We lived on the same street as Shirley for more than 10 years.
Sherman Street is one of the Harbor’s hidden gems. It's a dead end street that goes up the hill from West Street, across from where Doc Andrews used to live. If you drove up Sherman Street, and could keep going, you would come out at the top center of the Fullerton Street loop. But you can’t.
Our house was at the top of the hill right next to where the Coast Guard signal flag tower used to be. We called it “The Rock.” Lots of stories about “The Rock” from longtime friends who partied there back in the day. When we bought the house from Mrs. Coady, who ran it as a boarding house for summer workers, “The Rock” came on the market for sale as a house lot. Some of us in the neighborhood got together and bought sections of the property so it could remain undeveloped. Bill Logan helped us.
Nettie Mitchell (no relation), next door, wasn't interested in owning “a piece of the Rock,” but I think she was pleased to know the property would be preserved. Not really sure. Nettie traveled to a different beat.
In the winter, I think we were entertainment for Shirley. Sherman Street, in a big storm, could be a real challenge to drive up. As we all know, rain or shine or largeness of snow, life goes on. Our girls would trudge up the hill after school in their snowsuits, or when possible we would pick them up at the bottom of the hill in our car and try to drive them home.
At the time we owned a Honda Accord which was absolutely worthless in the snow. We'd make a run for it, but only get up to Shirley's. Then, hillbilly ingenuity kicked in, and I would run down the hill and jump on the front bumper, bouncing up and down as the front wheels caught and we jerked our way up the hill. Shirley would peek out and wave, and I suspect shake her head as we slowly spun our way to the top.
It was a great street for us then, close to downtown. We could walk to Carbone’s and the library.
For many years, too, Shirley was the voice with whom you spoke when calling the police. Sometimes I would call to say hi. I know that's not correct but it was always nice to hear her voice.
Now imagine my delight when Shirley, one of her daughters (Margaret Ham) and granddaughter landed at Ocean Point for senior photos. I couldn't resist a family photo for old times' sake.
Thanks Shirley, for being you.