Opinion

Jourgensen: Remembering Slippery Hill and Poplar Street

It’s fun to see kids back in their school routines with new backpacks and having fun in schoolyards that were empty and silent all summer. I wonder how many kids in Lynn walk or ride bicycles to school? You don’t have to be very old to remember when walking to school was a rite of passage that signaled responsibility not only for yourself but for your little brother.

The trek to and from home in Casper to Garfield Elementary (mysteriously named Harding School for a time) included climbing Slippery Hill known for its shoe-sucking spring muds and tiptoeing past a house on Poplar Street with a sloped lawn and a big red dog that woke without fail in time to charge down the lawn on a beeline for my brother and me as we shrieked and avoided the urge to burst into a sprint for home.

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Linda Newhall told me how driving down Lewis Street reminds her without fail of the times when she took a bus or walked down Lewis to Sam’s Sub Shop for a sandwich. “Best rolls ever. I can still remember the lady that made the sandwiches.”

Someone called to report a fender or bumper sitting on the corner of Chatham and Maple streets “for a month.” Hopefully the guy who manages to stuff a pickup truck parked on Atlantic Street with all sorts of cast-off metal can swing by and grab that treasure.

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An only slightly amused poll worker pointed out the colorful irony that attended Tuesday’s primary election: Democratic ballots were red and Republican, blue. So much for “red state,” “blue state.” It’s before my time but I like hearing the stories about how the Item used to hang election results on the old building at 38 Exchange St. and people gathered outside to see how candidates were faring. He used to always yell at me but I’m fond of the days when Leo D’Entremont posted handwritten election results in City Hall as a crowd of candidates or their minions gathered around to feverishly copy down numbers.

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It’s great to see the Lynn Armory on its way to a new life as a home for veterans. I’ll never forget the Peabody veteran who stood in the armory’s giant muster hall describing to me in the somnambulistic voice of someone recounting a dream how he participated in the liberation of a German concentration camp.

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I thought about standing next to the sign on the corner of Dartmouth and Lynnfield streets and asking people walking by if they know why it bears Donald DiTullio’s name. I’ll never forget the day his mother showed me the driver’s license New York authorities recovered and sent to her. May Donald DiTullio and everyone else who lost their lives to terrorism on Sept. 11, 2001 rest in peace.

 

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