"You're Probably from Worcester, If..."

by Walter Donway


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"You're Probably from Worcester, If..." by Walter Donway

This is not a history of Worcester; it does not pretend to be. It is a collection of memories and stories of Worcester from the years immediately after WWII up to the present, years during which accelerating change has swept away much of historic New England's cities and towns.

It is a book about things that Worcester people, wherever they may live, today, remember. The serious: those lost in WWII, the Worcester Tornado, the Blizzard of 1978, loved ones at Worcester State Hospital. The traditional: Thanksgiving, a Polish wedding, the downtown stores, delights of kids on "snow days." The special food: corned beef, grinders, apples cider, the amazing potato, blueberry pies and muffins. And experiences many shared: fishing, trips to the Higgins or the Mall, going to church on Sunday mornings. To tell this story, I began with my own memories of growing up, family, school, summer and winter fun, work. These were then enriched, extended, sometimes corrected, by hundreds of members of the Facebook page "You're Probably from Worcester, If..." Like so many across the country, it is bringing people together, voluntarily, spontaneously, to share their memories of a city, a way of life, in an America rapidly disappearing. This must be humankind's first such mass movement in writing, sharing, correcting, and elaborating its history. My book captures a small piece of this amazing effort because it includes not only my own posts but also hundreds of comments on those posts-comments arising from direct, contemporaneous experiences, observations, feelings. Without this irreplaceable cumulative record of so many lives and experiences, this book would be a mere memoir-not a piece of living history in a new American tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781494717100
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 12/16/2013
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

I was born in a Worcester hospital in 1944, raised on a farm in Holden-an immediately adjacent and then still rural town. But my parents sought their fortune in Worcester, with Donway's bridal and dress shop on North Main Street-at one time, the largest bridal shop in New England. I was a farm boy, but Worcester was my city, where I went to movies, joined both the Boy's club at Lincoln Square and the YMCA, sat on Santa's lap at Denholm's, fell in love with bookstores like Ephraim's (then the largest in New England), got my teeth fixed and my hair cut.
What I have written, here, are memories of Worcester and Holden from my boyhood, but, also, around the end of the 1960's, when I returned from college to become a reporter for the Worcester Telegram, a distinguished daily newspaper not uninfluential in the country. In writing, I have followed my memories, curiosity, and personal questions. I have looked into and written of Polish-American settlement in Worcester and central New England, since that is my heritage on my father's side. I have written about the record-smashing Worcester tornado of June 9, 1953, which I knew as boy of nine. I have written about the Blizzard of '78, which I did not experience at first hand, but which was an extraordinary and tragic event by any standard.

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