October 17, 2007

Two months ago I was reunited with my old Top Priority bandmates after nearly thirty years’ time. Today I came across a comment from this post, who turns out to be from Bob Noftle, my best friend from my high school days! As John Lennon once sang, strange days indeed. Man oh man, between this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and even this, 2007 seems to be a year for significant events, both good and bad. It’s almost enough to make this cynic wonder what his astrological chart for 2007 must look like.

Anyways, my very good friend and fellow Goodboy Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis and I have often joked about doing a “Tour de Tewksbury” one of the times I get back East, hitting all the old Route 38 haunts that were there when we were growing up, and remembering old times from our high school years. But it all gets me to wondering: my home town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts has changed A LOT in the years since I grew up. Only a few of the places that were there when I was in my salad days are still there.

Actually, the only place left, I think, is the Jade East restaurant, where I remember back in 1968 (and don’t ask me why I remember that year specifically) we got take-out Chinese on New Year’s Eve. The Jade was right across from the Motel Caswell, which stood in front of the auto body shop where I had my 1969 Pontiac Tempest’s blown overhead cam 6-cylinder replaced with a 8-cylinder 400 from some worn- out GTO. (Ed note: The funny thing about that was, they just pulled out the old engine and dropped in the new, leaving the existing tranny in; you could burn rubber simply by applying the gas in a normal way!).

But all the other places are gone. Well, there’s probably a cocktail lounge at the Holiday Inn, but I’m not sure there was one there back in my teens and twenties. You had the Branding Iron, a low-key steak and chop house where my family did one of our first – if not THE first – of our traditional Easter dinners on a snowy Sunday back in 1971. And there was some bar named (I think) the Tewksbury Village or something to that effect which is now a very humble Mexican restaurant called “Pinatas”. And then you had the Jade Palace (or something like that) near the Junior High. I think it’s been a million names since. I remember one night Tracey and I dropping in for a nightcap and being surprised to find my cousin Gregg perched on a barstool. We had a lot of laughs that night…

And then heading into South Tewksburury you had The Oaks, which (I think) was nothing but a bar masquerading as a steak house, which was then replaced by the Oakdale Mall in the early ’70s, which after that was replaced by a regular shopping center (I think). And finally there was The Anchor restaurant, which was an Italian joint where we used to order pizza from. I used to like that place; when my brother Mark and I were crazy into our Beach Boys period we would order our takeout with the last name of “Jardine” (for Beach Boys guitarist Alan Jardine). It’s now a sports bar and grill called Mavericks.

But that, I think, is about it.

So now I’m now thinking that if Ben and I were to ever do a “Tour de Tewksbury” we wouldn’t need a designated driver after all – forget about all the fern-filled restaurants that now occupy the old Route 38 main drag that we remember, the Jade East is probably the only one that is left. So maybe it’s a couple of Mai Tais and a Pu-Pu Platter while talking over the old times and calling it an early night.

Time marches on.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:42 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Hmmm, kinda like one of the intro lines to “Time” by PF…

    “Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town,”

    To me, it remains a celestial mystery how or why events are molded into our current reality.
    Sometimes I think we are all were just along for the ride.

    All The Best!

    Comment by Tightwad — October 18, 2007 @ 9:05 am

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