"Every week, on payday, I'd drive them to the bars and back again. They always smelled like creosote," he said, referring to the tarry, messy substance central to Koppers' operation as a wood preserving treatment plant.
Something else that didn't help Beaulieu in Dobens' eyes was his longtime friendship with "the other side" namely, WSMN newsmen Ed Lecius (the elder) and Al Rock, who hated it when The Telegraph insisted on calling him D. Alan Rock. Whether Dobens stood firm to uphold standard Telegraph policy or simply to needle Rock was anyone's guess.
Armand Beaulieu doesn't have to. He knew the mayor, Dr. Maynard, who was also known as one of Nashua's kindest physicians.
As is so much else, the finer points of that 1969 mayoral race is engraved in Beaulieu's memory.
After two terms as alderman, Beaulieu was a city fire commissioner. Then, when a longtime Hillsborough County commissioner fell ill, he ran against, and defeated, several opponents to win his first term. Beaulieu stayed for 15 years, watching the new county nursing home rise Nike Air Force 1 Flyknit Low White/Ice from a Goffstown field to replace the aging Moore Hospital.
Ah, good old fashioned local politics.
"I did what I had to," he said. "I needed to support my mother."
They even gave Beaulieu a front page splash in their fledgling 1590 Broadcaster (the shopper whose remnants still float around today) when he opened his mayoral headquarters in the old James P. Mayo car showroom across from City Hall.
"I asked him, 'How come you get all this publicity?'" Beaulieu said. "He said, 'Well, I give him the scoops.'"
Last link to old
He worked at Brockleman's, a landmark downtown Nashua grocery store, then a few doors down at Lincoln stores. He was just a kid when he made his first foray into politics in the mid '30s "I was born political," he said when he helped out with successful mayoral candidate Alvin Lucier's campaign, and later for mayors Maynard and Eugene Lemay.
Widowed 15 years ago and slowed a bit by mounting physical maladies, Beaulieu nevertheless gets on quite well in the 1920s bungalow he has called home since the first Truman administration.
"They were very good to me, especially when I ran for mayor," Beaulieu said of Rock and Lecius.
"The one with the red roof, that's where I grew up," he said, pointing to a horizontal row house in the church's shadow where mill workers' families like his rode out the Great Depression, Nashua's Disaster Decade and the war years.
At 87, with a sharp mind and impenetrable spirit that nurse a tired, timeworn body along, Armand A. Beaulieu revels these days in spinning old Nashua yarns rich in tales of local and regional insider politics that became his lifetime hobby as a kid growing up in mill family housing down on Jackson Avenue.
Shantytown, populated mostly by African American Koppers employees and their families, was a sorry throwback to 19th and early 20th century Southern plantation living: free rent, and no utility bills because it had none.
As for his chance meeting with Gibbs and the business end of his rifle, Beaulieu beams at the outcome: "I gave him 83 bucks, told him that's all I had," he said, remembering they'd stopped in front of the Club Social at Pine and Ledge streets. Nike Air Force 1 Blue And White
Beaulieu can. He was that cab driver. His robbers? A kid named Johnny something and a 17 year old aspiring career criminal named Peter Gibbs.
Today, the venerable Beaulieu stands as perhaps the last living link to the distant echoes of mid 20th century City Hall and the old aldermanic chamber, where men in wool suits and skinny ties smoked and bickered over whose property to raze for a new bridge to Hudson, where to widen Main Street if at all and what the heck to do about Shantytown.
Now imagine you're a cab driver, and one night you're dispatched on a call that sounds as routine as they get until you suddenly feel the barrel of a sawed off rifle against the back of your head and two teenagers start shouting orders to stop, turn off your dome light and hand over all your money or else.
The city finally condemned Shantytown in 1958, the year Beaulieu won his first term as Ward 7 alderman. There, he served with the likes of similarly recognizable old Nashua names such as Francis LaFlamme, Tom Leonard Jr., Roland Bouchard, Jim Griffin, Gerry Gauthier, Maurice Noel, John Chesson and so on.
"I would have won, too," he insisted, as Nashuans had about had enough of two term incumbent Dennis J. Sullivan.
For years, Beaulieu said, he wondered why fellow alderman Griffin, from Ward 4, seemed to get such great treatment from Telegraph reporters, especially then editor Fred Dobens.
"But I kept a 20 I hid," laughing at his little act Black Air Force Ones Low Top
A teenager when his father took ill, Beaulieu left high school to go to work.
Imagine Nashuans electing a mayor whose command of English was so poor that he needed to drag a translator around town with him.
"Look, there's nothing around it," he said, producing a faded snapshot of a much younger house labeled "me on fence" and dated 1933. The "me" is probably a previous owner, Beaulieu said.
But enter into the already multi candidate race the so called spoiler recently retired city Police Capt. Philip McLaughlin and Sullivan emerged on top for the third of what would be five terms.
"It was this one, right here," Beaulieu told a visitor to his aging, often museum like Crown Hill home one recent afternoon, focusing his good eye on a vintage postcard of the majestic St. Francis Xavier Church that he enlarged and hung on his wall.
"Oh, man, what awful living conditions down there, for the kids especially," Beaulieu said of the squalid little commune of dilapidated tar paper shacks, modified lean tos and other makeshift shelters on the old Koppers property at the end of Hills Ferry Road.
A cabbie long before the Gibbs incident, Beaulieu remembers well his regular Shantytown route.
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