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xtra xtra!
December 14, 2012
By Rick Winterson

  For the past 12 years, Kevin Conroy has held a fundraiser for scleroderma research on the morning of the Annual New Year’s Polar Plunge.  It’s quite an event; all are welcome.  If you have never attended, plan to do so this New Year’s Day, 2013 – you’ll see and take part in hugely enjoyable, long-standing South Boston traditions.  And of course, Kevin’s fundraiser is for a very worthy cause.

by Rick Winterson

   Please take a quick look at the photographs that accompany this article:

   One of them depicts the Curley Community Center, a.k.a. “the L Street Bathhouse”, where South Boston’s Annual Polar Plunge has taken place since the turn of the last century.  It’s the oldest such event in America.  Polar Plunge #110 takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

  The other photo shows Woods’ L Street Tavern on the corner of Eighth.  Not only is the “L” an iconic Southie gathering point, it was also the location of many scenes from the 1997 Academy Award-winning film “Good Will Hunting”.  Drop by at 9 a.m. this New Year’s morning.  Check out the bronze plate over the table where Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, et al., actually sat during the scene shoots.

  Kevin Conroy is planning his Twelfth Annual Scleroderma Fundraiser around this event and these locations.  All are welcome.  If you happen to be new to South Boston, this is not only an event you shouldn’t miss, it’s also something you’ll tell your grandkids about in the future.  Bring your camera – it’s a true Southie “time”.  And by the way, people come from all over the country to take part in the Polar Plunge.

  Here’s what Kevin plans:  Come to L Street Tavern at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, courtesy of those devoted South Bostonians, Jackie and Susan Woods.  Comsume some coffee and doughnuts, or other refreshments suitable for early on New Year’s Day.  Meet some of the best people you’ll ever meet.  You’ll be cordially welcomed.

  At 10 a.m., Kevin Conroy and his 103rd Postal Fire Column, that well-known local bagpipe-and-drum marching unit, will form up on L Street.  Fall in along with them for a ten-minute march to the L Street Bathhouse (K Street entrance).  In the Bathhouse, note how the sound of the pipes echoes in the corridors – it’s exciting to the max, and will dispel any remaining New Year’s Eve cobwebs.

  At 10:30, Freddy Ahern, Director of the Bathhouse, will assemble a crowd of more than 1,000 Polar Plungers on the beach, wearing nothing but costumes, bathing suits, and goose pimples.  On the signal, you’ll then see them all head for Old Harbor’s waters, which are typically below 40 degrees.  It is truly a sight to behold.  Take pictures, for sure!

  After that, everyone will go back to the L Street Tavern to party until around noontime.  You’ll be asked to make a contribution to the Scleroderma Foundation to continue their research into this crippling disease.

  Jack Armitage (Director) and Marie Coyle (President) will be on hand from the New England Scleroderma Foundation, which is headquartered in Danvers.  Be sure to say hello to them.  Check out the New England Scleroderma Foundation’s website for yourself.  See how effectively they support research programs, and how much help they offer to victims of scleroderma.

  The Twelfth Annual Scleroderma Fundraiser is a true Southie “time” – where you’ll do a lot of good, and have a good time doing it.  See you at 9 a.m. on January 1 at the L Street Tavern.   And a very Happy New Year to you.

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