By Hue Holley
During and after grammar school, I grew up on Avon Street next to Converse ball field. Avon Street is pictured to the left of the ball field. From our backyard there was a slope of a foot and a half to reach the lower level of the ball field. Many a pickup baseball game was played there with Albert and Nick DellArchiprete, my brother Jim, and others.
On the right side of the picture is a square section where water would be sprayed into the air into a pool and presumably circulated back to the factory. There was an outflow from that pool onto a section of the field where a black gel like substance collected and was confined by dirt berms. During dry weather you could walk across this substance, but if had rained and the surface was still damp, walking across it would invariably find you sinking up to your waist in thick, congealed gunk. Shoes and clothing would have to be discarded by not happy mothers, including mine.
Many Converse workers ate lunch on the edges off the ball field, and discard their soft drink bottles before going back to work. My friends and I collected these bottles in a cart and would take them a local variety store for the two send deposit. It worked out well for a while until the store owner would only refund the deposits in merchandise.
In the spring time, the bottom left of the field would flood and become a breeding pool for Eastern Toads. Another neighborhood friend, Hank Volpe, the nephew of the Governor, delighted in startling my mother by having a frog or two peeping/ leaping out of his shirt pocket.
At the bottom right is a billboard, and to the right of that was an extensive marsh area with a meandering creek made its way to the Malden River (Little Creek). There were minnow traps placed there by a few locals. Walking in the marshy area was always an adventure.