Fairway to Heaven

It’s sad to see another boyhood haunt go by the wayside.  The latest victim of the times is the Fairway candlepin bowling lanes in Natick, MA.  The place will close on May 20.

Fairway was the site of the candlepin bowling show with Don Gillis we watched every Saturday on the old Channel 5.

Sam Brooks

I remember it best for the time Sam Brooks packed his grandsons into his baby blue ’61 Ford Galaxie 500 and took us to bowl a few strings after a bit of begging and cajoling.  The man had never bowled before.  He was built like a bull and strong as an ox.  And when he started whipping those small candlepin balls down the lane, everyone stopped and watched, perhaps wondering if he was going to roll a ball right through the back wall.  We were quite proud of our grandfather.

Helen Sellew and her family owned the lanes for 56 years.  If you ever wondered what a rock-ribbed New England Yankee really sounds like, watch this very short interview she did on the closing with the MetroWest Daily News (which will always be the Framingham News to me.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sad, too, to see candlepin bowling slowly die away.

Fairway was one of three candlepin lanes we had access to.  There was also the Bowl-a-rama (right across the street from the Framingham incinerator), and Kemp’s Bowl-a-way, a rickety old place on the second floor of an old downtown Framingham building. 

We were told by our parents in no uncertain terms to stay out of Kemp’s.  But once we were on the B&W bus taking that 13-cent ride downtown, who was going to stop us?  The lanes were chipped and the balls were gouged.  But we could never figure out why our parents considered it verboten.

And all these years later, we still can’t.

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About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Living in the Past, News, Noticed, People, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Fairway to Heaven

  1. Graham says:

    Want to bring back those “Glory Days” of yesteryear? Some time when you are on the Cape, take a ride over to West Yarmouth to Ryan’s Bowling Alleys. They have candlepin on half the lanes. So if the golf courses are full, go have some fun! We went over a couple of years ago, and had a blast. But, I did miss the score sheets with the thick pencils. Now it’s done automatically by computor. Just another example of the “Dumbing of America”.
    Bet you look pretty snazzie in those red and blue shoes!

  2. Gerry's Mentor says:

    You need to explain to the Nutmeggers what a candle pin is. Ten cents a string, and the tonic in the coolah was ice cold. Wicked way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

  3. Beckie says:

    We used to watch Candlepin Bowling. I knew I recognized the name of the alley when I first read it. I think it was on channel 8 here.
    And we had a few of those verboten places even when I was growing up in the 70s. There was a bowling alley and a skating rink on Arch St. in NB (both gone before I could even try going there,) the Wunderbar bowling alley on the Berlin Tpke (which now is host to the many senior leagues. Senior, as in senior citizens. Seriously! No one under 70 allowed,) and never, ever, EVER go down Lafayette Street in NB! That was the worst! I have no idea why. I’ve driven down it many times over the years. May not be the greatest of areas, but there are worse, especially since it was “refurbished” about 10 yrs. ago.
    For duck pin (candlepin apparently north of the border,) we went to T-Bowl on the Berlin Tpke in Newington. It’s still there, but it’s shrinking, with part of it now a laser tag place. It was great for us when we were smaller and couldn’t lift the heavy balls of 10-pin. As I write this, I’m thinking that now, as an adult with a bad back, maybe the duck/candle pin would be easier. Perhaps there will be a resurgence w/the babyboomers and us gen-xers. (I think I’m gen x….40-50 bracket.)

  4. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    There’s something about having a stand-up drink at a bowling alley bar. Any bowling alley bar. The smells, the noise, the people. It’s an All-American scenario, but a dying scenario. It should be made a mandatory High School field trip – just so the memory lives on.

    And, by the way, Sam Brooks has the look of a man I wouldn’t want to bowl for money.

  5. Stratos says:

    I must admit watching it on Saturday’s was a guilty pleasure. Mom used to take me to the one on the berlin turnpike. I was better at the big pins which really isn’t good enough to brag about but it sure was fun

  6. Kathy L says:

    Northboro still has Sawyer’s Bowladrome. i believe my aunt, who is in her 80’s, still bowls there in a league. Despite many viewings of Candlepins for Cash, I never bowled until I took it for Phys Ed at UMass. And that was Ten Pin. You know, big balls.

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