RHODY LIFE

My love affair with Edgewood

By DON FOWLER
Posted 6/16/21

By DON FOWLER My love affair with Edgewood started in 1965, when I was hired by the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America. Moving all of 100 miles from New Haven was a frightening experience for a young 25-year-old who had never ventured across the

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RHODY LIFE

My love affair with Edgewood

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My love affair with Edgewood started in 1965, when I was hired by the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Moving all of 100 miles from New Haven was a frightening experience for a young 25-year-old who had never ventured across the border to this strange place that had a chicken as its state bird and icebergs claiming to be bigger than it.

The volunteer leader I would be working with owned DeCiantis Brothers Dairy and told his drivers to look for an apartment somewhere in the middle of the state.

We moved into a cozy first-floor apartment on Armington Street in northern Edgewood on a cold winter’s night, and were greeted with a casserole by neighbors across the street.

Before we had a chance to set up the kitchen table, we knew we were in a warm and friendly place.

As our family grew, we had an opportunity to buy a house on Kent Place, right in the middle of Edgewood, where we became friends with our neighbors – a local school principal, elevator repairman, bus driver, doctor and lawyer, all from different ethnic backgrounds.

We quickly discovered the economic, ethnic and political diversity in our closely knit neighborhood.

Our two children were afforded excellent educational opportunities in the local schools. Robin joined the Cranston East choir, and Scott joined the local Cub Scout Pack. Joyce found employment in Edgewood at the Scandinavian home. I served a term as Ward 1 City Councilman, and we became involved in the Edgewood Congregational Church.

Edgewood was everything we wanted and needed in a local community.

We could walk to church, the William Hall Library, two banks, three pharmacies, the bay, walking paths, a ball field, and Roger Williams Park. Saturday mornings brought us to Rhodes for the Farmers Market.

Nearby were, and still are, some of the finest restaurants and take-outs in Rhode Island, but that’s a story for another day.

Opportunities for advancement within and outside the Scouting organization caused a few family meetings over the years, where the four of us sat at the dining room table with a yellow pad with Pros written on one side and Cons on the other, and every time the Pros won.

Why leave Edgewood? Why leave Rhode Island?

Everything we want and need is here.

If we want to go “all the way to Westerly,” the entrance ramp to Route 95 was just around the corner.

I worked in Woonsocket for seven years and many people couldn’t believe that I would drive 20 minutes to work.

Providence? Five minutes down Narragansett Boulevard and Allens Avenue!

Fifty-seven years later, we still proudly call ourselves Edgewoodites.

Friends and neighbors have come and gone, but the neighborhood has changed little.

With Providence close by to our north, it takes little effort to enjoy PPAC, Trinity, the RI Philharmonic, Festival Ballet, Providence Bruins, concerts, art galleries, restaurants and other cultural events.

Our sister community, Pawtuxet Village, is but a stone’s throw away, where we enjoy the parks, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, and Gaspee Days.

Yes, it still irks me when people don’t stop at the stop sign at Park and Broad, and speed down Narragansett Parkway, and throw their candy wrappers on the library lawn, but they are probably residents of another neighborhood.

There are so many reasons for my love affair with Edgewood. The main reason is its people. Always there with the casserole for the new neighbors, the rake and shovel for cleaning the parks and shoreline, the snow blower to help the elderly neighbor, and the friendly “hello” to the fellow dog walkers.

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