E.G.H.S. Class of ’71: Tarrying With Yesterday

by | Jun 15, 2023

The East Greenwich High School Class of 1971 graduated 52 years ago on June 15. We’re holding our 50th reunion in August.

Blame the delay on Covid-19(71).

Anyway, it’s in keeping with our history: the brand-new East Greenwich High School wasn’t ready for us when we showed up for our first day on Wednesday, September 6, 1967. Construction was still wrapping up: electricians were putting the final touches on the science labs. Bells, clocks, and pay phones (remember them?) were all silent. The library’s furniture was still in crates. Principal Rufus Brackley implored us to keep our feet off the “unborn grass.”

We were the first freshmen class to occupy the $3 million building at the end of that half-mile long Avenger Drive. As a result, we were the first to graduate after spending all four of our high school years there. Three years before we arrived, the town had tapped a pair of architectural firms to draft blueprints for the school. One of them was The Architects Collaborative of Cambridge, Mass., an eight-member concern whose most famous partner was Walter Gropius, a founder of Germany’s famed Bauhaus school of architecture. “A Dash of Modernism in the Middle of the Woods,” read a headline over an article about the school’s design by the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities. “The team carefully combined red bricks and concrete using them as a primary building material,” it said. “The façade of the building acts as a nice canvas for shadows of the trees surrounding the building.”

Who knew?

Most of us seemed to like it. “These upholstered seats are nice — now I can sleep through any assembly!” one student said, peering into the auditorium on that long-ago opening day. “What’s with the holes in the walls?” another asked, referring to the hollows pocking the inside concrete walls. “Gum disposals?”

Our quadrangle, now more than a half-century old, has changed since we roamed those halls. These days, you can only get to the courtyard from inside the building. Those once-open passageways under the second floor, which many of us passed through to gather in the courtyard before the school building opened for the day, have been bricked over. There’s talk of adding eight classrooms — inside the courtyard. An additional gymnasium has been built, and the old football field is gone. So is (surprise!) the smoking room. The front entrance got a wholesale revamping several years ago, complete with a concrete cornhole game. The rock is still there.

Even with the wonders of the internet, people can still disappear. Web research suggests perhaps a third of our 191 classmates left Rhode Island after high school. East Greenwich is now a town of 14,600, 50 percent bigger than the 9,600 when we graduated. Yet the 184-student Class of 2023 was 4 percent smaller than ours. That hints at fewer kids, which translates into richer residents (there’s valet parking on Main Street, for Pete’s sake). East Greenwich has changed from a town with farms to a bedroom community with evermore McMansions and condos. Don’t go looking for the places we’ll remember all our lives. Local commerce has evaporated. Downtown moved, first to the malls while we were in high school, then to Warwick’s Route 2, which has become Rhode Island’s Las Vegas strip. Now it’s moving on to Amazon, leaving empty parking lots sprouting weeds through cracked asphalt.

Earnshaw’s, Kent, Koch’s and Thorpe’s. Benny’s and Woolworths. E.G. Hardware, the Gob Shop, and Jim Reynolds Sporting Goods. The Beacon Diner, Charbroil, Forge Café, Jolly Jon’s, Newport Creamery, Pal’s, Sun Valley Inn, TarTar’s, Tommy’s Spa, Two Guys, and Zenga’s. Browning’s and Ross Aker. Hospital Trust, Industrial National, Old Colony, and Old Stone. Buz Terry’s Main Street Music, Hathaway’s Music, and Bud Gallup’s. Almacs, Community Foods, First National, and IGA. Dick Cranston Ford, Main Street Garage, and Moone Motors. Pucino’s and Vespia’s garages. Greenwich Auto Parts and East Coast Speed. Bostitch, and East Greenwich Dairy. Silverman’s and Solomon’s. Brown Tailors & Cleaners. Olson & Beattie, and Wood jewelers. McKone’s and Romano’s package stores (“Hey sailor, can you do us a favor?”). Fin & Feather Lodge and Briarbrook Farm. The Rhode Island Pendulum. Scott the Florist and the Embassy Flower Shop. American Legion Post 15, and the Italo-American Club. The Kent and Greenwich movie theaters, and Hilltop Drive-In.

