formal. I don’t understand why not, she’s pretty, she’s well-liked, and respected....I wonder if maybe she’s waiting for someone…someone in particular…to ask her." (Trolley Days, Ch. 30)








~ 3 ~
My wife and I, we grew up in the same neighborhood in Sherbrooke, Québec. We attended school together, then quit to work in the mills. I was always sweet on her. Her family moved when I was about fourteen and I didn’t see her for a few years. I remember coming out of work one day, I must've been seventeen or eighteen. There she was, smiling that smile of hers. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I had missed her. Just a few months later we were married.

“I don’t know what young Tom has done to deserve this, but you know your own heart, my boy.” (Trolley Days, Ch. 35)








~ 4 ~
Being the youngest in the family means I’m always the last to find out what’s going on. Everyone treats me like I’m too young to be told the truth, like I need to be protected. I guess that’s why I’m so curious about things. Okay, my sister and brother say I’m nosy and impertinent, but when you’re the youngest, you have to be that way to survive.

“You should be more careful driving your motorcar, Tommy. Don’t do anything foolish, please.” (Trolley Days, Ch. 16)




 



~ 5 ~
When I was five we got this pony, a Percheron. We named him Thor. He and I were closest friends. When I went off to school for the first time, he missed me terribly – I could tell. After grade six I left school and Thor and I became constant companions again. One thing about Thor, he understands me.

“It’s so maddening," said Jack to ____, "trying to make people understand what I’m saying, what I’m goin’ through. Do you know what I mean?” He looked up into his friend’s face. _____ took a step forward. His dark eyes grew round, his voice soft. “Ayeh, ayeh. I know washa mean, Jay-Jay, I sher do.” (The Dyeing Room, Ch. 28)



 



~ 6 ~
Carolyn Ford and I were eleven, maybe twelve, when we started working as volunteers at the Holyoke Women’s Home. We helped out in the kitchen when they put on big suppers. I don't believe I truly appreciated how important the work of the Home was until I met dear Clara. Meeting her changed my life. I’ll never forget her.

"But she's just a girl...like Carolyn and me. How could this happen?" (Trolley Days, Ch. 4)





 




~ 7 ~
I’ve known the Bernards ever since they moved to Westfield. A fine Catholic family they are, none finer, and strong supporters of St. Agnes School. Of course, they’ve had their share of sorrows, more than their share I’d say. But their faith has seen them through.

“That was almost fifty years ago, son. But I remember it like it was yesterday.” (The Dyeing Room, Ch. 22.)





 



~ 8 ~
Holyoke was a great place to grow up. On Sundays Father would take us out in his motorcar. One of our favorite destinations was Mountain Park. My brother, my sister, and I loved to go on the rides. I went to Forestdale Grammar School through grade eight, then my parents sent me to Dorchester School in Greenfield. That was great, but I missed my family, and, of course, my best friend. Jack was like a lifeline for me. Whenever I was in trouble, he was there to help.

“She hates me, you hate me, my parents hate me. So whatever happens to me, I deserve.” (Trolley Days, Ch. 35)





~ 9 ~
I loved school, but after grade seven I had to go to work in the mill. My mother promised me I could go back to school one day, but that day never came. I've always regretted that. That is why my husband and I promised ourselves that all our children would complete their education. I just pray we'll be able to keep that promise.

“Be sure to tell her how you feel, dear, promise me? Love is too precious …and life is too short …to put it off.”
(Trolley Days, Ch. 21)





 




~ 10 ~
Don't get me wrong, I love Holyoke, I really do. But it can be a difficult place to live, especially for a young woman who doesn't know her way around. Shortly after my husband and I moved to the city, I and several other ladies began to discuss the need for a place for young women to go when they arrived in Holyoke, a place where they would find a hot meal, a warm bed, a friendly face. In 1895 the Women's Home opened its doors on Maple Street. We are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish since then.

“Anne, dear, there are many reasons that girls get in a family way when they didn’t mean to or want to. We’ve talked about this, remember?” (Trolley Days, Ch. 4)







~ 11 ~
I remember I had quite a crush on Tommy Wellington for a while. He was handsome and smart and he was always gadding about in a fancy new motorcar. He wasn't exactly my beau, just a boyfriend. And he didn't always treat me real nice, but then, I can't say I deserved better - what I mean is I wasn't always trustworthy. Jack Bernard, I liked him too, but he wasn't really my type.

“Jack, there’s a social in two weeks at my dormitory. Would you like to come as my guest?” (Trolley Days, Ch. 25)



 





~ 12 ~
I had many good friends at Holyoke High School, some girls, some boys. I had known Jack Bernard ever since our first year of high school, but it was during rehearsals for the class play, The Importance of Being Earnest, that we became good friends. "Earnest" is the perfect word to describe Jack, serious, determined. I always admired that about him. I tried to be a good friend to Jack, and he was a very good friend to me.

"I guess I should have realized … I tricked you into this and I pushed you, and it embarrasses you to say that I’m the prettiest girl you ever saw … when I’m not pretty at all.”  (Trolley Days, Ch. 28)







~ 13 ~

I've lived all my life right here in Holyoke, with my mother. Mother and I, we do all right. We're not wealthy, not at all, but we make do with what we have. I really can't complain. Anne Wellington has been my best friend since, well, as long as I can recall. She can talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and never be at a loss for words. To be truthful, I wish I could be more like her.

"There’s just something I should tell you about Mother … about me … something we don’t talk about much. In fact I’ve never told anyone … It’s about … my … my father.”  (Trolley Days, Ch. 16)



~ 14 ~

I learned some harsh lessons early in my life. A young woman must learn to fend for herself in this world, to be strong and independent. But being independent does not mean being foolish or frivolous.
That is how I have raised my daughter, and it is a lesson I try to teach to our residents at the Women's Home.

“The way young women gallivant about these days is a fright. It’s not right, I say, it’s just too hard on their delicate constitutions.” (Noah's Raven, Ch. 22)






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