Ice Cream Heartache

Dear Brigham’s, please don’t go.

When I was in third grade, I was on a pathetically bad Little League baseball team in my hometown of Lexington.

We were so bad, in fact, that our coach promised to take us all to Chadwick’s for an infamous “Belly Buster” if we ever won a game.

Now Chadwick’s was an old-timey ice cream parlor/restaurant near the Waltham town line, and the “Belly Buster,” well, it was an 18-scoop (if my memory’s correct) behemoth of a sundae that, after some extremely loud drumming and dinging of a bell, was carried out to your table on a stretcher.

The in Arlington Heights, , may not have this same pomp and circumstance (trust me, it was even more ridiculous than it sounds), but its simpler sundaes still elicit that same childhood joy – that’s been felt for generations.

Before I was born, my parents and two older sisters actually lived on Harvard Street in the Heights, and when I was a child, my mother used to take me and my sisters back to Robbins Farm Park in the summer.

On the way home, we’d often stop at Brigham’s for lunch and, of course, ice cream sundaes.

I can remember the anticipation. Debates on the playground centered on what flavors, what toppings, we’d get that day. (Being the youngest, I was usually told by my sisters what to get, and I heeded their worldly advice.)

It was more than a meal, it was an event.


It took us 16 games, but my Little League team eventually was able to eke out a win.

We rushed to our parents’ cars and then on to Chadwick’s where, still in our uniforms, we feasted on our “Belly Buster,” a glorious soup of clashing flavors and toppings (apparently, my sisters’ lessons hadn't stuck).

Chadwick’s closed when I was in middle school, and even though the Brigham’s in the Heights , with the chain’s overall demise and Friendly’s bankruptcy last fall, I just hope the next generation has something to play for.

jenn byrne May 04, 2012 at 01:43 PM
don't worry jon the store is going to reopen today
John Waller May 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Thanks Jenn, just received word. -- John Waller
Joe May 04, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Great article John. Brigham's has the best ice cream, wish they didn't close so many of their shops, I can remember when there were 2 or 3 in Arlington and 2 in Belmont. Thanks for mentioning Chadwick's, brought back some memories. Glad to see the Arlington Heights Brigham's is reopening. Do you remember Buttrick's
John Waller May 04, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Thanks Joe, appreciate the comments. Good to hear someone else remember Chadwick's. I don't recall Buttrick's. These days, in the summer, I like to drive west to Kimball's or Bedford Farms for my ice cream if I have the time.
Juli O'Malley January 11, 2014 at 05:19 PM
'Chadwicks' and 'brighams' oh man... in the 90s I was one of those rare 'freaks' in my Catholic School- the first in my class, and if not the whole school to have 'dad weekends' because my folks had split. Like most stereotypical stories dad weekends were filled with walking around malls, arcades, movies and a lot of dinner's out. Not because my dad COULDN'T cook- but a small apartment in Waltham made it hard for him to produce enough food to feed my older siblings never mind me. So once a month we would go to Chadwicks. I was always petrified it would be the first week of February (my birthday) but thankfully it was usually still too cold in MA to justify mass amounts of Ice cream that time of year. When my siblings went off to College and the Army respectively it was just ME on Dad Weekends and for the youngest can I get a HELLS YES!? Chadwick's was still a thing, once a month. Even when we moved to PA Dad and I whenever we were in MA together would drive from my Mum's on Cape Cod up to Waltham sometimes the same day as a flight back to PA just so we did it while home. In 2001... my dad passed away suddenly being the nostalgic sap I am I was hoping to at least find some images of the shops interior. Finding nothing I came across this article and I'm happy to see I'm not the only one... who had some of their best memories circle the kitsch, fantasticness that was that shop. <3


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