Sued51's Blog

{November 30, 2017}   The Things We Do For Friends

This is a difficult time of year for some of us. I have trouble with the darkness but this is also my birthday season when I inevitably reevaluate where I am in life. I’m thinking next year I should spend more time here and less time on Facebook…and get back to writing. Of course that means I have to get to know my community all over again and make new friends.

This morning I was thinking back as I often do, about my longtime friend Jane; a time we never talk about when we went to the amusement park near us that no longer exists, though remnants are still there like the merry-go-round and this old teacup.

Amusement Park Teacup

The Last Teacup

Paragon (The things we do for our Friends)

Back then,
no brick apartment buildings
crowded the shore,
only the old roller coaster
towered over the beach.

We went there at dusk
with our boyfriends;
nips beforehand in the car
made us giddy.

I loved the rides
that sped in circles,
even the teacups,
where I muscled us around
pulling as hard as I could
on the metal wheel
in the center,
while you laughed
in the corner,
begging me to stop.
Afterwards you got sick
and I felt bad.

Bad enough to ride
the old wooden coaster
that I secretly feared.
We separated to sit with our dates.
The frame creaked and groaned
as we rose to the top.
The dark ocean stretched
into the sky, a beautiful view
for a moment,
but I squeezed my eyes shut
all the way down.


Susan Merrifield Desrocher

Just as anyone who grew up on the South Shore in the 60’s or 70’s recognizes the shot of the Paragon Park roller coaster on the Neighborhoods single, “No Place Like Home/Prettiest Girl”, anyone who went to clubs in the 70’s and 80’s knows of or has seen The Neighborhoods. Like the Atlantics, they did get signed to a major record label, yet it never led to commercial success.

Attending a Neighborhoods’ gig was such a varied experience; they were always great, but their audience changed. They attracted an audience that liked great pop songwriting, but also punk rockers and slam dancers, and there was even a “metal” phase. Which audience showed up was often based on the other band on the bill.

I saw them countless times, yet, I have no photographs. I think because they were one of Eric’s favorite bands I left the photography to him. With the Neighborhoods, Eric didn’t need to me to break the ice; he would always talk to them.

I remember one gig in particular: it was an all ages show, a rare daytime gig, when they were playing with the Outlets. (I’ll tell a story about this when I get to “O”.) We got to the gig early, and I remember Eric talking to the drummer, Mike and his girlfriend/fiance for quite a while. (I think they were planning on moving away from Boston? My memory is like a still photograph on this: I remember it being daylight and us standing by Mike’s drum kit and no one else around…)

David Minehan was the ultimate front man: an animated ball of energy who looked great while he performed. After playing in another band called the Stardarts, he became a producer. The ‘Hoods were fun to watch, to listen to, and to dance to; they had it all. Another great Boston band that should have made it big…

et cetera
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