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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Miscellaneous Shit, Part 3

God I could go for a Giovanni’s pizza right now!

Or a chocolate éclair from the Ding Dong cart! Not to mention other goodies:

The kid in blue above is in front of the “wrapper snapper,” a drawing of a dragon with a big hole for a mouth—where you put your trash.

In the mid-1970s we got to know Jim, a Ding Dong cart driver, fairly well. He would even let us ride in the cart to the next street, Catalpa Terrace. One time, for some reason, he didn’t let us jump in, so my friend Dave O’Brien tried to hitch a ride by stepping up on that slanted bumper on the back. The problem was, there was nothing for him to hold onto. He reached up and grabbed the only thing he could see. Unfortunately, it was a florescent light bulb, and he pulled it off. Dave didn’t mean to do it, but he didn’t want to get caught, so he ever-so-slyly hid it behind his back.

Jim slammed on his brakes, got out, and asked ever-so-politely, “Do you think I can have my light bulb back?”

“Sorry,” said Dave, ever-so-sheepishly, handing it over. Jim calmly snapped the bulb back in and drove away. 

Amazingly, Jim held no hard feelings over the incident. He was such a good sport he regularly sold ice cream on credit, taking kids’ names and how much they owed him in a notebook. Boy what a mistake THIS was. As the summer wound down and fewer children were answering call of the Ding Dong cart bell, Jim showed me the notebook.

“A bunch of guys still owe me money,” he complained. “Do you know any of them?”

I saw a list of fake names. Fake, obviously, to me, anyway. None of these “people” lived in our neighborhood. I didn’t have the heart to tell him. “No, Jim, sorry,” I replied. “But I’ll ask around.”

GOD! It didn’t occur to Jim that some of these folks would stiff him? Oh, well.

The ad for Giovanni’s (now Bruno’s) reminded me that next to Bruno’s right now is Hashbury Head Shop!

I wonder how the Sixteen Acres Civic Association let THAT happen? It’s in the old Peter Cymmar store. “Come on in and browse around!” lol.

The post-World War II suburban migration was in full swing in the early 1950s in Pine Point and Sixteen Acres. The area composed of side streets behind Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church was known as “Breckwood,” although it is technically Pine Point.

Speaking of Pine Point, ever hear of the neighborhood’s Rushville section? It consists of a number of bungalows built by architect William Rush in the early 1900s in the area across from Maaco (now Mass Collision) and Best Transmission on Berkshire Avenue. Among the streets were Dewey, Hobson, Rush, Schley, and a portion of Berkshire Avenue.

In the Pine Point bungalow craze, many of these homes were built with chiseled concrete blocks, such as this one at 575 Berkshire Avenue:

The above house was William Rush’s home—the first one in Rushville—built around 1909.

Not all of them have that stone feature, although you can notice it in the foundation of this one, at 54 Hobson. The house was built in 1914:

This one is at 44 Hobson:

This one, at an unknown address on Hobson Street, has that stone feature, but it looks a little bigger than a Bungalow! In fact, a lot bigger:

The craftsman-style one at 50 Switzer Avenue was built in 1914-1915 for $2,500:

These three are on Rollins Street:

Rushville, believe it or not, even had its own youth hockey and teams (the Rushville Tigers) and Boy and Girl Scout troops at one time.

I miss Wilbraham 10 Pin!

Before it was Paddy’s it was Mory’s. Before that it was The Chimes. Yeah, we went there once in a while. It was one of the only bars we could really walk to, and that had its benefits, considering how much we used to drink.

Don’t forget the Gas Fight—I mean, the Gas Light. Hey, I didn’t know Big Al Anderson played there. Oh well, I was probably away at college anyway.

Before it was Fenway Golf it was the Fenway Farm.

Santana at the Civic Center.

George Carlin at the Municipal Auditorium (later renamed Symphony Hall).

Check out that 1975 ticket price!

Honk if you remember the Flaming Pit’s swizzle stick!

Speaking of the Flaming Pit, remember how great Eastfield Mall was? Now it’s a fairly depressing place.

As far as I can tell, the bizarre House of Shakers and Old Salts sold salt and pepper shakers in the 1940s and 1950s at 3157 Boston Road in Wilbraham. 

Check out their very racially insensitive “Chef and Mammy” enlarged from the above photo:

They’re almost as good as the failed Red Sox David Ortiz bobblehead promotion.

You know, a couple of years ago I stopped at a tag sale in Wilbraham and secretly took a picture of some similar salt and pepper shakers. I had forgotten to put it in the blog, and it was on my old phone, but thank God I had emailed it to myself, so here it is:

I swear it’s the same set, only painted differently. Look at his hat, her hair wrap, and her spoon! Was it from the same place? Who knows?

The shop was operated by Frederick and Elsie Ruther. Elsie died in 1972, and shortly after Frederick’s death in 1974, the entire collection of 10,000 of shakers were put up for sale.

The structure was an antique shop for a while, and then it was a biscotti and chocolate place a few years ago. Now it’s a thrift shop:

A guy posted in the Facebook group “You Know You Grew Up at The X if…” a photo of the Forest Park paddle boats in storage. Hey, how about getting those babies back out on Porter Lake and reigniting that attraction again? I bet they would be popular.

Here is that Facebook group’s profile picture—an Orange Café dart jacket!

Ah, the good old Orange.

I’d like to continue blogging, but right now I hear the angelic bells of the Ding Dong cart, and I’m hungry, so off I go. I’ll just take a couple of photos and upload them. See you next month:


Unknown said...

I spent a lot of time in the hashbury building when it was a baseball card shop then a comic book Shop in the 90's. We used to get fried dough at Bruno's after loitering.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

There was a Rushville School in the early 1920s. It was located on Berkshire Ave, next to the Rush house, and was made up of one or more portable classroom buildings. When the Robert O. Morris School opened in 1927, at least one of the buildings was moved to Harvey St. and repurposed as a church.

PJ Pinsonnault said...

The ding dong cart was always a welcome sight in my neighborhood. There was a soft serve truck that sometimes came through and we'd always wish it was the other guy, but we'd still line up. Ice cream's ice cream, after all.

I too spent way too much time and money at the card and comics shop next to Bruno's in the 90's. Those were the days!

Hell's Acres said...

Didn't know there was a Rushville School. Thanks for the info. They didn't move many buildings back in the 1920s!

Hell's Acres said...

Hey PJ,

The Ding Dong cart was definitely the highlight of the day. Mr. Softee was a rare occurrence, and I even remember one or two visits from the Good Humor truck.

Johnny_99 said...

There was nothing worse than the hangover and subsequent case of the runs after a night drinking pitchers of shitty (pun intended) draft beer at Mory's. I swear they never cleaned the taps.

I also spent a lot of time and money at Bob's Card and Comics. Anybody out there still in touch with him? He was a good dude and we were diehard Sox fans in those dark years before 2004.

I've got a bunch of mid to late 70s ticket stubs from concerts at the civic center.

Hell's Acres said...

Hey Johnny_99,

Email pix of those ticket stubs to hellsacres@gmail.com and I'll post 'em!