Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Boston Neighborhoods

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

The Marginal Street Center lasted a season. The following season it was at the Central Square Center. It was a huge building in the center of the district. This was a huge church at one time. The first floor had two large halls, offices, and a kitchen in the back with stoves and ovens that could supply meals for an extremely large number of people.

The upstairs was the main area and there was a stage with pews that could accommodate 1,000 people or better. What was done the side pews were removed and the Center the built rooms on either side. Good size rooms for classes. The stage was kept and we had fun doing plays, blackouts, etc. Blackouts were short plays that had a punch line and when it was delivered there lights were put off.

We even had a young lady in college that came once a week to teach us how to act, voice, how to fall without getting hurt. How to kiss without kissing the girl in the love scenes. And throwing punches or slapping without hitting.  It was fun.

At 15, I was ready for high school. My father insisted that I should go to Boston English. East Boston was not for me. It had to be all boys school. So in September I entered English High. It had a high tradition and was almost on a par with Boston Latin [ed: Boston Latin is the oldest school in the country founded in 1635.] And rival in sports. Football and baseball were the highlights of the season between both schools. At Latin, one had to take a test to get in. At English, good marks.

For me that was a bad move. It required car fare. If I wanted to engage in sports, they were done elsewhere. There was not any ground to play anything. It required going to West Roxbury. Another round fare to get to the fields and it would take time we would get through school at 2:30. And if you went for sports you would get home by 5 pm. Not for me. [ed: worrying about the money] I had to be able to get to school. We had to buy round trip tickets for the week. And many weeks I just was able to get the amount to punch them.

Most of the students, 3300, came from the school area. Not many from East Boston. If I didn't have the Center, I would have been lost. And as I approached my 16th birthday in 1935, I began to consider dropping out. And with 26 days to go to before I became a Junior I quit.

Needless to say, my mother and father were not pleased. And I didn't know what I was going to do. While I was sitting on the curb one day, the truant officer came to me. Telling me I should be in school. I told him I didn't have to go. He said what makes you think so? I said I am 16 years old and I looked up the law. [ed: future lawyer.] He left.

I kept on going to the Center as I was a volunteer. I helped out. One day, Charlie ("Skip") came to me and asked me if I would help out. He was going to run a play school for young pre-grade and grade school and I would help as a volunteer.. What was needed was me and other boys we would wash and dry dishes and forks etc. after lunch. That was all that had to be done. The rest of the session we would be on our own. We could help the teachers if we wanted to and we would also have lunch when it was served. In addition, at the end of the season I would get $10.00. It was not a salary, but  gift. I said ok.

I went to the meeting of the staff to get the lay of the land. Orientation. And I looked all the teachers over and they were all young ladies in the Junior year at college. There were about 35 beautiful girls. It was hard to decide which one I should go after. I had a lot of time so I decided that I would go for all of them. It turned out to be the best year I had.

12 comments:

  1. Another very lively story. Glad he had his best year with 35 beautiful girls to choose from! Hugs, Valerie

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  2. Its fascinating reading about school back in our parent's days. Different but not. Seeing schools want to change things all the time-which is good and bad too. Hope you enjoying this weather. Hugs-Erika

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    1. Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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  3. Best year he had! I'll bet LOL ;)

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  4. The price he paid for the card punches didn't begin to compare to the price he paid in delaying his education.

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    1. I think the price her paid in guilt was a lot higher.

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  5. CJ...the last paragraph has me crcking UP !! ☺☺☺

    until today I had never heard of blackouts { power outage aside } they sound like fun; as did what your dad learned about acting lessons !! I've seen some B/W films where you had to really pay close attention to see if the actor really DID get punched ! ☺☺♥♥

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    1. Dad was a ham and loved acting. When he retired he joined a community theater group in a production of Oklahoma. He was in the chorus and loved every minute of the production.

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  6. 35??? Wow, your dad must have been happy! LOL! I bet it was his best year!

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