Fraser Lang, of Providence, is retired from a vocation in publishing, including a 10 years as publisher of The Block Island Periods and two decades as proprietor of Manisses Communications Group.
“…. I learned a elementary lesson: that we can’t and have to not reduce our feeling of background and our memory, for they represent our identification. We are not able to be prisoners of the current and wander out of record. For a culture without having a deep historic memory, the long term ceases to exist and the existing results in being a meaningless cacophony.”
— Vartan Gregorian, Brown University president 1989-1997
Gregorian, an Armenian from Tabriz, Iran, emigrated to the United States and gained a doctorate from Stanford. He became an internationally identified scholar, academic leader, and philanthropic figure.
The estimate higher than was in an obituary of Gregorian, who died on April 15. It resonated with me.
My father arrived to this state at the age of 12 from Glasgow, Scotland. He and his loved ones settled in the Fairlawn portion of Pawtucket. My mother was born in Rhode Island but her parents had been from Edinburgh and she grew up on Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket within just strolling distance of the Lorraine Mills, where my grandfather labored as an accountant. Scottish and English immigrants constituted a great deal of the labor pressure in the textile mills in Pawtucket and Central Falls and so a large component of the inhabitants of people metropolitan areas.
Our household celebrated its Scottish heritage — concerned in The St. Andrew’s Culture, Clan Fraser, The Daughters of the Heather and the Fairlawn Bowling Club.
Due to the fact the Fairlawn region was thick with British immigrants, there was a proliferation of fish and chip stores. And then there was — and is! — Hartley’s, a retail store providing meat pies. Our loved ones eaten people pastries on specific events and as occasional treats.
As I pass the mid-position of my eighth 10 years, I have warm reminiscences from a long time in the past that flood again when I drive all around the spot. I am now extra aware than just before that they evoke a feeling of “belonging” — of currently being aspect of anything that has deep roots.
The fish-and-chip retailers are long gone. Clan Fraser Hall is no more. The Daughters of the Heather is defunct. The Fairlawn Bowling Club has disappeared.
The area now features pizza, Chinese food stuff and empanadas. The inhabitants displays additional the latest immigration – from Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Southeast Asia and Portugal. Amidst all this modify, Hartley’s Meat Pies has survived in a modest store on Smithfield Avenue.
I enter the shop with anticipation. Area is limited. 4 buyers are a crowd. The odor of freshly baked pastry greets me as I observe the darkish wood-paneled partitions and the decorations. Together with a huge photograph of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953, as very well as a colorful map of Britain. But the real prize is a image of Winston Churchill with Elizabeth’s mother and father, King George I and Queen Mary. It is a phase back in time that never fails to energize me.
The enterprise was started in Fall River, in 1900 the Pawtucket department dates from 1954. Little has adjusted — the counter, the walls and the decor. The recipes are the identical. The price for the pies may have altered but it is nonetheless a deal at $3 every. Pork, beef, hen and salmon (Friday only) comprise the menu. This fare may perhaps not be everyone’s gourmand treat but for me it is a simple enjoyment that evokes warm memories.
I am deeply grateful to continue to have Hartley’s in my existence. As Gregorian would have suggested, this heritage, memory and perception of place constitute much of my identification.
These neighborhoods that provide again these resonant memories now nurture the similar feeling of belonging for men and women from places very distinct than Scotland. Which is how it ought to be. This is The usa at its ideal.
My want is that a long time from now, when today’s new immigrants return to their aged haunts, they will find their particular “Hartley’s” to remind them where they appear from and the place they are going.