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June 07, 2008

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eastville

You can't forget East Somerville!

The Mount Vernon's always been a classy joint for a few beers or the best Prime Rib you've ever had. Robi Tool used to be on the opposite corner of Cross street; Grover Pharmacy was where Robi is now. Patsy's is where you can get the best half-moons on earth. Casey's used to be an old classic, Moriarty's (when I was a little girl, I could give the old men in there a kiss on the cheek for a quarter). The movie theater on Broadway at the end of Franklin was awesome, I remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark there.

Everyone I went to school with at East Somerville got their morning snacks at Aggie's on the corner of Pearl and Franklin, Miller's Market on Pearl & Cross, TipTops (formerly Mac's, named after Mr. MacPhail) on the corner of Pearl & Walnut (now Pearl Street Market), or J&S (awesome subs!) on Cross & Ellsworth. There was also Mitrano's on McGrath Highway, between Delaware and Pearl streets; Tony owned it, and had a Mass Lottery sign inside with his picture on it (I think he won it in the late 70s or early 80s). Dolly also worked there. I think I was able to get cases of beer 'for my father' at a young age. Heh. Now it's Tran's Market, I think.

If you lived on Gilman, Aldrich or Virginia streets and had to get to the opposite side of McGrath Highway, you'd have to walk under the Gilman street bridge and take the first left- onto 'the hillside' so that you could go under the highway instead of over it (no getting run over like Mrs. Drego's son this way). The hillside was good for sledding as well!

There's no better pizza than Mama Lisa's, unless you want to eat in, then you hit the Paddock, or if you prefer your slices to be square, Leone's is your cup of tea. Mr. Vicente pumps the cheap gas with a smile, and crazy Salvatore on Pearl (between McGrath and Jasper) is happy to yell at you (to this day, even) for riding your bike on the sidewalk, regardless of how old you are.

If you're the church-going type, there's Saint Benedict's- with Monsignor Hogan in the good old days, now Frs. McLaughlin and Doucet, with their school- Little Flower- which has been closed for some snooty charter school. We always called it 'Big Weed' anyway. ;) There's also St. Ann's if you're toward the high school side of East Somerville; You used to be able to find Father Casey there- now Father Steve presides there.

The first American flag was raised at Prospect hill by General Washington. James Miller, 66 years old at Revolution time, declared that he was, "Too old to run," and was shot on-site by the redcoats- in front of the Boys & Girls Club (School Department now I think? Also formerly the Pope School) on Wsashington street.

Somerville High School, in the 1990s, was declared Massachusetts' best-kept secret. Bobby "Boris" Pickett, who sang "The Monster Mash" was raised in Somerville and graduated from the high school. The Highland basketball all-time points record was held for decades by Ronny Perry Jr., and was broken in the late-90s by Stacey Delano. Chuck O'Rourke has coached the track teams for a LONG time, and has always demanded excellence from his runners. DiSarcina was a legendary baseball coach as well.

Foss Park is obviously the biggest and most popular; Harris Park is where the kids from 'the aves' hung out; kids from the lower broadway area hung at Perkins park; you could find the Cobble Hill kids at Florence Park, and the kids in the last couple of blocks of East Somerville, from the artery to Walnut street- congregated at Otis Park. Glen Park is gone now, but it was great for Little League games. Izzy's, the store across the street, had penny candy. Post 388 is also on Glen street- great for holding a time. If you go up Glen street hill, you will find the obnoxiously decorated house on the left. I'm pretty sure they haven't removed decorations for at least twenty years; they've only added on.

