Profiles in Carnage: Tim Santry

Timothy Santry, 91, founded Winn Street Service, the tow truck company now located on Wall Street near Donahue’s Furniture.

His body contains so many steel fragments, airport security forces him to strip. And strip. And strip. And they still think he must be hiding something somewhere. He has countless steel shards inside both hands and up his forearms, and a few big ones embedded near his shins.

They’re not medical implants. They’re steel splinters that have randomly shot into his body during decades of hammering and chiseling at truck frames. “After I’m down to nothing, they finally say, ‘Okay, get your clothes back on.”

Besides attending to car accidents with his fleet of tow trucks, Santry was the de facto town mechanic who fixed, modified and outright built municipal trucks, including fire tankers.

Santry’s bloody battles with vehicles started early. He might be the only person in Burlington who can say he’s been run over by a Model A Ford. He was under the car at his lifelong home, 3 Newbridge Ave., tinkering with the brakes, while his buddy was behind the wheel. “I told him to move it a tiny bit. Well, he moved it right over my chest, the crazy nut. It didn’t hurt that much, though.” He was eight years old.

Dapper Tim Santry graduating St. Charles in Woburn

Dapper Tim Santry graduating St. Charles elementary in Woburn

At the advanced age of 11, Santry started chalking up victories. During the hurricane of 1938, his father called from nearby Lowell Street to say he was stranded due to downed trees. Tim used his family’s tractor to yank the trees out of the way. In the aftermath of the same hurricane, a gas station around the corner on Winn Street was without power. Tim removed the tire from his bicycle’s back rim, turned the bike upside down, ran a belt from his rear rim to the gas pump motor and hand-pumped gas when customers pulled in.

In his early 20s, he operated a gas station on the corner of Mountain Road and Winn Street. He bought it from the Sylvester family, the namesake of Sylvester Road in Winnmere. Here’s a “then and now”:

Tim Santry's Calso gas station, 1953, corner of Mountain Road and Winn Street

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He used the revenue to start his flagship business, Winn Street Service, across the street (pics below), where a Dunkin’ Donuts is today. Santry owned it from 1953 to 1970 before he separately sold off the gas station part to Angelo “Sonny” Morandi, the Winnmere barber. The towing business now belongs to Edward Igo, who has since expanded to tow truck sales and service at its current Wall Street location.

Long before the Jaws of Life came to town in the late 1970s, Tim’s fleet of 12 “wreckers” did the dirty work. Multiple trucks would hook up to crushed cars and yank them apart. “I’d straighten out the cars and pull people out. I’d pull them out dead or alive. Some of them had their arms missing, or heads. Then I’d go home at night and think about those people.” He has letter after letter from accident survivors thanking him for saving their lives. And he’s written a few thank-you letters himself, even when things turn out badly.

But never mind the on-the-job heroics. Even when he’s off duty, Santry seems to be in the right place at the right time. Or maybe the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • In the mid 1950s, he witnessed a car leave the Mass Pike in Framingham and plow into a pond. He pulled a mother and daughter from the car before they drowned.
  • Soon after, he became an impromptu lifeguard on Plum Island and saved a 200-lb boy with a deflated inner tube. That episode almost cost Santry his own life.
  • In the 1960s, he saved two people from a capsized sailboat in Boston harbor.
  • One day he was simply looking out his window on Newbridge Ave. and saw a tractor-trailer flip over on Route 128 and land on two cars. He used his wreckers to lift the trailer and free the cars.

Here are some other disasters. An overturned fire truck, a mangled tractor with a nasty crack in the windshield left by the driver’s cranium, and a routine car-tastrophe.

When blood is shed, the sharks move in. Lawyers. They like to quiz Santry about what he’s witnessed, but Santry doesn’t like quizzes. During one courtroom hearing, he ran out of patience with his interrogator and took a swing at his face, barely missing.

In the early 1970s, Tim suffered a repeat of the Model A accident from his childhood, but this time with the ante upped just a bit. He was working on the brakes of this motor home belonging to Donahue’s Furniture when one of the jacks partially sank into the warm asphalt and collapsed. The motor home bounced off him when it came down.

DD17AD13-3115-44C3-9A37-6A8A6472980CHe suffered so much internal bleeding that when he finally regained consciousness in Mass General, he was black from the chest down. Struggling to understand this through the fog of medication, he thought the doctors had performed some custom modifications while he was knocked out. “I thought they attached a black man’s body,” he says with a laugh.

