BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Remembering the donkey games at Seaside

Name: Liz Michaud

Born: I was born at the old Mary Alley Hospital on Franklin Street.

Age: 81

How long have you lived in Marblehead? My entire life.

Liz Michaud with her husband, Bert, at the Council on Aging. COURTESY PHOTO

What are your fondest childhood memories? I grew up on Bubier Road near Seaside Park. Seaside Park was always a big part of my childhood.My brother and I would go watch baseball games there with my dad. We loved the donkey baseball games when the team would be riding donkeys. The hitter would ride a donkey. Sometimes the donkey would go to third base instead of first base. All the neighborhood kids would go.

I remember the year we lost all the willow trees at Seaside in a bad storm. They were replanted. Behind Seaside Park there were great blueberry bushes. Your mother would give you a tin and you could collect blueberries. My brother always came home with a tin full of blueberries. I always came home with a mouth full of blueberries.

I walked to school. I went to the old Roads School and I was in the first graduating class at the Marblehead junior high school on Village Street. They were really strict. You could only walk in a certain direction and you couldn’t wear charm bracelets.

What jobs have you had and what was your favorite? When my kids were little I worked for ITW Devcon in Danvers. They had an ad for a parttime personnel assistant. I loved it. The next thing you know, I got promoted up to personal manager and then HR manager. I was there for over 26 years. I learned a lot and traveled a lot. I had responsibilities for plants in the U.S. and Ireland. 

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the world? The biggest change is the fact that we know things from all around the world now. Growing up, you knew your neighbors, you knew your town. But now, with the quickness of the news, we know so much more. It’s good and it’s bad. There’s a lot of negativity which I didn’t grow up with. You didn’t hear bad news growing up.  And you were taught to respect older people. And you did, you did. 

What is your biggest accomplishment? My three children. My son passed away young when he was 46, but he was a wonderful, wonderful son and a wonderful guy. I also have three stepchildren and they’re wonderful. I have seven grandchildren.

What moments in history are most vivid in your memory? I have two and they’re both tragedies. One was when JFK was killed and the other was 9/11.  Those two things were like, ‘Gosh, how could this happen?’”

What piece of advice do you have for young people today? To fly, and I don’t mean in an airplane. Be confident in yourself and your worth and go for it. Do what you want to do. Live your life and know that you’re special. All kids are special, every single one of them. Of course, my grandkids are extra special.

What is your secret to living a long, healthy life? Happiness. Enjoy life. No one has a life without sadness in it. It just doesn’t happen. Get through the bad stuff and concentrate on the good stuff.

Liz Michaud served on the Council on Aging board of directors and was instrumental in launching the bocce court. Her husband Bert, was part of the men’s group luncheon for 20 years.

If you know a Marblehead senior who would make an interesting spotlight in the Current, please contact Leigh Blander at

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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.

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