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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crime at Cook Street

Last week in February during this snowless winter for Boston.  When I was a kid in Lynn, sledding on Suicide Hill in the Cook Street Playgound, this would have been a disaster.
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Speaking of Cook Street.... two girls from English High School were caught on video fighting there for eight minutes or so last week.  They are being charged by the Police and the students filming are being disciplined by the High School.
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Looked like a regular disagreement that used to happen all the time there.  Nothing special about the fracas and nobody looked too beat up.
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Man... I'm lucky to have grown up there before the Internet was invented by Al Gore!
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I would have been arrested numerous times.  So would my brother and most everyone I know from that neighborhood.   Statute of Limitations expired with plenty of time to spare for me.
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Cook Street Playground had a lot of redeeming values. There used to be a tennis court there with no nets, poles or lines.   We played baseball for hours on end, arguing about every play, until the covers came off of the ball from hitting the pavement over and over.  Then we would tape it up with bull tape and keep playing.
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There were a couple of basketball standards with hoops and no nets.  Someone would always make sure that a few bottles got smashed every night, tossed down from the stone walls that were erected in the 1930's during the WPA.....so shards of glass were the norm.  My Voit rubber basketballs used to get slashed until finally punctured when the nubs had worn down.
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We used to climb those walls, and walk along the tops for hours.  The drop was twenty feet or so in places.   After blizzards, with snow drifts at the bottom we use to jump off, thinking that the snow would prevent any injuries.   Can't believe we didn't break our necks.
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If the snow would melt then freeze, the tennis court became a rink and we all learned to play hockey on that crappy ice at Cook Street.
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The two rival playgrounds were the Meadow, down by the Chestnut Street Projects and High Rock Playground.  I got beat up passing through both neighborhoods, so basically stayed clear.
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I can see the kids like it was yesterday...... my best friend Stevie Connors and his twin sister Sue, who could always run faster than I could, their big brother Joey, Chucky Pappas,  Walter and Bobby Sullivan, the toughest kid there who beat up me and Stevie at the same time..... Mikey and Lenny Sinos, Teddy Gautreau, Bobby Frazier, Dicky Lunden, Rick Gilmore, Mike Cheever.....
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The Black Kids..... Arthur Godfrey, Gary Roche.... lived two streets over on Jefferson Street  (we called them Negroes then in front of their face and the N word behind their backs.)  Instant altercation if you dropped the N word on them.   Gary taught me how to ride a two wheeler without my training wheels for the first time.
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You were considered really tough then if you could take a Negro in a fight.   I couldn't.
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It's a different world now.  Playground fights make it to the Boston Newscast.
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If YouTube and smartphones were around then,  we would have been celebrities, and probably never allowed to graduate from High School.
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Good Times.

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