Like many early childhood memories the images are both fleeting and fragmented. I am in the North Adams Armory to watch a boxing match. My Dad has brought me there which is unusual on a couple of levels. To this day my father hates sports of any type yet there we were at a boxing match. Additionally my Dad was adamantly against fighting. Despite that fact there we were watching mutually agreed upon combat between men.
I clearly remember that it was loud and that it was smoky. After all this was a time when men were men were men and filters on cigarettes were for sissies. The feature fighter was a local iconic figure named Al Romano. In the history of me he was an important figure because he was a North Adams cop. He did for a living that which one day I dreamed of doing.
I remember being in awe of the fight but sadly I don’t remember if Al Romano won or lost- but it was of little consequence to me at that moment. I was so small and the fighters seemed to be so big. After the fight my Dad introduced me to Al Romano and I recall that he was very kind to me. I also remember having for many years a photo of Al Romano taken during his fight on that night. My experience on that evening was likely just one of thousands of blocks that were laid making me who I am today but undoubtedly it’s one of my favorite ones.
I recently found that long lost photo and was able to scan it to a digital image and have posted it here. The back of the photo bears the time stamp of Mar 71. That would have placed me at twelve years of age. This newly found photo is a very tangible and personal piece of my history and I will always treasure it. On most days I can’t even remember where my keys are or much else for that matter. Despite this for that moment- a moment in a smoke filled armory in North Adams Massachusetts on a night in March of 1971, time stood still for me.