What’s up, Doc?

On February 2, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

del_ponte_3_webLife in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte

(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.)

They showed up your house at all hours of the day or night in all kinds of weather. They healed the ill in the Ville. They carried their black leather bag and they brought comfort. The family doctor used to make house calls to visit their sick patients. We all have memories of the man who made us all better. We also feared him because he was also the one who may have had to give us that dreaded…shot.

There were a lot of doctors in Somerville back in the day. When your parents called, they came. We all remember trips to the doctor’s office too. It had a very distinct smell. A sort of mixture of leather and rubbing alcohol, and sometimes tobacco and Old Spice. After I share some personal remembrances of the family doctors all lumped together below, I will list some of the noble healer’s names.

“He (the doctor) would show up with his little black bag, in a black suit with a crisp white shirt and tie. We would walk to his office where we would and read Highlights for Children magazines. When he showed up at our house, I remember my siblings and me hiding, especially when he had his big silver needle to give us a shot.

He was our dear and respected family doctor, and we miss the good old days of family house calls.

“Our Doctor delivered me and my sister…twins…at Somerville Hospital…years later I had surgery when I was around 18 or 19…while being the operating room…who walks in…our old family doctor!”

“I think he delivered all of us (well, except one who came too soon and was born in an ambulance). It was an honor when he came for a home visit to be the one who got the chair from the dining room to put beside the couch (where the patient was), so he could sit on it.”

“He made house calls and when I did go to his office I was always rewarded with a visit to Loud’s Candy Store (Powder House Square) a block away for candy or ice cream.”

“Three generations of my  family used the same doctor.”

“He made many house calls all hours of the day and night. $3 or $5 if you needed a shot. I can still remember the smell of his sterile office on Holland St. Funny how years ago just one doctor could do everything from treating ear aches to doing major surgery. No insurance forms, I remember my medical records being on an index card. Every time he made a house call he had to help my mom pull me out from under the bed!”

“He came to our house routinely for all our childhood illnesses, measles, scarlet fever, chickenpox, mumps, etc. He wore gray wool three-piece suits complete with pocket watch and fob, carrying his little black bag. I remember I hated his stethoscope because it was cold when he placed it on my back. I told my mother and the next time I saw him in the office he heated it up for a few seconds in his sterilizer. He was my hero from that day forth.”

“Our doctor saved my father’s life. He had a ruptured spleen and if he didn’t make that house call that day my dad would have died. I remember how afraid I was as a young child. Thank you, doctor, for giving me my dad for so many more decades.”

“Our family doctor delivered all nine of us (siblings).”

“With nine kids the Doctor was always at our house!”

“He was a funny guy who always made us laugh.”

“He always showed up with a black bag and lollipops!”

“My parents named my brother after him (our family doctor).”

“My ankle got stuck in the back spokes of a bicycle riding double at the old Morse School, 51 years ago. They sewed my ankle up with over 40 stitches the doctor came almost every day for three months checking on the gangrene that was creeping up my leg.”

“We would put a bowl of M&M’s out for the doctor when he came because he loved them.”

“The Norman Rockwell pictures of kids getting shots hanging in his office scared me.”

“Once my sister was so sick he came and stayed the whole night.”

Here is a partial list of the doctors of Somerville way back when: Dr Goldenberg, Dr. Mucci ,Dr Baldassari, Dr. Rosenthol, Dr.Russo, Dr. Russman, Dr. Ciampa, Dr. Sewell, Dr. Kusna, Dr. Kelley, Dr.Bloom, Dr. Receputo, Dr. Sokol, Dr. Picariello, Dr. D’Orio, Dr. Schwartz, Dr. Frasier, Dr. Thomas Kelley, Dr. Sweeney,  Dr. Giobbe, Dr. Smith, Dr. Carr, Dr. Connors, Dr. Dwyer, Dr. Giobbi, Dr.Robinson, Dr.Hodos, Dr. Arthurs, Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. Martin, Dr. McSweeney, Dr.Crocker, Dr.O’Brien, Dr.Bloom, Dr.Marcus, Dr.MacDonald,

Dr.Harry Goldenberg’s office served as a haven for me when stress and anxiety drove me to walk out of school. I would show up at his office and he would talk me into going back to school. And he never told my parents.

In closing, I would like to pay tribute to another one of my favorite physicians, the infamous Dr.Vinnie Boombatz.


7 Responses to “What’s up, Doc?”

  1. A. Moore says:

    Dr. Avolone(spelling) up on Broadway accross from the A&P was the one we got stuck with. Take that either way. We actually didn’t go to the office, he always came to the house. Never met Ciampa, only his wife but many of my friends went to him. Goldenberg the old navy doc I knew. Used to see one at the Central also but can’t remember his name.

  2. j. connelly says:

    We had Dr Harry Goldenberg too. I also remember Dr. ‘Goldberg’ no relation to Dr Harry. When the police & fire would respond to a medical emergency call Dr GOLDBERG, would also be sent. I remember one time the younger brother had a high fever and then a convulsion, The police (then they had 2 man cruiisers) and the crew of SFD Engine 6, arrived.
    Shortly after he told them to cancel the ambulance response as the brother was okay & didnt need to go to the hospital…..

    Jimmy, ‘the book’, everyone’s waiting and I believe our “senior” commenter mentioned he may know someone to assist you in getting the future “pulitzer winning” book done.

  3. Steve Keenan says:

    Doctor Joseph Baldassari was our doctor. I can still see him coming up to the house with his black bag. A great man. Doctor Hodos was right around the corner from our house at the corner of Bailey Road and Temple Street. Those are now days of the past. God bless all the physicians!!

  4. jimmy DelPonte says:

    to J. connelly…. I am currently talking to someone about the book… but feel free to send me the name and contact info of the person you are referring to ! Thanks, Jimmy

  5. gloria says:

    i cant belive you can remember all those things sure does bring me back to those days as a child in somerville

  6. gary m says:

    I wonder, seriously, if they could name the corner across the street from Harry Goldenberg’s Office by Powderhouse Park after him????

    Dr. Goldenberg was a stand-up guy!!!

  7. Brian says:

    Doctors and hospitals, it seems like my many years in Somerville were connected to them. My mother was a nurse at MGH and we never had a family doctor like these greats. My family moved into what was for many years the old Somerville Hospital School of Nursing on the corner of Brastow and Lowell.
    My next door neighbor on Moreland St. was Dr. Baldassari, he still saw a few patients up thru the late ’80s. Many years later I was lucky enough to own the beautiful house that Dr. Giobbe used for his private practice. One of his old black leather bags was found in the basement. Ray’s sister Jane worked in Dr. Giobbe’s office when she was young and Bill O’B’s family was friends with the doctors kids when they lived across the street.

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