And YES, you SHOULD be offended if someone adds another 'L' to somerville, or the sound of the letter 'C'. You should also be offended if anyone from another part of Somerville tells you that the East Somerville neighborhood you grew up in is or was bad news.
That's really all I have as it's pretty late, but there's tons more I'm sure! :)

Jimmy

Hey eastville...THANK YOU !! You brought up some great points . I hope you wont mind if I paraphrase some of your wonderful information for a future article. On the way home from the airport Sat. I drove up Broadway and got some more ideas...dig deep and find some more and e mail me at jimmydel@rcn.com. It is the feedback of the reader that has added quite a lot to these articles. As I said , ny memories tend to be from around Ball sq and Davis. Thanks again, Jimmy D

Cecil

to Hasnt been sober Oct 1, 2007. Butchie the Ball eaters girlfriends name was Peg. She lived across the street from Buster's Store in a three decker on the third floor.

Cecil

Re Butchie's girlfriend: Across the street from Buster's store on Summer St.

Some Ole Villen

Speaking of Ball Sq and Powderhouse Sq in the early sixties: How about Johnnie's Super Market (later Foodmaster) along side was Von's Cleaners and a small Variety store, all where CVS recently was. The middle block on the same side of Broadway was Surabian Drugs, Ray's Fruit, Linda's Donuts, Lionel's, O'Brien's Bar and Patsy's Barber Shops.

On the next block next to Harold's Lunch (now
Kelly's) was Marget's Smoke Shop where you could place a bet on anything.

Does anyone remember the Ball Square Theatre(Cambridge Lock now?) On the same side there was LePore' Drugs, a deli, Ace bicycle, a liquor store, Ball Square Jewelers, the Willow Grill, and a shoe repair Shop.

How about Detra's Sporting Goods Broadway side of Powderhouse Square alongside were Richdale's, Prince donut shop and I think a sub shop.

Those were the days!

JARfromWard3

Eastville:

Great stuff.

My wife grew up (well, actually, only from age 5 to age 23) at 94 Marshall Street, right behind what is now the Paddock. When she was younger, there was a drug store there that still had a soda fountain.

We were married at St. Ann's in June 1983; Father Neal Mullaney officiating. I'm pretty sure Father O'Hare was Monsignior at the time. There was also Father Angelo Loscoco.

BTW, Jimmy Del., we had the John Penny Band at our reception--$600 for 4 pieces. We still have the "contract" and receipt in our wedding album. They were awesome.

Eastville, we had a friend, Howard Fitzgerald, who was the butcher at Tip Top Market for many years. As I'm sure you well know, there were many people in the neighborhood who would not buy their meats anyplace else. Howard passed in early 1981 and is buried up in Winchendon (where he grew up).

I, for one, really miss having the two diamonds at Glen Park that were lost when the Capuano School was built.

Mama Lisa's does, indeed, rule. I used to know their number by heart but that was 25 years and a hundred fewer pounds ago.

Remember the older woman at Leone's? If three kids came in and only two had money for subs, she would take a small roll, put a ladel of sauce and some parmesean on it, and give it to the third kid just so they didn't go away hungry... REAL, TRUE ITALIANS!!! And Arthur (is he still there?) should have been a stand-up comic; the guy was hillarious!

Mty father used to work part time making screens and storm windows for Frank and Charlie DiDemineco at Fountain Home Improvement, which was where Winter Hill Optical went in later years.

My cousin Joey (Gordon) worked for Earl Shrieb on lower Broadway. $29.95 auto paint jobs... masking tape extra!

I'm a Spring Hiller, but agree; East Somerville (and everywhere else here) is a great place.

73
JAR

Bill Shelton

I used to warn my friends that they should use the "buddy system" rather than going alone to the Willow Club. If they fell down, they would stick to the floor, and there might not be anyone around who was straight enough to pull them loose.

But seriously, loss of the Willow was a shame. The only other place in Boston that books such eclectic acts is Wally's in the South End.

Bill Shetlon

Reading Jimmy's column reminded me of some lyrics by John Lennon:

There are places I remember in my life,
And some have changed;
Some for ever, not for better,
And some remain.

