To the editor:
The thought occurred to me, having just lost a dear friend this past month, if any records were ever kept of how many friends one can have in a lifetime. If records were kept, my friend Andrew (Andy) Cronin, would win the prize. You see, most everyone knew Andy, and if you were one of the fortunate, like myself, consider yourself honored to have known him. May I justify my feelings!
Andy was a true Ward 5-er, known as the Irish Ward, where the Cronins, the Gallaghers, the Sullivans, the Sheehans, the Murphys, the Learys and others were raised. My mother, herself a Sheehan, had a small grocery store where most of the neighborhood visited daily, including Andy.
I guess I was about 5 or 6 years old, and he was 9 or 10 years old, when we met, probably at the store, and the relationship commenced. Yes, we all played together at Towns Field (Cushing Park), and we all grew up, went through a war, settled down, and lived out our lives in our hometown.
It seems as though I saw Andy every day somewhere on the street or driving by or in church, and our conversation was always about our childhood and relationship. No, Andy did not accomplish a great name for himself in politics or status in the community, but one sure thing he achieved was his popularity. If I were to take a poll, asking a native Newburyporter if they knew Andy Cronin, the answer would be, “Of course, doesn’t everyone?”
In talking to my brother on the West Coast, I mentioned to him that Andy Cronin had died. My brother responded by saying “what a great guy he was.” The odd part of this is that my brother left Newburyport at age 22 and he’s now 85, but he remembered Andy.
May I close by saying that Andy was a great cribbage player, and I trust there is a table and chair set aside for him to show his skills in heaven. As for myself, Andy was just another local yokel like myself, and for that, I’m grateful to be in his company.