By Dorothy Dean Holman
Wayside Farm, Hampton, NHCa. 1980s
It was Art Linkletter who said, "People Are Funny", and any one who dea1s with the public will certainly agree,
It's been quite a few years since my husband and I grew fruits and vegetables to sell at our Wayside Farm stand, but I still remember some of the experiences in my capacity as clerk there.
On the whole our customers were wonderful, kind, considerate and thoughtful, but there were always a few difficult ones in any group of people.
To begin with, there was the customary greeting of "How are you?" which seems to have become just that, a greeting like "Hi" or "Hello". How many times during the course of a season was I greeted that way! I couldn't count them. Most people don't really care very much how you are. They don't even give you a chance to answer. At my stand, it went something like this —— Customer: "How are you how's the corn this morning?" Me: "er..." or Customer "How are you got any fresh peas?" Me: "I'm f. . . " If I could have gotten it in, I would have answered "I'm fine", but I'm sure they wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't answered at all, or if I'd said, " I'm fine except that I fell off the roof this morning."
Man (or woman) is a strange creature. Do you notice they always want what you haven't got? Take string beans, for instance. You have on your stand a nice lot of young, tender wax beans and what do they say? "No green beans today?" Next day you have a quantity of especially nice green beans and their cry is "What? No wax beans?"
But the next day you have both kinds, and you say to yourself, Now, I can please everyone." But no. Someone comes in and cries in a disappointed tone, "No Kentucky Wonder beans?" as though the world would fall apart if they didn't serve Kentucky Wonder beans at dinner that night. You're ready to throw in the towel, but you smile and say, "I'm sorry. Not today."
It isn't only beans. It's the same with beets, carrots, cabbage or whatever. If you have one, they want the other. Take cabbage now. You fill up a section of the stand with large, green cabbage, and because you have so many, you price them low. Are they happy? Perhaps some are, but there's always the one who asks, "Haven't you anything smaller? I couldn't use such a big one. There's only two of us." We regret that is all we have and suggest they give half to a neighbor. Sometimes the suggestions is taken, sometimes not.
Another time you might be cleaning up the cabbage patch and cut them all, even the very smallest ones, and you price them ridiculously low. What happens? Someone comes in and makes the snide remark, "Awfully small, aren't they? Haven't you anything larger?" They aren't telling you anything. You knew they were small when you put them there, but since the customer is always right, you smile and agree, promising larger a few days hence.
Then there are the potatoes, You grade them according to size and mark the small ones a paltry 2 cents a pound. Someone comes in and asks for 5 pounds of them, and as you start filling the bag, they stand over you and say, "Pick out the biggest ones, will you?"
You can put up with all the foregoing but what really gets you is the question put to you so many times during the season, and that is, "Is this all you've got?" Perhaps you have two or three bushels of corn just in from the field and still someone will ask the above question.
You wonder how many they want and would like to ask them, but you smile and say, "I'm afraid so." You let them pick out their own and after pulling downs the husks and examining minutely a dozen or more, (and that's a conservative count) how many do they buy? Half a dozen!
Comes Fall and the pumpkins are stacked high in the yard. I often wished I had a movie camera when a customer (usually a woman) came to pick out one for her doorstep. I never counted, but I bet she handled more than 25 before selecting 6, arranging them in a row and choosing the right ONE!
Or a mother might bring her little child to pick out one for a Jack-o-lantern, and say, "Now, find the one you want." But when they did, Mother would exclaim, "Not that one. It's too big?" or "That's not a good shape. How about this one?" and the child would come away with Mother's choice, not theirs.
And so it went every year for forty years. "As a rule, Man's a fool. When it's hot, He wants it cool. When it's cool, He wants it hot; Always wanting what is not." Whoever wrote those lines knew what he was talking about. Perhaps he operated a roadside vegetable stand.
People Are Funny!
Wayside Farm, Built In 1780
Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hanscom
The Merchants Review
Thursday, June 8, 1967
Built around 1780, it was owned and occupied by four generations of a Godfrey family, according to (Joseph) Dow's History of Hampton (1638-1892), beginning with Jonathan, through Nathan and Albert and ending with George Washington Godfrey (known locally as George Wash) and his sister, Jane Godfrey Thompson.
Albert Locke of North Hampton bought it and in the early 1920's, sold it to Jacob Purington, from whom the late Marshall Holman acquired the property in the fall of 1925.
Known as Wayside Farm, Mr. Holman operated the 18 acres, more or less, as a market garden for 40 years.
The new owners will take possession in the near future and plan to continue selling fruits and vegetables, along with Mr. Hanscom's work of painting and paper hanging.
(Footnote: Marshall Sidney and Dorothy Dean Holman had two sons, William Dean Holman, born March 15, 1923, died October 24, 1998; and John Marshall Holman, born December 16, 1928 who lives in Hampton with his wife Constance A. (Purington) Holman. Connie's grandfather, ironically, was Jacob Purington who owned the Holman property in 1925 and sold it to Marshall & Dorothy Holman in 1925.
Marshall was born in Goshen, MA on 1/25/1898 and died in Exeter, NH on 8/5/1965 at the age of 67 years. Dorothy was born in Millis, MA on 8/13/1895 and died in Hampton on 4/17/1984 at the age of 89 years. They were married in Millis, MA on April 23, 1920 having been married for 45 years at the time of Mr. Holman's death.)