Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Back-to-school elicits nostalgia

Date: 9/3/2015

It’s that time of year. Parents dream of it and kids dread it.

Well, not all kids. I was one of the students who looked forward to getting back to school and the best part of the process was cruising down the aisles of stores looking for that perfect binder, notebook or pens.

As the summer drew to a close I would get anxious about my trip to any of the discount department stores now long since dead: Zayres, Caldor, Bradlees and Ames.

I loved those shopping expeditions as a kid.

Do I need a big eraser? Should it be a Pink Pearl? Or should I get those erasers that replace the ones on your pencil like a spare tire? How about a little pencil sharpener? That just seemed to be a sensible investment.

Speaking of pencils, did anyone use anything other than a number two? A set of colored pencils? Would I really use them or do I just want them? Probably the latter.

When I started to type term papers, I had to get Wite-Out or that white tape to correct my mistakes. Remember those circular erasers with the brushes designed to erase your typed mistakes?

What kind of pen should I buy? There was a huge philosophical argument in my head about whether to not to go with a Flair that had a softer feel on paper or a BIC ball point with its harder feel.

Decisions. Decisions. I proved to be fickle and went from one to another. When the BIC Banana came out I had to try it out.

I am still very fussy about my preferred pens. I never saw a fountain pen as a kid, but I know if I had I would gone with the old school approach.

I envy today’s kids with the binders with sleeves and pockets. I would have loved those. No one wore backpacks when I was a kid, like today’s students. They are far more functional than some sort of book bag or trying to carry your books and notes under your arm while attempting to have a modicum of cool.

A selection of a lunch box was also a beginning of school decision, although that was not something I did. For the most part I was entrusted with a handful of change and bought the hot lunch at school.

Ah well it’s great to be nostalgic about a time when the greatest decision you had to make it whether or not you asked for the right lunch box.

To remember The Bud, I’ll have a beer

I was working as a talk show host on WREB in Holyoke from 1982 through 1987 and during that time I had a side job as a bartender at The Bud.

The owners at the time had started a bar up on the third floor and I was stationed most nights there instead of the historic tavern on the first floor.

It was an astonishing building with an equally intriguing history and despite the story it was haunted I reveled in looking around it.

There were dining rooms with a nautical motif with tables tucked in a variety of places. The main bar was done in deep colored woods and had private booths. The plaster casts on the ceiling were a reaction to the owner seeing the Fred Astaire film “Royal Wedding” in which Astaire danced on the ceiling.

Luckily no one still used the trough on the floor at the main bar. It was installed I was told in the earliest days of the bar so male patrons using the stagecoach could relieve themselves while having a quick drink during a rest stop.

I looked in the basement for some evidence of the rumored tunnel to City Hall that enabled the elected officials of Holyoke to drink secretly during Prohibition but never found it to my disappointment.

And now it’s all gone. If The Bud had been cared for over the years, I’m sure someone now in Holyoke would be reviving it. Once the roof was gone in 2006, there was little hope for the building.

I had hopes someone would save a few architectural items or perhaps the sign that needs restoration – “This is not a bank. This is The Bud” – but I didn’t see anyone on site to do either.

Like so much in our lives, all is left are the memories.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.