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Shopping Down Memory Lane

Most of the local businesses that advertised in my high school newspaper are long gone and also forgotten (by me). I hope you can help me remember some of these old stores.

 

When I was reading my old school newspapers from the Seventies that I wrote about in my previous two columns, I noticed a number of ads from local businesses, most of which were retail establishments. Some I remembered well, others sounded vaguely familiar, and still others were a mystery to me.

I invite you to join me as I go shopping down memory lane. I'd like this to be an interactive column: I'm hoping that if you remember some of these stores, you'll comment on them below my article. Perhaps you can help me to remember some of these businesses that once populated Watertown.

One store I did remember well was Watertown Radio Co., a small record store that was located one or two doors down from Woolworth's. (CVS is now located where Woolworth's was.) That's where I got my first 45, The Beatles "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and I continued to purchase records there for quite some time.

Another name that was instantly familiar was Eastern Coat on Coolidge Hill Road. I never went there, since I wasn't in the market for men's clothing, but I remember them advertising on all the Bruins games on Channel 38. The company is still there, though it's name was changed to Eastern Clothing a number of years ago.

Because a majority of the retail advertisers were in Watertown Square, I decided to go to the Square and walk by their old addresses to see if anything would jog my memory. Massa Boutique was a name that I'd instantly recognized when I saw its ad. I know that I'd been there more than once – my mother may have even known the owner – but I can't remember a thing about it. I'm thinking it may have been a card/gift shop, similar to the Hallmark stores, but I really don't know. It was at 13 Main St, where New Look Bridal by Rafic is now located.

Another advertiser in the school paper was Fox Drug Store, located at 25 Main St. When I first saw the ad, the name didn't sound familiar – the drug stores I remembered were Dunn's and Parker Drug Store – but I eventually vaguely remembered it. And as vague as my memory is, I somehow have a feeling that I shopped in that store. The current tenant of that space is Uniforms for America, quite a different business than a drug store.

The ad for Joe & Nick's Sub & Pizza Shop said "delicious pizza," and I'm wondering if anyone can  confirm that for me. I do not remember that shop at all, and I would particularly think that I would have known all the sub and pizza shops when I was in high school. I remember Napoli's and the W House of Pizza, but not Joe & Nicks, which was located at 54 Mt. Auburn St., where Super Fusion Cuisine II now sits.

Rochelle's, a tuxedo rental shop, was nearby at 58 Mt. Auburn St., which is the current home of the Wonder Cafe, a Chinese restaurant. I probably don't remember Rochelle's because I never had the need for its services. I find it interesting that a restaurant is housed in the same space that was once a tuxedo rental place.

Manhattan Jewelers was at one Main St., now occupied by H & R Block. I vaguely remember that store, though I don't know if I was ever in it.

Two florists located in Watertown Square advertised in the high school paper: Kelly Florist and Flowers by Henry. Those names sound familiar. They were at 11 and 12 Mt. Auburn St. The former is now occupied by Staples Copy & Print. I'm not sure if the 12 Mt. Auburn address still exists, but Thomson Safaris is at 14 Mt. Auburn, and its space probably extends to 12. It seems that the address where Watertown Radio was located, 35 Main St., is also no longer there. CVS and Bank of America take up the space that used to be occupied by several stores.

Watertown Sports Center was at 38 Mt. Auburn St., currently home of Mike's Shoe Repair. Since I didn't have occasion to buy athletic equipment, I likely never went to that store either.

Very few of the local businesses advertising in my high school paper are still there. Watertown Savings Bank is one. Not only is the company at the same address, it has expanded to the end of the block; it now also encompasses the building that used to house Union Market National Bank, listed in its ad as "the bank on the square." I believe Union Market was eventually acquired by a larger bank, and I think the same thing happened to Coolidge Bank and Trust Co., another advertiser.

One other Watertown Square advertiser is still there: Demos Restaurant. I don't think I ever went there when I was in high school, but I've certainly made up for it since then.

I hope you've enjoyed shopping down memory lane, and that you will share your memories of these businesses in a comment following this column.

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