Opinion

Jourgensen: On the tip of my tongue

It was great to see a cleanup crew raking leaves and removing debris last Friday from the old graveyard off Silsbee Street behind Bethel AME Church and Central Congregational Church. A walk among the graves is a brief trip back into time when Lynn was a small community with a precarious toehold on the Atlantic coastline.

Someone told me the graveyard is actually two burial sites reflecting a split in the local Quaker community of the time. Anyone know what caused a falling-out so severe people didn’t want to be buried next to one another? Don’t ask me.

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My wife was talking the other day about Pleasure Island amusement park in Wakefield with its giant fake whale. Norm Cole said it was the perfect place for a family to have fun at a time when flying out to California to visit Disneyland wasn’t in the cards. A resident expert at the YMCA said Boys Club members earned points toward an outing at Pleasure Island every time they advanced another skill level in the club swimming program. Somehow, when the trip to Pleasure Island rolled around, everyone managed to tally up enough points to spend the day having fun.

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My question about Riley’s chicken pot pie really sent the feathers flying with almost a dozen people wading in with recollections about the place and its location, including Ralph Granese, Alyce Deveau, the ever-historically dependable David Solimine Sr., Edward Hobson, Marge Callahan and the great Joe Rowe, who thought the diner located at 41 Boston St. next to Riley’s was owned by the same family. He said the diner is now located in the Silver Lake Railroad Yard, Madison, N.H. People also weighed in with views about Witham’s, a reputedly-great chicken pot pie place once located on Chatham Street.

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Whenever I walk down Ocean Street and its side streets I always enjoy spotting old stone horse hitching posts, carriage steps and a wall here and there hinting at a once-grand estate entrance. Call it archaeology without having to get your hands dirty.

While we’re on the general topic, anyone remember a guy named Arthur Krimm the city hired to conduct historical surveys in the city? He could look at a building, describe its architectural style in detail, and accurately deduce its original use (i.e. Rossetti Restaurant, D’Amici bakery was a car dealership). I always wanted him to create a coffee table book of all the interesting-looking old garages and carriage houses in the city.

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I love this question Kevin Geaney asked me: He said kids playing outside knew it was time to go in the house when the 5 p.m. whistle blew. I assume the whistle belonged to the River Works or was it a signal for shoe factory workers to pack up and go home? Does anyone remember the five o’clock whistle and the final time it blew? Don’t ask…

Veterans Memorial Auditorium is one of my favorite local places with its ornate brass fountains, multi-story spiral stairway, remnants of old cork floors and the projector room. Suspended above the auditorium seats, the room still has that old movie theater smell and Jamie Marsh showed me how the operators used miniature flares that looked like pencils to create the intense light required to project an image across the auditorium onto a big screen. It’s exciting to see movies come back to the big hall.

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