Opinion

Jourgensen: While we’re on the subject…

Mary Ishkanian, an elegant retired Lynn English High School teacher, called to praise Jerry Ladue, one of her former students who created what she described as the Collier County Freedom Memorial in Naples, Fla. Has anyone seen Ladue’s creation or taken photographs of it? Maybe he’s available to create a memorial in Lynn? Don’t ask me.

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I promised the guy who asked me this question I would stick it in my column: Does anyone “dial” a phone or anything else anymore? Don’t ask me.

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Dial is one of those words that has gone the way of the phone booth. My mother used to yell at me to “can it” when I got on her nerves. I speculated in a conversation with her that the expression had its origins in the early 20th century disdain people had for canned fruits and vegetables as opposed to fresh produce. No, she said, explaining the expression echoed her sincere desire at the time for me to stuff my remarks in a proverbial can and slam a lid on top of it.

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Speaking of treasures, some of the city’s most cherished history resides or resided in local churches, including ones that once were epicenters for local ethnic populations. St. Patrick’s holy relics were brought to St. Mary’s, according to old Item clippings, but St. Francis’ relics were repurposed in a church in another part of the world, if memory serves me.

Dave Solimine — always a good source for local history — says the four stained glass windows in St. Mary’s school chapel are from St. Jean’s. He said the former St. Jean’s belfry bell is on the lawn of Sacred Heart Church.

Rev. Mike Ferraro gave me a wave and made my day this week. The contribution he made to St. Mary’s parish and the countless times he consoled people at fire scenes make him a Lynn treasure.

Is it true the bell that was stored inside the former Christ Church United Methodist on Union Street was cast by Paul Revere’s shop? Don’t ask…

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Good friend Marge Callahan was kind enough to give me a little West Lynn history. She said Guffer Murphy owned a bar near Hibernian Hall and she recalled her father regaling all who would listen with Guffer Murphy stories. He was one of a cast of local characters including Walkin’ Mike Doyle, who Marge said traveled with the circus and played calliope, and Eddie Peabody, a renowned banjo player.

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Speaking of renowned Lynn residents, Wyoma Square has a second name honoring Frederick L. Curtis. City Veterans Service Director Michael Sweeney educated me about Curtis’ service in World War I. He died at the age of 20 in January 1918 while serving with the 26th Yankee Division in France.

Sweeney said his research indicates Curtis’ family lived at 101 Broadway and he was among thousands of Americans who died of influenza that spread through unsanitary trenches the soldiers lived in. Sweeney, it is worth noting, deployed with the Yankee Division to Afghanistan in the service of the Massachusetts Army National Guard in 2014.  

I like driving to the top of the hill in St. Mary’s cemetery where another veteran, Michael Conley, is remembered as a Medal of Honor recipient. It is fitting the plaque honoring his Civil War service looks down on Lynn from high ground.

 

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