Opinion

A little about heroes, history and hucksters

I always feel instantly peaceful walking through the Lynn Museum courtyard with its iron gates on both ends. You come in off Spring Street and walk past the shoemaker’s house and the fountain with that strange hollowed-out stone beside it and end up on Washington Street across from the Prime building with all those great old neon signs stuffed into its first floor.

What is that giant rusty gear or wheel sitting on its side in the little park on the Museum’s Union Street side? Someone told me it was part of a ship turbine but don’t ask me.

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I still relish the couple of opportunities I had to spend time with the late Edward Battle. What an amazing guy. He told me about serving in the Air Force in Mississippi and facing racism and then returning to help get out the vote. He recalled how the car he was riding in was fired upon and talked about sitting in a room with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a heated discussion and later working security when King delivered a speech. I wish I had the opportunity to arrange for him to speak to one of the great Dena Capano’s classes at Classical High.

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Is it true Lynn was once off limits to military personnel? Don’t ask …

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Outdoor swim season is around the corner and whenever I’m up on High Rock Tower, I look down toward Chestnut Street at the swimming pool located off a side street just a block or two from the tower. It doesn’t look like it has been filled in a long time but it’s easy to imagine it as the centerpiece for more than a few fun parties.

Speaking of pools, is it true there was once a public pool on Cook Street? Don’t ask …

The weather is going to heat up again and everyone needs to stay vigilant and watch small children around pools and make sure docks and pools are secured with fences or gates or, at a minimum, a pair of eyes belonging to a responsible adult. Drownings are senseless and avoidable tragedies.

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Frank Mitchell, a true man among men, told me about the “welcome wagon” that rolled up to Classical-English games. It was well stocked with beer for sale for a buck. Another resident expert on the subject said the Monogram Club ran the wagon and said it was actually a bus.

Those were the days.

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Great hearing from George Brewer who wrote me to say he grew up in the neighborhood where the parking lot behind North Shore Community College is now located. He recalled walking up lower Washington Street at the age of 5, holding his mother’s hand tightly, surrounded by hundreds of people headed for Central Square singing “Roll Out the Barrels” and laughing and shouting as they celebrated VJ Day and the end of World War II.

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Maureen Benedict of Eastern Avenue was kind enough to drop off to me a picture of the Collier County Freedom Memorial in Naples, Fla., created by Jerry Ladue, who attended English High School when Mary Ishkanian taught there.

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Polk’s 1962 Lynn Suburban Directory lists “Hucksters” (not to be confused with auctioneers) as a business category. Anyone know what type of trade the huckster plied and the name of anyone who practiced it locally? Don’t ask …

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