Santry’s career wasn’t devoid of humor:

img090The driver was trying to steal pigs from a Lexington farm, but when he hit the gas to enter the highway, the pigs unwittingly engineered their own escape by stumbling to the rear of the bed. The sudden cargo shift forced the front of the bed skyward, jamming the overhead sign. This in turn vaulted the cab about 10 feet off the street, where it froze in place with the pig thief stuck behind the wheel, too afraid to jump out. He was arrested, the pigs fled the scene, and everything worked out just dandy.

All in a day’s work for Burlington’s commander of chaos, man of steel. Literally of steel. Looking over his hard-knocked body, Tim Santry has zero regrets. “That’s my life. I don’t care about going to a party or something. I’d rather go in the garage and work on a truck.”

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Here, have a hexagon

St. Mark's temporary church Burlington MA

This is the beginning of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Terrace Hall Ave. in 1960. It’s a pre-fab that was trucked in pieces from Acton to Burlington. St. Mark’s used this little hexagon as its temporary house of worship until its permanent church was finished on the same property. If this little building resembles the one next to Temple Shalom Emeth on Lexington Street, that’s because it’s the same building. In 1970, with its permanent church complete, St. Mark’s heard a Jewish congregation was targeting this piece of property on Lexington Street for a home of its own . . .

Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlingon, MA

. . . and in a gesture of cross-denominational good will, gave the hexagon away. So the Temple took it apart, trucked up the hill to Lexington Street, and used it as its own temporary house of worship while its official one was under construction. Echo Enrichment Center is now using it.

Temple Shalom Emeth, 16 Lexington Street, Burlington MA

When MSMS had real horsepower

It’s 1912 and you’re about to move from Ireland to the USA. You’ve got two choices of vessel. Which do you choose?

  1. The SS California
  2. A heavily-hyped but unproven engineering marvel called the Titanic

William Kerrigan and his brother Arthur chose the California,* so this story can continue. Upon arrival in the US, the brothers worked on some Woburn farms before starting their own Kerrigan Farm in 1930. Here’s a section of it. Recognize the area?

Kerrigan Farm, Burlington MA

Long before Abati and Connors, the head honcho was Dick, the workhorse on Kerrigan Farm. Photo credit: Bill Kerrigan

It’s the front yard of Marshall Simonds Middle School. That’s Winn Street on the right. Most of the background buildings are still there today, including the house on the south corner of Peach Orchard and Winn. After that photo was taken, Kerrigan built a house for his son, William Jr., on the north corner. You’ll recognize it as the office of Dr. Robert E. Segool, optometrist:

Dr. Robert E. Segool

Here are William Jr. and family, the original occupants:

Kerrigan Farm family, Burlington MA

William Kerrigan Jr., wife Dorothy, son Bill and daughter Joyce. They’re the original occupants of the white house at the corner of Winn St. and Peach Orchard Road, now an optometrist’s office. Bill vividly remembers Dick, the horse. “He was a huge animal. I was afraid to ride him.”

Meanwhile, William Sr., the Irish immigrant who created the farm, lived across the farm at 128 Winn St. — the big, white estate that’s still there today, and whose history stretches back to the 1800s, decades before he arrived.

William Kerrigan Sr.'s home from 1930 to 1958.

Some spots in the world might carry special, even sentimental, significance for you while meaning precisely nothing to anyone else. One particular fire hydrant at Faneuil Hall carries unique significance for Bill, the youngest Kerrigan in this story. It’s where he sat while his father, William Jr., unloaded the celery, spinach, lettuce, carrots and squash grown on Kerrigan Farm.

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Bill attended the brand new (original) Memorial School across the street for a couple of years. When he turned seven, the town bought Kerrigan Farm and built the high school, now the middle school. The family moved the farm operation to Hudson, N.H.

Here’s a good aerial shot of the whole area in 1954. You can see the brand new Memorial School and . . . not much else. There was no school across the street. No St. Margaret’s next door (it’s on the fork of Center and Winn Streets instead). No neighborhood behind Memorial. Peach Orchard Road seems to continue right past Winn Street and into the distance. That’s actually the long-abandoned Salem Turnpike.

1954 Memorial School aerial, Burlington, MA

*Their immigration paperwork reads “California,” but it might be a typo for the SS Californian.

