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This Month's Krier
Growing up in Killingworth
by Kathleen Amoia

Marty Machold
As Killingworth celebrates its 350th birthday, Marty Machold is close to rounding out his eighth decade here. And if you run into him around town, the first thing you will notice is the big smile on his face, the second is the mischievous twinkle in his blue eyes. He has loved this place since he was old enough to get outdoors by himself. Marty was born on Chestnut Hill in 1940 when the population of Killingworth was 1230 and you pretty much knew all your neighbors. In Tom Lentz's "Timeline of the History of Killlingworth Connecticut", the notation for 1940 highlights the organizing of the volunteer fire company by the Killlingworth Men's Club. The first firehouse was the garage across from the Killingworth Cafe, the first fire truck a modified flat bed Model T. Lentz notes that the school population that year numbered 89.

Marty's family soon moved from Chestnut Hill to the Lovell Parmelee house on Route 81 opposite and somewhat down from the entrance to the middle school. Built in the latter part of the 1800s, it was unusual for the town because of its stone construction. A rental at the time Marty's family moved in, the house and fields were originally part of Parmelee Farm. The property included hay fields and a huge barn. Marty remembers friends of his parents visiting from Summer Hill Road in North Madison and flicking their lights on and off to let the Macholds know when they had arrived home safely. That would not be possible today.

Eventually Marty's parents would build a house in the Lane District and at six, he would start his education at the Lane School House. Most of us know the building as the former VFW Hall on Pond Meadow Rd and Route 81. It is presently owned by the family that lives next door. With no central heat, Killingworth's school houses had wood stoves. In winter, Marty explained, if you were on the side of the room with the stove, you were too hot and if you were on the other side you were too cold. But Marty had it just right because he was in the middle in front of the teacher for reasons easily guessed by those who know him.

KES opened in 1948 with four rooms, running water, inside bathrooms and central heat. Marty and his classmates moved in beginning a new chapter in their young lives. At that time, graduating from 8th grade in Killingworth meant going to Madison's Daniel Hand High School. Marty was one of just two boys from Killingworth to go there in '54. He still has his gold graduation pin, a bar with KES stamped on it and a dangling '54.

As a kid in a rural town, Marty remembers vaudeville shows at the VFW, Boy Scout activities, and the Pilgrim Fellowship at the Congregational Church. When asked if he had become an Eagle Scout, he said he enjoyed the Scouts until he found out about girls and then lost interest. Although he did remark on the high number of Eagle Scouts Killingworth troops produce and the wonderful projects they have done for the town. He remembers barn dances at the old Town Hall as well as town picnics at Deer Lake Camp.

Large family picnics at the Old Town Hall are fondly remembered as well. They involved Hesers and Griswolds, cousins, aunts and uncles. Games were played and much food eaten. It was a time before the barbecue became universal picnic fare and the women cooked hams, baked pies, and made salads at home. As the day wore down, one of Marty's uncles would play the fiddle and some would danceand sing. Some were just happy to listen. Winter fun to a Killingworth kid meant sledding and skating. Sledding down Pond Meadow Rd was a long, swift ride with few cars and no quick snow removal. As for skating, Anderson's Pond on the same road was a great place unless you fell through the ice and found out just how cold cold water could be. That was a mistake Marty made only once.

When Cowboy Valley was built in 1957, Marty worked as a gofer for the construction crew. He worked the first season of its operation as a cowboy and at times a sheriff. His youthful cowboy self can be found on Page 129 of Lentz's "A Photographic History of Killingworth." But graduation from high school meant looking for a steady job and Marty began his career as a large equipment operator Marty and his wife, Bette, live in the house he built on North Parker Hill Road where he cultivates gardens of sunflowers, dahlias and vegetables. His beautiful and varied sunflowers were on display each year of the Killingworth Foundation's Sunflower Project Awards Day when he brought a bucket full of them. At the end of the contest at the seasons final farm market, (He won ribbons.) he would hand his sunflowers out to children and their mothers.

To come full circle, Marty loves what the town and an army of dedicated volunteers have done at the old Parmelee homestead. "I think it is the greatest thing that has happened in Killingworth, it's beautiful. Everything that has been done there has been done with real craftsmanship and effort. I will absolutely be there on Sept. 2 to celebrate both Parmelee and Killingworth." Marty wouldn't live anywhere else.