The Cocoanut Grove Fire (New England Remembers)
ISBN: 1889833886 Global Overview for this book
4 journalers for this copy...
I've chosen this as the book to send for the Local History sweepstakes. I have a somewhat personal connection to the Cocoanut Grove fire and have read everything written about it that I can get my hands on. Books about this deadly Boston fire are not so easy to find, so I was happy to get this copy for this sweepstakes.
Personal connection? My father (before he met my mom and settled down) was a frequent visitor to the Cocoanut Grove nightclub. On November 28, 1942, he had been out to a football game (not the one mentioned in the book) and had been planning to go to the club that evening. He decided to go home first and rest and freshen up, then go back out to the Cocoanut Grove. As sometimes happens, once he was home he lost the desire to go out so, thankfully, stayed in the house. Had he gone to the Grove that evening, he would have only had about a 50% chance of survival, so I might never have been born. That's personal enough! And my dad wouldn't have had the full life he did, including his volunteer work at the Shriners' Burns Institute here in Boston.
Fate was on my dad's side, but many of his acquaintances were not so lucky. He knew a married couple that were expecting their first child; they did not survive. As it was, he had to go to the morgue and identify his younger neighbor, whom Dad had first introduced to the club. I don't think Dad ever got over that.
A visit to almost any local cemetery reveals the horror. The cemetery in Dad's home town of Braintree has an entire section where most of the stones say 1942 and some even specify November 28, 1942, including the young couple mentioned above.
And the story of Clifford Johnson still sends chills up my spine...
There is one paragraph in this book (page 73) that questions the stories of people who almost went to the club that night:
"The number of people who 'were' going to the club that night until something turned them away has expanded to the point of statistical impossibility."
But I still believe my dad's story. :-)
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