Indian warrior delayed Route 128 project — by a few hours, at least

By Carl Johnson, BHS class of ’54. He grew up on Derryfield Ave., atop Winnmere hill.

Native American boyIn my youth growing up in the pine woods, without any neighbors or kids nearby, I would amuse myself by hiking and exploring the woods and streams around me. I developed a great interest in the history and background of the Indian tribes of the area, even finding arrowheads by the shores of Littles Brook.

History says they were called the Nipmuck by the colonists. I studied their customs, religion, and dress, and decided to reestablish a Nipmuck tribe in our neck of the woods. I made my own crude bow and arrows (reeds from the pond) and practiced on my poor dog, Skipper, who learned to hide under the house when he saw me put on my loincloth and headband, even though I don’t think I ever hit him with a single “arrow.” I made my own moccasins of deer hide, borrowed from a hunting neighbor.

My mother soon pointed out that the loincloth might constitute indecent exposure and would encourage ticks and mosquitoes. So Yellow Wolf, as I named myself, would enter the woods wearing dungarees. I found the natural ingredients for war paint impossible to find, but my little sister’s poster paints made an impressive substitute. I would build campfires in the fall and winter, and would sit around them cross-legged, imagining myself leading a fierce tribe of warriors, watching for the encroachment of the white men.

One day I launched an “attack” on a cedar wood cutting crew. It wasn’t a physical attack, since they all seemed to be mature men of quite muscular build. I hid in the limbs of a tall white pine and let out a series of loud screeches, which my research told me would resemble a mountain lion’s call. I thought it was most impressive, sounding like a young boy screeching in pain as he was tortured over a hot fire.

This did make them pause, but they continued to cut wood, much to my dismay. I read in the paper that a grand invasion of the pines was taking place: the building of a highway very close to our little house in the piney woods. Each week, I heard the ominous sounds of the power saws and cat tree pullers miles away as they approached.

I found a large area punctured with impressive stakes. They had various surveying numbers on them, probably for an interchange of some sort. The next weekend when the workers were gone, I went to the area and pulled up all the stakes, piling them in the center of the clearing, where they burned magnificently, leaving a large pile of ash. On top of the pile I left a large hawk feather, assuming that this would be an obvious sign that the highway crews were dealing with a mean bunch of Nipmuck Indians.

Activity seemed to slow for a week or so, but when I revisited the site several weeks later, I found all of the stakes replaced with new ones, and fresh surveying numerals on them. Once again I pulled them up and made another impressive bonfire, leaving a buzzard feather. This would show the true wrath of the wily Nipmuck .

Walking on the road to meet the school bus later that month I saw several state police cars pulled up, and several dogs that seemed to be k-9 search dogs milling about. I realized at this point that it might be wise to terminate the Nipmuck rebellion. The next day I buried all my Indian regalia in a sand pit nearby and watched the highway progress. Yellow Wolf, fierce warrior of the Nipmuck, had met his match.

Kids ran this show, and it ran just fine

If you walked into a neighborhood grocery/deli and found that the managers on duty are so young, they can barely see over the counter, yet they use professional meat slicing machines, whip up custom frappes and drinks using a soda fountain, cook hamburgers, add up grocery orders manually and actually issue the correct change* — you’d probably find yourself pretty impressed. But you’d probably still call the police.

Bob Carpenter (Jr)

Bob Carpenter (Jr), manager on duty

Yet this was daily life in 1950s Burlington, at Bob Carpenter’s store, dubbed Village Grocery. His children ran the place for a few hours every afternoon after school, while he took his daily break at the family’s Dearborn Road home, behind the fire station near the common. An adolescent using a professional meat slicer? All in a day’s work for the Carpenter kids. “Hey, none of us ever got cut,” says Dorothy (Carpenter) McLeod, who now lives in Woburn. The hardest part of running the store was scooping the rock-hard ice cream and stuffing it into cones, she says.

Of the six Carpenter children, Dorothy, Bob and Marian were the most frequently-seen faces behind the counter — assuming you were tall enough to see them.

The store operated from around 1947 to 1961. It was pushed aside when the big-box grocery chain called IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance) came to Cambridge St. on the property later occupied by Building 19 ½.

Carpenter’s store is now Amari Prom & Bridal, near AJ Rose Carpets & Flooring, hardly a hub for Burlington youth. But in the 1950s, it was the coolest place in the center of town. “It was kind of a hangout,” says Dorothy.

