Down Memory Lane: Christmas Eve 1971

These days there continues to be a kerfuffle in certain places when mentions or symbols or images of Christmas make their way into our public schools. While perusing the December 24, 1971 edition of the Lowell Sun, I came across a story about a play presented at Lowell’s Reilly School. Teacher Mrs. Harriet Leggat wrote and directed  “Christmas Why” which played to an appreciative capacity audience and starred her students. Some of these names will ring a bell with our blog readers…  James Hogan, Joseph McNamee, Richard Cowdrey, Peter McCall, Michael McQuade, Mary Beth Adams, John Clancy, David Abrahamian, Susan McCarthy, Kevin Sweeney, George Danas, Martha Foley, John Keefe, Charles Carkin and Robert Paquette.

Also noted in this 40 year-old edition:

*Some things never change: The Town of Tewksbury Charter Commission struggled over some recommendations and changes to be presented during a series of public hearings. (Mark Woods and John Shugrue served on this Charter Commission.)

*Sports at LHS: Coach Mike Crowley’s Lowell High basketball team came from behind to squeak by Waltham 73-71 led by Walter Makiej, Steve Bilby and Ron Foley. Charlie Ryans’s JV led by Chris Fuhs won 59-42.

*From day to day: Driver fine $10 for operating without having his license in possession. 21-year old arrested after an hour-long chase through Tyngsboro, Lowell and Tewksbury. Judge Paul Fitzgerald reduced a defendant’s charge to breaking and entering in the daytime instead of the nighttime at Tyngsboro American Legion. Pinehurst man shot and robbed on Boylston Street.

*Housing Concerns: The Lowell CDA (City Development Authority) City Manager Jim Sullivan  in a flurry of letter writing to Senators Ted Kennedy and Ed Brooke, Congressman F. Bradford Morse, HUD Secretary George W. Romney and the IRS over the Northern Canal Apartments contract violations and a 25% rent increase.

*Money for the Needy: Salvation Army Board Chair John Durkin and Major George Wickens in public plea to make-up for the $800 in donations stolen from their Appleton Street building.

*From Government: Lowell school committee members Victor Forsley and Bill Collins bemoan to Superintendent Wayne Peters the overuse of federal funds on regular budget items instead of student enrichment. Committeemen Robinson, Collins, Kouloheras at odds with Manager Sullivan over the slow movement on the high school addition. Mayor Dick Howe is noted in the Sun editorial for his questioning of selective raises of $1500-3000 to school department when “good employees”  would probably get 5.5% through the collective bargaining process. Community Teamwork (CTI) Executive Director Leo Desjarlais took tenents to task for criticizing the appointment of Armand Mercier as Lowell Housing Authority Director – describing him as “sensitive, informed and willing to working” for the tenents.

*Photo Ops: Acre Model Neighborhood Organization (AMNO) Board Chair Jack Kirwin (for full disclosure – Uncle Jack) presents check to Rt. Rev. Thomas Green for the Acre Fire and Emergency Fund as AMNO Director George Callahan  and City Manager James Sullivan look on.  Many fires depleted the fund. LTI President Everett Olsen, Lowell Human Relations Commission Chair Samuel Crayton and City Manager Jim Sullivan as they discuss ways to get more minority students at LTI.

*Season’s Greetings: Retail ads of Merry Christmas from – The Bon Marche, Scott’s Jewelry, Robey Jewelers, Kent Jewelers, Weiner’s Furrier, Wood-Abbott Jewelers, Cherry & Webb, Mammoth Mart, the Foxtail Lounge, Flynn Travel Service, Cathay Garden, The Windsor, the First Bank and Trust, Lemkins, Sarre’s, Mal’s and the Lowell 5 Cent Savings Bank.

*Back Page Greetings: Noting it’s 93 years of serving Middlesex County the Sun offered it’s annual gift to readers of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement Moore – with illustrations.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

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