Those of us of a certain age remember Len Berman, who I erroneously thought was the older brother of ESPN’s Chris Berman, who was the main WBZ-TZ sportscaster from 1973 to 1978 when he moved to New York and the big time. Len Berman did nightly sports for more than 40 years and when he recently retired from TV, he transitioned to the role of New Media guru, writing a popular website called That’s Sports and gaining a large following on Twitter. At a recent interview (shown below), Berman also identified Twitter as the best source of breaking news information. These days, he says, if something important is happening in the world, the first place you’ll read about it is on Twitter. Here’s a short clip of Berman, looking older than when we last saw him giving Red Sox scores on channel 4, but unforgettable nonetheless:
This recent SUN story by Dennis Shaughnessey is about my uncle Tom, Thomas Brady. Somehow I missed it in the paper on Wednesday, but my brother mentioned it tonight, so I looked it up. We had a crowd of first cousins when I was growing up, and all the uncles but one (who was too young) had served in the military during WWII. I think my uncle Tom, who served in the Navy, was in combat for almost the entire war. The article notes that he received the European Theater Ribbon and Pacific Theater Ribbon. We also heard the story of the kamikaze attack. Read the article here, and consider subscribing to the SUN if you appreciate the writing.
A selection of the letters exchanged by Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg between 1944 and 1963 has been published by Viking Penguin. Bill Morgan, long associated with Ginsberg, and David Stanford, who worked on Kerouac projects at Viking (he was my editor at Viking for “Atop an Underwood,” too), co-edited the volume.
In the Globe today there’s an article by James Sullivan about a new book whose author was fascinated by baseball cards while growing up in Vermont in the ’70s. The title of the book is “Cardboard Gods.” I was a big baseball card collector as a kid and into the first years of high school. In 1968, when I was 14, my cousins from Centralville and I discovered that we could walk to Notini’s candy and tobacco products warehouse on Aiken Street and buy Topps baseball cards by the box at a reasonable price. We cut out the Variety Store and Drugstore middle men, plus we got a ton of cards all at once. Who knew? Every time we discovered a new series was on the street, we’d head to Notini’s to buy a box. What great fun to open 25 or 40, I don’t remember, packs of cards at a time. I think we paid about $7.00 a box. Can’t remember. Read the Globe story here, and consider subscribing to the Globe if you appreciate the writing.
Tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 12, 2010) at 10 am, I’ll be leading a tour of historic Lowell Cemetery. We start at the Knapp Avenue gate which is right next to Shedd Park. There’s no charge and the tour takes about 90 minutes. Please consider joining us.
One of my favorite names of “lost” places or businesses in Lowell is Sweetland Garden. I never went there, but I remember the name from my youth. I’ve heard people talk about it. I think Nancye Tuttle of the SUN years ago wrote a story about the teenagers who used to hang out there. Do you have a favorite place name in Lowell, either here today or gone?
Give the Woodstock chant, “No rain, no rain, no rain,” for RiverFest tomorrow. Events start at 12 noon with the ribbon-cutting for the Concord River Greenway Park behind the Davidson Parking Lot opposite Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Activities include bluegrass, soul, rock, and other kinds of music; kids stuff like crafts and t-shirt printing; a fashion show of clothes made from recycled materials; boat tours on the Pawtucket Canal; and more. Visit www.lowellriverfest.org for details.
Poet Tom Sexton has a new book due next March: “I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets.” The publisher is University of Alaska Press. Watch for Tom to be in the area next spring for a reading or two.
Bob Gagnon, chair of the Lowell Flood Owners Group in Pawtucketville, wrote a letter to the SUN that was published yesterday. In it he included the address to which people with comments about the proposed “bladder dam” at Pawtucket Falls can send letters: Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA, 02114, Att: Deirdre Buckey, EEA # 14603, MEPA Office.
Earlier this week I traveled to the Massachusetts State Archives to assist an acquaintance from the West Coast in his Civil War research. The Archives is located at Columbia Point in Boston, next to the JFK Library and not far from the UMass Boston Campus. While I’d been there before, it was always by car. This time my journey was entirely by public transportation. In the planning stages, the trip seemed complicated but in execution it was simple, so I decided to share the logistics here.
The first leg of my trip began at Lowell’s Gallagher Terminal where I caught the very crowded 7:18 am commuter rail train to Boston. The train rolled to a stop precisely at its 8:05 arrival time although it took a few minutes to exit because of the crowd. From there it was a short walk to the North Station MBTA station where I boarded an Orange Line subway train at 8:15 am. I stayed on the Orange Line for just a few stops, exiting that train at Downtown Crossing. There, I switched to a Red Line train bound for Braintree. Five stops later I was at the JFK/UMass Boston T station. I had planned to walk from there to the Archives, a distance I estimated to be nearly a half-mile, but when I got of the train there were no street signs or other landmarks visible to help me establish my direction of travel. What was very prominent was a big sign that said “Free Shuttle Bus to JFK Library & State Archives” so when that bus pulled up a few minutes later, I boarded it and was deposited at the front door of the Archives five minutes later.
The Archives houses the Commonwealth Museum which currently has an exhibition of many of our state’s founding documents including the original charter for Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1629. The largest portion of the Archives, however, is devoted to the storage and study of important (and very old) documents. A central research room is available to the public, but you must first register by showing a photo ID and obtaining a personalized visitor’s badge. Bags, food and drink and pens of any type are banned from the research room. All you may bring inside are pencils, paper (or a laptop computer). Besides the original paper documents there is an abundant and diverse supply of microfilm. An index of the Archives’s holdings is available on its website.
For me, this trip was mostly an orientation visit. I found the State Archives easy to get to from Lowell via public transportation. I also found the staff of the Archives to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable. It’s well worth a visit.