There is so much to miss, even for those of us who have only been here a couple of decades. The list could go on and on. I'll just mention the hardware stores in Union Square that I could walk to. They departed soon after Home Depot's arrival.

whyme

Some Ole Villen,
The sub shop was Bella-Meo's, run by Jimmy Calandra, it was on Collage ave. Remember Loud's Candy, Gino's Barber Shop, Goodell's Drug? All within that same block of stores....

Jimmy

Thanks for all the great input.. Yes Margets WAS the betting place . In my previous articles I mentioned the bbarber shops ( see ( Getting Your Ears Lowered) And yes Bella Meos...and Louds Candy shop !!!You could go to Powder House Park for a beating and a large sub !! Go to my first article on line back in Sept I believe for a walk down College Ave .. Thanks all you bloggers!! You Rule !!

JD

Where on Summer Street was Buster's store? What corner? And if Butchie the Balleater really had a girlfriend, in that case I guess what goes around comes around.

Mike s

to JD:

Buster's was between Kelly Park and Lowell St. on the Kelly park side of Summer. I'm a little too young to remember BTBE, but I vaguely remember Buster's

JD

Mike --
Many thanks. I remember that store. We used to call that park (wrongly, I'm sure) Craigie Park, because I vaguely recall a school there.

Butchie was a trip. He never meant anyone any harm, but he scared the hell out of children because he'd take their balls and chew on them. If they didn't have balls, he'd take their shoes off and sniff them

Cecil

The Morse School yard is now Kelly park. Craige park is between Craige St. and Ibbetson St. on the corner of Kimball and Craige. Cedar market was the biggest supplier of free beer in the neighborhood. Buster's store ( I don't know the actual name) was the old Skinders Mkt. Buster was from east Boston and was a big Yankees fan. Their was no arguing with him over who was better.

Cecil

I lived in the ville for 52 years before moving to the Cape. I grew up on Belmont St. and spent my summers at Conway park playing park league baseball and softball. Gene and Frank Driscoll were the park leaders along with Mary Lou Kelly (Oliveri),good times. In later years used to hangout at Kerbles Drug store on Summer st, and Belmont Park. The Somerville show in my younger days was 25 cents for admission and that was for two features and two cartoons. Sometimes the building would rock whenever a train came through Davis square.

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JD

I remember the rumble of the trains at the theatre, too. Luckily you didn't move very much because your feet were stuck firmly on the floor. The candy counter sold stuff you'd hardly see elsewhere -- JawBreakers, Red Hots, Mike & Ike, etc. When trailers were shown then, there'd usually be two of them. Between the first and second, just the word "Also" would show up on the screen, and everyone in the theater would say it simultaneously.

fefie

Ah, the Willow Jazz Club -- I used to live a stone's throw from it and I still miss the music there.

Jimmy

Hey JAR.. can I run some of your quotes on East Somerville ? they are great !!! E-Mail me if you could. Thanks, Jimmy D

BoBo

From what I understand, Butchie DID have a girlfriend.Supposedly her name was "Patty Pelican"

Mike R

Jimmy, You once had a white SG that I craved. We had different styles and you played better than me. I told you way back when, a few times, that if you ever wanted to sell it, make sure that you asked me first. I think you can figure out who this is if you recall this story and look at my name. Been a very long time. Glad to see your doin well.

Mike

Linda B.

I attended Western Jr. High (remember Mr. Jones, the principal?) and am a graduate of SHS (Class of '79). A piece of nostalgia proudly sits in my home today -- the original gray "fireplace" from Loud's Candy, which my Dad bought when the shop closed. I always thought Loud's made THE best homemade chocolate ice cream!

Grammy and I would stop by Handy Andy's for a honey-dipped donut or sugar crueller before walking up to the tiny Johnny's on Broadway to pick up a few groceries.

Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane (hey, wasn't that a restaurant near the Assembly Square Mall?).

