Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gone, All Gone

If you’re my age – that is, old enough to remember getting up to change the channel – you’ll probably understand.

The Oriental Theater in Mattapan was an old-time movie palace, spacious and elegant. It was flea-bitten by the time I started frequenting it, but I was so young it never struck me as anything other than beautiful. There were gigantic statues of Buddha high up on each side wall with electrically-glowing red and green eyes (one statue had the red eyes and the other the green.) If you got tired of the film, you leaned back and looked at the ceiling. There you found a rolling projection of an outdoor starlit night. I would give ten years to be able to spend one more afternoon in that place – at least, if I knew I was destined to live to 120 and I wasn’t 110. It is now an electrical supply store.

The Baker's Chocolate factory was headquartered a couple of blocks from my childhood home in Dorchester. When I was a kid, the entire neighborhood smelled of chocolate. Baker’s moved and much of the factory was converted into condominiums. Other sections were razed to make a parking lot.
The Gilbert Stuart was my grade school, a three-story brick building on Richmond Street in Lower Mills. The public library was just up the street. It was also a lovely old brick building, with many odd nooks and crannies that endeared it to kids like me. I spent hours of immense pleasure there, exploring the myriad worlds opened to me once the school taught me to read.
The library building was sold and turned into offices. They then tore down my school to build a new library. Two memories killed for the price of one.

The Elevated – then part of the Orange Line - was considered an eyesore by many. But it was what I rode to my grandparent’s home for many Easters, Christmases and other special occasions, so I loved it. There was opposition to its removal from people in the neighborhoods it served, but the MBTA promised alternate means of transportation. Some of those people are still waiting for that alternate transportation, but the el is no more.

So many places gone and a piece of my heart with them. Most of the candlepin bowling alleys where I played that uniquely New England sport with friends; The Rat, Kenmore Square’s answer to CBGB's and the most famous venue I played as a bum musician; My neighborhood store, where Charlie Capabianco let us kids go behind the counter to pick out penny candy, trusting us to be honest - which we were 19 times out of 20; Grant's, Woolworth's, Kresge's, Lechmere's, Gilchrist's, Zayre's, Raymond's, Kennedy's, Mickey Finn's, Filene’s and the granddaddy of them all that nobody from my age group could even imagine not existing in downtown Boston, Jordan Marsh; all gone.

Among other things, I lost a chocolate-scented neighborhood, floating Buddhas, an indoor starlit sky and a railway that traveled through the air. I lost magic.

You may not realize it yet, if you’re younger, but they’re going to take away your magic, too. You probably won’t be able to stop them any more than I did. About the best you can hope for is a nice editor who will occasionally let you be an old grump and write a column about it.

(And, since my editor at The Boston Herald doesn't seem to have been overwhelmed by this, it's nice to have another outlet and I thank you for listening.)

Soon, with more better stuff.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Sports News Of The Past!

In my continuing quest to bring you nothing but the best...

Hey! That rhymes! You've already gotten more value than I intended!

Anyway, I had a piece published in both Wareham and Rochester concerning the then-upcoming "Cranberry Bowl" high school football game between the Wareham Vikings and the Old Rochester Regional Bulldogs. It was a preview of the game, with lots of good quotes from both coaches. Here's where you can find it!

Cranberry Bowl preview - Wareham!

Cranberry Bowl preview - Old Rochester!

(Don't worry; you don't have to read it twice. They're both the same. It appeared in both local editions.)

In case you're wondering, Old Rochester won, 41 - 13.

In other old sports news, the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31 - 24. That game featured perhaps the worst play call in the entire history of the National Football League. If you saw it, you'll never forget it. It was awesomely stupid. If you didn't see it, here is a video recreation.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, October 04, 2015


MY WIFE and I are both coughing and hacking and bringing up lovely stuff from our lungs and having headaches and generally feeling like pieces of crap.

(Maybe we're not feeling like pieces of crap. I've never had a conversation with a piece of crap, so I'm not positive that I know how a piece of crap feels. I apologize to any pieces of crap I may have inadvertently offended.)

Aside from the coughing and hacking, there's good news! I'm in the Boston Herald again!

(Well, at least I think it's good news. You may have another opinion.)

Since I am sick and coughing and hacking, you should probably get out of here as fast as you can, before you catch something and start coughing and hacking. So go to the Boston Herald website RIGHT NOW!!!



Soon, with more better stuff.