Opinion

Jourgensen: We’ll always remember Lynn

That’s the name of a song that Patty Flaherty, who is not only family, but a former Union Hospital nurse of noted stature, provided me this week, along with lyrics that begin with “Lynn is our hometown/Quite a city in its day/If you didn’t make shoes or slippers/The GE provided your pay.”

CSI: Lynn, the copious online resource for many things Lynn, notes the song’s author is unknown but there is no question he or she captured highlights of yesteryear in 13 stanzas that included lines like “Hanover Circle and Surfside Road/Ocean Street with all the swells/Broad & Lewis, Union & Market/And the dump with all the smells.”

“The Boston & Maine crossing Central Square/Over Hovey’s and the Dover Smoker/Hunt’s and Hennessey’s and Connolly’s for fudge/Then Stiliano’s for chocolate mocha.” Awesome.

Speaking of local music, Julio Bare deserves city status as Lynn’s official troubadour for all the entertainment he provides and his generous presence at so many events.

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Sad by definition, obituaries are often inspiring, especially ones chronicling the passing of Greatest Generation members like the late Theoni Dezerene, who died last week at the age of 106. A Classical High School graduate, she became a lathe operator, according to her obituary, at the Watertown Arsenal and transferred to the Charlestown Naval Yard during World War II to become a “Rosie the Riveter” helping to assemble the arsenal of democracy that destroyed global tyranny.

It’s amazing how people who lived 70, almost 80 years ago, did what they needed to do and sacrificed what they were asked to give up in order to fight and win a war largely fought thousands of miles from the mainland United States. I wish I could remember the name of the woman I talked to on Ray Street who was working as a secretary one day and donning overalls and heavy gloves the next day to operate a rivet gun.

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It’s bittersweet seeing a notice in the paper announcing Connery Post 6 American Legion’s License Commission application for change of location from North Common Street to Summer Street. Connery and American Legion Post 291 on Coburn Street (where Community Brotherhood of Lynn, Inc. is now located) were home to Legion baseball titans who feuded during the 1960s and 1970s. Their names are enshrined in Lynn lore.

Veterans posts that once thrived are going the way of the formerly-great Grand Army of the Republic post on Andrew Street. As its Union Army veteran members aged, post officers made the decision to put the GAR building in trust for enjoyment by future generations who can find a history of the Civil War at 58 Andrew St.

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Long-time friend Bernice Brooks recalled riding the escalator in the former Woolworth’s store and buying root beer floats, and another friend, Kathy Collins, told me about John’s Variety off Broadway where you could rummage around as a kid for candy until the owner peeked out from behind comic books on display and called you to task.

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Hot weather has a way of slowing me down to the point where I pay more attention to details, including odd houses around town like the futuristic one set on the hill above Euclid Avenue overlooking the pond, or the one on Goodridge Street near Eutaw Avenue that looks like it was airlifted from southern Colorado and dropped into Lynn. Someone told me the former convent on Lynn Shore Drive is the biggest house in Lynn, and the little one near the corner of Western Avenue and Maple Street is the smallest.

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