By Richard E. Noble It was a cold December night. A bunch of us had bundled up in a booth up at the Tally-ho. The Tally-ho was on Swan St. It had become a great place to hangout for the post high school and young adult crowd. Older folks came in too but they used the back entrance. They had a section of their own – away from the younger noisy bunch. The Tally-ho was a sports bar before there was such a thing as a sports bar. There were TVs stationed appropriately in all the dining rooms and several at the bar. If anything was happening with Boston sports, it would be on the TVs at the Tally-ho. It was a great place to go to watch a Red Sox, Celtic or a Bruins game - lots of enthusiastic chums to cheer with. Paul Margraff was the owner/manager/bartender/waiter/sandwich maker etc. during my era. We were playing forty-fives at our booth. Forty-fives was a card game indigenous to Lawrence and the greater Merrimac Valley. Anyone I met in my travels who knew how to play the game of forty-fives had roots in the old neighborhood. On this particular occasion an old buddy came walking through the door. We all looked up from our card game and recognized our old grammar school chum. In typical Lawrence fashion someone said, “Hey Billy, long time no see.” “Yeah, about 15 years.” “Has it been that long?” “You’ve been gone 15 years? I didn’t even know you had left town,” offered another astute Lawrence observer at the table. “Oh yeah, a little over 15 years now.” “Where have you been?” “Well, all over but I settled in California for the last 10 years or so.” “What are you home for Christmas to see the relatives?” “No I’m back for good.” “You’re back for good! What are you crazy? You finally get out of this town and you actually come back here to live? What are you nuts?” Billy laughed. “Yeah, I suppose I am.” “No seriously, you were settled out there in beautiful California. You were there for 10 years, you say, and you come back to Lawrence? There has got to be something wrong. Somebody in the family must be sick or something?” Billy laughed again. “No, not really. Everybody is doing fine. Just got a little homesick I guess.” Each of us at the card table dropped our hand and we all looked up at our old buddy.” Homesick was not a term that many of us used in reference to Lawrence. “You got homesick? What the heck could get anybody homesick for Lawrence? I know many people who said that their home in Lawrence made them sick but I never heard anybody say that they were homesick for Lawrence. What could you possibly miss about Lawrence?” “Well, guys like you for one thing. I kind of missed having four different seasons too. But I guess what I missed most of all about Lawrence was the food.” “The food! They don’t have food in California?” “They have food but nothing like the food that we have here in Lawrence. No Tally-ho chicken bar-b-que, no Lawton’s by the Sea deep-fried hotdogs, no Bea’s cutlets, no Bishops, no Ceder Crest, no Bungalow, no Pappy’s bakery, no anchovy or pepperoni crispellies. They never even heard of lemon slush or a Black Moon ice cream on a stick for cryin’ out loud. Why, the homemade bread alone is worth the trip to Lawrence. “There is a bakery on every corner around here. You want fresh baked Polish bread, you go down to Sunkist Bakery on Exchange St. You want Italian bread, you go down to Jackson or Common Streets. They have four bakeries at one intersection - one on each corner down there. You want French bread, you’ve got it. You have home baked Syrian bread everywhere. You have German restaurants, French restaurants, Syrian restaurants, Italian restaurants, and Chinese Restaurants. Even the diners around here are great - the Broadway Diner, Ritzie’s, Jubert’s, Falon’s, the Post Office Diner with Rudy, Ernie’s Diner and Mushy’s famous baked beans. “I have been dreaming about a homemade pastry square for years. Where else can you get fresh backed fig squares, raisin squares, lemon tarts and Napoleons? I bought an Italian meat pie up on Broadway the other day. You can’t find a meat pie like that anywhere in America but Lawrence. Fould’s French pork pies, hot or cold - a little ketchup and you’re in business. I’ve never seen a pie like that any place but here. Kibbie and shish kabob sandwiches, Tripoli and Christie’s home-style Italian pizza, Essem hotdogs and Polish kielbasa, Barrett’s tomato sausage - you guys are all used to it. You take it all for granted. But let me tell you, they don’t have food like this in other places.” So you will put up with ten feet of snow and a million people huddled in tenement houses for a homemade cruller or jelly donut? You’re easy.” “Yeah, that’s what the girls always said. Hey, I was raised in a tenement house. There are worse places to live than a tenement house. Tenement houses don’t make slums – people do. When I was coming up around here we had no central heat or air-conditioning. We didn’t even have hot water. If you wanted a bath you had to heat the kettles up on the stove. Now all these tenements got heat, air, hot water - what the hell?” Mr. Danny Tardugno, a little gray haired fellow who worked behind the bar at the Tally-ho for years, called out Billy’s sandwich order. “You better go get those sandwiches, Billy, before the Tally-ho stops making burgers.” “Yeah, like that’s ever goin’ to happen. Take care guys. I’ll see ya the next time I get hungry.” “Good enough pal.”
Richard E. Noble was raised in Lawrence, Mass and is now a freelance writer. He has published five books. Two of them have Lawrence as their setting, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. A Little Something is a book of poetry partly inspired by life in Lawrence. Hobo-ing America, is a workingman’s tour of the U.S.A. The Eastpointer is selected pieces from his award winning column about life in a sleepy fishing village in the Florida Panhandle.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.