Opinion

Jourgensen: Meandering off the beaten path

Trees in bloom and gardens in full glory make this a great time of year to wander down side streets, courts, terraces and other routes off the beaten path in Lynn or any community. I like how Fiske Avenue meanders up a hill off Chatham Street past streets with neat names like Rust Street and drops back down to within sight of the Hood School. Raddin Grove Avenue is like an exit ramp off Summer Street and an entryway into a quiet neighborhood of streets like Echo Grove Avenue wedged between Summer and Boston Street.

Like Parker Avenue at one end of Goldfish Pond, Raddin Grove leads to a little section of the city only a minute away from a busy street but set off by itself because it lacks value as a shortcut. Parker is a side street off a side street ending at lawns abutting the pond. With its collection of residents committed to maintaining the pond and making it the center of their neighborhood, Parker Avenue is a link between the pond’s quieter end and homes located near Chatham Street.

Dorinda Circle high up in the Highlands is another little street with its own distinctive character and a close-knit neighborhood that came together to help residents who were displaced by fire earlier this year. “We look after each other,” was the way one of the neighbors described coming to the aid of the fire victims.

A resident expert estimated Lynn has 1,300 streets. Real expert and Public Works Commissioner Andrew Hall says the number is more like 1,165 including paper roads and private streets.

***

Speaking of old neighborhoods, I like Fire Chief Steve Archer’s recollections about the former Nissen’s Bakery located on Brookline Street where the Marshall Middle School now sits.

“I have fond memories of my friends and I from the Timson Street and Brookline Avenue area ‘helping ourselves’ to the bread and pastries as they came off the conveyor belts to be loaded on the trucks.

“We would sometimes have pastry fights, spreading cream puff filling all over the street. Years later, I spent a long, frigid night fighting the fire that burned the bakery building to the ground. I recall standing there throwing water at the building, watching part of my childhood go up in flames and all those memories came flooding back to me.”

***

Thanks to Robert A. Levine for enlightening me about the “tunnel church.” He pulled up research from the Lynn library indicating First Congregational Church, circa 1820, was known as the “Old Tunnel Meeting House.” Situated near the center of Lynn Common, the meeting house was located a short distance from a long-gone pond. As to the origins of its subterranean name, there is no information.

Levine sketched out the connection between the tunnel church and the big brick church Congregacion Evangelica Luz y Vida is diligently converting into a revived house of worship. He noted the building’s former service as Temple Anshei Sfard where he counted himself among the worshippers.

***

Janice Koskey wrote this great appreciation about Helen Georges Lampes, who just celebrated her 100th birthday. “A kindhearted woman of dignity and high standards, Helen has lived a long and happy life. When somebody asks her about the secret of her vitality at such an advanced age, Helen always attributes it to a good marriage. Her husband, the late Nicholas J. Lampes, former Lynn public school teacher, tenor, and choir director at the Saint Georges Greek Orthodox Church in Lynn, adored his precious Helen and married her on a brief furlough from the battlefields of World War ll. Their marriage brought forth their son, James, and the three formed the perfect circle of love.

Helen enjoyed a career as a secretary at the GE Credit Union in Lynn.  After retirement Helen and Nickie maintained homes in Lynn, Maine, (and) Boca Raton, traveling back and forth from each into their eighties.

Always cheerful despite the inevitable aches and pains, Helen is a pleasure to engage in lengthy conversation about current events, politics, old times, and of course our crazy weather. Helen is indeed one-of-a-kind in strength, intelligence, and love and serves as a positive role model for the Georges and Lampes families and to all who know and meet her.”

More Stories In Opinion