Michael of The Gate

SW Station Guard (Hoadley) copy

Michael McCarthy – Michael of the Gate. Photo by George Hoadley; courtesy of Sgt. Bill Thomas

Michael at The Crossing.

Ding! Ding! Csh…………..!
“Oh, helloh, Michael! Why did you shut me off! Let me over!”
“Ye’re betther a-standing’ there with yer team than busted to smithereens on th’ thrack!” “Oh, get out. You keep me standing here a half-hour!”
“Ye can sit. Hi! there, McKinnon, kape off the thrack with yer bike. Don’t git undher the gate, me b’y! It’s down. I’ll tell ye whin. Kape there!”

There are doubtless worse temptations
Than the track on Chester Road,
There are doubtless worse concussions
Than when English words explode;
But for grounds of irritation,
That would agitate a nation,
And ferment the human juices,
It’s the gong that Michael uses,
When it goes: ding! ding! csh…..!

We may have our weird illusions,
And we do not mind intrusions;
We may dream our abstract visions
While we scorch among collisions;
We don’t mind policemen’s beckon,
But we hate to come to reckon
With the gong that Michael uses
When he freezes up our juices
With his: ding! ding! csh…..!

For our Michael at the Crossing
Is an emperor at bossing;
He can stop your scintillations
While a block away, at rations;
He can warn you to a flurry
With exaggerated hurry
And then stop you at the crossing
With his last grand act of bossing
By his: ding! ding! csh…..!

Oh, do not fight with Michael
Though you feel quite out of sorts,
Your auto may be snorting —
You can take it out in snorts;
He’s a wicked combination
With his gate and gong creation,
You may think to scoop the track,
But he has you on your back
With his: ding! ding! csh…..!

But for milk of human kindness
There’s no potentate his equal;
He is popular with parents,
But that is just a sequel;
Tender-hearted, horny-handed,
He will see your tots safe-landed,
And the smile that Michael wears
Is a glint from Heaven’s stairs,
Though he does: ding! ding! csh…..!

— Walter Doty Reynolds
Chimes of Swarthmore, 1910

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Walter Doty Reynolds (1860-1933) was the publisher of a short-lived political newspaper in Swarthmore called The Clarion around the year 1910. He lived on College Avenue with his wife, Elizabeth, and children Martha, Ruth, Walter M. and Samuel. His book, Chimes of Swarthmore, is filled with poems about life in Swarthmore.

S-Michael of the Gate

As for Michael McCarty, Images of Swarthmore Borough by Susanna K. Morikawa and Patricia C. O’Donnell tells us that according to columnist Drew Pearson, who grew up in Swarthmore, Mr. McCarty kept President Woodrow Wilson’s car waiting at the crossing and got a presidential commendation for vigilantly doing his duty.