After television newsman Jack Hynes’s wife of 41 years died in 1998, his colleagues at WLVI-TV (Channel 56), where he had anchored the weekday and later the weekend news for 15 years, expected him to relocate from the Chatham townhouse he had shared with Marie to a place in Boston, with its busier lifestyle than the Cape offered.
But it was not an option for Hynes, 76, who stayed put in Chatham because his personal life is centered around the town he and Marie moved to with their young family in 1970. These days he is a senior correspondent for WB56, writing commentaries from his kitchen table and driving up to Dorchester several times a month to tape in the television studios.
Hynes, son of former Boston mayor John B. Hynes, has been a Boston icon since his early years as a WCVB-TV (Channel 5) reporter and anchor dating back to 1958. He grew up in Dorchester, where he lived until he and Marie married and moved to Chatham to raise their children. They ”downsized” to this townhouse in 1990, thinking it was a temporary stop until they would build a home, but they became attached.
”This is all I need,” says Hynes, who admits he spends most of his time in the bedroom and kitchen. He occasionally watches television in the living room, and sits at the dining room table only when his four children or 10 grandchildren visit, but more often he travels to see them, all within a 90-minute drive. (His oldest son, John B. Hynes III, is president and CEO of Gale International, making a name for himself in international real estate development.) Photos of the family sit prominently on a glass shelf in the dining room.
Whichever room he’s in, Hynes is always surrounded by art. ”I’m running out of wall space,” he says. The paintings even line the walls of the back stairs leading to a lower level where son Barry stays when he visits most weekends. Among the art on the stairway are an early advertisement and an original portrait featuring Marie as one of the Breck girl models for the shampoo company.
Other art throughout the home includes Cape Cod and Nantucket seascapes and nautical-themed prints of all kinds, several watercolors Marie painted, and a bright-colored print by artist Corita Kent who later painted the Boston Gas tank in Boston. Hynes also favors Picasso prints, and he owns an ”original” Picasso, of sorts — a postcard of a Picasso exhibition signed for Hynes by the artist in 1953, when as a young man in the Marine Corps Hynes met and spent an afternoon with Picasso in his French villa.
Aside from his art, Hynes is most attached to his books, which fill several bookshelves and spill out onto the living room coffee table. ”I’m a big reader,” he says. ”I’m always three to four books behind,” he says, then points to his current book about the war in Iraq, ”Night Draws Near” by Anthony Shadid. He also reads four newspapers each day.
When not reading, he’s often out doing errands and socializing. Every morning and afternoon, he takes the short drive into town and shares a meal with the friends he’s made through the years.
”On any given day there might be 15 people meeting for lunch at Chatham Squire Restaurant,” he says. ”It’s a neighborhood ‘Cheers’ type of bar, where we catch up on gossip and find out what mischief, or not, people are up to.”
In the evening, he phones for takeout, then drives to pick it up. Although he cooked for Marie when she was ill, he never mastered the oven. ”When she passed on, I said, ‘That’s the end of this (cooking).’ I’ve got a stove, a microwave, and a phone for takeout, so what else do you need?” he says lightheartedly, revealing the warm, familiar smile he shared with viewers for decades.