When Chelsea and Everett Come Together at a Funeral
By Josh Resnek
An old-time Chelsea guy Arnold Spector died last week.
He was 87.
Why should anyone from Everett care?
Because Arnie had an Everett connection – a mighty one at that.
He was my cousin by marriage, someone I’ve known all my life, and who I liked.
He was a man’s man, the real thing.
He was handsome. He was educated. He was a Lt. In the Navy. He was an athlete in his day. He always stood upright like a guy at attention.
He played football. He was popular in his high school class and served as its vice-president.
He wasn’t afraid of anyone, and when he was a kid he showed how he could defend himself on the gritty streets of the Chelsea he grew up in. Fast forward to last Sunday, in a Jewish cemetery just off Lowell Street in Peabody.
Arnies coffin was wheeled into the grassy area where his family was seated under an open tent.
Cemetery workers put the coffin by the open hole.They lifted it from the caisson. They set it into the hole, lowering it with ropes ever so slowly.
Then the rabbi began eulogizing Arnie.
The rabbi got it right about Arnie.
He had done his homework with the family.
And then he said: “Arnie played football for Chelsea High School on a championship team that beat Everett,” he said.
“He was very proud of that,” he added.
Several days after Arnie was buried I went to my edition of “City of Champions,” the epic, encyclopedia of Everett football history by the legendary Everett sports historian Arnold Boardman describing every aspect of the Crimson Tide football dynasty from 1892-2007.
Arnie played in the line for the 1948 Chelsea High School football team.
I turned to the record from 1948 Boardman’s stunning historical gem.
Yup. There it was.
Chelsea beat Everett, 12-8 on Thanksgiving, 1948 at Chelsea Memorial Stadium.
Arnie played in that game.
More than 12,000 people attended the game.
According to Boardman’s history it was only the third time in 48 meetings that Chelsea had beaten Everett.
The victory was the first in 25 Thanksgiving contests between the two cities.
The rabbi got it right, that Arnie played against Everett and that Chelsea won – but it was not a championship Chelsea team that beat the Crimson Tide in 1948.
Medford was the team to beat that year. They were the champions.
But I know what my cousins thought and why they recalled their father’s heroics as being part of a championship.
Let’s face it, if you were from Chelsea, and played in the line for the Red Devils as my cousin Arnie did in 1948, and beat Everett on Thanksgiving, well, that was a championship in every way.