item 1 >>> From 1949-1966, the Celtics would play a handful of home games each season in Providence RI. The custom picked up again in 1972, lasting for a few more years. The origin? Well, the Providence Steamrollers were a charter member of the NBA in 1946, playing 3 seasons in all. Lou Pieri owned the team as well as the Rhode Island Auditorium where they played. After the 1948-49 season, he brought in a coach to evaluate the team, with an eye towards hiring him. The coach said: it’s hopeless, and if it were me, I’d fold it up, and so Lou did. The next year, when the Celtics were bleeding bucks, owner Walter Brown asked his pal Lou to kick in some cash as a minority owner. Lou said sure, with 2 conditions: they play some games in Providence, and they hire the coach with the honest advice: Red Auerbach.
item 2 >>> Spreading the love…other venues for the Celtics in the 1950s were New Haven, Worcester, and even once Bangor in 1955. Other teams did this on and off…remember, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game took place in Hershey, PA. The practice picked up again in the 1970s, the era of the “regional” franchise concept, with dates in Springfield and Hartford. Not so much today? I don’t really keep track, much as I like “sports geography.”
item 3 >>> It probably didn’t really happen quite this way, but it might have…You’re riding the bus to school, Fall of 1968. As always, a couple of kids have transistor radios turned on, you’re digging the morning tunes, if you can hear them over the chatter. The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” comes on, and everyone shushes so they can listen. A few sing along. The bus arrives at school, but the song isn’t over yet, 7 minutes long, remember? So everyone stays on the bus until it finally ends. Then one guy (me?) sez: One more time!
item 4 >>> Horribles parade update…Viki Cleveland Watson is looking for photos of the Danvers Horribles from the 1960s…email to email@example.com (see 10/28 item #2) As I mention there, it originated as a July 4th event, altho some communities have for many years held one at Hallowe’en. Even in Danvers, sometimes Hallowe’en parade planners would advise marchers to wear a “Horribles-type costume.” The Danvers parade is strictly speaking the Highlands Horribles Parade. It was first held July 4, 1949, marching up Centre Street to the Village Training Field. There was a bean supper the night before…were you downwind?
item 5 >>> I came across a list of all the place names in New England that have Indian-derived names, and man, there are a ton of them! And owing to where I grew up, one and all have a magical sound to them, from Mass-a-chu-setts on down. It got me thinking about Indians as team nicknames…is it my imagination of has the controversy pretty much burnt itself out? Now I know some will disagree with me, but I have no problem with Chiefs, Warriors, Braves, heck, even Redskins. I mean, I drive a Jeep Cherokee, best vehicle I ever owned. Or would you prefer we changed everything, even place names? The question to ask yourself is this: precisely WHY do we choose to name our towns, teams, and cars what we do? I remember reading about a supposed Eskimo custom of giving babies disgusting names, like Dung, so that Death would be repulsed and not take them. But in general, you use a name because you like it. I’m just sayin’…
item 6 >>> Before there were Record Stores in the 60s and 70s, there were Radio & Record Shops in the 40,s and 50s. The difference was…you could buy a TV in a Radio & Record Shop. (Is that what you were going to say?)
item 7 >>> “The Pike” has 2 different meanings for North Shore residents. When I was growing up, it meant the Newburyport Turnpike, what is now called Rt. 1. The Massachusetts Turnpike, or Mass Pike for short, opened in 1957, at least the portion from the state line east to Rt .128. It was designated I-90 in 1959. The “new” Pike was of course built primarily along US Rt. 20, altho an early proposal, rejected as too expensive, was to run the Pike in the northern part of the state, along State Rt. 2. See today’s Wicked Ballsy for more.
item 8 >>> Visitors to the Boston area and the North Shore, be advised: Virtually everywhere else in the country, “regular” coffee means black coffee. But around here, “regular” means with cream and sugar. I was once told that in Western Massachusetts, “regular” coffee doesn’t mean anything. Dunno, cuz I always order BLACK, no matter where I am. But further confusing the issue is the order of “regular sugar” which means sugar, no cream, in other words a regular with sugar only, or a regular hold the cream, or something like that. You want fries with that?
item 9 >>> So this guy walks into a Dunky and asks how much coffee his thermos would hold. The counter girl looks at it and says: Probably 5 cups at least. The guy says: Great, gimme 2 regular, 2 black, 1 regular sugar…
item 10 >>> I’m reasonably confident that a while back I suggested you might be a Baby Boomer if you knew the difference between Peanuts Hucko and Peanuts Lowrey. Well, in the spirit of holiday generosity, here it is: (1) Michael Hucko, 1918-2003, big band clarinet player, born in Syracuse, nicknamed as a kid because he loved eating peanuts. (2) Harry Lee Lowrey, 1917-1986, outfielder with several National League teams from 1942-1955, then a Major League coach, but never a manager, for 22 seasons, nicknamed because he was so small as a kid, acted in several Our Gang films.
On the left, the original Mass Pike logo, only used for a few years. The arrow-thru-hat emblem was used from 1960-1980, a rare case of governmental light-heartedness, I guess you could call it. Then, right bottom, the PC version sans arrow. Spoilsports…altho the actual reason given for the change was that in some circumstances the arrow looked like it was directing traffic in a direction they weren’t supposed to go. You think?
uh-oh, shameless pluggios…
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi