Opinion

Jourgensen: Shout it out, school’s out

School’s out and the looks on kids’ faces this week betray happy knowledge that summer stretches seemingly endlessly ahead of them and schedules, homework, and bedtimes are yesterday’s worries.

It’s easy to remember back to that couple of weeks between the end of June and mid July, before summer really got fired up and too busy, when you hung with your friends without worrying about heading home and hitting the books and when bike rides led to fort building and kickball games in the streets until the street lights came on.

I always admired the dedication Lynn teachers and high school students put into the former summertime Project LEARN program years ago. They made sure to keep kids engaged in mathematics, writing and reading but they offered plenty of fun in local playgrounds and parks thanks to Lynn Parks and Recreation employees and other city workers.

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Ed Calnan, a venerable source for all things historical, recalls wading pools located across the city and built by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. He said the pools were about 18 inches deep and one was located on the site of the Connery skating rink.

“As a kid, I remember them because they were lined with concrete and you would come home with skinned knees but we didn’t care because we had so much fun.”

I like the little parks wedged into side streets around Lynn. There’s a little one on Story Avenue by the commuter rail tracks where I saw kids shooting hoops and another on Williams Avenue. The park on Sagamore Street is always busy and I like Cook Street with the stairs leading up to the cliff and the community garden.

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It was hard to ignore the midweek irony of receiving a trash fee bill from the city and finding trash pickup in Ward 3 delayed a day. Is there any way to get a special Independence Day dispensation from the city so everyone can put out their holiday cookout trash without having to use the purple bags?

My wife’s grandfather worked for the city and made his rounds wearing a heavy apron and tugging trash out of inground barrels topped by big iron lids. I guess the trade runs in the family because we were driving down Revere Beach Boulevard one afternoon a few years ago and saw our daughter hanging off a trash truck assigned to empty beach barrels.

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While we’re on the subject of July 4, I’d like to know which neighborhood throws the best block party. Fays Estate and Pine Hill are early nominees but the more nominees the merrier.

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I like the old train painting in Charlie’s Junction Deli. It depicts the “City of Denver,” a Union Pacific train that must have been a cousin of the Denver Zephyr that rolled through Fort Morgan, Colo., where my grandparents lived. We would visit them in the summer and the second the Zephyr’s horn sounded way down the line, we jumped on our bikes and sprinted for the tracks in time to see the locomotive light signal its imminent arrival.

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McKinnon Printing is moving out of City Hall Square but it’s heartening to see Edwin Young still make a living crafting flags and “signals” on a battery of Singer sewing machines on Washington Street near the commuter rail tracks.

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