All gone.

The Hilltop, if you can believe it, is now the site of an old folks’ home. Hey — that’s us! It offers memory care (guess that’s us, too) near where the snack bar used to be.

The post office has moved. So has the police department. And the town hall. And, most critically, Dunkin’ Donuts. But our alma mater remains firmly planted, more than a half-century later, at 300 Avenger Drive. Alas, that sylvan safari down Avenger Drive vanished as the state built the new Route 4 alongside it, which opened when we were juniors.

Despite being the Class of ‘71, we spent more than 60 percent of our high school days in the 1960s. We entered with LBJ, and graduated with Nixon. While our high school years brought us terrible politicians, they brought us the best music (the Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, Woodstock), movies (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 2001: A Space Odyssey), and books (The Godfather, Slaughterhouse 5, The Outsiders). Or maybe we just thought they were the best. Which, when you come to think about it, is pretty much the same thing.

Like our high school years, our reunions have been eclectic, eccentric, and erratic. Befitting our geography, they’ve always been held a short walk from salt water. Closer than EGHS, that’s for sure. They began by ticking as regularly as a metronome.

On August 21, 1976, we gathered at the year-old East Greenwich Veteran Fireman’s Club for our 5th reunion (17,163 days before our “50th” is slated to take place in the very same building). The United States had just celebrated its Bicentennial (200 years old!!) and East Greenwich would celebrate its Tercentenary (300 years old!!!) the very next year. Five years later, on September 5, 1981, we assembled at the Quonset “O” Club, barely a month after Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales.

The Dutch Inn in Galilee hosted our 20th on August 3, 1991, three days before the birth of the World Wide Web remade the globe.

But then we lost our rhythm.

We didn’t get back together again until October 8, 2011, at the Dunes Club (thanks, Kit!), our 40th reunion delayed six weeks by Hurricane Irene. Apple’s Steve Jobs, had died three days before, four years after unveiling the iPhone.

Like the local businesses we grew up with, the faculty has moved on, too. Miss Belden, who taught English, was one of several teachers who stopped by the 40th. “I hope so-and-so shows up,” she said that night. “He was the first student to call me a bitch.” Unfortunately, she left us in 2017. And while that old football field is no more, a new one has risen, closer to the school. It boasts artificial turf, a press box above the home bleachers, and a six-lane track looping the gridiron. The Avenger logo sits in the middle of the field, named in honor of “Coach” Carcieri, who passed away in 1997. Others who have gone to that Great Faculty Lounge in the Sky include Mr. Allard, Mr. Behan, Mr. Bocchio, Mr. Brackley, Miss Byrnes, Mr. Greene, Mr. Harley, Mr. Iannazzi, Mr. Laterra, Mr. Nagel, Mr. Pinheiro, Mr. Regini, Mrs. Revkin, Mr. Roberti, Mrs. Roderick, Miss Scialo, and Mr. Wragg. These, and those teachers still with us, did their best. For sure, some of their bests were better than others’. But time’s passage has left most of us grateful for their efforts.

Alas, our classmates are passing on, too. We have lost at least 31 of them, about 16 percent. They’re believed to include Debbie BellRichard Bowes. Bob Brennan. Kit Brown. Jim Broz. Mike Bulawka. Nikki Champage. Francie Cliffe. Linda Corrente. Jim Fitch. Chris Hanson. Paul Henry. Judy Johnson. John KettelleJim Lee. Kevin Masse. Carl Mastrianni. Brad McCuen. Gerry McGonigle. Dana McGovern. John MournighanDonald Perkins. John Roberti. Mary Anne Sadak. Cindy Shannon. Dennis Ucci. Steve Vander Pyl. Richard Vespia. Robert Vinal. Robert Whitmarsh. Elaine Wilson. (Kindly reach out to the author, here, with any corrections or additions.) When you flip through the Crimson yearbook, its pages beaming with young faces, there is no rhyme or reason for who remains and who has left. Each passing is a heart-wrenching reminder that “we are stardust,” as Joni Mitchell put it just before our junior year.

