South Common in Season

The South Common has begun to look like its warm-season self in the past week. I was out with Ringo the dog, my family’s Boston Terrier, last week just after the first lawn-mowing on the green slopes. The smell of freshly cut grass is one of those memory scents that makes a time machine of one’s brain. All of a sudden I was back in my old neighborhood cutting my grandfather’s front lawn on Janice Avenue on a summer Saturday morning, earning $5 that would no doubt go to buy baseball cards at Plunkett’s Drugstore.  Speaking of scents, the City workers spread big piles of spruce mulch in the planting beds along Thorndike Street, dressing up the still-new sidewalk that is a hint of extensive renovations that are called for in the City’s master plan. The rosa rugosa bushes will bloom in several weeks. We need the upgrade, particularly on the athletic field on the floor of the Common, which has been jammed with kids and other sports-players since the weather improved. The middle of the field is a dirt bowl, which is unfortunate for the young soccer players, especially. It has been this way for years. but fields are so much in demand that the teams make the best of it. In the late afternoons every school day there are dozens of students running on the oval—I presume from the Lowell Community Charter School on Jackson Street.  I’ve noticed police cruisers pulling into the Common from the Summer Street/South Street entrance more often, making the rounds, which is a good thing. City staffers have been making preparations for opening the pool when the school year ends. Despite a tough winter with about 20 snowstorms, the big park made it through in good shape. I’ve been searching on the web for photos of the folk festivals on the South Common in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those events drew crowds of 5,000 and larger. One year, maybe the 50th anniversary of the National Folk Festival, the fireworks over the train station were spectacular. If anyone has pictures, please contact us at this blog.