, Salem, MA

September 13, 2013

Heard Around Town: A Salem High reunion for the ages


---- — SALEM — We get press releases all the time about Salem High School class reunions. Usually, all we do is list the event in the North Shore Community Calendar.

But this one is different.

The Salem High Class of 1948 is holding a reunion tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. at the function hall at Salem Willows. For those who need all their fingers and toes to count that high, that would be their 65th reunion. That, in itself, is impressive. Even better, nearly 100 people are expected to attend.

Even better than that, two teachers are coming.

OK, put your toes away and get out the abacus. If the classmates from 1948 are in their early to mid-80s, how old are the teachers?

Answer: Physical education teacher Victoria Kopaczynska is 98, according to a reunion committee member. Tina Lefthes, a business teacher, is a couple of years younger.

Does that sound like a great class reunion or what?

Oh yeah, we almost forgot. They’re still looking for the following classmates: Dr. Richard Conway, Edward Henderson, Patricia Norton Munroe, Charles Moreland, John O’Connell and Lucas Persinos.

Polish power

This is a big weekend for you folks who want to travel but don’t get out of the house much.

On Saturday, the annual Oktoberfest is being held from 7 to 11 p.m. at Old Town Hall. On Sunday, the St. John the Baptist Polish Festival is from noon to 8 p.m. at the parish hall on St. Peter Street.

First, Oktoberfest.

What’s not to like? German hats and kazoos, a bratwurst-eating contest, bands, beer and ... drumroll please ... man-about-town Erik Rodenheiser dressing as Olga the Angry German Beer Wench.

Of course, he’s not the only one risking a career. State Sen. Joan Lovely and City Councilors Josh Turiel, Bill Legault and Tom Furey are all wearing lederhosen. Who needs term limits when we have photos of politicians in leather breeches?

Two folks running for City Council, Beth Gerard and David Eppley, are also strapping on leather for the event. Do they know the preliminary election is Tuesday?

In truth, this is a great event that benefits the Salem YMCA.

On Sunday, St. John the Baptist is going all out to produce the best Polish Festival in years.

They have a big band coming from Connecticut, Polish beer and all the pierogis, kapusta and kielbasas you can spell — we mean eat.

If nothing else, come watch the children from the Polish school doing Polish dances. They are great.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Golf tribute

Wayne Alarm, a Lynn business, is holding a golf tournament in memory of Barbara Riley of Salem, who was office manager there for nearly 30 years.

The Sept. 30 event at the Ferncroft Country Club will benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“By pulling all of our employees and those in local communities together to raise money for cancer research, I feel that Barbara would be truly amazed at how many lives she has touched,” company president Ralph Sevinor said in a statement. “She was never one to like being the center of attention, but she deserves to be recognized and honored for all that she has done.”

For more information, go to or call 781-595-0000, ext. 114.

Pump problem

That was a nasty fire Saturday morning on Perkins Street.

And there was a lot of concern afterward when Deputy Chief Brian Harrington had to order firefighters out of the building due to a malfunctioning pump truck.

As soon as Chief Dave Cody was informed of the problem, he put the truck through a series of tests, which it passed each time.

All of which left everyone scratching their heads.

By hook or crook

Did you see the story about Salem police Sgt. Kristian Hanson taking a short-cut to work down Salem Street on Monday and getting flagged down by a woman who propositioned him?

She, of course, was arrested.

Reminds us of the story of a superintendent of schools in a neighboring community (OK, Lynn) who was on his way to work one morning around 7 a.m. when a prostitute jumped into his car at a red light.

The light turned green and he had no choice but to keep driving. At the next light, which was about a block from the school administration building, he turned to the woman and said: “Either you get out of the car or I do.”

And Steve Russell thinks he’s got it tough.

California or bust

Garrett Shay, the great young man who biked cross-country to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, made it all the way to the Santa Monica Pier in August and raised more than $7,000.

The police chief of Santa Monica gave him a medal, and the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club held a celebration.

When he returned home, club members from Salem met him at the airport and held their own celebration in his honor.

Carrying a tent, water, a first aid kit and little else, the UMass senior from Melrose averaged 40 miles a day and biked up to 100 miles on several days.

Garrett’s dad, by the way, is a law buddy of attorney Ed Moriarty, husband of Joanne Scott, executive director of the Salem club.

Gaming Chip

As we listened to Salem homeboy Chip Tuttle address hundreds of businessmen and women at the Hawthorne Hotel on Wednesday about the vendor possibilities at Caesars Resort at Suffolk Downs, a thought struck us. How brilliant of the Caesars people to pick a guy named “Chip” as their chief operating officer and spokesman.

As Tuttle peered out at the packed ballroom, he had a different thought.

“This is the place we held our wedding reception.”

Tip of the week

If you are concerned about Syria and the state of mankind, you will want to attend a lecture Thursday at the Salem Athenaeum.

Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, is speaking on “The Future of War in the 21st Century.” The lecture starts at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

For information or tickets, go to As usual, this is free for students with IDs.

One more reason to go — this guy was a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion.

Tom Dalton can be reached at