How we wish they could be joining us this summer.

But such losses were the furthest thing from our minds on Graduation Day. We gathered on the faculty parking lot, behind the school, at 5:30 in the late afternoon on Tuesday, June 15, 1971 (the Class of 2023’s June 4 graduation was held at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence). The Pendulum called ours a “simple and short” ceremony. “Each girl graduate was dressed in a white robe and carried a long-stemmed red rose,” the paper noted (boys wore crimson, sans blooms). Class President Tom Bouchard spoke “briefly,” and Vice President Heidi Russell presented “a yet-to-be completed mosaic” on behalf of the class (anybody seen it?).

School Committee Chairman George Blackburn handed out diplomas. Parents, told not to applaud individual graduates, obeyed. “However, students broke into cheers when Dana McGovern and Robert Brennan received their diplomas,” the paper added. “Both have been residents at the high school for some time.”

And then it was over.

“It was the coolest, most comfortable, most informal graduation ever seen at EGHS,” The Pendulum reported. We were high school graduates. Work, the military, college, marriage — life, in other words — beckoned.

(Click here for a Class of 1971 slideshow)

Although we didn’t know it at the time, we were graduating at a hinge in history. On the good side, six of the 12 humans who have ever walked on the Moon, all American, did so while we were in high school. Neil Armstrong was the first, in the summer following our sophomore year. Gene Cernan was the last, 18 months after graduation. Only four of the dozen are alive. Our fingers are crossed that there will be more, soon. For, among other reasons, for our children and grandchildren, who have never witnessed such a wonder.

On the bad side, we lived through gore — President Kennedy was killed when we were in 5th grade. We had to learn a new, and scary, word: assassination. We learned it again when his brother, Robert, and Martin Luther King met the same fate during our freshman year. Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State amid our junior year final exams. Two days before we graduated, the New York Times’ Neil Sheehan began publishing the Pentagon Papers. The documents detailed how and why the U.S. government lied its way into the Vietnam War by misleading those who elected them. And their kids. The conflict took the life of East Greenwich native Mark Mellor, 19, on May 30, 1968. That was Memorial Day, amid the deadliest year for U.S. troops in the conflict. He died just before the end of our freshman year. Mark had graduated in June, 1967, 89 days before we became Avengers. Many of us knew his mother, Ruth, as the East Greenwich school nurse who tended to our boo-boos and blahs. His father, Harold, was an East Greenwich policeman, trying to keep us in line. All tolled, 39,574 of the 58,220 U.S. troops killed in Vietnam — 68 percent — died while we were in high school.

As we gathered in the gloaming that graduation evening, President Nixon was complaining in the Oval Office at that very hour to Henry Kissinger about that Pentagon Papers leak. “Henry, there is a conspiracy,” Nixon told Kissinger at 5:13 p.m. “Neil Sheehan’s a bastard. I’ve known him for years.” Two days later, the president gave the illegal order that telegraphed the Watergate break-in exactly one year later. Nixon resigned in disgrace two years after that. Eight months later, South Vietnam collapsed. America had lost its first, but not its last, war. And its innocence.

The Class of 1971 was born, and started school, riding a wave of post-World War II confidence and swagger. But as we graduated, it began to curdle into the cynicism that has ripened into the rancid political rot enveloping us today. So our fingers are crossed again, hoping that our kids and grandkids can get this country back on track. Maybe help repay the $32 trillion, and counting, national debt we are bequeathing them (it was $398 billion when we graduated — it has grown nearly 8,000 percent since then). That $32 trillion is closing in on $100,000 for every American. Think of it as the lottery you never won, but that your children, and their children, and their children, will have to pay (“Thanks a lot, Boppie,” I can hear my grandkids telling me, once they’re old enough to realize they’ve been snookered by those charged with protecting them).

