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Beverly's - we won't forget

POSTED June 08, 2013
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson


                                             BEVERLY'S - We won't forget


            LITCHFIELD – There are more than a few icons associated with the Litchfield Hills Road Race from organizers Joe Concannon and Billy Neller to runners like Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit, Andy Ronan and Gideon Mutisya.

            Then there are the iconic places like everybody’s favorite watering hole, The Village Restaurant to Mitchells Bar, Marty’s and a selection of various hot tubs. But, certainly Beverly’s takes its place in the Iconic Hall of Fame when it comes to the LHRR.

            Long a lady of distinction before the LHRR, Beverly’s hosted generations of roller skaters, hoofers, dancers, partiers and good-times people throughout the decades, owning a copyright on rockin’, rollin’ and rememberin’.

            Sitting somewhat majestically on Bantam Lake, It housed the big names –  Guy Lombardo (Dave Driscoll’s favorite), The Guess Who, NRBQ and the Rolling Stones. Okay, no Stones, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. But mostly it housed us and it was the place to be.

            The LHRR added its name to the list of dignitaries on Beverly’s resume when it held its first post-race party there in 1977. And Beverly’s added its presence to the now legendary race. For many a year, Beverly’s was the place to be after the race and some even remember enough to tell about it. Some of it anyway.

            Why all of this now? Simply because unless you have been out of the country, in a coma,  permanently pickled or died recently you know that Beverly’s was razed recently, its bright red countenance and all that it contained inside going the ashes to ashes, dust to dust route.

            It is a time for mourning for what had been and a time for laughing for what had been. As LHRR President Beth Murphy has eloquently written in this year’s LHRR program, ‘Beverly’s passing leaves us sad, sober and bereft.”

            I searched out a couple of memories in honor of the grand old lady’s passing, an endeavor which is a little suspect to begin with. Memories of post-LHRR parties at Beverly’s takes on a little of the Woodstock syndrome. For many, if you remember it, you weren’t there.

            But there were a few hearty souls who were able to clear away the fog and haze to come up with a few parting thoughts about one of the iconic LHRR venues of all time – Beverly’s.

Ted Murphy – “In the early years I would look across the floor as it was going up and down. I didn’t have to move my legs. One year I had Charlie Gill on my left and Bill Neller on my right, going up and down. You didn’t have dance, the floor did it for you. It was such a local thing. We would have four or 500 people there plus the Boston Track Club.

 Bill Neller – “The Boston Track Club introduced us to crew races on the dance floor. It was always Yale against Harvard. We would hook arms and sit like you would in boat and row across the floor. Every year we did it.

Then there was the year Randy Thomas (1979, 1981 winner) borrowed my car at the party and I think I got it back Tuesday. “

Dave Driscoll – Well, I remember a road race committee person who ran down the dock out back of Beverly’s naked and went to jump in the lake for a swim and missed and landed on the dock. After that he bounced and rolled in the water in pain. I also remember watching the floor actually ripple under the crush of humanity.

Driscoll refused identify the doubled up would be-diver. And I promised Billy I wouldn’t tell either.

           Jack Neller – We always got Linda and the Love Letters to play after the race and one year a guy in the band stuck his hand in the overhead fan by accident and lost his thumb. So, we were on stage looking for his thumb.”

           Brent `Hawk’ Hawkins  - “I think it was 1986 but it was really, really hot and this guy from the band sticks his hand in the fan and loses his thumb. Everybody is looking for it. I kept going back to the band and asking them if they could play songs like, `Under My Thumb’, or `Hitchhiker’, songs like that. Nobody seemed to care. The band kept playing on.’

           No word on whether they ever found the disconnected digit. I am investigating.  

           Bruce Losee – We were bartending at Beverly’s in softball uniforms with no pants on. Three girls come up to the bar and order a Bloody Mary, Pink Squirrel and Freddy Fudpucker. Jack Neller just turns around and says, “they’ll have three Buds.’

           One year after the party at Beverly’s Bill Neller and driving home at 4 in the morning and there is a cow in the middle of the road standing sideways. I hit it and it defecated all over the windshield, but walked away. We didn’t know what to do. Here I am with a car that that has crap all over the windshield

           Billy was teaching at Wamogo at the time and a kid comes in and says one of our cows is dead. The nex day we were saying what are we going to do and we said we have to turn ourselves in. So the next morning we go to the station with a friend of ours, Terry Collins, who was also a state cop. We said we are here to turn ourselves in. They said, “the cow died in the pasture. We don’t know anything about it being a car accident. I figure the cow must have had internal injuries.’


           Losee also tells the story of winning a gentleman’s glass eye in game of shaking dimes and taking the eye around with him and telling people he had his eye on them. Then the guy wanted the eye back. Ask Bruce for the details.


           And these are a just a few tidbits of more than a decade of memories at Beverly’s for the post-race party. Ah, we thank you sweet lady and it is probably good we don’t remember any more. It is certainly good we don’t tell anybody any more. It was to say a grand time, a great ride.

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