The End

Summer was almost over, the five of us walked down Pearl Street towards the big Mystic River, we had our towels over our shoulders and we decided to go for a swim at Dewey Beach. It was the fifties and Dewey beach had seen a lot of better days; the beach was littered with trash and glass and there was a lot of mud. We walked out on the pier beside the beach, past pottery one and pottery two. Before we took a dive, we took a look in the water and there wasn’t any way back up onto the pier, except by swimming to Dewey beach and who would want to walk out of the water, through all of the mud and trash. So we walked out to “The End” of the pier as everyone called it, where there was a make shift diving board and a ladder to get back up onto the pier. We did a few flips, made some ugly faces at each other, a few dives, got bored, and decided to go to the little Mystic.

On our way to the little Mystic as we were walking along the rail road tracks one of the kids made a suggestion. “Let’s go to the sugar cone factory and get some cones.”  We all agreed.

(In the 1950s there was a sugar cone factory located on Chelsea Street about a half block from O’Neill’s cafe which was beside the entrance to the Mystic river bridge. And during summer months we would go to the factory and buy a bag of broken sugar cones for ten cents and then go to the Bunker Hill monument for a feast.}

When we arrived at our home base; the little Mystic, the tide was going out, and when the tide was going out on the river there were all kinds of the different smells and odors, that were rather overwhelming, the smell of creosote and the stink of mud permeated the air. So we decided to walk up Terminal Street and along Medford Street, past the lumber yard, Palmer and Parker, the chicken feed building, the Oily and walked to Chelsea Street. On Chelsea Street the electric rail passenger cars that once connected Charlestown and Chelsea were no longer in service, however, the tracks were still on the cobblestone street. The new Mystic River Bridge that had replaced the old wooden Chelsea Street draw bridge in the early fifties that had spanned the little Mystic and the big Mystic. We swam there a few times when the bridge was still in operation and watched from underneath as the bridge opened. A giant concrete block that was used as a weight to operate the opening of the bridge would slowly descend towards a slab of cement and stop about two feet from it. We saw a few kids play chicken with the block of cement as it descended. They would lie on the slab of cement, and as the huge block of cement came closer they would roll off the slab, it was a little too scary for us to try, so we figured, let them have their fun. We never tried playing chicken with the bridge and besides, we had our own place on the river.

We walked up Chelsea Street and when we looked, the sugar cone factory was gone. There had been some kind of explosion, “Gas!” We could hear people talking. We just looked and the building was gone, then we questioned each other “What do we do now?” One of the kids said. ” Let’s go to a store and buy some sugar cones.” We laughed, went to a store and all we could get for ten cents were five sugar cones, and it just wasn’t the same. We walked up to the monument and reminisced along the way about, “The now gone sugar cone factory.”

“Remember going up the back stairs of the factory?” One of the kids said and then another kid remarked. “Yeah, remember that guy who was sweeping up the cones up from the floor and gave us a bag for a nickel and we told him, we’ll come back later and give him the other nickel.” We were all laughing. “They’ll build it again” One of the kids laughed and we all agreed.” Of course there had to be a sugar cone factory in Charlestown.”

Well, the summer was over, I guess we had reached the end of our holiday from school, classes would be starting soon and it was back to school.

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