Originally Published 09/22/2011
Photo Source: Nick DeWolf
Neil and I always enjoyed our nights on the town ever so much. We would start at the Hays-Bickford’s on Causeway St., under the el and across from the Boston Garden, arriving with the pre-hockey crowd for hamburgers or even just coffee. Neil always had his black: I always teased him about how he would be awake all night, and he always laughed and gave me a look with all the twinkle of the night sky in his eyes. It may sound square, but I swear, that look made my knees go weak every time.
From Bickford’s we would stroll across Causeway to the Garden for a Bruins game or boxing. Even with my wraps and his overcoat we always ended up shivering, and it was never that much warmer inside! But we loved going to the games anyway. Our seats were in the second balcony. You’d call them the cheap seats today, and they were nothing but wooden slats. But it was always a grand time, even with those terrible Bruins teams back then.
If we didn’t have tickets for hockey or the fights, we would go to the Latin Quarter or the Savoy for drinks and dancing. Oh, could Neil ever cut a rug! He was a marvelous dancer! He had the eyes of all the girls on the floor. And I was so thrilled to know that I was the apple of his eyes. I always felt so special, holding his hand and moving to the orchestra. Those were nights of magic.
Neil had a convertible Mercury Comet, and on warm nights we would go for a drive, mostly along the North Shore, to Marblehead or Ipswich. Sometimes we’d turn on the radio and dance under the stars. Or we’d just sit close together and watch the moonbeams dance on the waves. His eyes would twinkle and he’d hold me close, and I felt like I was as safe as I would ever be in my life. I felt like I was home.
The Bickford’s is gone now, of course, and so is the old Garden and the el. And now my Neil is gone, too. So lonesome without him. I walk by the old Bickford’s sometimes, or I should say I walk by the glass and steel condominium building that stands there now, and think of my sweet Neil and wonder what he would think of all this change. And I dream of the nights of dancing and music and romance and youth and all the promise of our years together, and how they always started over coffee at that little cafeteria.