Eat, Drink And Be Merry

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Eat, Drink And Be Merry

Anecdotes and Tales from the Old Neighborhood, Lawrence - My Hometown

Authored by Richard Edward Noble

In Lawrence, my hometown we had "Lawton's by the Sea."
Lawton's was typical of Lawrence and atypical of everywhere else in the world.
First of all it had a fire hydrant in the lobby.
It wasn't really a fire hydrant but it looked like a fire hydrant. It was some sort of on/off valve that had something to do with regulating the flow of water or water level of the canal that sat just behind Lawton's back door - hence the comic description, "Lawton's by the Sea."
The canals that were constructed back in the 1800s to provide power to the textile machinery and were the reason for the initial existence of the town of Lawrence, MA, added another colorful euphemism to the old Mill Town lore. We laughingly referred to our polluted, little, textile village as the Venice of the Northeast.
Reading about that other Venice over in Italy, surprisingly, it seems to be just about as polluted as our little Venice. Not only that, that Italian Venice is sinking.
Lawrence may be going down hill, but it is not sinking ... yet.
They only served Essem hot dogs at Lawton's. Essem dogs were another local icon.
Everybody ate Essem hot dogs in Lawrence. A butcher shop needed no large variety of hot dogs, only Essem's. "Yes 'em, it's Essem," was their famous advertisement. It was on the radio, the billboards and wherever the option was available.
Lawton's was also famous for deep frying their Essem hot dogs.
I imagine it just happened one night after a Lowell/Lawrence football game. The crowd piled in and some imaginative grill man decided to speed things up and just started tossing the dogs off the grill and into the Fryolator. Bamb! A new dog with extra grease added was invented - the Speedy Deep Fried Dog.
But Lawrence had more than hot dogs and hamburgers. We were "The Immigrant City." We had over forty different nationalities. Our tenement hallways were steaming the wallpaper off the walls with the sounds and smells of Europe and the Middle East. You name it and we had a walk up or corner eatery selling it - Italian cutlets, French pork pies, Syrian kibbie, German knockwurst, Polish kielbasy, fried clams, batter dipped onion rings, pierogies, golumpkies, ravioli, stuffed anything and everything. Food, food and more food!
So let's take another trip around the block, listen to the shouts and laughter, look at all the pretty ethnic girls and equally handsome worldly lads, enjoy a French pork pie or Italian pizza, pick up a sauce sandwich or a cutlet, get a Holihan's Black Horse Ale or dark beer on draft and drift off into the land that never changes or gets old, that land of friendly faces and teary eyes where we were all once happy and hopeful - that imaginary land of yesteryear, snuggled in the far off town of pleasant memories and good friends.
See you there. Take care and have fun.

Publication Date:
1494963841 / 9781494963842
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

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