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Welcome to Cliftondale – Saugonians and former town residents enjoy “Open House” at The MEG; many revisit old memories and friends

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By Janice K. Jarosz


The MEG Foundation Board of Directors extend their appreciation to all of those who attended the recent Open House at The MEG – known to many as the old Cliftondale School.

During last weekend’s event (May 4-5), many former students reconnected with fellow school chums, meeting at the school building that held so many cherished memories of their school years from the first grade to the fourth. Some “boys” even admitted to the many hours they spent in the principal’s office, the strap and ruler on her desk, rarely used, but threatening nonetheless.

Blackboards were filled with dozens of class photos, original letters from students thanking Mr. Bogdan for a field trip they took to Anna Parker Playground, the “basement pass,” familiar class books, graded tests and a large bowl of candy from the forties and fifties.

Charles Bond, who donated the property to the town and was a very generous benefactor, filled the front lobby with a written history of his life, photos and articles about his famous Blackstone cigars handmade in the “Bond Block,” on the corner of Jackson and Essex, now under new ownership. At one time, Blackstone cigars were one of the largest manufacturers of cigars throughout the country.

Miss Marleah Graves was also remembered with photos and stories from former students about her life and her more than 47 years of teaching the second grade. She was described as a teacher with a quiet but strong voice, warm hugs and love and kindness to all.

We had more than 150 people over the two days. Three brothers who all went to school there came down from New Hampshire. Some of the visitors came from quite aways – from Rhode Island and Western Massachusetts. A lot of them exchanged phone numbers and wanted to get together again.

We passed out a lot of good local history during our “Welcome to Cliftondale” Open House.

Special thanks to our business neighbors Webster First Credit Union, GCA Jewelers, Mike’s Barber Shop, the Blue Moon Cigar Shop, Mark Vogler of The Saugus Advocate, Clark Moulaison of Saugus Cable TV, State Representative Donald Wong, contributors Edward and Marilyn Carlson, Mary Leary and Stephen Carlson, from the Saugus Historical Society, town officials, and my special gratitude to the following board members who, together, recreated an event for our many visitors who were able to share with one another their youthful memories of years gone by. Thank you, Paula Walsh, Steve and Paula Bevacqua, Laurie Davis, Michelle Cannizzaro, Rhonda Coombe, Kathy Giannetta, Skyler and Linda Ross, Joyce Rossetti, Karen Speziale, Patty Staples and Judy Worthley.

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