Cheers from the White Mountains,
Linda :)

Chris

I lived in Ball Sq. - Lowden Ave. for about three years - doesn't anyone remember Tobi's Subs?? Anyone know Tiny & Gail Busher?

Maryellen K

WOW - you HAVE to write a book on "Somerville Memories" - thanks for giving me such a great walk down memory lane (and, YES, it was a restaurant near what is now "Assembly Square" or whatever they call it - id's were never checked! Heck, half the staff were St. Clement attendees and knew better!! btw - Loud's in Powderhouse Sq. had the BEST red barley pops too! And whenever someone bought a new appliance, we brought the collapsed box to Powder House Park and used it as a SLED!!

Somerville Resident

Chris -- it was Todi's Subs and I know the Busher's, great family

Chris

Tiny and Gail were friends of mine - lost touch with them years ago. did they move from there?
Anyone know the Paoletta's? Harringtons on Bay State Ave.?

Thanks for the memories

Wow....so many memories from this column. If you remember the Principal of the Western, Mr. Jones, you might be interested to know that his daughter Thelma has worked in the Somerville School system for many years, and is currently the principal at the Brown School! Memory Lane sat where the 99 is now - what a great hangout that was! Cheap food, cheap drinks, and the place was large enough that a group could show up and feel comfortable hanging out. I definitely remember Skinder's Market on Summer Street, that goes way back to my childhood. I also remember the store at the corner of Cedar and Summer, though not the name. There was also a small convenience store further down Summer, near Banks Street - again, don't know the name. And at the corner of Central and Berkeley sat ?? (someone help me, my old brain can't seem to retrieve the name just now), the owners' daughters were teachers at the Brown School for many years. Thanks for the memories - and keep them coming. Hey, is someone compiling them for a book????

Sal

Remeber the Friendly's at the corner of cedar st and highland ave? or that thereused to be a Brighams in Davis? ah the memories...i remember seeing bands playing in the streets and at Trum Field on the basketball court as part of some Somerville Recreation thing...jimmy it may have even been your band...for some reason i have ShadowFax in my brain....Growing up in ball square and Powder house park was indeed the absolute best....smelling the italian bakery baking bread on saturday and sunday mornings was heart warming... I have friends from kidergarden at the Brown school that i still talk and hang with today...Somerville was definately the best place to grow up!!! Kudo's for the article Jimmy this was e-mailed to me . i gyess i'll have to read it more often....Hey everybody let's meet Friday night on the rock at the park after we hit the packy and blow a doobie!!!!LOL....Remeber all roads lead to Somerville not Rome!!!

Frank

I graduated Western Junior High in 1946.
SHS 1949.

Bingham Elementary School, on Lowell Street close to Magoun Square, where Jimmy Del Ponte's grandfather was the custodian for all the years, K thru 6th grade, that I was a pupil there.

SHS Tech-Tourney basketball games?
It was our years where the marches to and from the high school and the Boston Garden were started.

Us kids "got" our bottles of root beer from the Hires Root Beer plant located at "The Patch" opposite the "International Paper Company" known then as "Agar" where we "got" our cardboard for sliding down hills and building clubhouses.
That area housing the current Max-Pac site.

Burton Faulkner Senior, his wife and kids, Burton Junior and Nancy, lived next door to us.
Later moving to Highland Road and then to the house on the hill above Morrison Avenue.
That house bought from Irving Stackpole.

Johnny's Foodmaster in Ball Square was formerly a First National Store when I was a kid.

Friendly's at the corner of Highland and Cedar was formerly a grocery store when I was a kid.
That store, and its owners, were the beginning of the Stop and Shop Supermarkets as we know today.

The first mayor I knew was Pat Lynch.
I worked as a soda-jerk at Egan's Drug Store, northeast corner of Highland and Lowell during my high school years. Part-time during the school year, full-time time summers.
Pat Lynch and many other pols, long since gone, use to hang out with the owner, Fred Egan, in the back-room.