Amari Prom & Bridal, Burlington, MA

It was respected, even revered. How so? One Sunday, when the store was closed, a neighborhood child found the front door ajar. He went into the store and used his one nickel to call Bob Carpenter and tell him about the door. Mr. Carpenter thanked him and explained how to lock the door on the way out. “Imagine any of that happening nowadays?” asks Dorothy.

If you went to school in Burlington in the 1950s, you might have enjoyed a few questionable snow cancellation days. Bob Carpenter ran the town’s bus service, so he was among the officials with the power to cancel. With six children pushing for a day off, well, that’s a powerful lobby.

Bob Carpenter behind the counter at grand opening, Burlington MA

Bob Carpenter on his store’s first day. Photo credit: Dorothy McLeod

Carpenter's store, last day, Burlington MA

. . . and Bob Carpenter on his store’s last day, July 1961. Photo credit: Dorothy McLeod.

*Did she always issue correct change? “Well, either I screwed them or they screwed me,” says Dorothy. “But nobody ever came back to complain, so I must have been pretty close.”

Murphy’s Law, witnessed by Fred Keene

Fred Keene of Gayland Street worked in various Burlington municipal departments for almost 40 years, including the cemetery, water, fire and highway departments, before retiring in 1998. He also cleared trees for developers during Burlington’s growth years. Out in the field, on the job, he’s seen plenty of things go smoothly, but plenty more go very wrong. Which would you rather read about?

7 Ellery Lane, Burlington, MA

7 Ellery Lane

The Ellery Lane incident
Ellery Lane is named after J. Ellery French, who lived at #7 when the area was his own Top Hill Farm. The house is still there. The adjacent barn, however, had to come down during development of the surrounding neighborhood. Popular wisdom holds the best way to drop a barn is to yank one of the corner posts. A crewman wrapped a chain around the post, but to ensure he was far enough away from the barn, he tied the first chain to another chain. Just to be super-safe, he tied that one to a third chain. With the third chain wrapped around his backhoe shovel, he started backing up, facing the barn. Popular wisdom also holds that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Under immense pressure, the first chain snapped and sent the other two flying backward with such velocity that they crashed right through the window of the backhoe, narrowly missing the driver’s head. He had committed an adult version of shooting himself with a rubber band. “Thank God he ducked,” says Keene. “That chain would have taken his head right off.”

The Angela Circle incidents
The little dead-end off Locust Street, once the Smith cow farm, seemed a mini-magnet for bad luck. The developer of the street hit a bit of ledge at one point, forcing the relocation of a driveway. Simple enough. Just one measly tree, about 10 inches in diameter, was in the way. Since it was already leaning toward Locust Street, Keene figured he’d drop it onto Locust while no cars were around and then quickly cut it and drag it off the street. Mind you, this is many years ago when traffic was much lighter. He cut into the tree until it was about to fall, but held off to make sure nobody was coming. He looked both ways. All clear. He looked both ways again. All clear. The moment he made the final cut, however, a woman in a VW Beetle came around the corner heading toward Winn Street. Horrified, Keene yelled at the top of his lungs, to no avail. The tree came down and karate-chopped the Beetle right across the windshield. Amazingly, the woman was unhurt. It just so happened that she was on the way to a funeral. “It was almost her own,” says Keene.

One of the houses on Angela Circle suffered the same fate. A big tree with apparently complicated weight distribution suddenly rotated as it was felled and came crashing down onto the roof of an almost-finished house — a rather expensive mulligan.

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1946 AutoCar

The Briarwood Lane incident
A 1946 AutoCar truck broke down on Winn Street right in front of the American Legion. It was headed for the new development called Briarwood Lane, behind the Library, and it was pulling a trailer with a bulldozer on it. No problem. The developer had a brand new Chevy Suburban. He hooked the Suburban to the AutoCar, slipped the AutoCar into neutral and started lugging the whole package — the truck, the trailer and the bulldozer — up Winn Street. He successfully made the turn onto Sears Street. So far so good. Up Sears Street he chugged. Then he turned onto Briarwood, the home stretch! But when he hit the downhill portion near the end, he had a big problem. The Suburban stopped just fine, but nothing else had any brakes. Not the dead AutoCar, which was in neutral anyway, and certainly not the trailer carrying the bulldozer. By the time the whole entourage came to a twisted, wretched halt at the end of Briarwood, it was time to buy another brand new Suburban.

