An Exultation of Meadowlarks

by John Dinan

Half a century ago every kid who grew up in East Lynn, Massachusetts, spent the bulk of his spare time at the “Meadow” baseball and football fields behind Lynn English High School. Long summer days were spent honing sports skills or just laying in a patch of grass with a bottle of cream soda.

Lynn had a population of 100,000 and kids gathered from across the city, from the Highlands, Eastern Avenue and the Buchanan Bridge neighborhood. Groups seldom co-mingled until games were organized at the early teen level when teams from The Meadow played playground teams from other parts of the city.

These were ‘”growing up” years when solid friendships were formed but later lost as we grew into adulthood. Over the years, wars, marriages, friendships came and went.

Friendships made at The Meadow were based on shared youthful experiences and predated those made by marriage, military service and jobs. One would occasionally ruminate about the years and memories of young pals and our salad days at The Meadow but pressures of job and family soon dissipated these reveries … until…

Ten years ago one of the old gangs that cut across three decades, three major wars and several neighborhoods decided it was time for a reunion of kids who grew up on The Meadow.

And so was born the Meadowlarks – a name Coach Gus Daum used to refer to the kids whose second home was The Meadow. Lists were assembled and invitations mailed. We gathered at The Franco-American Club in Lynn.

Old friendships were renewed. It was a renewal of that “carefree boy with cheek of tan” that resides in our collective past. “Do you remember so-and-so?” “Whatever happened to the kid who…?” “How about the time when…?” Questions and dimly remembered answers brought us back to a simpler time.

Meadowlarks reunions now take place twice a year in May and November. They are unique in their focus of shared youth.

One of the members had looked up the proper name for a group of Meadowlarks – it is an exultation. And that is what the Meadowlarks reunion experience is: the joy of remembered youth.

About the author
John Dinan retired after twenty-five years from the electronics industry. He also worked as a school psychologist, prison psychologist (Dannemora) and training psychologist (National Security Agency). He has been married forty years, has six children and two grandkids. He currently is working as freelance writer and expects two books to be published this year: Chicago Ain’t No Sissy Town (Borgo Press) and Sports in the Pulp Magazines (McFarland).