Life 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.)
Our parents sent us there to get milk and bread. We could walk there. We would get ourselves some penny candy while we were there. It seemed there was a mom and pop store on every corner in Somerville.
This is another one of those “list” articles. I asked my friends to try to remember all the spas, corner, and variety stores in Somerville, past and present. I got so many responses I was overwhelmed. Some are gone, and some are still here, just like everything else in Somerville. I can’t guarantee that the spelling is correct but hang on because, here goes! I’m putting them out there the way I got them. If I repeat one, sorry.
Tonys’s (Y-Nots is Tony backwards) on Morrison and Willow (now Neal runs it ). Tony’s (Hodgkin Spa) at Holland and Simpson, formerly Pete’s. Mitchells in Ball Square (Mitchell and his brother George). Dick and Ellen’s on Broadway. Richdale’s on Highland and Willow. May’s, Marion St. Paul’s, corner of Albion and Central (neighborhood kids drove the poor guy crazy). Bill’s on Conwell Ave., run by Bill Jr. and Raphael. Bill was the guy who owned it before Frank Sr. Joe’s Spa & Florida Fruit Market, Bow St. Union Sq. Johnny’s aka Thurston Spa, corner of Thurston and Medford (Johnny’s special subs!). Joe Izzy’s Glen Park (he kept his shotgun in sight.) Small’s at Medford and Trull. Maher’s Market, North St. Art and Joe’s, Highland Rd. Teele Square Convenience. 350 Food Mart on Broadway. Midnight Variety, Union Square. Tip Top Market on Pearl St. Pete’s,corner of Dane Ave. and Dane St. Oscar’s (Liberty Market), Liberty and Appelton. Rainbow Spa, on Broadway in East Somerville. Cedar Market, corner of Cedar and Summer. Walter’s at the corner of Holland and Claremon. Norman’s on the corner of Elm and Mossland, actually Elm Confectionary. George’s Market on the corner of Grant and Jaques, also called Bengie’s. Don’s at the corner of Medford and Central and Eliot Market at the corner of Medford and Tennyson. Sweet memories! Christy’s across from Trum Field. Kneeland’s, on the corner of Highland and Lowell. Everyone in the neighborhood worked there. Cliff and Lucy’s was further down Highland Ave. going toward the firehouse. Gatteni’s on Morrison Ave., near Highland Road. JRs on Cedar St. Skinder’s on Summer Street a couple of doors up from Kelly Park. Sunnyhurst Farms, corner of Central and Highland. Georges at the corner of Albion and Lowell. Jacks at the corner of Albion & Cedar. Tony’s spa on Somerville Ave. near St. Anthony’s. Store 24 (The Quick Shop), Davis Square. Silvia’s on the corner of Summer St. and School St. Mac’s Variety on Pearl St. Joe Spa’s on the corner of Summer and Wesley Park. Jack’s on the corner of Summer and Cedar. Georgie’s corner of Cutter and Highland. Arthur’s, corner of Claremon St. Chip’s, at the top of Broadway and Main Sts. Arthurs at Perry Park. Susi’s, Yorktown St. DiNitto’s, corner of Merrriam St. and Somerville Ave. Silvias, Summer and School. Aggie’s, corner of Pearl and Franklin. Mitrano’s and Sons, Broadway, across from the old Capital Theater. Tip Top Market Pear l and Walnut. T&C, Laurel and Somerville Ave. Pioneer was on Washington Street next to Perry Park. Millers Market, corner or Pearl and Cross. J&S, Cross St. Bain’s, Berkeley and Central. Rainbow Spa on Broadway near Indiana Avenue. Mary Soglieros on Cutter St. (penny candy and dirty jokes!). De Young’s Variety, Cameron and Mead in the 1930’s. Albertini’s Spa Somerville Ave. Dick’s, Dimick and Waldo. Tom’s, corner of Beacon and Calvin. Al’s, Marion and Concord. Jessie’s, Concord and Springfield. Steve’s on Pearl. Dick and Ellen’s on Broadway and Corinthian. John’s on Broadway near Wallace St. Temple’s on Temple St. Al’s on Cross St. Irvings, corner of Lowell and Albion. Paul’s, Central and Albion. D & J outlet, Albion and Lowell. Pat’s Variety, Somerville Ave near Bradlees. Steve’s on Pearl Street. J&A Superette (Jessie’s), Springfield and Concord. Phil’s on Dane St. Ma’s Market, North and Conwell. Hilda’s, Washington St. Al’s, Washington St. Charlie’s, Linden and Summer. Harry’s, Prospect and Concord. Duke’s in Teele Sq. Mystic Farms, Ryan’s Variety, and Buster’s (sites unknown!).
They let our parents run tabs, and they gave us kids cigarettes to bring home. I know there are some we forgot, but this was truly a gallant effort. Thanks to everyone who helped out.
When my brother Joe, sister Christine and cousin Carol were kids our grandparents lived on Elmwood St. and we walked to “Jake’s” on Cameron Ave. We used to sing, “Going down Jake’s, gonna get a belly ache!” Good memories of good times.