I got to know their favorite soda-fountain offering. They just nodded as they came in and had it ready for them within minutes.

There also was a Sweete-Shoppe on the southeast corner of Spring Hill Terrace and Highland.
It had a self-standing old time juke box and a small dance floor.
Good memories there for us teen-age kids.

Ball Square Theater was often visited, as was the Somerville Theater.

Old neighborhood stores??
There was "Charlie's" on Princeton Street; directly across the railroad tracks from the factory.
He would go into the cardboard factory and take orders for lunch-time sandwiches. Probably the first unofficial sub shop in Somerville.
He would box them up and deliver them to the workers in time for lunch.

He had his "side" revenue producers also.
Took numbers for as low as a nickel bet from the factory workers, and others.
Sold "looseys" to kids. One single cigarette, one wooden match, for 2-cents. Or more than one if requested.
Also sold gallons of home made dago-red to adults for .50 cents. Had to bring your own gallon empty jug to be filled.

Oh yes, he did sell other legitimate groceries, and sundry other items.
Small packages of fireworks.

Rosebud, Davis Square. Played on their adult, over 21, Somerville Rec fast-pitch softball team.
We enjoyed a few beers at the Rosebud after every game.
The Surrey Room, in back, was not added until few years later.

The late 1940's, post World War 2, was good-times for us teen-agers. Up until June 25, 1950 when the outbreak of the Korean War broke us up. Most of us enlisted in the military within a short time thereafter.


Frank

If interested.

Johnnie's Foodmaster at Clarendon Hill was formerly an Elm Farm Supermarket.

Prior to Elm Farm it was a rocky, empty, vacant piece of real estate.
Burton Faulkner Senior bought and developed it, leasing it to Elm Farm and a package store.
The site still owned by Faulkner family or their Real Estate Division...DuPuis Realty, corner of Cedar and Alpine Streets.

Johnnie's Foodmaster on Beacon Street was formerly a Stop & Shop.

Still remember when Faulkner Brothers, Inc. sold coal, brought in, in volume, via open railroad cars from the Pennsylvania coal fields, and sold in volume via Faulkner trucks to home owners and businesses.
A railroad siding on the north side of the building was used at the time.

The RR cars had portable openings on the bottom.
The car was positioned/parked over a hopper opening in the ground.
By gravity and the help of Faulkner workers with shovels to make sure ALL the coal got out of the car. The coal was deposited into the hopper sluicing the coal into a huge storage area under the wooden building.

Later, to be lifted UP by a vertical scoop conveyer belt and deposited on to a truck under the building at ground level, for eventual delivery to customers.
Sold by the ton, 1/2 ton, or 1/4 ton...as sectioned off on the truck by portable metal dividers.

But prior to leaving the yard the truck and its contents were weighed on a wooden platform that topped an underground scale.
The weight was recorded and read by one of the Faulkner Brothers [primarily Arthur] inside the office at a window facing the truck.

The "tare-weight" of the truck itself was subtracted from the gross weight, leaving the net weight of the coal itself.

My older brother worked for Faulkner.

We would sometimes hang-out there as kids, with Burt Faulkner, the younger.. going into places where we should not of gone in the wooden building itself; and climbing all over the railroad car when it was full of coal, or empty, awaiting a RR engine to take it away.

We didn't realize the inherent clear and present danger at the site.

Their building on Alpine Street, as it currently exists today, is far removed from the wooden building that housed their office, and stored their inventory of coal, back when they sold coal.

JARfromWard3

Frank:

Offhand, do you recall if Paul Egan's was a "Rexall" affiliate or otherwise had a Rexall sign in front back in the 40s?

I recently came across a DVD of vintage Massachusetts streetcar operations (Springfield-Holyoke, Boston area and BRB&L) that contains, among the mix and match of scenes, a few fleeting frames of Highland and Lowell during a snowstorm probably around 1936 or so. Shown is the 88 streetcar working toward Davis with a retractable wing plow that was used to clear the roadway almost to the curb. The person making the movie had his car parked down close to the corner of Lowell and Highland and the plow was pulled in to allow it to clear the parked vehicle. There is what appears to be a Rexall sign hanging out over the sidewalk. The footage is black and white and a bit grainy.

