You’re probably from Warwick, RI if you’ve heard of the “Your [sic] probably from Warwick, RI if…” Facebook group.
At last count, there were 3,862 users, a number that continues to grow as more people join the group each day. The purpose of the group, started by Steven Dixon, is to share memories of yore with other Warwick residents, past and present.
People have been posting their stories on the group’s “wall,” remembering everything from old landmarks, like Jenny’s Ice Cream, to former high school teachers and the best places to sled.
People who have moved away from their Warwick stomping grounds are also using it to reconnect with old friends and to see what’s happened in their hometown.
Not surprisingly, some have even shared their memories about the Beacon.
“The Beacon is a wonderful paper,” said Rita Day Fanning, “Not only did I deliver it for a time, I wrote in the ‘School Happenings’ column when I was in 6th grade at Oakland Beach School. If only I still had the clippings. I was only 11 but remember it well!”
Don Hudson also wrote for the paper while in school, and even remembers where the old Beacon offices were.
“When I was going to Vets in the early 70's, I wrote articles for The Beacon about local high school and American Legion baseball, as well as men's softball leagues. The sports editor back then was Mike Scandura – an awesome guy and a great mentor. I got paid five dollars for each article published with a by-line. I remember watching games, keeping score and scribbling a few notes, riding my bike home to write the story on a manual typewriter and the next day riding on my bike from Longmeadow to the old Beacon headquarters in Apponaug. Great learning experience!”
Others wrote about delivering the paper.
“My parents use to deliver the bundles to the kids to deliver,” said Frank Dorothy, “I remember getting up early and driving around in our old Rambler. The Howells lived just down the street from us.”
Dorothy remembered being awed by the then new technology The Beacon had years ago.
“I remember that old office,” he said, “I was amazed back then because they had a computer in the office. It was and old TRS 80 from radio shack.”
Mark Thompson also used to deliver the paper, and was making a delivery on a very unforgettable evening.
“I used to bring the "flats" from the Pendulum in EG to Meadow Street, because the Beacon published the EG paper back then,” he remembered, “I’ll never forget the night I did it in the summer of '77 to hear, as I was passing thru Cowesett, that Elvis had died.”
Memories from childhood abound.
Paul Earnshaw remembered driving his 1962 English Hillman, at the age of 12, to Buckies Esso Station on the corner of Bend and West Shore.
“His pump could not calculate the price over double digit,” said Earnshaw, “So he had to use a calculator to figure out what you owed him. I always wondered if his nickname had something to do with Buckeye Brook? Because the river herring are locally know as Buckies, which in the Shawomet Indian tongue means little fish.”
Don Hudson also remembered “Buckie.”
“Buckie [Paul Thomas] was a great guy,” said Hudson, “He was always watching the Night League games at Clegg Field back in the day and was always smiling and could bust chops with the best of them.”
Earnshaw, who, with the help of a neighbor got his parents’ old car running, remembered learning to drive at 12, and working at Confreda Farms chasing corn thieves.
“I worked there for about 6 years as much as 12 hours a day,” he said, “Starting at $0.50 an hour.”
Dave Darling remembered one of his first jobs, at the Warwick Neck Golf Course.
“We grew up a few blocks from Warwick Neck Golf Course, later known as Seaview, in the late-'60s to mid-'70s,” wrote Darling, “And that was our own personal sports complex. We'd fish golf balls out of the ponds in the summer and sell them to earn $1.50 to walk 9 holes. We'd play sandlot baseball on the ninth fairway in the summer, football there in the fall. And in the winter we'd slide down the slopes off the eighth fairway and play hockey on the frozen ponds all day. A few years later, we played demolition derby with the golf carts late at night.”
Jimmy Rengigas, whose family built Gus's Restaurant and Mrs. Gus's Doughboys in 1924, remembered the school outings to Gus’ back in the 1970’s, and the business they’d bring.
“I would run over to the doughboy stand to help my aunt out; the usual 10 dozen Doughboys, each doughboy individually wrapped in a napkin, 50 bottles of Yacht Club orange soda... Any child wanting seconds was greeted by her smile, ‘Sure you can.’ She loved all kids!”
Rengigas said his aunt would receive hundreds of crayon-drawn “Thank you” notes the following week.
“My aunt would be so happy and overwhelmed she would tape a good portion of them in the windows. Customers would ask what they were from she would say they were from my kids at the Oakland Beach School.”
Other popular topics are; the disappearance of roller rinks; the Oakland Beach carousel; Rocky Point; and the Warwick Music Tent.
The group is open to anyone, so join and share your memories. It can be found by searching “Your Probably From Warwick RI. If…” on Facebook.