The Rahanis Park incident
It was time to make the annual skating rink. Directions: Just add water. The water department hooked up a 1½”  fire hose to a fire hydrant. The designated skating rink-flooder from the recreation department showed up to take over the operation. As he walked over to the hose, the water department guy turned on the water and walked away. The hose started flailing wildly. This situation is no joke. Firefighters undergo training to handle runaway hoses. The recreation department worker had no such training. Within just a few seconds, the nozzle gave him such a thrashing that he left the job and never worked for the town again.

 

driveshaftThe Terry Avenue incident
Back when Terry Avenue was a dirt road that led nowhere, Keene was driving a dump truck when the transmission let go. The driveshaft had detached from the front and was plowing into the dirt. Resourceful Keene found a piece of conduit pipe, hung it across the truck frame and used it as a temporary support for the driveshaft. This was good enough to at least get the dump truck off to the side of the road. While waiting for a mechanic to arrive, Keene and a colleague left to get a quick coffee. When they returned, they were surprised to see the mechanic’s truck had already arrived. But where was the mechanic? Already under the truck? Oh no! They pulled up as quickly as they could, to warn him about the makeshift driveshaft. Alas, they were a moment too late. The mechanic moved the conduit pipe and received a dump truck driveshaft to the forehead. No serious injuries. “It just knocked some sense into him,” says Keene.

The County Road incident
One of the highway department guys developed a bad habit of leaving his pants unbuttoned. This meant his shirts would often pull out of his pants, so he’d have to tuck them back in every few minutes. While he was doing work on County Road with a crew of others, an elderly woman decided to bring a tray of snacks to the guys. As she walked out the front door, tray in hand, the loose-pants guy decided he should at least attempt to look proper in front of a lady. But as he attempted to tuck in his shirt for the umpteenth time of the day, a gust of wind blew his pants out of his hands and right down to his ankles. All eyes fell on the woman for a reaction. She surveyed the scene and asked, “Oh boy, when does the music start?”

The Winn Street incidents
Re-paving a street adds a couple inches of height, so highway crews have to first raise the height of catch basins and manhole covers to accommodate the new layer. But before that can happen, the guys have to jackhammer around the edges of those structures, so they can get at them. The resulting chunks of asphalt are tossed into a dump truck and hauled away. Simple enough — except when the dump truck driver accidentally hits the lever and raises the dump bed, then drives away unaware that hundreds of asphalt chunks are falling out the back. That’s exactly what happened all the way down Winn Street from St. Margaret’s Church to the Route 128 ramps. Twice.

The Center Street incident
One snowy day, a highway crew was unclogging catch basins on Center Street, to make sure water found its way into the holes. About halfway up the hill, the crew pulled the truck over near Burlington Swim & Tennis, and proceeded up the hill on foot. Behind them, the truck slipped out of park and quietly rolled down Center Street, out of view. After a half hour or so, the guys came back to retrieve the truck. But there was no truck. Bewildered at first, the men noticed tire tracks in the snow. The guys jogged down the hill and found the truck wrapped around a telephone pole near Winn Street.

folding wooden rulerThe wooden ruler incident
When the guys received morning orders from their supervisor, they got a stern tongue-lashing about broken rulers. The crew used folding, wooden rulers for sidewalk work, but fate always seemed to frown upon them. The supervisor was getting tired of buying new ones, he said, as he handed over yet another brand new pack. Less than five minutes later, at the top of Center Street, the first work of the day began. A crewman knelt on the sidewalk and unfolded a ruler. The end extended past the curb and hung over the street while he took some measurements. Bah, no big deal. Along came the first car of the day, with an elderly man behind the wheel. He saw the road crew and decided to pull over and ask for directions. OH SNAP!

Rookies. Ugh . . .
When you’re working with new asphalt, it tends to stick to your tools. The best technique for cleaning them on-site is soaking them in an oil-filled wheelbarrow. A little fire under the wheelbarrow heats the oil and breaks the asphalt’s grip on the tools. That’s oil, not gas. A new guy failed to respect the difference and turned the wheelbarrow into a lake of fire. On another occasion, a new guy splashed some gas onto the fire itself to give it a little boost, and caught his own hand on fire. In his panic, he flailed his arm until his wristwatch went sailing upward — and came down directly onto another crewman’s skull. On another occasion, a brand new guy, first day on the job, was told that if you apply kerosene to your boots, they won’t stick to fresh asphalt. This meant the soles, of course, but the new guy didn’t quite grasp the concept. He promptly removed his boots and dunked them into the bucket of oil.

