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Dyet'D(Mse/ Vol.5 No.2

Winler 2005-2A06

Chinese Tea Basket Gift of Eaelyn Coughlan,1985

Among the many items given to the Dyer by the Coughlans is this tea set. In the tea pot was the story of how it came to the family. Written in her own hand, Evelyn Coughlan called her narrative"TallTales of the Old Town." However, it seems that this is a true story and not at all a tall tale. In any case, it is with pleasure that we present her account of the Chinese tea basket publicly for the first time.

The Dyer Discourse is o publicoiion of the Dyer Memoriol Librory. All rights reserved. O 2006

TrrC CTTIruESE TEN BASKET This is the tale of the Chinese tea basket as told to me by *y husband, William D. Coughlan. Some years ago, aChinese laundry

operated in the center of Abington by a gentleman named Yee Yin. The laundry was located in a building on the northwest corner of Washington Street at Orange Street. This buildingwas replaced later by a complex of small stores. Lynch's Drugstore occupied the corner spot for some years. This same area is now a vacant lot and used by the Bailey Garage owrrers in connection with their automobile repair business. Shall we call it Bailey's Corner? So much for the location of the laundry.

It was the custom when laundry was brought to Yee Yin" to receive a receipt for the merchandise in the form of aticket with Chinese characters on it. To collect the merchandise it was necessary to present this ticket to Yee Yin in order to reclaim the laundry. There was a gentleman in Abington who

brought his shirts to the laundry, received his ticket and departed. hr due time he retnmed without the ticket to collect his laundry and Yee Ytnrefused to grve up the shirts. FIe was adamant and told the patron in no uncertain terms, in his oriental accent "no tickee - no shirtee." The gentleman departed in anger. The wheels of justice were set in motion

and the gentleman from China was sued {or withholdirg the shirts. So, he trotted down the street to the Coughlan Bros. Law Office and told his tale of woe.

WilliamJ. Coughlan (my husbands uncle) defended the laundryman in court andwon the case of "r.o tickee - no shirtee."

Christmas Day arrived and the Coughlans were at the grandparents home on Bedford St. enjoyin g a f amlly Christmas dinner, when the door bell rang out loud and clear. William J. left the dining table to answer it. He opened the door and there stood Yee Yin holding out to him a small basket and saying in his own personal way: "Melly Clistmas." This is the tea basket, a little battered by time and probably by Coughlan kids. It has always had a place of honor in the law office and in our home and now it will become a permanent obj.ct in the Law Office in the Dyer Memorial Library. Evelyn C. Coughlan April1985




Happy New Year! A1l of us at the Dyer would like to wish you the very best for 24A6.

I was huppy to find this delightful story of not only an object in our collection, but also a slice of life in Abington a century ago. Im sure every artifact has a story to tell, butfew carry a well-documented provenance. So if you have a family heirloom that has been passed down through the generations, please take the tirne to write the story and keep it with the item. Future generations, and the archivist/ curator where your treasure may end up, will thank you.

Also, if you have a tall tale or true story from Old Abington that you would like to share, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.


]oice Himawan




Abington Center, from Centre Avenue looking west. The building at righf behind the tree, was where the Chinese laundry was located; it is now the parking lot of Bailey's Garage.

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The 1900 Resident andBusiness Directory of Rockland and Abington listing of the laundry business on Orange St., corner of Washington St. belonging to J. Y. Yick, whom we believe is the Yee Yin in Evelyn Coughlan's story. The difference in spelling is probably due to non-standard Angltcization of Chinese names at the turn of the last century"


Dyer Memorial Library 28 Centre Ave. . P.O.Box2245 Abington" MA 02351



With OurNeedles Created - an exhibition featuring the samplers of Old Abingtor/s young ladies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Extended to 10 February 2006. aaa

UpconalruG EVENTS AT THE DyEn Sunday,5 February 2W6,2:30pm - Historical society of Old Abington meeting: "Josiah Cushman, First Sheriff of Abington " presented by A. Dean Sargent. Sunday,5 March 2006,230pm - Historical Society of Old Abington meeting: "Great Highland Bagpipes," presented by Tom Childs. wednesday, 12 April20a6,7z3opm - Historical society of old Abington ANNUAL MEETING: "35A Years of Furniture Making on the South Shore," presented by Keith Cornell.

Profile for Dyer Memorial Library

Dyer Discourse - Winter '05, v5 - n2  

- "Chinese Tea Basket," a story about an object in the Dyer's collection and also a slice-of-life in Abington a century ago. - Abington Fam...

Dyer Discourse - Winter '05, v5 - n2  

- "Chinese Tea Basket," a story about an object in the Dyer's collection and also a slice-of-life in Abington a century ago. - Abington Fam...