Incidentally, there is also some footage in this same DVD--in color--of streetcars in Union Square around 1940.

The BRB&L stuff is really cool including, as it does, color footage of the East Boston ferry.

73
JAR

Frank

JAR:
Paul Egan was Fred and Mary's oldest child.
He was just a youngster when I first started working for his father in the late 40's.
After Paul graduated Mass. College of Pharmacy he joined the U.S. Public Health Service and was assigned to work on an Indian Reservation in Arizona where he met a beautiful Indian girl who was to become his wife.

They both returned to Somerville after Paul's tour in the P.H.S. was up.
His parents had moved from Belmont to Somerville, Highland Avenue, 3rd house west of Lowell Street, even side.
No Egans currently reside there.

Paul has since passed on.
Richard, his brother, became a Priest; passed on last year.
Martha, the youngest, worked at City Hall, now retired.

The father, in later years, eventually relocated the store to a smaller store directly opposite the medical building on Highland.
Paul took that store over after his father passed on.
Later closed it up and went into the antique business; a store on Somerville Avenue.
Closed that and went to the large antique establishment near Lechmere.

To your question:
When I worked for Fred Egan, the store was independently owned by him; actually leased it from the building owner.
He did not stock any Rexall Brands.
Rexall, being a franchiser, required their franchise's to stock their branded products.
When I worked for Fred there was no Rexall sign.

Fred had bought that store from the Fermoyle family.

Was it a Rexall store at one time, in the 1930's?
I really don't know. I know there was one in Davis Square.

Of course, in those days, prior to the big chain drugstores coming, there were drug stores, with soda fountains, practically on every corner from east to west on Highland and other main drags.

Actually one in the middle of a block; Mackey's Drug Store on the ground floor; 3-step walkup; the big building, now all apartments, sitting on the east side of the fire station, opposite Conwell Street.

Sad that those neighborhood drug stores, and their soda fountains, are gone.

As I recall

Brian

Don't forget Union Square.

There used to be a drug store where The Red House is which had a counter where you could sit down and have a coke.

On Bow Street there were 2 hardware stores, a library and a First National Supermarket.

The Town House bar was near where The Independent is.

There was a MBTA bus storage yard where the current public safety building is.

There was a hotel where Citizen's bank now is located that burned down in the 1970s. And a B & M station underneath the Webster Avenue bridge.

The square also had several gas stations.

And Somerville Avenue and Bow Streets were two-way streets.

Frank

And the Police Station was on Bow Street; then relocated to the square itself; then to its present day location.
Don't forget St. Joseph's Church and School.

Dom

Wow, was this ever a trip back in time for me!

I live in the 'burbs now, but grew up on Winter Hill, then lived "down the Nunnery Grounds" for several years after I got married. My dad was one of the owners of Grover Pharmacy on the corner of Broadway and Cross.

One thing I found interesting in several of the comments was all the drug stores mentioned. I remember in the last years of Grover's my Dad used to say that when he bought the store in the early 50s, there were 44 corner drugstores in Somerville. By the late 80s it was down to two: Grover's and Berry & MacDonald near the Clarendon bus station, Arlington line. Now they're both gone too.

dvb

I lived in Medford, right at the Medford/Somerville line near Magoun Sq. I remember Mahoney's, Canty's, Danny's and Drake's Cafe. I remember watching a lot of baseball/softball games at Trum Field. Austin Drug, prior to that, Klein's Drugstore both owned by George Klein, and Franny at the counter where we used to buy ice cream, comic books and vanilla coke. Mucci's Barber Shop and Riverside Cab on Medford St. Can anyone tell me where I can buy some photos of Magoun Sq during the 50's and 60's ?

