Jourgensen: Savoring the unexpected

It’s fun to stumble across a place you didn’t expect to find, especially one with an air of mystery about it. My latest find is the nondescript brick building at Violet and Green streets that is home to religious women who live within sight of St. Joseph’s Church, with its steeple towering over Union Street.

There is no obvious indication that the building is a convent and a knock on a side door followed by a question is the only way you can find out when the building’s little chapel is open (noon and later).

Another fun find is the little forest, which Google Maps refers to as “Mass Audubon’s Nahant Thicket,” smack dab in the middle of Nahant just off Wharf Street and Walton Road. It reminds me of the one town residents are lovingly preserving in Swampscott.


Anyone remember Sawyer’s Service Station at the corner of Commercial Street and the Lynnway? I’m just old enough to recollect the great old days of filling stations with pumps equipped with a bell that rang when you filled up. I don’t remember station attendants wearing uniforms but I can remember my Aunt Jane bringing me an inflatable Sinclair dinosaur that towered over me, and the signs for Little America that lined the road heading south out of Cody to Cheyenne. There are still a few great examples of turn-of-the-mid-20th century gas stations around the area, including the former station at Liberty and Sutton streets; the one on Walnut Street in Saugus that is now a real estate office; the former station near the corner of Chestnut and Essex streets and, of course, the Deco classic on Willow Street at Liberty.

Am I missing any?


Tom Iarrobino is a classy guy who will be missed on Bennett Street. Impeccably dressed, he always reminded me of a big screen actor from the Hollywood glory days who remained calm when drama was unfolding around him and occasionally cracked a slight smile to hint at his opinion on a topic or discourse.


There’s nothing like tooting your own horn to make yourself tone-deaf. But on that note, my wife showed me an impressive certificate the former Daily Evening Item printed up to celebrate wedding anniversaries. The flowery script had an antiquated feel to it, but the sentiment was genuine and probably made the recipients feel special. The Item once made “Bouquets of the Week” a regular feature saluting local residents in the belief that it’s nice to get someone’s name in the paper.

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