Sunday, January 6, 2013

389. Joseph A. Silvia

After reading every visible and legible stone at the cemetery in Rockland - a town to which I'll definitely be returning - I crunched my way into the Woodside Cemetery in Cohasset. The snow had not completely melted yet, as the temperature barely broke freezing, but I could just make out every flat marker there. I never knew Cohasset had so many veterans.

This area of Cohasset, bordering on Hingham, holds lots of memories for me. The Hingham Skating Club, just up the street, was partially put together by my grandfather. I skated there as a kid with my dad. We have home movies of him and his brothers and sisters there in the sixties. He told me that the Bruins, in the age before indoor rinks, would come down and skate with the local hockey players, just for the exercise. He said Fern Flanam had this move where he would use his stick to tuck the puck up under his skate boot, in that rectangular area between it and the blade, and would then skate full speed down ice as all the kids hacked at his feet trying to pry it loose. When he saw a passing lane, he would kick it free, blast it to his teammate, who would easily score. I would have paid to see that, athough I think my imagination probably has more than lived up to what the scene must have been like.

So, why Joe Silvia, you ask? Three words: "Champion Auto Racer."

I say to you, like I say to my four-year-old all day long: how cool is that?

Joe won at least one race that has made it down through the ages, the July 4, 1934, extravaganza at the Readville Race Track in Hyde Park, where he did 25 miles in just two seconds shy of 26 minutes, finishing with a flat tire. Imagine that - 60 miles per hour was considered racing speed. How soon we forget what technology has done for us. But in his day, at a mile a minute, Silvia was one of the speed demons. Go, Joe, go!


  1. Hooray! You are doing it! Just got here, have some catching up to do...Boy this is going to be fun.

  2. Found this post after a random google search of my grandpa's name. Awesome. I'm now living in his house and there are still old race car parts in our garage <3
    love your plan. Can't wait to read some of the other posts!