But such thoughts were the furthest things from our minds on that June evening 52 years ago. As the sun set over Frenchtown, Valedictorian Carol Boisclair and Salutatorian Evelyn Christoph read “Your Children are Not Your Children” by Kahlil Gibran.

“Life goes not backward,” it reads, “nor tarries with yesterday.”

But with all due respect, the Lebanese-American writer, who spent some of his own high school years just up the road in Boston, was only 40 when he penned that line. Those of us still here from the Class of `71 passed that milestone nearly half a lifetime ago.

We 1971 Avengers have had the luxury, and luck, of reflecting on our high school education, and the town that nurtured us. We do so with humility, amazement, and gratitude.

So, as we enter our eighth decade, we’ll damn well tarry with yesterday if we want.

With today, for sure.

And with tomorrow, for as long as we can.

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Judith Ahern
Judith Ahern
June 15, 2023 10:41 am

Beautifully written. Life seemed a lot simpler back then. Thanks Mark for all the memories.

Chuck Hanrahan
June 15, 2023 3:22 pm

Hi, grew up in the real EG went to Hendricken with Mike Convery, Pat Marcello; George Brennan and crew really liked your article. Miss the old days and people. My family owned the Embassy. Times were so much better then . Thanks for the memories. Chuck

Douglas Van Reeth
Douglas Van Reeth
June 15, 2023 10:56 pm

Great read Mark.
Class of ‘73 celebrating our 50th right behind you, on 9/23…

Pam (guise) Merl
Pam (guise) Merl
June 16, 2023 7:48 am

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for taking the time and care to create such an entertaining and thorough history of our class.

Paul Daly
Paul Daly
June 16, 2023 2:45 pm

First off Mark, congrats on a very detailed and interesting article. Back in the late 60’s I worked at WYNG Radio in Warwick and the station also had an East Greenwich studio on Main St. across from the fire station. Once a week students would come into the EG studio and give a 30 minute report
on East Greenwich High School News. Many on the companies you mentioned in your piece were steady advertises on WYNG which was a LOCAL station for Warwick & EG. Those were the days when radio served the community.

Richard Andersen
Richard Andersen
June 16, 2023 4:31 pm

Thanks for the well done article. Being in the class of 68 has me knowing a number of you and those on the sad list to remember.

Laura Sullivan
Laura Sullivan
June 16, 2023 4:59 pm

Mark –

I am inspired and rather gobsmacked after reading this articulate and detailed journey down Memory Lane. From the list of places-no-more, to your classmates and EGHS faculty, – many of them gone, to the broader context of the times, the world and the music, – your words captured them all so well.

As it happens, I too graduated in 1971. We were the Thunderbolts of Cranston High School East, also the name of our newspaper where I made wonderful friends and took a stab at journalism. Unlike your graduating class, relatively small in number, our class was RI’s highest ever: 721. Our Commencement was held at Brown’s Meehan Auditorium.

Though growing up in Edgewood, my family’s roots are here, so the names and times you mention are familiar, if not then, certainly now, over a half-century later.

While I certainly wish the best for all the graduating classes of 2023, I certainly wouldn’t want to be among them these days. Time does have a way of softening the rough edges as difficult times fade into the background. As Bob Seger’s lyric goes:

“Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

Thanks for this wonderful tribute to your always-Hometown.

Elizabeth R Koenig
Elizabeth R Koenig
June 17, 2023 7:47 am

What a fun piece with such great writing. A good example of why ChatGPT can’t replace human writing and thinking!

