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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Waltham in the 1940s through a poet's eyes

WALTHAM

In her poem, "At the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic," poet Gail Mazur remembers how she and her friend would hop on the bus in Auburndale to go into Waltham to steal vanishing cream and hair curlers.

She also writes about a man she encountered in the doctor's office, who talked about his 40 years working at a Waltham watch factory.

Mazur's poem is analyzed and appreciated by fellow poet Samantha Myers at the poetryfoundation.org website.

Here's a short excerpt. Myers estimates that Mazur's memories date to the late 1940s:

... I don’t remember Watch City
as beautiful the year I was eleven,
when Merle and I rode the Grove Street bus
to Moody Street to shoplift haircurlers
and Pond’s Vanishing Cream, nickel items


at the Waltham Woolworth’s. It was
an old factory town, wooden triple-deckers,
water rats swimming in the oily river.
Merle and I didn’t risk a furtive life
of crime in our well-kempt Auburndale


where we thought we were well-known,
and canoers paddled the same Charles River
past our homes. And I still wonder
what could have vanished when we rubbed
the mystery elixir on our silky cheeks? ...

-- Erica Tochin

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