Three things come to the fore for me in this, the second edition of One: high school football, big personalities, and cheeseburgers.
From upscale places and down, cheeseburgers lead our menu. One stands out as my favorite, but, in fairness, I think I need to try them all again to be sure. You do the same and let’s talk.
Then there’s turkey. Not the fowl, the pigskin. Football season has just begun, but it’s never too early to talk traditional Thanksgiving rivalries. And within the footprint of One – where Route 1 intersects with 128 and 129 – we have some classics. I’m partial to the Thanksgiving Eve Classic, in 1987, when Coach Ray McDermott led St. Mary’s over Bishop Fenwick 32-27 – but as Steve Krause’s story will remind you, there is no shortage of great memories from the Peabody-Saugus, Classical-English, and Lynnfield-North Reading games.
Then there are the big personalities. Like the school superintendent who just can’t seem to get retirement right. And two guys with the same name. Sort of.
Tom Demakes and Tom Demakis are cousins. One (the former) owns Old Neighborhood Foods; the other is an attorney. I’ve gotten to know both over the last 25 or so years, through our involvement with the Agganis Foundation. (Commercial: the foundation has awarded $1.75 million in scholarships to 927 young men and women since its inception in 1955.) To keep them straight, I started calling one Hot Dog Tom (guess which one). Then the other wanted a nickname. He chose Good Looking Tom (or GLT, if you will). Hey, it works for me. One is among the most generous individuals I’ve ever met, the other one of the most interesting. (Tell me after reading 5 Things you didn’t know about GLT that he doesn’t qualify as interesting. He was a real-life Jack McCoy – and he doesn’t even watch Law & Order. Which should qualify as a bonus No. 6.) But what’s with the spelling discrepancy? Demakes, Demakis.
GLT explained that his grandfather, Euthymios, came through Ellis Island from Greece and he spelled it Demakes. Many people looked at the spelling and pronounced it with a long “a.” Two of Euthymios’ four sons, Charles (GLT’s father) and Peter, changed the spelling to Demakis to help people pronounce it phonetically. The other two brothers— Louis (Hot Dog Tom’s father) and Nick – stuck with the original spelling. Hey, it’s all Greek to me.
Then we have the orthodontist who seemingly has fitted every 9-year-old on the North Shore with braces. Every 9-year-old and at least one 50-year-old. Me.
Here’s the backstory: Through the Lynn Business Partnership, I’ve come to know Rich Holbrook, who in December will retire as chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank. Month after month, I’d see Rich at an LBP meeting. One morning, he showed up with braces. Because it seemed a bit on the intrusive side, it took me months to ask: What’s with the braces? I assumed some dental disaster. Nope. Being the Yale man that he is, he gave me an inarguable answer. “I decided I didn’t want to wake up at age 50 with crooked teeth.” Made sense to me. Inspired by Mr. Holbrook, a few weeks later I sat in Dr. Don Feldman’s office with a bunch of 9-year-olds. The thought of that, Rich, and Donnie still brings a (perfectly straight) smile to my face.
Which is what I hope this edition of One does for you.
– Ted Grant