Baby Boomers panel to speak about growing up in Bedford

Submitted by the Bedford Historical Society

A walk down Memory Lane about growing up in Bedford years back will be a fun and audience- participatory program on Sunday, April 28, sponsored by the Bedford Historical Society.

Bring your memories to the third floor of Old Town Hall at 2 p.m. for this event, featuring a panel of baby boomers to be led by former Bedford Historical Society President and Executive Director Lee Yates. The panel discussion, “Growing Up in Bedford During the Baby Boom,” is free and open to the public. 

Doors will open at 2 p.m., and the panel discussion will begin after a short refreshment period and some announcements from Society President Sharon McDonald.  

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In addition to Lee Yates, herself a baby boomer, the panel will be comprised of boomers who actively contribute to a Facebook group called “You Know You’re from Bedford, MA if,” which is managed by Yates. Panelists include Ralph Hammond, Ann Ringwood, and Maureen McAuliffe Sullivan.

The Baby Boomer period encompassed almost two decades after World War II (1945-1965). U.S. boomers today range in age from 58 to 78 and total almost 72 million Americans.  

Lee Yates

“The Baby Boom period was a wonderful time to grow up, especially in Bedford. Do you remember the Center and Page schools, the ski lift on Old Billerica Road, skating at Belle Isle, and shopping at Bowen’s toy store? Panelists will tell a bit about their memories and then the session will open for your own stories. There will also be some Baby Boom items on display.

Hammond, a retired Bedford teacher and Davis School Principal and former Bedford Citizen of the Year who has lived in Bedford his entire life, said that he “sits smack in the middle of all the Baby Boomer transitions that took place in town.” Being an elementary and middle school teacher, “I got to watch first hand our impact on the next population of Bedford students growing through the school system. As Bedford’s first director of computer education prior to becoming a school principal, we had a front row seat as huge transitions took place.”

Active for decades in the Bedford Rotary Club, Hammond also spends much of his present-day time as a Bedford TV volunteer.  

“Today I work with students in grades 3-8 at Bedford TV and this gives me a very positive view of our future,” he added.

Another panelist will be recognized by anyone who attends a newsworthy event. Ann Ringwood retired a year and a half ago after a 44½-year career in community photojournalism, which she describes as “wonderful. One of the joys of it was covering Bedford, especially Bedford High School activities.” She was a BHS graduate of the Class of 1973.  

Ringwood noted, “Growing up in Bedford was wonderful, from riding our bicycles all over town, to all the Bedford Minutemen activities to Girl Scouts, to working at McDonald’s from the first day it opened. My parents moved to Bedford in 1950, so all three of their children, my sister Karen, brother Michael, and I, grew up there and went through the Bedford schools.”

The third panelist, Sullivan, came to Bedford in 1961 when her parents moved here. She was five years old. She grew up in Bedford, then left, but later returned with her husband and raised their three children here.  

A student athlete at Bedford High, Sullivan coached the BHS girls’ basketball team for 15 years, but is best known as the Executive Director of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, a position she held for two dozen years until her retirement. While in that role, she created numerous special Chamber-sponsored community events, including the Holiday House Tour, Flavors of Bedford, and her favorite, the Prom Stroll.    

Yates was born at the height of the Baby Boomer period and has come to appreciate that fact more and more as time goes on. In addition to her long service to the Bedford Historical Society, she is the author of “Bedford, a Postcard History of the Town” and is close to completing, for publication, a newly-edited version of the 1891 book by Abram English Brown, “History of the Town of Bedford, from its Earliest Settlement to the Year of our Lord 1891.” She has resided in Bedford since 1991 and considers herself to be a “local history nerd.”

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Betsy Jones
April 17, 2024 11:52 am

Any chance that this might be recorded to watch online for those of us and no longer live in New England? I would love to see it!

Alethea Yates
April 27, 2024 5:49 pm
Reply to  Betsy Jones

Betsy Jones, it will be recorded by Bedford TV and posted to their YouTube channel.

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