New Fairhaven Sign Spurs Memories of Bowling Alleys and Pool Halls
On the radio today, we were discussing memories of New Bedford’s Cinema 140. While that conversation was happening on air, I was also looking out the studio window to watch change happening at the Fairhaven Stop & Shop, and it made me nostalgic for another 1990s SouthCoast staple.
As the callers shared some of their experiences at Cinema 140, a flatbed truck pulled up alongside Sconticut Neck Road with a pair of new signs for the Stop & Shop plaza on the back.
I watched throughout my show as the old, outdated sign was removed and the sleeker, more modern version was taken off the truck and put in its place.
As progress marched on in front of me, my mind wandered back to what used to be where that plaza now stands, as well as in the plaza in which I was currently sitting.
In the mid-1990s, I would spend most Friday and Saturday nights in Fairhaven, either at the Bowler’s Country Club where Stop & Shop now stands, or at the Pockets pool hall in the same Sconticut Neck Plaza that houses the WBSM and Fun 107 studios.
Even before I had my license, I could always find someone willing to drive me from Wareham to Fairhaven to go to one place or the other. I went so often that I eventually bought my own cue stick (a Budweiser-themed stick I got on clearance at Spencer Gifts) but yet never thought to buy my own bowling shoes or ball.
A trip to the bowling alley meant a greasy cheeseburger from the snack bar, a soda in one of those old wax-paper cups, and bowling until we thought our arm was going to fall off. Between the shoe rental, the games and the snack bar, you’d be hard-pressed to spend more than a $20 bill for a full night of fun.
A trip to Pockets, however, was likely a little pricier. Not because shooting pool was more expensive – it was also a very affordable way to spend the evening – but rather because you’d definitely pop into the Strawberries record store right next door and grab a few CDs or cassettes, depending on what kind of “system” you had in your “whip.”
You might also grab a frozen yogurt a little further down the plaza if it was still open when you arrived.
One particular night, I was with my friend Tom, who drove a pickup truck that could only seat three people. We met up with two of our friends, who asked for a ride back home to Wareham. Since there weren’t enough seats up front, I volunteered to ride in the bed of the truck – forgetting that Tom was a lead foot who drove 100 miles an hour down the highway. You’d think he’d slow down with me in the bed, but no. Scariest ride of my life.
Time marches on. Not only was the Bowler’s Country Club leveled for the Stop & Shop Plaza, but Pockets is now Cardoza’s Liquors (the pool hall had moved further down Route 6, where it continued for a few more years), Strawberries is now Scramblers, and the yogurt shop is now Qing’s Mo Cha, serving up poke bowls and bubble tea instead of frozen yogurt (it had a long stint as a Subway in between).
I like the slick new sign for Stop & Shop, but I’ll always miss the Fairhaven that was over 25 years ago.