60 years in The Ville

On July 13, 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.)

I have a pretty big birthday coming up this month. As a matter of fact, most of my childhood friends are also turning…the same age this year. Oh what the hell…the big 6-0. Wow!

I’m glad to say that I have spent all of those years in Somerville. When I was a kid, a train rumbled through Davis Square. There was a guy that pushed a knife-sharpening cart around the streets, and a fruit seller in a small jeep with a bell. Dogs ran around unleashed and no one picked up after them. No one picked through your trash for bottles and cans either.

Hoodsies were passed out by politicians on the Fourth of July. I attended sister school when the nuns still wore their menacing habits. Penny candy was a penny. Summer vacations lasted longer. We drank Zarex and Fizzies. Our dress pants were always too baggy and itchy. The coolers we took to Norembega Park and Revere Beach were made of metal and we brought baloney sandwiches wrapped in tin foil or baggies.

SAVE THE DATE! Wednesday July 24, Stainless and The Sunsetters on Hall Ave! Stainless, the pop rock band with Jimmy Del Ponte Jr., Joey Del Ponte and Lance Mahon will play at 7 p.m. before the Sunsetters performance. Come celebrate director Jimmy Del Ponte’s birthday with this special double feature show!

SAVE THE DATE! Wednesday July 24, Stainless and The Sunsetters on Hall Ave! Stainless, the pop rock band with Jimmy Del Ponte Jr., Joey Del Ponte and Lance Mahon will play at 7 p.m. before the Sunsetters performance. Come celebrate director Jimmy Del Ponte’s birthday with this special double feature show!

Dad’s huge tank of a car had no A/C or seat belts but the radio played oldies. We went to the YMCA day camp and remember a guy named Brownie. One of the day trips was to Hoods Cherry Hill Farm.

We bought goldfish birds and turtles at Grants and Woolworths. We swam with our friends at Foss Park and Dilboy. We built buggies and go-carts using wheels from shopping carts. We put together model airplanes, cars, super heroes and movie monsters. Some of us left the cover off of the glue a little too long. We had bikes with fat tires and we stuck baseball cards and balloons in the spokes with clothespins.

All four grandparents were still in our lives. Mom and Betty Crocker made our birthday cake and invited our friends and cousins to our party. We played with Slinkys, Hula Hoops and YoYos.

We were warned by our sophomore homeroom teacher that high school was going to fly by. Boy did it! When we started high school there were still some wooden desks with ink well holes in them. Some of our elementary schools are now condos, and others are just memories. The buses had thick comfortable padded seats.

We got an allowance of 50 cents a week. Our parents saved S&H Green Stamps. We bought our first color TV set at Lechmere Sales in Cambridge. We loved JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and mourned John’s senseless murder. It was our first tastes of tragedy. We loved the Beatles and mourned John’s death. We saw a house move from Highland Ave. to Powder House Boulevard. We saw Friendly’s turn into a bank, and Hostess become a nursing home.

We found buyers to get us liquor. We became old enough to drink legally and it did some of us in. We became hippies and experimented with strange stuff and it ruined some of our lives. We went to Woodstock. We went to war and some didn’t come home. We will never forget them.

Powder House Park went from a tough teenage hangout to unleashed yuppie puppies running amuck. I still see kids I went to The Western Junior High School with. It’s great to see them. The High School reunions are getting smaller.

I say I grew up in Somerville but I still feel like a kid…until I look in the mirror. I am looking forward to keeping on growing up.  I’m still happy to be still kicking. Still kicking in the Ville. Happy birthday to all of my friends…the class of 1971 who are, or have already turned 60 years old. Here’s to many more years of enjoying living in Somerville.



8 Responses to “60 years in The Ville”

  1. A. Moore says:

    Happy 60th, wish I could go back to 60 again. Cherry Hill was one of our favorite places to go. I took pictures there with my brownie. For those of the younger set, that was a camera.

  2. ritepride says:

    Hey Jimmy those were great years. Looking at the picture are you shrinking or are the kids growing? lol. Seems like they sprout up overnite. I didnt realize “old age” till the grandkids started getting married.

  3. RF says:

    My most vivid memory of Powder House Sq. was having to register with Selective Service at the old PH. This was pre-lottery as the war was escalating so it’s not one of my fondest memories. Jumping the back of a trackless trolley going up the snow covered hill on Broadway in January or February is one.

    Get to where we want and just pull the cord, the bus stops and we jump off. Didn’t endear us to the driver.

    No trolleys or snow here in LA to tempt me these days.

  4. Lorraine says:

    You made m husband laugh and cry…he still longs for the old days in Somerville. He misses his mom dearly. I didn’t know things bothered him that much, but thanks for the memories for my dear sweet Eddie…..

  5. gary m says:

    Hey Jimmy,
    Happy B-Day and many more.

    Great to hear Hall Ave is still the stage (I still foundly remember the days of Shadowfax/the Tools at this spot) for another great event!!

    Glad to see the music legacy continues to spread across the Delponte generations and those of the VIlle. A great spot and times for more memories.


  6. Steve Keenan says:

    Happy birthday, Jim. You still have a lot of living to do. I remember the good old days in the ‘Ville. WE had some great musical acts at the old high school gym. I remember the Beacon Street Union playing there(later to become John Lincoln Wright and the Sour Mash Boys with lead singer John Lincoln Wright). Paul Petersen(he of the Donna Reed Show and “She Can;t Find Her Keys(his big hit along with “My Dad.)”

    The walks after the Tech Tourney from the old Boston Garden were quite the show. I remember after one tourney they greased the large pole on the high school concourse to prevent people from climbing up it.

    Great days in the City of Somerville, great friends, great teachers such as Mr. David Jones, and fond memories.

    Your life is not over Jimmy-age is just a state of mind. I’m 63 and planning a cross country motorcycle trip soon to the Badlands, Yellowstone, Yosemite, PC1, and then up to Canada and back home through Canada with a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

    Remember what Red(Morgan Freeman) said in the Shawshank Redemption-“Get busy living or get busy dying.” Rock on my friend and may God bless and guide you. Youdaman!!

  7. David MacLeod Luken says:

    I’m 67 and have similarly fond memories of Somerville before anybody called it “The Ville.” I was born at Somerville General Hospital on Highland Ave and went home to my grandparents’ house on Highland ROAD soon after. I learned to walk at Powder House Park before learning to read at Brown Elementary. I have more relatives buried at Mount Auburn than I can remember. My Luken side was from Wakefield but I don’t know any of them. I haven’t lived in the area for sixty years but I still ride The MTA out to Somerville whenever I visit The Hub.

  8. RickB says:

    Still remember having my first ‘shot’ at the Rosebud with Moe serving!

    Good old days for sure!

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