Many of the names and some of the descriptions in this blog have been changed to protect the guilty.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

SHITTING to All Fields, Part 8

Another Dam(n) Mystery Solved!

Years ago I had asked about the fate of Mark Gilfoil, whose name is in the cement of the Putnam’s Puddle dam (bottom of photo), and a commenter answered, writing that his fellow Technical High School classmate from the Class of 1972 might have died in a motorcycle crash. A Springfield Union newspaper archive search verified this fact: On July 22, 1974, his motorcycle collided with the side of a car on Route 23 in Otis and he died instantly.

I also asked about the name above Mark’s: I wasn’t sure if it was “R.A. White” or “A.A. White.” And then, in 2012, an “Other Sider” (a guy from the other side of the pond) filled me in: the name in question was Mark’s best friend Ray White, another 1972 Tech grad who lived on the corner of Moss Road and Juniper Drive—just a few houses away from Mark.

Sure enough, if you look closely, you can see where the “Y” at the end of “Ray” has been corroded by the detritus of time:

The accident “was a very, very sad day for all of us in ‘Wing Park,’” wrote Garrett Smith, who graduated from Classical in 1973. Garret’s older brother Matt was a Tech High ’72 grad.

By “Wing Park,” he means the Acres streets in the North Brook Road area named after birds (Pidgeon, Sparrow, Partridge, Starling, Finch, Pheasant, and Meadowlark Lane) that were built by Raymond Pidgeon.

A lighter version of the photo above also apparently reveals the name PHIL (to the right of Gilfoil, White, and the peace sign) and an arrow pointing to what was undoubtedly his hand print—before age and moss obscured it. Anyone from “The Other Side” know who Phil is? Leave a comment or send an email!

I think it’s great that the Catholic Diocese announced it will rebuild tornado-damaged Cathedral High School after it received approximately $29 million in federal disaster aid. For more than three years the school’s home has been at the former Memorial School in Wilbraham, where I snapped these photos of a display case dedicated to Nick Buoniconti, the former Cathedral, Notre Dame, Dolphins, and Patriots star:

His nephews Mike and Vinny played on the 1998 Cathedral team Western Massachusetts-Central Massachusetts Division I Super Bowl Champion team.

Nick Buoniconti is pictured third from the right in his Cathedral playing days. Second from the left is Joe Scibelli, who played 15 seasons with the L.A. Rams.

I Know Why the Caged Monkey Spits

Check out the treasure trove of animal photos from the “old” Forest Park Zoo, including the chimpanzees Jiggs and Jiggsy and Morganetta the elephant. They were posted in the Facebook site “You Know You Grew Up at The X If…

Remember this monkey (above)? A real spitter!

Anybody remember Nathan’s Place on Route 20 in Monson? It operated under that name from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, although I hear this road house is much older than that. I saw Johnny Copeland there in 1984.

They tried to make a go of the building as a seafood place named Schooners, but it has been a long time since anyone has feasted on steamers there:

Speaking of old bars/restaurants, The Arbor was a gay bar on Worthington Street in Springfield in 1970s. Not that the kids at Technical High School cared when they bought 25-cent drafts there during “lunch.”

It closed its doors in the late 1970s and reopened as Ichabod’s in 1980. The building, which was a bar named Finnegan’s some time in the 1990s, looks like it’s being renovated. For what, I don’t know.

Yo, Adrian. Who wants to bring back dollar movies at the Bing?

Railroad Salvage was the precursor to close-out stores like Ocean State Lot. Ruby Vine, who died in 2011, was wounded and captured by Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. Seemingly born to be a salesman, the Army vet founded Railroad Salvage in New Haven in 1950. Below is the old Railroad Salvage in Turners Falls.

Honk if you remember Choo Choo Vine!

Say it ain’t so! Fortuna Auto Sales has finally covered up the funky-shaped Carol Cared Cars sign (below) on Bay Street.

A reader a while back asked for a photo of the old Belmont Avenue Friendly’s. Here it is:

Below is the old West Springfield Friendly’s:

Below, I believe, are the old interior and exterior (the sketch in the ad) of the Boston Road Friendly’s before it was redone. I think I remember the old horse and buggy mural:

While we’re contemplating the old waitress uniform, check it out. She works hard for the money:

In case you missed it, my semi-pornographic ode to the old waitress uniform can be found here

I found another photo of the one on Wilbraham Road in Sixteen Acres before it closed:

How many of you remember the “old old” Sixteen Acres Friendly’s, where Ginger Blossom restaurant is now?

In James A. Coleman’s book The Circle, the manager that the Circle Gang tormented mercilessly was referred to as Mr. Crepman, or “Crappy.” Coleman used pseudonyms in the book. Mr. Crepman was none other than Richard Kretzschmar, who put up with a lot.

In The Circle, the gang loots a beer truck during a delivery at Burns package store, but I hear it was actually an ice cream truck at Friendly’s. Which was it? Inquiring minds want to know!

When driving through Lee, MA, I was alarmed to see that they had replaced the old-school Friendly sign on Housatonic Street:

Fortunately, I was able to find a web image of the old one, so in a way it lives on forever:

Because I wrote about The Ditch teen hangout on Boston Road, it would be remiss of me not to post a photo of The Ditch off Peekskill Road (below), where rumor has it the East Sixteen Acres kids used to throw snowballs at cars.

Foster’s Field

Indeed, I will never give up my quest in asking readers to let me know about their hangouts. After all, you spent so much time there, and you might just revisit them every so often in your mind, especially if Hell’s Acres gives you a little reminder. So let’s pay a visit to Foster’s Field, next to Doc Foster’s house/office on Wilbraham Road. Much of the field, which was at the top of the photo next to Venture Pond (above), has filled in with trees and undergrowth over the years.

Roughly 20 regulars hung out at Foster’s field in the 1970s. “We didn’t consider ourselves a gang,” reports a reader. “It was merely a place to hang around and drink the likes of Haffenreffer (you probably remember this one) and another beer called Maximus Super brewed by the Utica Brewing Company.”

Oh, yes, I’m familiar with the Green Death. But the latter? Anybody out there drink this stuff?

Mmm. Now those are MAXIMI.

I’ll leave you now with another hangout: The Logs behind the Greenleaf Park fields. They were meant to prevent cars from going on the grass, but they took on a life of their own! Who out there spent some time at The Logs? Leave a comment!