Often, when people would ask where my family (ancestors) came from, I’d say “I don’t know, and I don’t really care to know. I’m probably shaped more by having a father who was a salesman and a grandfather who was a grocer; a mother and grandmother that were teachers than affected by a bunch of people I never met.” Against my will, I’ve picked up a few tidbits of when great or great-great grandparents arrived on this continent, but I refuse to admit to knowing anything.
What hit me today though, was that I probably haven’t learned enough about the salesman, the grocer, and the teachers.
This week on NPR’s Ask Me Another, Don’t Tell Me … Wait, Wait, Ask Me Another their guest contestant was Peter Sagal of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. In the pre-game interview, Sagal mentioned that his family were grocers and owned Evergood Foods in Cambridge, MA. That was a bit surprise, as my grandfather owned Evergood Foods in Dedham. I realized that I had little idea of how my grandfather came to run the store, or what connection it had to Sagal’s families store. I knew some things about my grandfather: Charlestown Navy Yard during World War II. HP Hood and Sons afterward.
My father filled me on some of the details.
HP Hood and sons owned the Evergood foods chain. A bit after working for Hood my grandfather worked at a few Evergood locations. Egelston Square, Northampton St, somewhere in Allston, et al. Hood eventually wanted to get out of the grocery business and sold of the shops, mostly to former employees. Cambridge and Needham were the prized locations. My grandfather bid on a few and managed to buy the one in Dedham. In Sagal’s interview he says that his grandparent’s owned their shop from 1949-1999. I’m guessing my father got the shop around the same time, but his didn’t last as long. He closed the store in the mid to late ’70s.
I have one frequent reminder of Grandpa’s store. If you go to the Whole Foods supermarket in Dedham, and go to the seating area there are a bunch of enlarged prints taken of Dedham center. There is a shot looking down Eastern Ave onto High Street that shows the Evergood Foods storefront.