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The ‘ice man’ delivers to Shirley summer program

The ‘ice man’ delivers to Shirley summer program
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SHIRLEY — There was plenty of shaking to complete the Summer In Shirley program’s fifth week of activities, appropriately themed “Shake It Up Shirley.”

Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster got young baseball fans in attendance fired up; then the group cooled down with a 100-pound block of ice delivered by resident James Quinty from the bed of his fully-restored 1934 delivery truck.

Wally was a hit, noted by most students for his “bum-wiggle,” but there are other things he does for the team, they said.

Wally’s job, said student Ryan Morse, is “being a mascot for a team he loves.”

When Emily Pender attended a Red Sox game recently, she saw Wally walking around visiting with fans, she said.

Wally might help the team a little, said William Pender, but the green mascot is also busy welcoming people to Fenway Park.

“He was crazy,” said Rosie Scesny. “He’s there to cheer for people.”

Many students donned T-shirts and Red Sox hats autographed by the Fenway Park favorite.

After a quick game of hide and seek, the students went outside to greet Quinty as he pulled up beside the school in old-fashioned style.

Quinty explained that blocks of ice, like the one on the back of his truck, were used in ice-boxes — cabinets with a space at the top for storing large blocks of ice — to keep food cold in the days before electric appliances.

He pulled the ice off the truck bed using a clamp-like pair of tongs, which were sharp on the ends to grab the large block. The grip of the tongs tightened on the ice because of the tension caused by the weight of the load.

The clamp, ice in tow, was hung by Quinty on a metal rod with a scale above the hook.

The students gathered around, shivering when they touched the cold but melting surface of the large frozen block.

Afterward, Quinty took the ice down and laid it lengthwise on the sidewalk over a piece of cardboard.

He showed the students how a portion of the block could be separated by using an ice pick.

Students had the chance to chip a piece of ice away for themselves, and enjoyed eating the cool treat in the sun.

They also learned about the ice and fuel delivery business established by Quinty’s grandfather and great uncle in 1919.

Wilfred “Punk” Quinty and his brother, Alfred, owned the truck in the 30s and would have been seen making deliveries around town.

At the time, according to the sign on the side of the truck, ice was 35 cents and kerosene fuel was only 6 cents per gallon.

Years later, James acquired his grandfather’s truck and restored it, he said.

It’s a sign of the times that people ask him these days if they can still get kerosene at such a bargain price.

To which Quinty replies that customers can dial the telephone number painted on the side of the truck in black letters, which is “3-0,” and if the phone number works, he said, then he will make the sale.

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