June 18, 2023 11:50 am

GREAT piece of writing ! As you replaced me back then (remember it?) maybe you can get on board again.Elizabeth can put you in the lineup. Really loved your memories but looked at reunion pics and you guys dressed like dweebs and the neocons you didn’t like.
As my sainted Mother used to say. “LaVecchio! Old age sets in. Looks like it is setting in with your class. You can get old BUT your don’t have to lose your spirit. Keep that and keep on keeping on Mark. Keep on writing, at least.
And continue to share your memories here. Sharing is what you should have learned in kindergarten. Keep doing it.
The BEST as always.

Fred Procopio
Fred Procopio
June 19, 2023 8:15 am

Mark, thanks. Beautiful. I have so many thoughts but could never put them here with the eloquence you share. Thanks for the memories. Be well. Fred

Robert F Bergeron
Robert F Bergeron
June 19, 2023 10:57 am

This is wonderful, Mark. A treasure. Means a lot to me, Class of 1960, with its flavor of EG, as we knew it, a magical place. Thank you. I agree with Bruce. We must continue to share. Terry

June 20, 2023 9:14 pm

PS your call….

Earnshaw’s Pharmacy. Owen Earnshaw also had a brother possibly two who maintained the Wickford Pharmacy/Store. Prior to codeine becoming a controlled substance it was in the cough medicine we were given before bedtime.
Earnshaw’s (as well as others) made their own ice cream, some made soda and of course syrup for a Vanilla/Cherry Coke. Mrs. Gage? behind soda fountain at Earnshaw’s and John Koch (different pharmacy) also a soda jerk.

Kent Pharmacy, Gino and eventually his son Stephen was a pharmacist at that pharmacy. Wasn’t Chris Brennan the soda jerk at Kent?
Thorpe’s, Didn’t it replace Koch’s (after moving) to down by the Armory or was it other way around?

Benny’s on Main Street a place where Ronnie Shaddeck would change tires in the garage in the back before he moved on.

Woolworth’s where Pete Haswell was Store Manager before it was replaced by Bud Gallop’s. Pete would take over delivery of the Journal and Evening Bulletin and Woolworth’s would move to where CVS on Main is now. Urban legend has it Bud Gallop had something to do with insisting on putting in the parking lot where the old Town Hall once stood.

EG Hardware. Gotta think. Didn’t that become Red Davis’s Antique Store. A place where he set out chairs and soda crates so those who know him could watch as my uncle Tar went shackled into and came out of the Kent County Court House (now the Town Hall) for running numbers.

Gob Shop, Main Street and Union. Across Union was Murray’s run by Gene McGivney. Best grilled hot dogs in town for a dime.

Kent Charbroil, Angelo Lazarides. “Greco Dogs” as Lolly would call them and Billy “Charbroil” would have a half dozen or so running up his arm to add the meat sauce, onions, mustard and celery salt. And of course Cliffy Rice a Sox Fan and I a Yankee fan had to listen to him yap but yet enjoyable.

Forge Cafe/Scurti’s (sp & some distant relation from the old country.) “Bud Nelson, had big old Cadillac, top down during summer and would see him on his rounds at The Oaks. Son was John if I recall.

Jolly Jon’s, Newport Creamery hangouts for all us kids as well as Godard Park where you’d go meet your friends and “to be seen.”
Fifteen cent hamburgs and the greasiest grinders ever made were at Jolly Jon’s. Unfortunate the spring water fountain was removed.

Palermo’s, (Pal’s). Frank, Arthur and Theresa. Frank and more Arthur would travel to Florida yearly or every other year for vacation with my father Tony the Barber. Race Tracks in Florida were Gulfstream, Hialeah and Tropical. An occasional visit to Cuba pre Castro. Also included in that bunch was an individual nicknamed “Jackson” Kevin Pezzucco’s father who owned Kent Auto Top where on any given Sunday, there could be a crap game. Henry Minero also. Henry’s car broke down on the way to Miami. This was before I-95. Henry and another went looking to get a tow. Henry came back with brand new car.

Sun Valley Inn. A bucket of blood which would open at 7:00am to catch the 3rd shift workers from Bostich.

