The Dick Summer (re) Connection – Chapter 23

The Dick Summer Connection – Chapter 23.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting is a national television event. It’s as “New York” as the Empire State Building. What a thrill it was walking under it every night when I worked at WNBC. But Boston Common at Christmas is where you want to be if you catch yourself falling in love. Been there, done that one long, long ago Christmas Eve. My lady Wonder Wench was my secretary then. We were falling in love, but Santa might not have approved. There’s a story about it in the current PodProgram, if you’re interested. I spent a lot of Christmas Eves broadcasting from the Common, so it’s very special to me that Oldies 103.3 FM in Boston is making the PodPrograms available on their website, just in time for this Christmas. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Boston, the Common is a park right in the middle of the city. Every Christmas, they put lights on almost every tree in the park. It’s not spectacular, like Rock Center. It’s quiet, and gentle. It’s a place for lovers, music and Christmas. Every year at Christmas when I was on the air in Boston, I asked people to write to me, and tell me what the season really means. And some of the answers were like…music. Some of the music was sad. Some was funny. And I had to record some of those letters, because I occasionally get choked up when I’m around something so beautiful. If you feel like sending an email to add your comments, my address is or you can simply add a comment at the bottom of this blog.This blog Connection has put me back in touch with some very old friends. People like Len Segal who was with me on the Common one of those magic Christmas Eve nights. This is what he wrote about it: “You asked listeners to write to you with their personal thoughts on ‘What Christmas Means To Me.’ You were struck by how much your listeners opened up their hearts and souls in those letters, and since you were doing the Christmas Eve broadcast from the remote studio on the Common you decided to read the letters outside the studio with the people who had come to see the broadcast. I thought you might have had one or two of your children with you. (I did. One of them grew up to be the guy who now runs the PodProgram page for me.) Your Producer, a fellow co-op student and (Northeastern University radio station) WNEU staffer had a fit at the thought of you going outside and broadcasting live. You over ruled him and did it any way, although he threatened if there was one swear word spoken he’d cut the mic and send the broadcast back to the studio. So then you and I scouted the area for a suitable burn barrel which we needed because when we went outside with the letters and everyone who was standing around gathered in a large circle holding hands, as you read the letters…one by one…you were going to throw the letters into the fire. That’s all I remember. By the way, I am Jewish, but spent many a Christmas Day with my Christian friends. It’s a spirit of good will that makes Christmas.”

Right, Len. And thanks.

I remember a little more of the story, although I’m not going to swear everything I remember is accurate after all this time. The broadcast was 8pm to Midnight. I planned on reading the letters at about 11:45. I told the listeners what I was going to do, and I invited people to “drop in.” By 9pm there were quite a few folks there. By 10, there were a couple of hundred people there. By 11, there was a traffic problem on Charles Street. (Remember this was a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t have permission from anybody, including the radio station or the police department to do this.) By 11:30, I think there were a thousand or more people standing around the trailer, and the cops had some extra troops out trying to untangle the traffic. I figured I was in TROUBLE. But one of the cops came over, saw what was going on, smiled and just wished me a Merry Christmas. Then some of the artists from the Unicorn Coffee House started showing up. As I recall, Tom Rush was there, and I think Jose Feliciano, and Jaimie Brockett and Mitch Kertzman. At 11:45, I took the mic outside and started reading the letters, and burning them as I went. (I consider burning to be a sign of respect for something you can’t keep but is too precious to be thrown away.) As if on cue, it started to snow…softly. And just before midnight, we all sang Silent Night. Have you ever heard 1,000 people sing Silent Night, standing close enough together to keep warm by a Christmas Eve bonfire in the snow ?

Maybe you were there. If so, thank you. It was a long, long time ago, but I will never forget it. Never.

And thank you to Santa for understanding that there’s all kinds of love in the air at Boston Common on Christmas Eve, including the kind that shows up when you least expect it. Thanks for that, from Wonder Wench and me.

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – The answers to these questions are on the current PodProgram:

1- Why did my lady Wonder Wench say women talk twice as much as men ?

2- The military calls them Aerodynamic Personnel Decelerators. What would we call them ?

3- What can’t you do with a sleeping woman in Logan County Colorado?

4- What do Dick’s Details do ?


4 right- Merry Christmas to you.

3 right- A partridge in a pear tree to you.

2 right- A legal download of the Barking Dog’s version of Jingle Bells to you.

1 right – A lump of coal for your stocking to you.

0 right – Bah! Humbug !!


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One Response to “The Dick Summer (re) Connection – Chapter 23”

  1. glen says:

    Hi Dick-checking in from New York City. Hope the news I was able to share with you today helps to make your season bright. All the best, Glen