To the editor:
We read with interest the recent story about the 30th anniversary of the Salem fires, especially the mention of the fire in the Power Block downtown that Saturday night, which began the string of blazes that put the city on edge.
The Power Block fire will always be memorable to us because it broke out in the middle of our wedding reception, which was going on about a block away at Old Town Hall behind the old Beef & Oyster restaurant.
Thirty years ago, not too many people used Old Town Hall for weddings, but we gave it a shot. We swabbed the floors; brought in tables and chairs; trucked in food from As You Like It, our favorite lunch place then on Essex Street; and went about our business until the news broke that downtown Salem was ablaze.
First dance? Cutting the cake? That would have to wait, because most guests — including the curious bride and groom — were soon out in the street hopping over snowbanks and dodging fire hoses to get a glimpse of the big event.
Many of the guests at the reception were Salem News reporters and photographers, and if memory serves correctly, the paper won an award for spot news because so many folks were already on the scene.
No such excitement this year for our 30th anniversary. An overnight trip to Louisville, Ky., a nice dinner and a peek at our wedding album containing grainy photos of our guests checking out the fire from the hall's second-floor windows.
Carl and Lynn Sygiel
(Editor's note: Carl Sygiel was a sportswriter at The Salem Evening News — now The Salem News — and Lynn ran its Newspaper in Education program.)