Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pawtucket from 1942 by WebguyRI

I was born in 1942 and remember growing up in the Darlington section of Pawtucket, RI.

Back then the city of Pawtucket was very busy and at Christmas time so many people were shopping in Pawtucket at times you had to walk in the street as the sidewalks were so crowded. A lot of individual stores as well as some major departments stores were available in the city.

One store was the Planters peanut store and they had Mr. Peanut, a person dressed as the plantners peanuts mascot walking in front of the store. The city contained a large varity of stores that streached over over 7 blocks. I belive we also had three movie theaters.

Home and life was so different back then. Not all streets were paved and a number of people would come by the house to sell items or services.

Some of these people were:
  • Breadman who came by with bread and pastry a couple of times a week. You could pay him at the end of the week for what you purchased.
  • Fishman that sold fish and seafood.
  • Produceman sold fruit and vegitables.
  • Milkman delevering milk and dairy products.
  • Ragman that sold rags.
  • Knifeman sharpening knives and scissors.
  • Garbageman we placed the garbage in a covered pail and they would come in the yard and pick it up.
  • Iceman delivering blocks of ice for the ice box. The icebox was used to keep food items cold and was used before electric refrigitors. If you wanted ice you put a special card in the window and the iceman would then deliver the ice to you. He was not happy if you did not want ice but left the card in the window as a mistake. When he saw the card he would take the ice to your door and place it in the icebox and some times it could be on the third floor depending where you lived.

Local markets also provided food and other items on credit.

Heat was with coal, the coalman delivered the coal into a coalbin or you could buy it in bags.

School conducted air raid drills and when the special bell rang you moved under your desk or went to a designated area for shelter.

Narragansett Race Track was a Horse racing track that was in operation and we could hear the races being annouced from our house. So many people attended the races that Newport Avenue was backed up with traffic and they also had a train stop at the track.

Radio contained shows and stories as if you were watching a Movie or TV but without the pictures.

When Television first came out it was very expensive and only a few people in our neighborhood had a tv. Only one channel was available and it was not on the air all the time. At times someone who had a TV would let a number of people comeover to watch the television. While we were waiting for the programs to start a test pattern would be displayed on the TV. Also TV was in black and white.

Also later on in life I remember going to "Rhodes on the Pawtuxet" on New Years eve with my fiancee and another couple. That was when the blue laws were in efect. New Years eve was on a sunday and the band played all night. But we were not allowed to dance and the police would stop anyone they found dancing. People moved around to dance and the police would keep moving to stop them. It was not a fun night.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

How well I remember those days.

My dad was the ice man and you forgot to mention the waffle man that came with his truck and made them fresh in front of the house. I was also the go-for kid that went up the stairs to deliver the produce and return with the money for the produce vendor.
The movie theaters were The Leroy, The Century, and The Strand. Dont forget the great fireworks at Mc Coy stadium. Does anyone remember Dunnels pond Swimming area?

Can we call these the good old day's?

I wonder.

Old guy

Webguyri said...

Hi Anonymous,

You brought back more memories, thanks.

Yes lived around york ave so remember all you mentioned but the Century theater. The first date with my wife was at the Darlton Theater.

As for the go for kids. My kids were my first TV Remote control. Tap them on the shoulder and tell them to change the channel or adjust the Rabit ears.

Hope more will share their memories here.

psz333 said...

Oh boy - I found you by accident and couldn't stop reading! Yes, those were fond memories....How about when it was a nice day, and you just went for 'walk in the neighborhood' with your mom? Or kids got to 'explore' the neighborhoods riding their bicycles? Or even better yet - playing hop scotch on newly paved streets...drawing the lines with your colored chalk? The more kids in the neighborhood, the better! I grew up in Pinecrest.

wgp said...

Hi PSZ333

Thanks for sharing your memories it was so different back then and life goes by so fast the older you get.

Hope see more post of RI memories.

Anonymous said...

Any one remember the name of the Airport where Narraganset race track was?

Anonymous said...

Rhode Island (IPA: /roʊd 'aɪlɪnd/), officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,[2] is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island shares borders with Connecticut to the west, and Massachusetts to the north and east, as well as New York by sea to the southwest.

The state is called Rhode Island in common usage, but most of the state lies on the North American mainland. Providence Plantations refers to the mainland, while Rhode Island is actually the official name for Aquidneck Island (now composed of the city of Newport, and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth).[3]

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Anonymous said...

I grew up in darlington also. playing ball at daggett field,palagi's ice cream and the Darlton theater had double headers on sat.only went to those on rainy days. neighborhood full of kids and endless summer days when mom wouldn't "let" you back in the house if it was nice out.fireworks from Mcoy could be seen from our house when we were real young (vine St.)
Good Times great memories, how about the beaches? from sandhill cove to little compton to misquamicut

Anonymous said...

I grew up on South Bend St, and I also have many fond memories of Pawt. Some of them are ice skating on the duck pond in Slater Park, and the xmas display there also. My moms house next door to McCoy so we always had a front row seat for the fireworks along with a huge cook-out and clam boil with the WHOLE family. Every Sat. about a half dozen or so kids would get together and go to the 75 cent double feature at the Leroy.

john filleau said...

grew up on knowles street in pawtucket off west avenue - my family had a sugar/flour potato business that we ran from the whse in the back of the house - would make deliveries to all the supermarkets in the area - mikes store behind us was our favorite spot for penny candy and anything else you wanted - we supplied the sugar for the icecream for peter palagi and his local yellow truck - ding ding ding went the truck up and down the streets and was always a treat to get whatever you wanted in icecream - west ave park, we used to go swimming there in the big cement swimming pool play basketball etc - during the summer that is - i was a member of the boys club downtown next to the leroy theatre - i remember going to the leroy to watch movies for .10 cents - wow, and i think popcorn was a nickle but never had enough cash for that -
i also remember slater park pond - they used to have the paddle boats there you could rent and during the winter time everyone would go ice skating there - the zoo was kind of nice there - first time i ever saw an elephant - - the old civic center or auditorium forget the name of it in providence on main street - they put a burger king there i think or a hospital or something now - wow -

Anonymous said...

The Planters Peanut store was in Providence on either Union or Eddy Street. They had the greatest roasted peanuts. They had a mechanical Mr.Peanuut man tapping his cane against the window. What happened to seeing this every time you visited Providence to make your day?

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