One day when two long-time
Saugus, MA residents were talking about the town they loved
so dear to both of them and of its people, some of them departed,
they observed that it is easy to drift from those memories
indelibly fixed in their minds to recollections over which
a haze is gathering, memories on the soft edge of being forgotten-shortly
not to be memories at all. Their conversation turned to the
millennium, to the celebration planned for Saugus when the
year 2000 is reached-to the part that memories must play as
the town gathers to honors its past.
They wondered how they could respect and honor what they have
forgotten. How could they stay the flight of those scattered
memories that have such a flimsy hold on life?
Their response was to produce this book: A Gathering of Memories,
Saugus 1900-2000. Here they have collected those cast-in-iron
events from those years, never-to-be-forgotten, and those
more fragile claims of their memories, offered as a living,
breathing account of a century in the life of Saugus.
By its nature and its purpose, this had to be a collective
effort, and indeed that is what it is. The response to their
effort has been overwhelming, from those still residing in
Saugus, as well as transplanted Saugonians from Oregon, New
Hampshire, Maine, Florida, and scattered places throughout
the country. All of them looked through their separate lenses
at their stores of memories and imparted to this book an enchanting
variety of moods, of styles, and of viewpoints. The stamp
of their individual experiences merges in a kaleidoscope of
these hundred years.
Their voices span seven decades of speakers, describing their
neighborhoods, each voice distinct in itself, telling of changes
in our land, in our people and in our way of life. And yet,
in the midst of these changes we hear a common chord. As they
speak of their heroes, of what it was like to grow up in Saugus,
of the teachers who touched them, of the rock 'em, sock 'em
politics they have witnessed through the years, there is a
constant element in all of it that makes Saugus Saugus, unique
in its character, a proud town, without pretense.
Here in this book is offered not a history but a gathering
of memories. People long gone come shining in recollection.
People of great and varied character rise from the past. Touched
are a future Pulitzer Prize poet who spent a year at Saugus
High School; a former Saugus high player who participated
in the 1958 Giants-Colts overtime game, just voted TV's top
game; a Baker Hill boy who won a Medal of Honor in the rugged
country of embattled France too soon after D-Day; two noble
brothers of the 10th Mountain Division who died within two
weeks of each other in the mountains of Italy; a Campfire
leader who took her charges on a night camping trip and woke
up in the morning with all their pup tents pitched on the
fifth green of the Cedar Glen Golf Course. Here there are
voices that sing and swing and carry nostalgia and doings
too important to leave behind. Here are glimpses and anecdotes
and character portrayals. Here is the hotbed of Saugus politics.
And names and pictures and maps and long-gone in-sights, and
a most splendid cover painting of the Town Hall and Soldiers
Monument by renowned artist Bill Maloney.