dvb

OH, A FEW THINGS I FORGOT TO MENTION AND I WOULD LIKE TO ADD. THE BALL SQ. THEATRE EVERY SAT/SUN TO WATCH CARTOONS AND A DOUBLE FEATURE MOVE FOR ABOUT 12 CENTS. THERE WAS A FIRE STARTED IN A PIZZA PLACE NEXT DOOR. IT IS NOW A PARKING LOT (SAD). ALONG BROADWAY IN MAGOUN SQ.
SLOANE'S FURNITURE CO. CANTY'S CAFE, PEGGY'S LUNCH. AT THE CORNER OF HINCKLEY ST AND BROADWAY, MICKEY'S VARIETY STORE WHERE WE USED TO BUY PENNY CANDY AND SODA. SPEAKING OF SODA. HIRES ROOTBEER NEAR LOWELL ST. WE USED TO WALK THE TRACKS IN THE SUMMERTIME. THE GUYS WORKING THERE USED TO THROW BOTTLES OF ROOT BEER OUT THE WINDOW FOR US.

Irene Hillson

Kresge's waffle ice cream sandwiches - oh I think I would trade my life to have one of those.
Lime Rickey's at Brighams ....another favorite of mine. Gilchrists, Woolworths ....
The store at the Corner of Cedar and Summer St was known as Jacks and the store at the corner of Linden and Summer St was known as Charlies. Charlie and Sheila, the hair dresser, had a thing going which at that time was scandulous. Charlie had gumball machines and if you got the silver bell it was worth 5 pennies! Oh how hapy you were when YOU got it!
Thank you Charlie for helping my family and I all those years - running tabs and letting us owe you. What a concept.
There was a third store at the corner of Mossland and Elm and it also had the store owner's name but I have forgotten it - it was across from Big Fish Little Fish. I also remember Whale of a Wash laundromat; Jack-in-the-box; The Waldorf in Davis Sq! - my mom and I would have breakfast there. There was also a tap/ballet school in Davis Sq. I think it was called Murrays or Murphys.
I remember Friendly's on Cedar and Highland. There was a drugstore across from it that had an incredibly beautiful weighing machine.
Faulkner Brothers on Cedar St - Vinny Hurley was a family friend and worked for them many years. I loved him dearly.
Many many fond memories.

Grace Land

The store on the corner of Mossland and Elm was Norman's. He ran it with his wife Louise. There was a Rexall drug store in Porter Square. It was Liggett's. The cashier there was a very kind lady named Billie. I always thought she was cool because she had a boy's name. She said her given name was Willa which she hated. There used to be a fruit and vegetable truck that parked at the corner of Mossland and Somerville Ave. My mother always used to send me there to buy bananas. We lived upstairs from Barney's Auto Supply at the corner of Roseland and Beacon by the bridge that went over the tracks.
I went to the Morse School for 4th and 5th grades before it was torn down in the summer of 1966. It was on the corner of Craigie and Summer. I think it's now Dickerman Playground. We used to pass the Dante Club on Craigie on the way to school. There was a great Greek bakery, Hella's on Porter near the corner of Elm.
From kindergarten to 3rd grade, I attended the Durell School on the corner of Beacon and Kent Streets. The principal was Mr. Dwyer and my third grade teacher was his daughter, Miss Dwyer.
It was in her class that we all learned that the President had been shot in 1963. At the end of 3rd grade it was a tradition for the entire class to cross that rusty old steel bridge over the tracks and visit the Carr school to meet the teachers and students for the 4th grade. That bridge isn't still there is it? It was old and rickety back then! I know the Durell was later turned into a rehab center for drug and alcohol addictions. Don't know if it's still standing.

Grace Land

Oh, and I do remember Butchie the Ball Eater!

