To the editor:
Mr. Robert Raiche of Danvers passed away recently, and among the many wonderful accolades he deservedly earned over his long, varied and exceptional life of service to his fellow man, I’ve not seen a mention of one of his activities for which I am most grateful.
Back in the late 1950s and early 60s Mr. Raiche organized, ran and was disc jockey for all us Danvers kids in junior high who attended the “canteen” dance at the old Richmond School Auditorium on Friday nights. Mr. Raiche helped ease many of us through the awkward time of pimples, sweaty palms, and budding interest in the opposite sex. Using pop, rock and big band music, as well as a nice dose of empathy, he was welcoming to us all.
Sometimes we even had live performances at the weekly dance. Mr. Raiche encouraged us to interact and learn proper manners. He even occasionally got us to dance with a member of the opposite sex. Though firm about rules and personal responsibility, he was a great adult role model for us all. He was our own Dick Clark, with a splash of Jim Anderson of “Father Knows Best” thrown in.
I now fondly remember many a Friday night leaving canteen and walking up Conant Street toward Danvers Square to stay overnight at my grandmother’s apartment next to the post office, happy to have been able to hang out with my friends in a welcoming environment, and kind of knowing that our own Dick Clark was actually helping us evolve into young men and women.
Thank you, Bob.
Richard B. Trask