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Ron "Spider" Cronin fondly recalls his Happy Days growing up in Southbridge
March 28, 2010

I must say I enjoy all things Southbridge from the past as it was the best place to grow up...it truly was the all American Happy Days...I wouldn't change a thing...I graduated in 1965...and though I "left " to go to college and then  the military , eventually landing in Boston and environs where I am now, Southbridge has been an indelible focus of my life.

I first became aware of your work through Kathy Ryan Fournier and I wish I knew more of the good 'ol days( from your publications)...the days of the Old Strand Theatre,Woolworths,J.C. Winters; the older fellow down stairs there who sold us stamps; the Hippodrome and its characters..owner Al Cournoyer (boy he sounded like a sailor) "Tetie" playing pool; Berniers  and Hartwell pharmacies with their soda fountains counters and stools...the Pastime Bowling Alleys...Thursday nights on main street...the cars parked on the hill and the ones that would make the constant loops around "Felix" then back down main street... vanilla cokes and burgers at 'Sof's' on central street...Floorsheims for your back to school clothes  with "talking" birds"...

... the picnics: Romanian, Albanian,Greek, And of course the Polish picnics with the games and  boat rides on "Big Pond"..before the flood..The Saturday nights at the Polish Club listening to the Polish Polka bands...Thanksgiving day games against Bartlett...The victory dances, proms...The Elm Street Cafe...once again ...The Elm Street Cafe and its "illustrious" clientel...Lazos...with Papa Dorsi cooking in the kitchen...Teatreaus...I think the owner was Al..great guy...which is what I remember the most ;the people..the characters...the very fiber of the town any town..it is not the buildings for sure it is the people...Ballard Court; a mixture  of every nationality one could imagine...the endless games of baseball in the back of the Polish Club and I do mean endless..."Duck", "Scab" " Mole"  "Spider" Kenny , Jowette...etc...Roger, Harry  and tough guy Dickie Knoles...

The big names to me were guys like Jan Sichol, Bruce Giovanelo...God bless them ...and God bless a true hero...Vinnie Sabatinelli...then of course "Pudgey", Whitey", Mani...Mex...Apple and Vinny...The Zotos.... God bless Costa and Ellen and the Zoto(s) God bless NIckie...and his mother Petrina...Scottie "The Fly"Sima...Stuie...Hima...George Carmel,and Ray Carmel...no relation...and the woman...I really don't know where to begin or if I could ever find enough time but we had the most beautiful women anywhere period...

What started out as just a hello got me carried away but thats the lasting efffect that Southbridge will always have on me...

Spider Cronin
 

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Last update Feb 28, 2010