Bill

What about Smalls Variety store at the corner of Trull St and Medford St and another drug store at the corner of Partridge in Medford across form Piro Printing. Sunnyhurst store in Magoon Sq. There was a jewerly store in Magoon Sq. On the corner of Lowell St. What was the name? Frnchies and Billy's subs in Magoon where Spinella got whacked.

Kristin Chalifour

I think I'm a bit younger than many of the others who have commented here, but I was a kid in Somerville during the 70s & remember many of the places they've mentioned: Waldorf Cafe, Brighams, and Gorin's in Davis Sq. There was also the FFC Store - the discount store that was a precursor to the Family Dollar Stores that are around today. I remember 75 cent matinees at Somerville Theater, and that is the only place I recall ever seeing those ice cream cones they sold - the ones that had the paper wrapper around the cone, and the little cardboard lid on top of the cone covering the ice cream. I also remember Kneeland's on the corner of Highland and Lowell (which is still a convenience store) and Mr. Kneeland himself, and on the opposite corner, he had a 5 & 10 store which was the place to go after school to buy penny candy (I attended the Proctor from 1970-1975). The dollhouse store on the corner of Highland & Spring(?); I'd walk by every day on the way home from school and wish I had one of those beautiful dollhouses. Also, Virgies on Highland Ave. and The Venice Cafe between Davis & Teele Sq. which still had working jukeboxes at the booths. Johnny's (Thurston Spa) on the corner of Thurston & Medford Sts. that sold subs and had the little lunch counter; you could get the Johnny's Special for $1.50 (I could be off a little on the price). I could go on with more but won't. But to "Thanks for the memories" who posted back in Aug. 2008 and wanted to know what the name was of the convenience store on the corner of Central & Berkeley St. - in case you do happen to see my post, it was Bain's Market. Mr. Bain still ran it up until 1980 or so when he retired (or he may have passed away - can't remember) - it was sold to the Batinelli familiy, but I believe they kept the name Bain's Market while they owned it.

Ron Newman

The Durrell School was indeed a drug rehab facility for a while, but is now condominiums. The rickety old Kent Street pedestrian bridge was torn down in the late 1980s or early 90s.

Music Search

Yeah, good old times: cheap food, cheap drinks, and the place was large enough that a group could show up and feel comfortable hanging out. I definitely remember Skinder's Market on Summer Street, that goes way back to my childhood. I also remember the store at the corner of Cedar and Summer, though not the name. There was also a small convenience store further down Summer, near Banks Street.

Kathleen Mahoney

Haven't seem mention of Grimmons Grammer School on Shore Drive, now condominiums or the projects on Mystic Avenue next to St. Polycarp's Church. There was Tony's Barber Shop on Mystic Avenue and Al's Sub Shop, great subs, we used to go to Joe's to get penny candy. On Temple St. there was Temple's Food Market and the Judo Studio. The Somerville Library was on the corner of Temple and Broadway and directly across the street on Broadway was Orlando's Bakery, Pal Joey"s where we used to dance our disco'ing hearts out and the US Post Office. There was Primo's Pizza, Mama Lisa's and so many more memorable places. I used to work at Grants in the toy department in Davis Square and Butch the "ball eater" was a regular that we dealt with. I still tell my kids stories of him to this day. I also worked for years at Jackson Chairs on Lowell Road.

labatterie

The rickety old Kent Street pedestrian bridge was torn down in the late 1980s or early 90s.

labatterie

Careful proofreading is an important but often neglected communications skill.

Jordans 1 Phat Low

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Paula

Oh My Gosh! I tripped into this site and WHOA!! What fabulous memories You have all brought back to me! THANKS SO MUCH! Jimmy, I knew you before you were teaching at the high school LOL! This is Paula from Boston Ave! I see this is a little late from the start of your posts, but I hope this finds you well!

Retro Jordan

Excellent post. It makes me realize the energy of words and pictures. I learn a lot, thank you! Wish you make a further progress in the future.

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