And finally, on Chestnut Ave., a highway department supervisor found he needed a truckload of fill. He sent a protegé dump truck driver back to the highway yard to get some. When the truck returned, the bed was empty. “Hey, didn’t I tell you to get fill?,” the supervisor asked. “I got him,” the protegé said, pointing to the passenger seat. In the seat was his highway department colleague, Phil.

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Fred Keene at age 18 with his ’51 Chevy, at the end of Fairfax Street

The fighter who grew up on Veterans Playground

One morning in the mid-1970s, Massachusetts lawmakers arrived at the State House to find their parking garage barricaded by tow trucks. It was a “sit-in” by lobbyists for the state’s service stations, who were pushing for franchise reforms to get their Big Oil overlords off their backs.

That barricade was just the beginning. After much grueling work by Burlington native Carl Olson, president of the state’s gas station association, the bill informally known as the Dealers’ Bill of Rights, written by Olson and Cambridge attorney John Campbell, finally had its big day in the House.

Make that several days. Olson and his allies milled around the State House chambers awaiting word. Every day, House Speaker Thomas W. McGee would emerge saying the same thing: “Don’t worry, today it will come out of committee,” meaning it would come to a vote. But every day, nothing happened. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

On day four, Olson lost it. “I confronted Tommy McGee in the hall, in front of everybody. He said the same thing, about the bill coming out of committee tomorrow. I punched him in the face. He went back in there with a bloody nose.” Violence gets you nowhere in a civilized society. However, Massachusetts politicians don’t comprise a civilized society. The House passed the bill that afternoon.

Olson had leveraged every contact he had, ranging from Senate President Billy Bulger to Wilmington auto franchisee-turned-politician Fred Cain. He went on to win the war. Soon after Gov. Michael Dukakis signed the new legislation, Ronald Reagan later signed a federal counterpart after some keen strategizing by Olson’s drinking buddy Tip O’Neill, whose private secretary happened to be a regular customer at Olson’s Sunoco station at the junction of Market Street and Broadway in Cambridge.

And so, nowadays, franchisees such as service centers and auto dealerships determine their own hours of operation, prices charged, facility improvements etc., and they enjoy certain protections against termination. Franchise laws existed many years before Olson came along, but, as he puts it, “A franchise wasn’t worth anything. It had no teeth.”

Olson traces his own “teeth,” his tenacity, back to his childhood home at 112 Wilmington Road, near the corner of Westwood Street. His home was a gentle little poultry farm, not a common breeding ground for political agitators.

Carl loved the farm. The Olsons swapped their eggs for the Johnson family’s cow milk down the street. Carl’s father, Hilmer, a Swedish immigrant, would take adolescent Carl on his egg delivery route in the family wagon on Saturdays, to Boston’s North End. “The cheap customers would call down to us, ‘Got any cracked eggs?’ They were much cheaper. Those people always seemed to be on the top floor, though. So I had to run up and down four-story houses in the North End of Boston to make 20 cents on cracked eggs. I guess that’s why I could run like a deer when I grew a little older.”

‭‬But all was not pastoral bliss on the farm. Carl’s father, Hilmer, divorced his wife, Inez, and left her with three adult children. They weren’t keen on halting their budding adult lives to pack eggs and shovel chicken poop.

Carl is the first to admit that he and his siblings, brother John and sister Carol, dropped the ball. They should have paid closer attention to the old homestead and what their mother was up to. In September of 1969, Inez quietly sold the four-acre parcel for $30,000 to the town, which promptly turned it into Veterans Playground, on the corner of Wilmington Road and Westwood Street. “That would have been my permanent home,” says Carl, “If I had a choice.”

Lesson learned: If you’re caught napping, or anything less than hypervigilant, you lose. At least that was Carl’s belief, and he carried it into his professional life as a gas/service station owner and lobbyist. “Everyone’s telling me you can’t beat the oil companies,” says Olson. “Yes you can.”

He certainly didn’t get there by pulling punches. Ask Mr. McGee.

Veterans Playground