This article originally appeared in The Somerville News on June 25, 2008.
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
As I was driving to Taco Bell on Saturday (because my son wanted a nutritious meal), I noticed the “Welcome to East Somerville ” sign as we crossed McGrath Highway. It brought back a lot of my own East Somerville memories and gave me a chance to use some of The Somerville News weblog information. Most are first hand experiences, but some details have been donated “bloggily.” Let’s start by tossing back a couple.
Casey’s, Coleman’s and Morriarty’s are places many of us have visited down east.
Miller’s Market was on Pearl and Cross and Tip Tops was at the corner of Pearl and Walnut. J and S had great subs at Cross and Ellsworth and Mitrano’s was between Delaware and Pearl Street. There was a store called “Aggies” at the corner of Pearl and Franklin Street that school kids used to grab snacks at before school.
Izzy’s sold penny candy and we all went to some sort of festivity at Post 388.
Harris Park, Perkins Park, Florence Park, Cobble Hill and of course Glen Park were popular hang outs back in the day.
I can say from experience that the intersection of Pearl Street and McGrath Highway is a nightmare. Back in the early 1970’s, I was in a car that was broadsided by a clown who ran a red light. If we weren’t in that 1959 Ford “tank,” who knows what might have happened.
FYI, you cannot get a facial, pedicure or mud wrap at Khoury’s State Spa. It is not a spa as in health spa. However, you can get some good grub and a cold drink. Say “Hi” to Mickey and Eddie for me, please. Mr. Khoury, their dad, was a great guy. I remember playing in the band “The Echoes” at Khoury’s – where it was a tradition for a gentleman named “Sparrow” to end the night by singing God Bless America. Some of The Echoes big songs back then were Separate Ways by Journey and Every Breath You Take by The Police. They also featured country and western music down there. I remember a waitress named Alice at Khoury’s. I’ll never forget the night she said to me, “Jimmy, I don’t like the way you sing but you always smell great.” I probably wore Brut or English Leather…maybe even British Sterling. It was back then that I met Susan Barry and all her brothers. I still see Sue around the ‘Ville and we share memories of those good old days. Check out Khoury’s Thursday night Road Races.
Class day at Northeastern Junior High School in 1977 was a day I’ll never forget. I did a couple of numbers with the rocking “K Kiley Band.” The members were Kevin Kiley, Jerry Antonelli, Jay (Jeffrey) Wilcox, Jimmy Lauria and Phil DiRusso. Jimmy Beebee, known as “Raballic,” Frankie Powers, Mark “Chubba” McGinnis and Kenny Robertson were on the road crew. It was quite the rock n’ roll production featuring many KISS tunes. There was a smoke and light show and at least two guitars were smashed to bits on stage. The faculty was not happy, but the kids of East Somerville got one heck of a show.
The Broadway Movie Theatre at the end of Franklin Street was in operation from 1915 to 1982. Movies shown at the historic theatre covered a span from The Tramp with Charlie Chaplin to Raiders of the Lost Ark with Harrison Ford.
You used to be able to buy worms and fishing tackle from a guy on Lower Broadway who was a couple of doors up from the theater. He may have actually been in the same building as the theatre.
My cousin Fred Caruso and his family still live on Flint Street.
The East Somerville Community School was where The Somerville Players presented their production of Here’s Somerville in 1977. The acoustics in that auditorium were among the best in the state. Maybe when the repairs from the fire are finished there will be a Here’s Somerville 2007 (actually, I’m working on it as you read this).
Here is a little piece of advice a reader passed on to us – regarding East Somerville – whatever you do, don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk on Pearl Street between McGrath Highway and Jasper Street. If you do, don’t be surprised if some guy named Salvatore yells at you. “Eastville,” “JAR” and Jeffrey Wilcox all contributed to this article.