Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.
“Been There, Done That” is a regular column in the Current spotlighting Marblehead seniors.
Name: Josie Crowley
Place of birth: Mary Alley Hospital, Marblehead
How long have you lived in Marblehead? I have lived in town for a total of 41 years. I grew up here and moved away with my husband when he was in the military and for his work. We’ve been back for about 20 years.
What is your fondest childhood memory? Oh, I remember playing at Cow Fort at the back of Seaside Park. We’d play tag and princess. We’d sit and giggle and laugh. We’d ice skate on a pond where the tennis courts are now and go sledding.
What jobs have you had and what was your favorite? I worked as a pediatric nurse at North Shore Children’s Hospital but when we lived in Pennsylvania I became a special education aide. I loved every facet of working in special education. We’d go up to the state hospital in buses and pick up kids who had never been outside and bring them to our school. We’d also bring them to the mall. They had never been out in the community. I thoroughly enjoyed working with those kids. I did it for 27 years.
Who is the most famous person you’ve met? Oh, I’m not really that interested in famous people. I never met Elvis Presley. I have met a lot of wonderful people who aren’t famous. Oh, I met actress Rhonda Fleming when she came to Marblehead to film “Home Before Dark.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the world? Social media. It drives me crazy. Although, I use it to talk to friends in Florida, where we used to be snow birds. (Crowley and her husband, John, spent winters in Fort Myers Beach until Hurricane Ian destroyed their home there in September 2022.)
What moment in history is most vivid in your memory? John Kennedy’s murder. My husband was on leave, and we getting ready to go somewhere when the phone call came from my sister-in-law telling us to turn on the television. That whole time was just so sad.
What’s your biggest accomplishment? Getting to 81!
What piece of advice do you have for young people today? Put down the cell phones! Look at each other in the eyes and communicate. They are missing out on so much. I asked my kids, “Don’t you ever just sit on the curb and laugh ’til you pee your pants?” They think I’m crazy.
Crowley exercises at the Council on Aging several times a week. She volunteers at the Veterans and Memorial Day breakfasts and served on the Friends of the COA for many years.