I flew to Boston, arrived about peak commute time which is why we decided to get a hotel instead of crawling our way to our destination. As it was, it took over an hour to drive the seven miles from the airport to our hotel.
That last-minute decision landed us in the “Motel From Hell” from a supposedly decent chain, Econo Lodge. We had a great laugh about how horrible it was, the front door to the lobby handle came off in Jim’s hand when he opened the door and the problems piled up after that. A friend of mine once got drunk and slept all night in a hotel in Vegas with a dead body under his mattress. That was in the 1960’s. I was reminded of that incident because of the smell. Well, we survived. I was tired and slept well even so.
In the morning, we met Jim’s high school friends, Bill and Loretta Gallagher. Bill and Jim like to tour their old neighborhood and remind themselves of all their teenage exploits.
Jim is pointing at Bill and telling Loretta how he had the hot date with Perry Como’s niece so Bill was tailgating Jim and following him so they couldn’t get to the favorite necking spot without witnesses. So Jim tries to shake him with a quick U turn in the middle of the road and Bill T boned his car.
And then there was the time they got stopped by the DMV guys, who always hung out on this one corner and stopped cars to check for their licenses and registration. Bill was driving his Henry J. Out piled 13 kids before Bill could get his registration out of the glove box.
And then, another time, they were headed for a “rumble” with their chains and chocks when the clutch burned out in the old Henry J and probably saved their lives. Oh, yeah. These guys lived the life of Fonzie.
We cruised the old neighborhood, with the guys marveling that the old trailer park where Jim lived was still there. Jim lived in a 12 foot trailer from age 10 to 14 with his parents and younger brother.
When he was in Jr. High, he crawled under the fence to Suffolk Downs, lied his age, and got a job grooming horses.
We visited the track but the place was empty. The track was being groomed and no horses in sight.
We stopped at the oldest Cemetery in the area. Bill pointed out where there was a building from the 1600’s on this site, an old house. The City of Revere didn’t have the money to fix it up, a fact that still annoys him that they would tear down this historic building instead of finding a way to preserve it through alternative financing.
The gates were closed and we couldn’t enter.
Then we met Dolly and Arthur at Demaino’s restaurant, where everyone went for Pizza in the 1950’s. Arthur is 85 and didn’t attend high school with the rest of them.
Amazingly, Loretta and Dolly have known each other since they were three years old.
The only one missing is their other partner in crime, Al Penta who lives in the state of Washington. But, they always hoist a glass and remember him when they get together.
Our time was short and sweet and then we drove to Dartmouth to Jim’s cousin’s house, Donna and Bob Parker. Donna and I are both foodies and she immediately brought us some home-made Portuguese cookies and zucchini bread.
Then we had dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, Antonio’s. There was a sign on the wall, Martha Stewart was here, with her picture. I guess they took over the whole restaurant with their entourage. Anyway, the food is well-known to everyone in the area. Jim and I shared what is supposed to be a single entree, the Chicken Algarvia with chicken breast, shrimp and little neck clams.
Bob and Donna shared their entree of Pork Ribatejana, with pork, shrimp, little neck clams in a broth with fried potatoes.
And, like the entrees, the beers are huge. Bob chugs down the last swallow. We’ll be staying here for five days. I dieted before arriving. You can guess why.