Summers In Cambridge

Go Outside And Play … But, Be Home Before Lights Come On!

Back in the 60’s and 70’s kids played outside more often than it seems they do today. The parks, playgrounds, ball field, tennis and basketball courts seemed to run endlessly with back to back games. Those days did not require a parent to shuttle us from place to place (unless you played ice hockey) because we had everything we needed within our neighborhood. There was always someone to play with…and play dates would occur naturally versus by parental scheduling.

Hot Time Summer In The City

If your family was lucky enough to have a summer place up north or down the Cape you got to escape the sometimes oppressive heat in the City. But for most of us, finding ways to enjoy the summers by escaping the heat became an adventure.

Magazine Beach Pool

I’m not sure exactly what the cost of admission to the (Maga) Magazine Beach pool was back then but I believe it was a quarter. This included a steel basket to hold clothes, a rubber band with a brass tag with your basket number, a cold shower and slimy foot bath to wash away the grim and enough chlorine to bleach your eyes into temporary blindness.

I spent most of the hot summer days at the Maga…. I spread out my towel on the textured (meaning uncomfortable swirls of sharp pavement) pool decks and lay shivering from the cold pool until the sun’s rays warmed me up enough to allow blood flow through my purple lips again. Twenty five cents doesn’t seem like a lot of money by todays standards but back then you learned to stretch your funds to realize their full entertainment value. So, having made the initial investment towards entry into the pool the goal now was to spend what ever else I had on candy. The pool did not sell anything but admission but there was a concession stand attached to the outside of the pool that did sell hot dogs, candy and soda (tonic). My favorite was a Polar Bar….white chocolate with chocolate marshmallow inside. The trick was concocting a good enough story to get the desk person to let us out of the pool with our tags without having to buy another admission thereby reducing our snackage.

Over the summer we’d come up with many stories about important things happening outside the fence that needed our urgent attention as a means to get out of the pool with our tags and to get back in without a re-charge. I think the MDC pool personnel took their duties as if they were a matter of National Security. Heaven know that the country would have collapsed back then with out another $.25 from me.

Venturing Outside Of Cambridge

When we grew too big to dive into the maga pool without incurring a mild concussion our sights broadened towards other watering holes to beat the heat. Places like Revere Beach, Nahant, Quincy Quarries and the backyard pools of the posh North Cambridge elite (the latter two always involved hasty exits to avoid arrest from the local constables).

As I remember it summers in Cambridge were hot and sticky during the day but when night fall came the coolness returned and with it the best part of summertime came with it. At night our neighbors would sit out on our front doorsteps (stoops) and entertain each other with stories of the day or memories of days go by. We laughed at ourselves and each other and our community bonds grew strong enough to last a lifetime. Kids would play relievio, red rover, dodge ball, hide and go seek and our parents would relax after a long hot day.

Looking back I really never regretted not having a summer place up north or”down the Cape…..My Summer Place had “Dairy Dan the Ice Cream Man” (who we annoyed by singing that he made his ice cream in the garbage can)., Del’s Pizza Truck (ding dong, ding dong, ding dong, ding dong) and Angelinea’s Slush push cart with Zarex falvors in whiskey bottles ….. What chew want baby child?? Which never failed to make me smile…. I’ll have lemonade Angelinea! Lemon-aide made in the shade….coming right up honey! These are the characters of my youth who gave it substance.

As summer approaches I will roam the streets of Cambridge in my mind again, hear the voices, feel the days heat and enjoy those cool summer nights…..and know I’ve been truly blessed… Summertime is coming Cambridge ….get ready.

10 thoughts on “Summers In Cambridge

  1. I grew up near East Beach in New Bedford. There were times when my mother would hand me a pillow case and send me to Buzzards Bay. “I need three lobsters and a lot of mussels” was the usual order. We would also stand knew deep in the water doing the twist as we foot hunted for quahogs. You could always tell when a fellow quahog hunter found a crab by the high knee running toward dry land.

    Growing up along the Atlantic also had it’s qualities. Going to Boston was reserved for Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick Diodati

    Thanks Don for bringing up these memories. I must be a little older than you because it used to cost us a nickel to get into the pool. Me Bucky and your brother John, ( Harpo ) would spend the whole day at the pool. I also remember going to The War Memorial Pool in the winter. Great times in a great neighborhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather Sheppard Bailey

    Thanks for the reminder. We loved swimming lessons and then staying at the MDC pool free for the whole day! That pool was a savior during the hot summers!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. P. Nandi Varris

    Hey Don,
    Great flavor of summertime in Cambridge! I remember those sticky hot days and how my mom would take our family down to the river. We would spread the blanket and hope for some river breeze. And Magazine beach was the pool which was 10 cents to get in. there was no food stand for us, we were blessed to get the dime necessary for admittance. Yes, the parks and playing outside was our summer time in Cambridge! Thank you for the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

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