- T.J. English came to Boston
- Planning to tell a story
- With pen and paper in his hand
- He was seeking a little glory
- T.J. English arrived in Boston
- Hooked up with local hoodlums
- He got an earful of fancy tales
- He couldn’t tell they were foolin’
- T.J. English while in Boston
- Hung out with the media guys
- The story that he thus produced
- Was a repeat of all their lies.
- TJ. English wasn’t from Boston
- He had a chance for glory
- He fell in with the wrong crowd
- And missed the real big story
T.J. English is a very good writer of crime stories. He’s from New York City. Perhaps he knows that crime scene well. Perhaps he is aware of the right people to talk to so that he gets his facts right. He has one problem endemic to people from that city. He thinks the rest of the world operates like the Big Apple.
It is very hard for a guy from New York to understand Boston; just like it would be almost impossible for a guy from Boston to get take the correct cut of the jib of New York City. How could a guy new in town know when he’s being taken for a ride? T.J. English didn’t even suspect it.
English tried to suggest he is not a stranger to Boston. He tells of how in 1979 he visited South Boston as an 18-year-old teenager. His purpose was to visit with one of his former teachers who was then at the all-girls Cardinal Cushing High school in South Boston. Hanging around those pretty high school girls of his age apparently they talked about the local scene.
He suggests his teenage talk with these girls involved the Bulgers. He writes: “The name of Whitey Bulger was not yet well known, even in the neighborhood.” How did the name even come up? Hardly would English a stranger have heard of him. Perhaps, because as English wrote the girls at Cardinal Cushing mostly knew of the Bulgers because of “Senator Billy Bulger, who was a figure of renown.”
English’s recollection though is important. We have read how Whitey was terrorizing the neighborhood, if not the city, for a quarter of a century. How does that square with him being hardly known in Southie his home section of the city. You’d have to accept that he was far from notorious.
In 1994, fifteen years after English’s encounter with the Cardinal Cushing girls, Whitey would have vamoosed from the area. To become notorious Whitey had those fifteen years in which to build his reputation. English would later write:”Whitey was the real deal. He made humans disappear. And when the bodies washed up on Carson Beach, or were found stuffed in a ten-gallon drum or appeared unceremoniously at O’Brien’s Funeral Parlor, nobody said nothin’.” I suppose that would have been the case if any of that happened. It didn’t. People disappeared for sure but there were no bodies washing up on Carson beach or in ten-gallon drums or suddenly from nowhere appearing at O’Brien’s. Writing such things is buying into a myth which T.J. English seemed happy to embellish upon.
Whitey’s career is notable for one thing which is until he was hyped up by people writing books or in the media he was hardly known outside of in his native South Boston, the criminal element or some law enforcement groups during his days of glory.
He was sentenced in 1956 to prison for several armed robberies, he hit the street after nine years in 1965, he went straight for a bit but chafed at that life style especially after his son died. Around 1970 he became a strong-arm guy for the Killeens who controlled the South Boston rackets. They would get into a small bloody conflict with the Mullins wherein three people died, one from the Mullins gang and two of the Killeens. Seeing he was on the losing end in 1972 Whitey went hat-in-hand to join up with Winter Hill
In the summer of 1974 Whitey met Steve Flemmi his future partner. Flemmi had been hiding out in Canada until the FBI fixed it so that the murder and other charges against him could be dismissed. They were partners with five others in Winter Hill: John Martorano and Howie Winter, the leaders, Joe McDonald, Jimmy Sims, and Jimmy Martorano.