I like the way summer brings old cars, especially Detroit steel from the early 1960s and 1970s, back onto the roads. I spotted a vintage black pickup downtown the other day and I swear a tricked-out lowrider was parked last week in front of Trio’s Mexican Grill on Market Street.
I wonder if Gov. Baker ever rolls that vintage Mustang out of his Monument Avenue garage?
I also like spotting old rides in driveways and yards around town. For the longest time, someone kept a nice Barracuda — or maybe it was a GTO — parked by a house at the intersection of Boston and Washington streets. Burt Tankel up on Pine Hill had a pair of great Oldsmobiles and my favorite is the old 1960s grader that resided in the Public Works yard on Commercial Street extension. Larry Donahue said it took a lot of practice to master the grader’s many gears but it was still a reliable snow-clearing vehicle, even though only a couple of people knew how to operate it. I also loved the jade green 1959 Cadillac parked for a time by the repair shop on Chestnut and Lewis streets.
Summer’s also great for outdoor fun ranging from backyard barbecues and playground cookouts to formal events like the 100th annual Firefighters Memorial salute on June 10 in Pine Grove Cemetery and a similar ceremony in Saugus. Veterans gathered this month for the annual flag retirement ceremony, and the Juneteenth run is one of a number of great community events showcasing all that is great about Lynn.
Summer means ice cream and Marge Callahan recalled Haines on the corner of Western and Eastern avenues next to Buchanan Bridge. She said the ice cream was good but her most vivid memory of the place was the mini zoo complete with monkeys. “I wonder what they did with them in the winter?” she asked. Marge also recalled her parents sending her sister to a bakery on Baldwin Street to buy baked beans and snowflake rolls every Saturday. She couldn’t remember the name but said John’s Bakery, in addition to being a baked bean purveyor, was also a favorite stop after Sunday Mass to pick up half moons.
I wish I had a chance to see the former Post Office Bowling Alley underneath the West Lynn post office branch before it closed. Rick Ford, who always has great West Lynn stories, made me laugh with his recollections of buying hot dogs for ace bowler Mike Morgan every time Morgan beat him.
Speaking of celebrities local and otherwise, someone asked me the other day if Sinatra ever visited Lynn or performed here. Journalist par excellence Bill Brotherton said Chuck Berry played in the city. Berry apparently had a reputation for showing up minutes before a show and putting his backing band at ease by saying, “Don’t worry about a set list, we’re going to play some Chuck Berry songs.”
The great John L. O’Brien Jr. shared fun memories the other day about Napoli Pizza on Summer Street. I could sit around all day and listen to him spinning Lynn stories. It was fun walking down Spencer Street this week and seeing rose bushes and flower gardens planted in front yards no bigger than a small bedroom. I looking forward to seeing the neighborhood garden on Summer Street near Vine Street start turning out all varieties of vegetables. The people who plant there use ingenious combinations of old doors and window screens to cordon off vegetable beds and filter in just the right amounts of sunlight and water.