Tar’s. Originally a Mom & Pop Store where five cents would buy you ten cents (or more) of candy. I would go to certain places to collect money for people to play the number or my mother, Tar’s sister would drive me up on Main to collect from the people who owned and operated a business. The money whether a few penny’s, nickel, dime was really inconsequential as long as you didn’t lose the paper that had the number(s) written on it. “Raimondo, don’t you lose that paper” was what I often heard. After all the money was collected and numbers called in Tar would give me the list. Before I made my first communion I’d be sitting in my grandparents house next door with this list waiting for “Jack” to call and read the list, #543 – $.10, 243 – $.01. 500/600 to one, $6.00 was a week’s groceries.
Under the floor in the back of Tar’s a trap door that lead to a small casino equipped with slots, crap table, card table and home made hooch.

Tommy’s Spa. Where Tommy Reed (lived at the split of Liberty and Pierce) solo on bass wrote the words “I think I’ll go down Tommy Spa and get myself a cherry coke.”

Two Guys from Italy prior was Jerry’s Restaurant where I’d meet my father after the 7:00am Mass at OLM on Main, have breakfast and occasionally head to Kent Auto Top for the crap game or mainly home.

Zenga’s and the Italian Club. Joe Sr. the former his brother Cosmo “Gus” the latter, my father’s cousins. Always uncle to me, working for the latter I personally tasted no better sauce anywhere, in any town or in any city.
Actually Zenga’s sauce on Main was also extremely delicious. The Club’s Banquet Hall was where the first EG Hall of Fame Banquet was held. If I recall Henry Murray Was MC. Italians weddings always consisted of antipasto, Italian wedding soup, pasta and a chicken dinner and the spumoni. Maybe crème de menthe added. Down by the Italian Club was the Grain Store.

Buzz Terry Main Street Music. You are one of the few I have heard (or read) call it that. Usually it was Main Street Music. Joe Bisbano was proprietor. Joe was from Bristol. Buzz Terry was the stage name for his son’s orchestra. Joe could repair and play about all the instruments but with his name ending in a vowel, la mandolino, Il suo preferito.
His wife Stella I believe her name would accompany him about every Wednesday. To have those guitars that hung on those walls today especially the red Gretsch with the Monkees logo. My cousin Dennis Ucci played accordion. Sheet music cost about a buck. Joe caught on as Dennis could memorize the melody (so he wouldn’t have to buy sheet music) and would not let Dennis near the rack of music. It seemed Joe had all the albums as soon as they were released.

Frank Hathaway. A bit of time has passed for me to recall the first Hathaway’s location. Down by where that cigar lounge is now?? But on Rocky Hollow and Main we’d sit there a few hours especially after skipping catechism. Frank never seemed to mind our company. We could nurse a Vanilla Coke for hours.

Same with Ralph Catanio at Pittsburgh Paint. Nothing to offer us but his incessant memorable wit while his lit cigarette was turning to ash as he held it between his lips. Him, Kenny Convery Sr. (Arnold’s Garage) and also Swede always followed the Volunteer throughout New England. Telling me at 16 to go to their station wagon, get a case of beer and “RICCIO, DON’T TAKE ANY.” (Sure, 22 in a case, right?) One Muster held in the Commonwealth a nearby Club called “The Bachelor’s Three” running into Joe Willy hisself.

Which brings me for those who know to EG Diary and the McGraw Family and the connection to Arnold’s Garage.

My mother at one time worked at a bakery on Main. Also drove cab for Arnold’s Garage with Kirby as dispatcher and she also drove the ambulance.

Was The Rail Road Inn mentioned? It was owned by my cousin Joe Mattiace. Small venue for big names that played there like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis to name a few. A cousin of mine has a Jerry Lee ticket, $3.50 complimentary two free drinks. Once big venues came in small venues including The Warwick Musical Theatre were out.

