5 thoughts on “The land of used-to-be

  1. Love the story about Gardner. Especially the photos. It brings back some memories. I was a 20 something running around that city as well. (Although a decade or so earlier) I recognize all of those places. (I think I even recognize the farmhouse). I dated a girl from Ashburnham, and spent a lot of time in Gardner.

    An interesting story: When my ex-wife and I married, we honeymooned in the poconos. (How corny is that?) Well, we were both into antique and primitive American style furniture. So, while in Pennsylvania, why not shop? We found a great pencil-post bed that we haven’t seen anywhere, so, we bought it. It was delivered to our home in Franklin about a month later. When I looked at the shipping tag, I noticed that it came from Pennsylvania via Gardner Mass. I’ve been taking the trek out to Gardner for furniture ever since.

  2. So funny — what is it about Gardner anyway? My husband Scott (now a business magazine editor in Boston) also got his start in journalism after college in Gardner… I think he lasted at that job for 6 months. But this is the weird part: he LIVED in Boston, and COMMUTED to Gardner. Crazy!

  3. You lived in Gardner and No Stories about the Acadien Club???
    Loved the article keep them coming!

  4. Ohhh, the Acadien Club. During my tenure in Gardner, the cable provider stopped carrying a Canadian, French-speaking channel. The members flooded us with angry letters about how this was just another example of the historic oppression of Acadiens.

    But my primary memory of the Acadien Club: Turkey raffles. During my first week at the paper, I was intrigued by a roll of paste-up tape with drawings of turkey on them. What were they for? Turkey raffle ads (on the front page, if you please)! The reporters dragged me to one at the Acadien Club one weekend.

    At a turkey raffle, there’s a giant spinning wheel. Large men walk around selling tickets with numbers on them. They spin the wheel and call out numbers — one group gets potatoes, one gets a ham, one gets a turkey and so on with a whole slew of food items. There’s also a great deal of beer (you buy) and corn chowder (free). The more beer you drink, the more obsessed you get with the idea of winning a turkey. You spend fistfuls of cash on raffle tickets, round after round, with the hope of landing that darned turkey. The room gets filled with smoke. Lobsters get attached to the spinning wheel. It was ridiculously fun because it was truly ridiculous.

    Never did get a turkey. I did snag a ham once, and some potatoes. The table won what we dubbed the “heart attack combo” platter of fatty pork products.

    Every once in a while, I’ll smell cigarette smoke but can’t find the source. I figure it’s just years of Gardner turkey raffles just lingering in my hair.

  5. I am building a website, History of Gardner, in honor of our upcoming 225th anniversary. Do you have any more stories, pics, etc about Gardner? I would love any help that you could give me. Thanks.

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