Megan Carroll, the SAG-AFTRA striker profiled in the September 8 issue of this paper, played softball when I coached a team in the early days of the sport in town. I never had the chance to be her coach, but I remember her. And her story triggers memories of my first official job as busboy at The Colonial Inn.
Megan’s grandmother, Mary Carroll, was one of the waitresses who worked at the inn. Two of her neighbors, Kay Gilfeather and Lilian Phalen (sisters), on Bedford Street also worked at the inn.
Those women were wonderful and looked out for me, a freshman in high school who worked Friday nights, after football practice, and Saturday nights. Madelaine Rizzitano, Marie McPhillips and Alice were other memorable waitresses. Dinners at the inn later in life were made more memorable by seeing those fabulous women.
Leo Carroll, Megan’s father, reminded me about other women who worked at the inn, although they were on different shifts from me: Margaret Nickerson (her son Chick used to ride down Hubbard Street on his way to Emerson Playground for pick up baseball games and his older sister Sandra was in my mother’s Girl Scout troop); and Mrs. Stratton. As I recall, her daughter was selected as the best-looking woman in my high school class.
Neighbors of theirs, the Goranson family, had four sons, the oldest of whom was Harold. We went to school together from about the second grade until high school graduation. He walked down from Bedford Street to our house every morning to pick me up. We walked to Concord-Carlisle High School, across Emerson Playground, often with him reading his latest composition for English class. Socrates Lagios, his English teacher, had unleashed a creative mind. Harold played baseball and basketball and, finally in his senior year, football, a sport he played well.
Colonial Inn reflections: dishwashers who could open a bottle of Pepsi with their teeth; trying to keep up with the senior busboy, Jimmy with red hair; putting leftover rolls into a warmer drawer, later to be sliced into Melba Toast to be served the next day… until the Board of Health found out; a drink called the Flintlock, invented by Innkeeper Loring Grimes (a 14-year-old boy could only dream of the day when he was old enough to drink one!); occasionally sharing an extra meal ordered by mistake (?) in one of the unused dining rooms.
One night, several locals got into an argument over the weight of the anvil in the Forge Bar. My Uncle Dave said he had a scale at his store and picked it up to go weigh it. Loring Grimes, the innkeeper, resisted. Dave handed the anvil to him and it immediately plunged to the floor. Dave picked it up and, holding it under one arm, left the Inn and was last seen walking through Monument Square to his store. I know the story, but not the weight.
On another night, Lawrence Kenney interrupted his sidewalk snowplowing with his horse-drawn plow to have a drink at the inn. He brought the horse in with him.
But back to Megan Carroll. While she was not one of my players (my teams in softball were called The Catfishes), I admired her from a distance and still carry a strong affection for the girls who played during my time in softball.
Often it is easy to stand on the sidelines and applaud strong people taking a stance. From my observation point, I am proud to know Megan and may she keep up the good work.