Jim Reynold’s Sporting Goods who allowed me to pay what I could afford a week to purchase my first ball glove, and playing cards (high-low Jack) with Pete Olivera (who worked there) and others for a couple hours. Pete had mastered fly tying at Reynold’s. Aside from seeing Pete at the Store, me, David Correria (sp) and Tommy Reed would catch him down Narragansett Pier when it was a strip, as we all surfed. One year 1965 I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers had training camp at URI and also training at the original Beach Comber.

Dick Cranston reminds me of the Firemen’s Carnival. A week or so of carnival in which doughboys permeated the air. And after the opening parade a fife and drum corps would gather in The Elms calling muster to play 2-3 tunes after about 4-5 beers inside between the bar and pool table. The carnival held at Elderage field where the EG Townies also played. I should mention Swift Gym Wednesday night basketball and a place for us kids to play cards, softball, badminton and sports all summer and then skate on Payne’s or Bleachery Pond as well as the Cove and over by Trafalgar in the winter.

Brownings, managed by a good friend‘s (Bill Kelly) father. Bill unfortunately has passed. Many may remember his brother Robert, Bob Kelly.

Silverman’s & Solomon’s. No such thing as credit cards and you were allowed to go in the back stock rooms to check out the clothing and shoes/sneakers. Midland Mall opened 1967. The writing was on the wall.

Olson & Beattie, Wood’s jewelers. You’re making me think. Watch repair and Brownie Instamatic cameras. Did you mention Shop O’ Mat on Division?

Mackone’s and Romano’s. The latter Henry Murray playing countless games of Gin there in the evening and then give me a lesson or two at The Oaks when I was old enough.

Someone mentioned the radio station across from the Fire-station. If I recall it may have been at a time just before the Mersey Beat, and the DJ spun two turntables with 45’s on each. He can clarify it.

Leo Petterutti was the barber on the other side of the radio station. I would sit at times on the steps and talk to Leo. His son was a Doctor. Leo told me while he was recuperating from a heart attack his patrons went to my father. Back then no compensation for that so my father as Leo told me would come over and pay him the money he collected from Leo’s clients.

My father I believe started out with Angelo Vestri whose shop was part of the Little Tot Shop & Mary Ann’s. Being an immigrant and no better than a 5-6 grade education, Angelo helped my father learn and read the English language. And now there is discussion the town wants to raze my grandfather’s house on Queen. A place after swimming in the cove all would pick his grapes as he made la vino. I do have 4 vines growing from his vineyard in my backyard. All the Italians east of Main St. had vineyards. Most made wine and some of the vineyards were from my grandfathers. He didn’t use sugar as he had different grape selections some from as far as California to sweeten it.

You mention Community Foods. Was that the one on Queen & Marlborough? I knew it as Izzi’s Market as if Tar was filling a Saturday order called in and didn’t have it, he’d call up there and I or one of my cousins would retrieve it.

When the Izzi’s moved from that location it was where Benny’s relocated after from Main Street as unfortunately Izzi’s market closed.

The movie theaters. The Erinakers. Well known and very well respected family. Carl Yarlbrough worked at the concession stand at Hilltop Drive Inn. During intermission I’d go up to buy clam cakes, hotdogs, a drink or two. My mother was Carl’s mother Maid of Honor. Carl would tell me to come back just prior to the end of the intermission and give me the choice of the leftover food because it was only going to be discarded.

Let me thankfully if it gets published wind this up. Thank you very much. I don’t have to add anything much about EGHS. I was a freshman when Mark Mellor was a senior at EGHS on Cedar. I got to know him as I sat at the same lunch table with him, Joey F., Billy B., Bobby H., and others. Between there and Godard Park during summer weekends. Mark Mellor “Be just and fear not.” 1967 Crimson Year Book.

For the ones that have unfortunately passed on and we all fondly remember,

Mark Twain once said “Humor is tragedy plus time.”


March to Lexington Redux

March to Lexington Redux

Above: Kentish Guard march down Peirce Street Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Photo by Laura Sullivan...

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