Letters to ...

Ah ha!!! Where are we?

... based on a reply to an article in the January issue

from Steve Johnson and Don Norris

Editor's note: We deviate from normal practice to cause us all -- all long-time Melrosians -- to reflect on who, what and where, back to the mid-forties of the last century.

In the January issue, we ran a piece mentioning the location of "Cutler Ford". Stringer Steve Johnson writes from Arizona, "Cutler's was located on the west side of Tremont Street just south of the Lynn Fells Parkway. It backed up to the B&M railroad tracks," he writes.

"Of interest in that area was an old fashioned blacksmith shop next door to Cutler Ford where you could have hand forged iron objects made or repaired. We children of the 1940s would often visit that shop to watch the craftsman at work.

"Judy Cutler, daughter of the owner of the Ford agency, was a student at Melrose High School during the 1950s, as was I," Steve writes. He signs his email ...
"Steve Johnson, The Arizona Melrose Mirror Stringer."

...and an editor responds:

... and the Mirror reflects on Steve's correspondence, which forces a response from the only New Jersey Stringer in the bunch, Don Norris.

Don smartly says, "OK. Smartie, where were these following old-time dealerships located in Melrose, and how many of them are still in business today?

The Buick dealer? -- a pre-war thing.

The Chrysler/Plymouth dealer? Gone!

The Pontiac dealer? Also gone.

The Kayser dealer, later to become a Mercury dealership? Obviously the Kayser didn't rule.

A Honda dealer? (While I never bought a Honda from him, I used to take my Hondas there for service, in the eighties.  He and I shared a dinner table at a nearby re-hab center, recently. But I can't remember his name; his business was primarily for repairs and upkeep of Hondas. His shop was adjacent to the MHS football field, sort of behind the bleachers.

Q?: What's the name of the name of the full-time repair shop on Essex Street -- which is still going strong while all registered auto dealers have gone out of business? (I still have my old ('02) Buick and my new Subaru Forester ('15) serviced by the second generation ... Think Z's.

If your think back to what our town's business center was like fifty years ago, practically nothing is the same. Haslam's Pharmacy, at the corner of Main and West Foster, is relocated to Green Street, up by the hospital; York's Hardware is gone, the A&P AND the First National are gone, the butcher shop no longer exists, the bakery is ...................

Newhall's Men's Shop is a flower store now, Clements clothing Store was sold and finally closed its doors, Mrs Jones ladies' dresswear on Main (next to Haslams), went through several changes, and is now a fashion boutique. Percy Glazer's Army Navy store (new in 1945) is gone. Stearn's and Hill's Pharmacy has the same name, but the product is now high-class restaurant. Banks are still there, but all have changed ownership -- except the small family bank, The Melrose Co-operative Bank opposite an apartment building that once was the Coolidge grammar school
(earlier it was the Melrose High School)  but is still there as a condominium.

Editor's note: Readers are encouraged to comment of our common history.

March 4, 2016

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