Salty Brine

salty brine


I came to Rhode Island in 1978, so I missed the early career of Salty Brine. He was a radio / TV personality with a deep jolly voice, who hosted a children’s show called “Salty’s Shack.” (He portrayed a sea captain, naturally.) By the time I got to Rhode Island, he was best known for reading the school closures on the radio when it snowed. There’s a small region in northwestern Rhode Island, the Foster/Glocester area (pronounced “Fosta Glosta”), very underpopulated, a bit more elevated than the rest of the state, which gets more snow than the rest of the state; they close school when no one else does.

And Salty would boom: “NO SCHOOL FOSTA GLOSTA!”

And children throughout Rhode Island (even those who didn’t live in the Foster / Glocester school districts) would cheer.

Salty Brine, the children’s host, the radio personality, was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1979.

Does that tell you something?

They even named a beach after him: “Salty Brine State Beach,” in Galilee.

We had local celebrities when and where I was growing up. I remember Rusty Nails the clown, who was on Portland television in the 1960s; if you watch “The Simpsons,” you’ll see a version of him as Krusty the Clown (Matt Groening, the creator of the show, grew up in the area at the same time as me).

But I do believe that nowhere are those local celebrities as beloved as Salty Brine is beloved here.

Why?

Rhode Island is small. We treasure our own. And if they’re successful (and known beyond the borders of this small state), we treasure them even more.

And I am told by people of my age from Massachusetts that they used to love Salty Brine, beamed in from Providence, back in the 1960s and 1970s.

So Salty Brine is a legend, in Rhode Island, and even outside its borders.

You see? You don’t need to reach far in life. You just need to be well-known in your little neighborhood. If you manage that, all kinds of things can happen.


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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