I recently drove through my old neighborhood, the Point of Pines in Revere. Much has changed, some good, some not so good.
Let’s start with the house I grew up in. It seems to sag a lot more than I remember. The bushes that covered the concrete patio are gone, but the huge birch tree on the front lawn is still there. Always loved that tree.
A lot happened in this house. The memories of being up all night in the bathroom as disease ripped through my insides is still fresh. So are the memories of the house being crammed with people right after my brother’s death. My parents fought a lot here, and we had to abandon the place for a bit during the Blizzard of 1978. The National Guard evacuated us. I’d like to say it was cool, but the truth is I was pretty scared.
Some good things happened here, too. As a teenager I had the entire basement apartment to myself. I threw parties, smoked to my heart’s content, and found some refuge. The downside was that every time a coastal storm came along I had to worry about the ocean flooding out my domain.
The condominiums they started to build behind the house in the 1980s was eventually completed. It sat unfinished for years, and I used to enjoy throwing rocks through the windows from my backyard. I’m not sure the neighbors liked it so much.
They shoved a couple other condos and townhouses in corners of the neighborhood I never would have thought big enough to build upon. Yet someone found a way.
The small, white Catholic Church closed down, was split in two and turned into a couple over-sized, rather ugly houses. The park is still the same. It looks pretty much the way it did back in the day, except for a bit more graffiti on the playground equipment.
Leaving the neighborhood and driving up Revere Beach Boulevard, I noticed the parking area on the beach side had been done away with, replaced by a sidewalk. No more of people parking and hanging out on hot summer nights, but I’m sure the residents like it better that way.
Driving up Revere Street, I noticed the Paul Revere School had been torn down and was being replaced with a new school. Good thing, too. That place was falling apart when I attended junior high there. I still remember the smell in the basement, where the cafeteria just happened to be. It was not a pleasant smell.
My dislike for the place also stems from being there during some tough times. No offense to those who taught there and studied there. Many of them are good friends today.
Squire Road is pretty much the same, though the Pewter Pot was torn down and replaced with what I think is a furniture store. The Kentucky Fried Chicken burned down at some point.
It’s nice to visit the place once in awhile. I certainly love the people.
But Haverhill is home now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Revere is where I survived.
Haverhill is where I healed.