Concord Observer: Closing Shop

By Ken Anderson Columnist
January 4, 2024

I’ve been to closings which rekindle fond memories: Anderson’s Market; Hillbilly Ranch; Sit ‘N Bull Pub; Willow Pond Kitchen; and Johny D’s, e.g. … but closing my company tops them all. (Inspired by Lacy J. Dalton’s Wild Turkey) 

My career journey began as a CCHS Mathlete taking a competitive test sponsored by The Society of Actuaries in the 1960s and ended on December 13, 2023, when I sold my office condominium at Damonmill Square. 

I was a math major and an actuarial student taking actuarial exams at John Hancock. I met the education and experience requirements to be an Enrolled Actuary on the day The Pension Reform Act of 1974 passed. After getting my feet wet at two benefit consulting firms, I started my own business in 1979. 

Working for myself involved getting an office: the cellar of our house (for days), Spruce Street in West Acton (for five months), above what is now Main Streets Market (for six years) and finally at Damonmill Square (for 38 years).  

Well, not finally, since I had to clean out the office, which involved: 

  • Parting company with a Selectric typewriter on which Lynda had typed many letters, documents and reports. 
  • Shredding about 60 bankers’ boxes of files and storing about 30 such boxes in our cellar. 
  • Countless trips to the Goodwill truck with surplus office equipment, and 
  • Retaining a removal service to take most of the furniture. 

Of course, the office became a place to fill with pictures of personal things like some of my father’s aerial and land photos after my sister Kristin held a gallery showing and a talk at the library; pictures of baseball and softball pictures (a two foot by three foot collage of our first Catfishes softball team made by Lynda); my mother’s records, books and piano sheet music when she moved out of Lewis Wharf; and my music. 

I borrowed my broker’s truck to move furniture, boxes of surplus supplies and rugs, but was chagrined to find his radio tuned to New Country.  My first inclination was to leave a Hank Williams III CD mix in the CD player, but I hadn’t listened to it yet, so I left CDs of Merle Haggard and John Conlee for his distraction and education. 

Three oriental rugs to First Rugs for cleaning and repair, and two others are rolled up in the garage for subsequent placement. 

Sorting through the music (300 ‘78s, 500 ‘33s, 100 ‘45s and, likely, 1,200 CDs) was time-consuming. I donated the ‘78s to Goodwill, took the LPs to a friend to sell on eBay (his rejects went to Stereo Jack’s in Somerville) and will take the ‘45s to my friend to sell. And I boxed the CDs for later action (culling my favorites and putting the others aside for a spring yard sale). 

The problem was that I grew up in a house where music played constantly.  I knew about The Yellow Rose of Texas before I knew what Texas was, for example. Most of my music I played over and over again, and many songs are dear parts of my life … which made tossing my music impossible. Donating and selling it was tolerable because it found a home with someone who cares. 

Confession: I couldn’t part with the final issue of The Boston Phoenix. 

And now, the end is not near, as Sinatra almost said. On to writing, reading, playing the mandolin, playing golf, travelling with Lynda, relaxing in Maine and doing retiree things.