LYNN — The boys of summer are rising early to sip coffee and offer smiles to one and all as they idle away a morning hour on the Lynn Shore Drive seawall.
Barring a tee time or grandparental duties, Paul Cardile, Charlie Tucker, Gary Bogart, John “Buddy” Barrett and one or two other friends can be counted on almost every morning to sit on their lawn chairs or the seawall, coffee in hand, by the beach ramp entrance at the foot of Kings Beach Road.
Cardile is often the first to show up at 6:30 a.m. and the crew has usually come and gone by 8 a.m.
For the hour or so in between, the talk revolves around sports, the old days in Lynn, and General Electric where several of the wall sitters worked.
“We solve all the world’s problems,” Bogart said.
They also gather hellos and good mornings from dog walkers, runners and friends walking along the seawall on summer mornings. Jane and John Kennedy of Swampscott pass Cardile and his friends most mornings.
“He’s one of the good guys,” Jane Kennedy said of Cardile.
The summer mornings on the seawall are a nine-year-old ritual that started when the friends took morning walks and then found a place to sit by the seawall and drink coffee. The walking disappeared but the sitting, sipping and talking continued.
“It’s relaxing, and you start the day with camaraderie,” Cardile said.
A Nahant native, Cardile worked more than 36 years for GE and cut hair in the daytime at Sam’s barbershop. Tucker logged a 45-year career at the River Works before retiring and Bogart lived in the Chestnut Street projects and Wyoma Square as a boy. A member of the English High School Class of 1966, he taught physical education in the Lynn public schools until 2006.
He moved to Florida 10 years ago before settling in South Carolina, but he spends summers in Lynn working around the Boston area as a house painter. Bogart said an hour on the beach is a perfect start to a day spent on a ladder, brush in hand.
“There just something about it. It’s so relaxing; it’s just comfortable,” he said.
Attendance on the seawall is at its strongest on Mondays and Saturdays and responsibilities keep Cardile away from the beach on Wednesdays and Sundays. Rest of the mornings are spent squinting to see a cruise ship on the horizon, watching surfers seek out a wave and spotting a formation of bicyclists making a beeline down Lynn Shore Drive. The group also draws honks from passing motorists.
Lynn resident Rick Danisiewicz usually interrupts his morning walk to talk to Cardile and his friends.
“I tell him to run for mayor. Everyone knows him,” Danisiewicz said.
Cardile said the group typically starts a season on the seawall when the morning temperature hits a consistent 55 degrees or higher. The friends have occasionally stretched summer into November.
“We go until it gets cool,” he said.
The morning get-togethers are a way to nourish friendships forged during youthful school careers or working at the River Works and a chance to celebrate one of Lynn’s treasures.
“Growing up in this area and living around here, you walk the beach. It’s a way of life,” said Cardile.