“Meanderings” by Jim Peters

Frequent contributor Jim Peters sent along the following:

One of my favorite stories is one involving the President of the United States. Not this President, but President Jimmy Carter. It turns out that I was mentioned by the president one night in a conversation he had with my brother-in-law, then U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas. According to Paul, the way that it happened was this. Paul’s home telephone in Washington, D.C. rang one night and someone asked him to wait for the president. Paul accepted the call, of course, and the familiar voice of Jimmy Carter came through the wires. He said, in his inimitable Southern accent, “Senator Tsongas, I understand that you have a brother-in-law in Lowell named Jim Peters.” Paul acknowledged my existence, wondering what this was all about.

“Well, Senator, I understand that your brother-in-law is coordinating Lowell for Congressman John Anderson, who is running against me.” Paul acknowledged that I was.

“I would like to ask you to tell him to stop.” Paul stopped. Then he said something to the effect that he does not tell his family how to vote or who should get their vote.

I thanked Paul for the story and called my wife and said, “The President of the United States mentioned my name while standing in the White House! What do you thing of that?” She knew I was estatic and was supportive.

I never thought I would be mentioned by any President of the United States. Perhaps the reason could have been better, but I did support John Anderson that year, who garnered 6% of the vote nationwide, and did better than that, if memory serves me correctly, in Lowell. It was quite something.

I remember, when I was selected to be Town Manager of Cavendish, Vermont, Paul chiding me because I did not take the job. “I think you should have taken it,” he said. I thought so to, and have sinced learned that I do not have the thick skin for that type of position. It would have been kind of glorious though. Their biggest problem was when bulls got out of the barnyard and ran down the main highway. Other events included the farmstands on the main road during certain periods of time and their legality.

When Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was sworn into the Congress, she had us down to witness it. It was a great time. I met Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was very pleasant. Niki told her I was her “sign guy,” and Nancy Pelosi laughed and said, “Everyone needs a sign guy.” My wife Vicki went shopping in the most expensive hotel in D.C. and came back with bargain basement priced mugs and glasses. If there is a bargain out there, Vicki will find it.

Speaking of bargains, I hope you are finding yours this Christmas season. Fighting over bargains is not cool, but just finding bargains is a good thing. I wish you the best of the season, and hope you stay warm this winter. My own personal wish is that I see alot of my children and grandchild this Christmas. And my mother is visiting from Florida for Christmas, which I am really looking forward to. After all, ’tis the season.’

‘Millstream’: Newsletter of the Lowell Museum (Fall 1978)

Spin the time machine and what comes up spurs recollections. Here’s an excerpt from the Fall 1978 issue of “Millstream,” the newsletter of the Lowell Museum, which operated out of the Wannalancit Mills complex on Suffolk Street in the 1970s. My co-blogger Marie Sweeney was president of the Lowell Museum Corp. for many years.—PM

“Calendar of Events”

Nov. 1–Trustees meeting

Nov. 19-25–Exhibit of Lowell Sun posters

Nov. 23–Vacation Special for children: “Clowning Around,” an original play performed by the Chelmsford High Drama Group,  10 am

Dec. 8–Irish Treasures, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (group trip)

Dec. 17–Annual Christmas Party, 6 pm

Dec. 27–Vacation Special for children: Louise Dunn of Lowell’s Children’s Library

Jan. 21-22–King Tut Exhibit, Metropolitan Museum, New York (group trip)

“Membership Committee: The Museum is pleased to report that we now have over 650 members….”

“Docent Committee: …The establishment of Lowell National Historical Park and the accompanying publicity has certainly had an immediate effect … Our visitor rate during the summer as well as the scheduled tours for the fall clearly indicate the importance of our major exhibit, ‘Spindle City: 1820-1940.’ Visitors are coming to the Museum from literally all over the world. …”

Some of the names in just one issue of the newsletter: Lewis T. Karabatsos, Philena Moxley, Judy Larter, Catherine Goodwin, Manny Tsaldekis, Margaret Cookman, Fannie Moore, Marilyn Pike, Elizabeth Sladek, Lydia Howard, Ella Donohue, Mildred Wahlgren, Elsie Samaras, Louise Abbott, Molly McCarthy, Fran Ward, Gretchen Ward, Janet Lambert-Moore, Eileen Healy, Kay O’Donnell, Nancy Clark, Peter Hollingsworth, Ina Greenblatt, Jeannine Lavoie, Sunny Dowling, Florence Marion, Mary Ellen Sullivan, Jan-Marie Considine, Margaret Duggan, Carleton Theimer, Kathy Callahan, Mary Anne Bowers, Susan Bellemare, Meg Randazza, Neal Barrett, Regina Faticanti, Robin LaBreque, Florence Rioux, Clementine Alexis, Jan Bonica, Adele Cooper, Anne Marie King, Mary Noon, Henry Paradis, Dottie Polak, Mickey Randazza, Joan Van Hooser, Richard Santerre, Connie M. Kalogeropoulos, Dennis Sarris, Christine Mills, V. Deignan and B. Willworth, Agnes Greenwood, Paul Donovan, Armand Sweeney, Fanny Knapp, William McCarthy, Irene Masse, Mrs. Saul Levine, Helen Myers, Cheryl Davis, Annette Gosselin, George Gamache, Phil Gauthier, Martha Zaroulis, Karthryn Chase Slipp, William York, Alan Stephens, Mr and Mrs Gustaves Meneau, William Cooper, Ellen A. Roseman, Mrs Joseph Riley, Mr and Mrs Raymond Sullivan, Gerald F. Donehue, Wayne Peters….

It takes a lot of people to tell the story of a city. All these people in their small and large ways contributed to the heritage revival in Lowell that continues today.


MBTA Commuter Rail m Ticket app

I had to go into Boston during the day yesterday and took my preferred means of transport, the MBTA commuter rail from the Gallagher Terminal to North Station. While I’ve made that journey many times, this was the first chance I had to use the new MBTA “m Ticket” cell phone app for purchasing my ticket. Available for the iPhone and Androids, you just download the free app to your phone and when you’re ready to buy your ticket, you register with some personal info like your name, address, phone and email then you enter info from a credit card and you “buy ticket”. Purchasing a ticket consists of selecting one way, round trip, or multiple ride; next you pick your departure station from a drop down menu and your arrival station from a similar menu. I picked round trip from Lowell to North Station. The app calculated the price ($18.50, I think) and had me confirm that’s what I wanted. Once I did, the “my tickets” section of the app was populated with two tickets. They sat there just as they would sit in your pocket. When I boarded the train and found my seat, I re-opened the app, selected one of the tickets, and touched the “activate” button. This caused the screen to turn into one screen-sized image that looked like a ticket except it had constantly changing colors and a numeric ID code that marched back and forth across the screen. When the conductor came by, I just showed her my phone screen (she looked closely, presumably to confirm it was an active ticket) and then moved along. The other passengers in my vicinity all seemed to have traditional paper tickets. The “ticket” stayed active on my phone for an hour and then the colors and movement disappeared and were replaced by a “this ticket is used” message. I repeated the process coming home with the same result. Overall I thought this app was excellent. It was easy to use and convenient. I do suspect that it used a significant amount of battery power since that drained down faster than usual during the day. I’ll wait until I use the app a few more times to draw any conclusions about battery usage. It is an important point, however, since part of the terms and conditions is that you have a working cell phone when the conductor gets to you. If your phone is dead, you do not have a legitimate ticket. But other than that one caveat, the app worked great and I urge commuters to try it out. Following is a quick MBTA video that shows the various screens I’ve described above: