Wednesday, April 30, 2008

***An Archaeological Dig?-For Carol C., Class Of 1964

Click on the headline to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for the "Dead Sea Scrolls" a minor discovery compared to the one discussed below.

Al Johnson, Class Of 1964, comment:

This entry was originally posted on the Classmates site in mid-April 2008. Several of the later entries below like "The Matter of Bill Cadger-Runner", "Bowling Alone in America?', The "Real" Scoop on Tri-Hi-Y" and "White Socks.... White Shorts" are based on information found with this 'discovery'.

What, no question today? (This refers to the question format that I was using at the time to introduce each entry). No, or rather I have 1000 questions. I have just been on a hunt. Was it in search of the Dead Sea Scrolls? No, that's kid's stuff. Did I venture to the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia (Or what is left of it. This is today's Iraq). Boring, for the moment. Did I go on an Indiana Jones-style adventure in search of the lost Ark of the Covenant? Mere child play. No, I bravely went to the wilds of Newton, Massachusetts to the home of Bill Cadger, the great cross-country runner and trackman from our class. And what treasure did I dig out? A rather pristine copy of the "Manet" for the Class of 1964. This, my friends, is the find of the age.

Okay, now I have you exactly where I want you. Forget Botox and Hair Club for Men from now on, guys and gals, no more trying to pass for fifty something just because sixty is the new fifty. I have proof of age. In black and white glossies. And I do believe that I could find a good enough lawyer to have it hold up in court. Bill, though, is already talking about hiring hit men to do me in if I so much as harm a hair on any classmate's head. You know Bill; he was always one for the wild talk. Believe one thing now that I have this little beauty for ammunition there will be no end of pithy comments on these message boards.

But enough of that for now. A couple of comments are in order before I do a thorough scientific examination of this artifact. First, in the interest of scientific veracity I must confess an error. In my commentary "A Walk Down Dream Street" (now "In Search Of Lost Time" post) I mentioned that Bill and I spent many a summer evening on the front steps of North Quincy High discussing our dreams. In describing the steps I mentioned that there were either stone lions or gargoyles on either side of the steps. Well, in many pictures in the year book the front steps frame the shot. The items on the side of the steps were actually stone columns and globes. I was close though, right? That is definitely either a result of the mist of time or senility. Your choice.

Finally, a first observation on a run through of the class pictures. For most of the guys I would not want to meet you in a dark alley, even now. For most of the gals, and call me a "dirty old man" but please, please do not tell my "significant other" I would not mind meeting you in the dark. But, mainly, classmates I am in the dark. Enlighten me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

***"Wow"! A Bill Cadger Photo-Op- For Al B., Class Of 1964

"Wow"! A Bill Cadger Photo-Op- For Al B., Class Of 1964
Originally posted in August 2008 on Classmates.

Al Johnson, Class Of 1964, comment:

This entry relates to an on-going run of commentaries about Bill Cadger the great track runner and the fight to get him into the North Quincy High Sports Hall of Fame (See The Matter of Bill Cadger-Runner and Once Again, On Bill Cadger, April 25 and April 26, 2008). The photo is located on the Class of 1964 Member Page over at the Classmates site.

Apparently being Bill Cadger's friend since the 'dog days' of Snug Harbor Elementary School down in the Germantown "projects" is not enough. Recently, strictly as a sign of that friendship, I argued the merits of his case for entry into the North Quincy High School Sports Hall of Fame on Classmates (see The Matter of Bill Cadger-Runner and Once Again on Bill Cadger on this Message Board). Now it seems that I am to be his eternal "flak", you know, "press agent", "spin doctor", "gofer" or "stooge". Isn't there some kind of constitutional provision against indentured servitude? Here is why I ask that question.

I feel 'duty-bound' to announce the latest 'newsworthy note' about the fleet-footed runner from the Class of 1964. Bill has upgraded his photograph on his profile page on this site. Earlier this year he had placed his Commonwealth of Massachusetts driver's license here for your inspection (For those who did not get a chance to see the picture I have not made this up. I really don't have that kind of imagination.). As one would expect of such a photo Bill, of course, looked like he had just finished a long stretch in Cedar Junction (Walpole, for those who have been out of the area for a while). Christ, those ID photos make the Madonna look like an axe murderess. What did he expect?

In any case Mr. Cadger has rectified that situation with a new downloaded photo on his profile page. To get a glimpse just go to the Class of 1964 Member List and click on Charles Cadger. Why Charles? I will refer you to Dr. Freud for an answer to that question. As to the photo itself and his pose, there is a method to the madness. Bill insists that one and all should know that he is no longer that slender strider of 135 pounds. For comparison purposes for those who still have their 1964 "Manet" a look at Bill's full profile on page 63 will tell the tale. He mentioned, in his usual dry manner, that now people who know that he was on the track team will think that he was a shot-putter. In short, a person not to be messed around with. That got a chuckle from my "significant other" Cindy and me. Enough said, though. What is next, a video on "YouTube"?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

***Once Again On The Great Class Of 1964 Runner Bill Cadger -For Steve T., Class Of 1964

*Once Again On The Great Class Of 1964 Runner Bill Cadger -For Steve T., Class Of 1964

Al Johnson, Class Of 1964, comment

Originally posted in May 2008 on Classmates

What kind of madness have I unleashed? What kinds of monsters have I let loose? Recently, as a simple act of friendship, I wrote a commentary in this space arguing that my old friend and our classmate from 1964 Bill Cadger should be inducted into the North Quincy High School Sports Hall of Fame (See "In the Matter Of Bill Cadger-Runner", dated April 26, 2008). Now my e-mail message center is clogged with requests from every dingbat with some kind of special pleading on his or her mind. A few examples should suffice, although as a matter of conscience (mine) they shall remain nameless.

One request argued for recognition based on finishing 23rd in the Senior Division of the Squantum Fourth of July Fun Run. Well, what of it? Another, arguing for inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, touted her near perfect imitation of Mick Jagger on "Gimme Shelter". Please!! A third sought a testimonial from me for an employment opportunity, including a resume that made me truly wonder where she had been all these years. Here is my favorite. A fellow classmate wants me to get in on the ground floor, as a financial backer of course, for his idea of putting the ubiquitous teenage cell phone use and the Internet together. Hello! Jack (oops, I forgot, no names) I believe they call that "Sidekick", or some such thing. As so it goes.

Listen up- I hear "MySpace" and "YouTube" calling all and sundry such untapped talents. Please leave the North Quincy High School Class of 1964 Message Board for serious business. You know, this writer's musings on the meaning of existence, the lessons of history and the struggle against mortality. That said, at the moment that serious business entails getting the gracefully-gaited Mr. Cadger his shot at immortality by induction into the Sports Hall of Fame. Let us keep our eyes on the prize here. Join me in that effort. Enough said.

Friday, April 25, 2008

***Why Is The Class Of 1964 Cross-Country Runner And Trackman Bill Cadger Not In The North Quincy Sports Hall Of Fame?-For Roger F., Class Of 1964

Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of Hicham el Guerouj, the Moroccan Knight, setting the one mile run world record in 2008.

Al Johnson, Class of 1964, comment:

Why is the great Class of 1964 cross-country runner and track man Bill Cadger not in the North Quincy Sports Hall of Fame?

Originally posted in April 2008 on Classmates.

Okay, Okay I am a 'homer' (or to be more contemporary, a 'homeboy') on this question. In the interest of full disclosure the fleet-footed Mr. Cadger and I have known each other since the mist of time. We go all the way back to being schoolmates at Snug Harbor Elementary School in the old Germantown housing project. (As did fellow classmate, the lanky linkster, Tom McPartlin. Are there others?). We survived that experience and lived to tell the tale. But enough of that. What I want to discuss today is the fact that this tenuous road warrior's accomplishments, as a cross-country runner and trackman (both indoors and out), have never been truly recognized by the North Quincy High School sports community. (For those who still have their Manet, see page 63 for a youthful photograph of the 'splendid speedster' in full racing regalia.).

And what were those accomplishments? Starting as a wiry, but determined, sophomore Bill began to make his mark as a harrier. Junior year he began to stakeout his claim on the path to Olympus by winning road races on a regular basis. In his senior year Bill broke many cross-country course records, including a very fast time on the storied North Quincy course. Moreover, in winter track that senior year Bill was the State Class B 1000-yard champion, pulling out a heart-stopping victory. His anchor of the decisive relay in a duel meet against Somerville's highly-touted state sprint champion is the stuff of legends.

Bill also qualified to run with the 'big boys' at the fabled schoolboy National Indoor Championships in Madison Square Garden in New York City. His outdoor track seasons speak for themselves. I will not detain you here with the grandeur of his efforts, for I would be merely repetitive. Needless to say, he was captain of all three teams in his senior year. No one questioned the aptness of those decisions.

Bill and I have just recently gotten reconnected after some thirty years. The main reason that I joined this site was to find him. After finding him, one of the first things that I commented on during one of our 'bull sessions' was that he was really about ten years before his time. In the 1960's runners were 'geeks'. You know -the guys (and then it was mainly guys) who ran in shorts on the roads and mainly got honked at, yelled at and threatened with mayhem by irate motorists. Admit it. That is what you thought then too.

In the 1970's and 1980's runners (of both sexes) became living gods and goddesses to a significant segment of the population. Money, school scholarships, endorsements, you name it. Then you were more than willing to share the road with a runner. Admit that too. You even got out on the road yourselves with your spiffy designer jogging attire and high-tech footwear. You ran Wollaston Beach, Castle Island, the Charles River, Falmouth, LaJolla, and Golden Gate Park. Wherever. Until the old knees gave out. But that is a story for another day. By then though, Bill had missed his time.

Now there is no question that a legendary football player like Bill Curran from our Class of 1964 should be, and I assume is, in the North Quincy Sports Hall of Fame. On many a granite gray autumn afternoon old "Bullwinkle" thrilled us with his gridiron prowess. But on other days, as the sun went down highlighting the brightly-colored falling leaves, did you see that skinny kid running down East Squantum Street toward Wollaston Beach for another five mile jaunt? No, I did not think so. I have now, frankly, run out of my store of sports spiel in making my case. Know this though; friendship aside, Bill belongs in the Hall. That said, what about making a place in the Hall for the kid with the silky stride who worked his heart out, rain or shine, not only for his own glory but North's. Join me. Let's "storm heaven" on this one now.


Below is the traffic on Classmates, unedited, concerning the above-mentioned question.

Replies 16 messages

(2) . . . Runners

Craig Warren 1957 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 13 2008 12:11pm PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964

Mr. Johnson;

I agree that "back in the Day" the NQHS Cross Country, Winter Track and Spring track athletes were usually the "forgotten ones." It may have been in part because they were not considered "team sports" like football, basketball and baseball. About the only way a track athlete would be recognised would be if he were a star in at least one of the team sports. I graduated from North in 1957 and was a mediocre cross country runner in 10th and 12th grades, and I was probably close to the last on 1955 team to get a letter. I made a few points in the 1955-56 winter track season and the 1957 spring track season. I probably never would have participated in track at all if it hadn't been for my 9th grade English Teacher Dave Meaney. I guess he thought my being just over 6 ft. tall and just under 150 lbs. I had a possibility of being a distance runner. Bob Gentry was the winter track coach and got me to try the mile after being in a few 1000 yd. races in the old Metropolitan Indoor Track League. What I remember most from those days was that we always seemed to enjoy ourselves and had a lot of laughs, regardless of a meet's outcome. I have often wondered if anyone kept track of North's cross country and track meets over the years. Winter track competitions were not always held indoors. During the 1956-57 winter track season we had a meet against Weymouth which had an outdoor slightly elevated board track. We even had to walk through about 8 inches of snow to get to the track. Those were the days. I'm glad to see you "campaigning" for a former classmate who was such a good runner, and recognizing Ms. Enos who was my 10th grade English even though English may not have been my best subject back then. I took a few walks along Wollaston Beach in 2007 when I went back for my class' 50th reunion. Takle care.

Craig S. Warren
NQHS 1957

(3) Runners

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Jul 23 2008 05:13am PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957

Craig- Thanks for note and all the good information about the years just before Bill and I ran at North. A couple of information points in my role as Bill’s 'flak'. I noticed from your communities on your profile page that you served in the Navy. Right after high school Bill, for a number of reasons, also joined the Navy and served for four years (1964-68). That was kind of the point in my commentary about Bill's being somewhat before his time as a great runner. Nobody from colleges and places like that was offering track guys much of anything in those days so the Navy was Bill's escape route. I do not know if you save your writings but if you still have your comments about the old days you could either e-mail them or send a note to Bill's bulletin board on the 1964 members list. I know he would be happy to read them and I am sure has some comments from his perspective.

A couple of points for my own information. My family moved back to North Quincy from the Germantown projects in early 1959 so that when I transferred schools it was to the new Atlantic Junior High School. I noticed that you went to North Quincy Junior High. Where was that? Was it part of North? Someone recently told me that during 1959 just before I got to Atlantic that a big move over from North had occurred. Is that true? I also noticed that you went to Squantum Elementary. I believe that is gone now, true? Also that you went to the Quincy Elementary School. I know that is gone, right? My late mother (NQHS 1943) and late younger brother (NQHS 1966) went there.

My career in track and cross country seems to have paralleled yours. A few good races but mainly "the slows". I got letters in all three sports but some of them, frankly, were gifts. My best year in Cross Country was probably in 11th grade. Indoor and Outdoor track nothing memorable. I started running in the 9th grade and thought I was going to be a star. As I pointed out in "A Walk Down Dream Street" that I have today reposted in the All School Discussion Page on this site so much for some dreams. The reason I ran was because I was not, and am not now, good at team efforts yet wanted to do some physical activity. Such is life.

Bill really had the silky stride and the determination to go for it. We used to run Wollaston Beach in the early morning summers. (Our 'exploits' later in the day are commented on in "Anyone Remember Wollaston Beach?" also posted on this site.) I would do some running but he was driven to go farther and harder. I certainly remember the old "Dust Bowl" off of Hollis Avenue where we practiced. And running to Long Island during Cross Country season. And the chaotic Met League meets indoors. Anyone who ran winter track cannot fail to remember that damn Weymouth outdoor wooden track where we has 'indoor' meets on what seemed to always be the coldest day of the winter. But enough of that.

Finally, I did not realize that Bob Gentry had been the coach during the 1950's. Bill and I have talked about him and his capacities as a coach. We recognized that track and cross country were 'poor relatives' compared to sexy sports like football and basketball and that we were lucky to get running shoes out of the deal. However Coach Gentry really did fail to appreciate that in Bill he had an exceptional talent and that he should have moved mountains to promote his career. Coach Gentry always acted more like a timeserver than a coach in that regard. Your comments.

(4) Running at NQHS . . .

Craig Warren 1957 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 23 2008 10:02am PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964


My "running career" at North was only in sophomore, junior and senior years, and was not continuous. As I mentioned before, my 9th grade English teacher Dave Meaney was the reason I considered running. At the beginning of the 10th grade (1954), he called a few of us to his classroom to see if we might be interested in cross country. I took the chance and ended up as the 5th, 6th or 7th kid in most meets that season. That gave me enough to barely get a letter. I didn't compete in the 1954-55 indoor season, because I didn't know it existed. I started 1955 spring track and got as far as running the 880 in the first meet. Sadly, I ran the race with the start of a case of the mumps and ended up missing the rest of the season.
I began working nights at a variety store on Billings Road the summer of 1955 and didn't go out for cross country that year. Then a friend, Ron Coleman, convinced me to try out for winter track in the 1955-56 season. We started running the 1000 and even ran in the State Meet at the old Boston Garden. I was near the end of that race. Running on a 10 or 11 lap board track for the first time was scary. In any given race, Ron was ahead of me, because he was faster and had a good "kick" at the end. If he was 1st, I was 2nd. If he was 2nd, I was 3rd, and so on. Coach Gentry switched me to the mile just past mid-season. I still didn't win a race, but came in second once to Natick's 1000 yd. State Champion. Gentry even tried to get me to break 5:00 during practice around the circle in front of the school. He put 2 or 3 guys who normally ran the 600 to act as "rabbits," but the best I could do was 5:01.5. Somebody later said the Mile wasn't measured right around the circle, but I never knew if it was short or long. I did manage a letter for that season. Somewhere in there coach Meaney had a heart attack and I didn't go out for spring track in 1956.
I started cross country in the fall of 1956 with coach Gentry. We had a bunch of good young distance runners that year, so I was put on the "junior varsity" team, which ran a shorter course. We even ran up and down Huckins avenue in Squantum to get some hill practice, and also ran out to coach Gentry's house in Merrymount where he served refreshments. I barely made it to mid season when I decided to leave the team. I started the 1956-57 winter track season. Then in January I chopped off part of my right index finger slicing bolgna where I worked nights. So much for my senior winter track season. Then came spring track again. That time I tried to give it "my all." We held a "Junior Olympics" in which all competed in all track and field events. I was one of a very few who actually did compete in all events even though I still had my arm bandaged from the January accident. Those who competed in everything were given new uniforms and shoes. I think I was near the top in the overall competition, but probably because I did try all events, though the results were far from spectacular. I ran the 880 all season with Ron Coleman again just ahead of me. The most fun race was the last one against Quincy at Memorial Stadium. Coach Meaney was back and for some reason put Ron in the mile. He also switched Jim Baldwin (jr.) and Russ Landberg (soph.) to the 880. Jim was a good all-round athlete who also played football and basketball. Russ was a good all-round runner. I thought, "Oh,boy. A chance to win a race." We swept the 880 with Russ 1st, Jim 2nd and me 3rd. I was a bit disappointed, but was ecstatic over our sweeping the race. I thought we had won that meet, but Ron didn't think so. Oh, well. At least my last meet was fun and I again managed to get a letter. Memories that made the rest of life in those days bearable.

Craig S. Warren
NQHS 1957
El Paso, TX since 1967

(5) Runners and...

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Jul 23 2008 02:22pm PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957

Here is a little commentary that was originally in the 'prime time' spot on this site (the coveted All Class Discussion Board) but that I deleted as being a little off from my main purpose in the neverending fight to get Bill Cadger into the NOHS Sports Hall of Fame. At least it gives evidence that track guys (and gals) have a sense of humor.... or try to have one.


What kind of madness have I unleashed? What kinds of monsters have I let loose? Recently, as a simple act of friendship, I wrote a commentary in this space arguing that my old friend and our classmate from 1964 Bill Cadger should be inducted into the North Quincy High School Sports Hall of Fame (See In the Matter Of Bill Cadger-Runner above). Now my e-mail message center is clogged with requests from every dingbat with some kind of special pleading on his or her mind. A few examples should suffice, although as a matter of conscience (mine) they shall remain nameless.

One request argued for recognition based on finishing 23rd in the Senior Division of the Squantum Fourth of July Fun Run. Well, what of it? Another, arguing for inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, touted her near perfect imitation of Mick Jagger on Gimme Shelter. Please!! A third sought a testimonial from me for an employment opportunity, including a resume that made me truly wonder where she had been all these years. Here is my favorite. A fellow classmate wants me to get in on the ground floor, as a financial backer of course, for his idea of putting the ubiquitous teenage cell phone use and the Internet together. Hello! Jack (oops, I forgot, no names) I believe they call that Sidekick, or some such thing. As so it goes.

Listen up- I hear MySpace and YouTube calling all and sundry such untapped talents. Please leave the North Quincy High School Class of 1964 and All Class Message Boards for serious business. You know, this writer's musings on the meaning of existence, the lessons of history and the struggle against mortality. That said, at the moment that serious business entails getting the gracefully gaited Mr. Cadger his shot at immortality by induction into the Sports Hall of Fame. Let us keep our eyes on the prize here. Join me in that effort. Enough said.

(6) Coach Bob Gentry . . .

Craig Warren 1957 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 24 2008 10:24am PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964


You have mentioned that coach Gentry just seemed to be "doing his time" while you were at NQHS. I first became acquainted with him when I went out for Winter Track for the 1955-56 season. I was told that he was teaching at one of the Junior High Schools while coaching Winter Track at North. I never had any difficulties in my dealings with him. Maybe my expectations weren't very high, because my "running talent" was somewhat limited. He did seem to pay a bit more attention to those of us who needed more guidance and let the more talented kids just "do their thing." He did seem to want to get the most out of the talent he had "for the good of the team" and may have rubbed a few egos the wrong way. He, like coach Meaney, may not have been perfect, but I felt they both were fairly sympathetic to the weaknesses of all of us. In 1955-56 coach Gentry was probably around 50 years old, so by the time you guys dealt with him, he was closing in on 60. His seeming to be just "doing his time" may have been due to other causes outside of school and coaching. Who knows? Teachers and coaches are more-or-less human, too. We had a few who may have been a bit on the "nutty side" or may have had problems with booze or at home. Adolescents, as in most eras, don't really understand adults and vice versa. Sometimes it might just be a lack of "chemistry" between pupil/athlete and teacher/coach. Life isn't always "fair" and some of us may not be as flexible or adaptable as we could be. Anyway, I saw Gentry as a decent coach and we may have actually won a few meets with him. We had one runner who was Class "C" State Champion for the 300 yd. dash (George Doring) one year and later ran for the four years he was at Brandeis University. He told me that in those four years Brandeis didn't win a track meet, but he did end up in their Hall of Fame. However, it is good that you are campaigning for your friend's being recognized. I'm not so sure North has a hall of fame for anything other than football or possibly basketball. It could be time to recognize the "marginal sports," including those of the past. I have tried to keep up with track at North, but it's not easy from El Paso. I even sent a message to the Patriot Ledger a couple years ago asking about High School sports, but they said they were not alloted enough space to cover everything. As I said, life is not always fair and we may not always get what we want when we want it. I constantly tell my 9 year old grandson that he should not let frustration cause him to give up on anything.

Hang in there Alfred!

Craig in El Paso

P.S. While touring the old school last year, I asked a guy who seemed to be a teacher or coach why there was little or no recognition for some of the NQHS teams after 1992, which seemed to have been a banner year. His answer was brief; "Budget."

(7) Track at N.Q.H.S.

Joseph Crowley 1954 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 24 2008 11:57am PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957

I ran track in 7th and 8th grade and then moved over to football, basketball and baseball. Track and cross country are fabulous sports but never received much recognition back in my time at North ( class 1954).Dave Meaney was a terrific individual and loved coaching track. He was the reason I found a way to run track in prep school when meets didn't conflict with the baseball schedule.

Track and baseball don't have Hall of Fame status simply because no one has taken charge of an effort to establish one. The football and basketball Hall of Fames are self funded and managed by organizations that were formed to support deserving athletes such as Bill Cadger.I'd love to see track and cross country athletes recieve the recognition they deserve...go for it.

Joe Crowley "54

(8) Coach Gentry

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Jul 25 2008 12:51pm PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957

Craig- Thanks for your take on Coach Gentry. I know from my own observations over the course of my teaching career that some coaches take on the job as a source of extra income as much as to furfill a desire to coach. That probably was true, or truer, in the old days when teachers' wages were very poor indeed. That is not the problem. What was the problem, as far as Bill was concerned, was that in him Gentry could have had that one extraordinary athlete of a coaching career. And he, frankly, blew it.

On another matter. Did you guys run over in the old "Dust Bowl" off of Hollis Ave? More importantly, did anyone come out alive?

Finally, I believe that I saw a photograph of you in your sailor uniform on the North Quincy Alumni site. Is that right? We should be boosting that site because it is strictly for NQHS and does not have the inevitabe explosion of advertising that confronts one on this site.

Regards, Al

(9) Hall of Fame

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Jul 25 2008 01:00pm PST
In reply to Joseph Crowley 1954

Sir, Thanks for the message about the neglect of old time runners like Bill Cadger. I have tried to get information about the Hall of Fame through NQHS but have been unsuccessful thus far. Where would I get in contact with the football or basketball Hall of Fame sponsors. Do they have a website, etc.?

Also a question that I asked Craig Warren, Class of 1957, as well about whether you had your meets at the old "Dust Bowl" off Hollis Ave. Did you run them there?

Finally, from this running commentary that Craig and I have been having about coaches. Did you know Coach Gentry? Tell me more about this Coach Meaney. He seems to have made a different from your praise of him. Regards, Al Johnson

(10) Hall of Fame

Jean Moran 1975 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 30 2008 05:38am PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964

Sir, As the wife/widow/daughter-in-la
w and sister-in-law of NQHS/QHS Football Hall of Famers, I believe Ken McPhee, former NQHS Football Coach was quite involved in the Hall of Fame Program. That may be a start for you. Good Luck and I truly enjoy reading your posts.
Jean Leone NQHS 75
Wife/Widow of Carl E Leone NQHS 74
Daughter-In-Law of Carl Leone QHS ? (also Football ********** in the 60's)
Sister-In-Law of John (Jack) Leone NQHS 80

(11) "Hollis Field" . . .

Craig Warren 1957 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 30 2008 07:39am PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964


Sorry 'bout that. I think the "dust bowl" you refer to is still called Hollis Field. The first time I ever set foot on that track was our first or second practice for cross country in the fall of 1954. We started by jogging 5 laps (1 mile) and the legs were hurting for a week, since I had never really run more than a few yards before that. Then there was spring track in 1955 when I ran my first 880. The mumps prevented me from finishing my first season of track. It may have been that same spring pre-season when I tripped over a teammate's heel and fell. I suffered a pretty bad scrape, but I got up and finished the 220 without looking at the wound. It was just practice, and most were trying all events to see where we would fit in on the team. Coach Meaney cleaned up the scrape the best he could with his first aid box. The bleeding soon stopped and I still have a couple cinder chips in my left knee.
Anyway, we did have our home track meets at Hollis Field. I don't remember it as being that "dusty," but it was far from being a good track facility. There were bleachers on both sides of the field, but never many spectators. The 5-lap track made it difficult for me when I had to run on a 4-lap (440 yd./400 meter) track. Most of Us still had fun at Hollis in spite of its failings. Where does North hold its home meets these days? Most tracks these days appear to have a rubberized asphalt surface instead of the old cinder/dirt. I never have run on such a track. My only running after high school was for the Navy's annual physical fitness tests or an occasional jog around the neighborhood.
I tried to get to the field in 2007, but was confused by the way they have one-way streets around it. It was easier when we walked from the school to the field "back in the day."

Craig S. Warren 1957

(12) "The Dust Bowl"

Joseph Crowley 1954 (view profile)

Posted: Jul 30 2008 10:54am PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957


The actual name for what we always referred to as "The Dust Bowl" is Cavanaugh Stadium. If you had practiced football on that surface you would return to the locker room with a dust covered uniform.

Many, such as yourself ,wear the badge of honor from that old cinder track. Those cinders were mean to the body if you were unlucky enough to take a spill.

I have fond memories of my many hours practicing at that field. As poor as that facility was some outstanding athletes were developed on that track and field. Great memories for all of us.

Joe Crowley "54

(13) Coach Leone

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Aug 01 2008 04:19pm PST
In reply to Jean Moran 1975

Jean- thanks for note and information. If you want to read more commentary go to Class of 1964 message board. That is where I place the bulk of my commentaries, as you might expect. There is a commentary on the Class of 1964 football team that your father-in-law coached. That is the one that starred the legendary "Bullwinkle" Bill Curran.

The other day Bill Cadger and I went back to NQHS for a memory lane trip (I went incognito, just in case, because I believe some people are out to get me, right?) . On the ground floor there is a sports section with a picture of the 1966 football team that, I believe, won the Superbowl that year and shows your father-in-law, as well.

Finally, I had Coach Leone as my Algebra II teacher. You might think about doing a little tribute to him on this board like the one I did for Ms. Enos, my senior year English teacher. I am sure that would generate many a story. Some funny ones I am sure.

(14) "The Dust Bowl" Redux

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Aug 01 2008 04:29pm PST
In reply to Joseph Crowley 1954

Sir, thank you for your memory of the "dust bowl". I knew, from a trip over to the old oval last year, that Cavanaugh was its real name. Strangely, after not having seen it for something over forty years it was basically the same. A little better surface on the track (although not much). They had taken out, and not replaced, the old bleachers that were there in 1964.

Now for my "dust bowl" war story. In spring track in the seventh grade at Atlantic Junior High School (now Middle School) I fell down after the start of a dash. I took 'cinders', as you mentioned in your comment. Last year I had a knee replacement operation and noticed that the cinders were still there. I believe that I should get a "purple heart" or something, right? Do you have a 'cinder' story? Regards, Al Johnson

(15) I stand corrected . . .

Craig Warren 1957 (view profile)

Posted: Aug 01 2008 07:30pm PST
In reply to Alfred Johnson 1964


That's what's good about getting more people involved in these messages. I stand corrected concerning the name of the old "dust bowl." Cavanaugh Stadium does ring a bell. Have they put that rubberized asphalt on the track?

I just remembered another incident that could have been fatal to one of our track team mates about the spring of 1957. The team's javelin throwers were practicing one day and one of the other guys took it upon himself to throw the javelin back to them from the other end of the field after each toss. The "returner" was waiting for one of their tosses when it seemed something off the field distracted him. The javelin grazed one of that "returner's" eyebrows, nicking him slightly. Talk about lucky. Another centimeter and the thing would have lodged in his eye socket and probably killed him. He didn't say much for a few minutes and had a very surprised expression on his face. I ran into that guy at our 50th reunion last year and asked if he remembered the incident. He laughed and said, "Oh, yeah. I haven't been the same since." He was another of our good all-round athletes and had a heckuva sense of humor. Good to see he still has it.
As an aside to that incident, I think it may have been Coach Dave Meaney who had told us that most high schools in the western states didn't have the javelin throw as one of their events. That's still true today, at least here in El Paso. That scary incident at Cavanaugh Stadium kind of confirmed what he had said. Curiously, the discus probably isn't much safer.

Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Craig S. Warren '57

(16) "Dust Bowl", Once Again

Alfred Johnson 1964

Posted: Aug 02 2008 06:33am PST
In reply to Craig Warren 1957

Craig and Joseph- is there anyone who went on to that track (at least in the old days) who does not still have cinders somewhere on their body as a reminder of their youthful activity? I asked Bill Cadger about it and, naturally, he related his 'cinder' experience. Was this a "rite of passage" from the vengeful track gods and goddesses? I think you could still pick up some these days from what I saw of the track last year. Regards, Al

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

***March 17th or Easter 1916?-For Jimmy J., Class of 1966

Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of William Butler Yeats', "Easter, 1916".

Al Johnson, Class Of 1964, comment:

Originally posted in April 2008 on Classmates

What part, if any, did your ethnic heritage play in your growing up?

"A Terrible Beauty Was Born" the last line from William Butler Yeats- Easter, 1916

In our last posting I mentioned that I would give my answer to the question of whether I skipped school to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in the next posting. Part of my reasoning for not answering the question fully then was to answer the more general question above using my own background as a foil. By a natural coincidence this year Saint Patrick's Day and Easter, two 'high holy days' on the Irish cultural calendar, fall on successive weeks and therefore permit a comparative analysis. Here goes.

In the interest of full disclosure I confess here (and will provide the requisite transcripts) that I never skipped school on March 17th to go to the Saint Patrick's Day parade in Boston. I do not, moreover, recall then ever really wanting to go to the event, although plenty of people in my old neighborhood did so. That is the rub. I, along with many of you, have some degree of Irish in us (just look at the names of the members of our class on the class list). Quincy was a first steppingstone in the second Diaspora (out of Ireland, out of South Boston/Dorchester) on the way to 'lace curtain' respectability, although my own family never made it pass 'shanty'. Just as today Asian Americans, particularly the Chinese and Vietnamese, have followed that well-trodden path to Quincy. In the case of my family, however, those roots were submerged in an American vanilla assimilationism. We never got past the desperate fight against being dirt poor to think of such high subjects as ethnic identity.

I have been a partisan of a just solution to the national question in Ireland and justice for the Catholic minority (and any Protestant worker who would listen to reason) in the North almost my whole adult life. For this class member, then, today the more important question is not one of ridding Ireland of snakes but ridding it of the bloody English Army. Thus, the above-cited line commemorating Easter, 1916 is what I would skip school for, gladly. I now take a certain pride in the accomplishments of our common Irish cultural heritage. However, it has been only very recently that I found out that my long-departed maternal grandfather was an ardent, if quiet, Irish nationalist. It is in the blood, apparently. However, this new knowledge kind of puts one of the sources of my youthful indifference into perspective, doesn't it? Chocky Ar La (Our Day Will Come).

Easter, 1916-William Butler Yeats

I HAVE met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.