Every word of this story is true… Goodwife “Goody” Eunice Cole was the only woman in New Hampshire ever convicted of witchcraft. Legend has it, after she was finally released from prison because no commonwealth wished to support her for the rest of her seemingly never ending life, she ended up in Hampton, NH, living off the kindness (pity?) of others and shellfish she scrounged out of the marshlands behind the town. This is where I come in…
When I was in first grade parts of my family lived in a house on the shores of those very same marshlands. It was a rectangular shaped neighborhood, except for one odd street that extended diagonally into the swamp and simply dead-ended.
There were several houses along the street but for whatever reason one lot still held the remains of a house that had burned to the ground, many years before. We made up our own, “Legend of Goody Cole” and terrorized each other with stories of how that is where she used to live and still haunted the grounds.
Without giving away my age, in those days a pack of cigarettes cost fifty cents. Hell, we could find that in the cushions of the couch, or slip it out of our parent’s tip jar or even from “Uncle” Ray, who would pay us each a quarter to leave us alone. A quarter doesn’t sound like much, but that was twenty five Tootsie Rolls!
There was no smoking age back then. Us kids could drop two coins on the counter, ask for a pack of cigarettes and the man would ask, “What kind?” And even give us a couple books of paper matches to light them.
By “remains” of a burnt house I mean, most of a huge brick fireplace and part of the chimney. Huge fireplace! Large enough to hold six of us kids sharing a package of Camel “Straights.” We weren’t even old enough to know how to breathe in the smoke. We just liked to let them dangle from the corners of our mouths or hold them between our fingers, gesturing to emphasize our points, in our latest stories of “Goody.” Each of us trying to top the other.
Everything was going great until “Randy” probably accidentally inhaled a little too much and went home sick and puked all over the house. That would have been fine but I guess he was scared and when his parents questioned him, he cried and he cracked and he told everything… Everything! He ratted us out! Big time! First names, Last names, Parents names, Addresses! How the fuck did he know all this shit? He was only 7 years old.
The next day when my cousin and I got home from school, we got our asses kicked by our parents! Didn’t even know why we were getting our asses kicked? And I mean, KICKED! Out on the deck, down the second floor stairs, rolling down the short slope and into the very same waters where Goody would scavenge for horseshoe crabs!
After that we needed a note from our parents to buy cigarettes.
Would you trade an ass kickin’ for a story like this?
Visit the Hampton, NH Public Library Website for more Details on the Legend of Goody Cole.