Town Crier

Cigarette Annie

Some 65 years ago, a wo­man living at the Tewks­bury State Hospi­tal would often be seen walking along Main Street. She would walk up one side to the Lowell line and then down the other to the Wil­mington line, and back again, picking up cigarette butts. She usually found enough butts to al­low her to chain-smoke them. She became known as “Cigar­ette Annie.”

A Wilmington soldier sta­tioned at Fort Devens had a chance to talk with her at Chandler’s Corner one Saturday. He was thumbing a ride home for the weekend.

Annie was nearby, and she approached the soldier. All good soldiers should beware of the in­stitution just across the field, she said, pointing at the hospital.

“They take you in there in a big black car, and you never get out again,” she said.

Of course, Annie was out most every day, walk­ing along the highway, looking for butts.

Sorry, Charlie

Officer Charlie Ells­worth got no thanks from a dog he rescued in the summer of 1958. Ells­worth, who later became Sgt. Elllsworth, was on traffic duty when he saw a small dog jump from a passing car.

Charlie was able to grab the dog, which he placed in his own car, to await the return of the owner. Ap­parently the owner failed to realize what had happened, so Charlie was stuck with the dog. When he finished the detail and re­turned to the car, the dog refused, in no uncertain terms, to let him en­ter his own vehicle.

Floral tribute

Joseph Cotton had a very successful real es­tate business in Wilming­ton in the early 1900s. In his 30-year retirement, he devoted quite a bit of time to handicapping the horses. In his final years, he would often be seen at Rockingham, in the company of some of the boys down in Wilming­ton Square.

When he died at age 82 in July 1958, the boys did not forget him. Along­side his casket, among other floral tributes, was one of the type hung over a winning horse’s neck. Possibly some of Joe’s other friends didn’t realize the significance, but there was no mistaking from whom it came.

A banner on the bouquet said simply, “The Boys from the Square.”

Long beams

All Wilmington seemed to know when the beams for the Route 125 bridge ar­rived in town in May 1959. First came a call from a Woburn man, saying the beams were on the way. Then came a call from Wil­mington Square, telling how the truck made the turn from Route 38 onto Church Street with only a foot to spare. Folks on Bal­lardvale Street learned about the beams the hard way when the beams took down a pole.

But nobody could top the experience of Hank Sul­livan of Middlesex Ave­nue. When he met the beams, the truck was rounding a corner and the beams were headed straight for Hank’s windshield. He threw his car into reverse and backed away faster than he had been driving forward.

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