All posts by mtc9393

The Funeral of George H.W. Bush: He Loved His Friends, Family and America

Sometimes I watch these national ceremonies and sometimes I don’t. I didn’t watch the McCain funeral or the events surrounding it. I watched the Reagan funeral and was quite impressed with the manner in which it was handled and the precise choreography of each military action.

I decided to watch the George H. W. Bush funeral. It was after all a national day of mourning and the ceremonies surrounding it I felt would be similar to those of Reagan. Of course the most significant of all these presidential funerals for those old enough to remember is that of John F. Kennedy. Who could ever forget the riderless horse or France’s DeGaulle leading the foreign delegation or the eternal flame or the photo of John Jr. saluting his father?

I didn’t expect Bush’s funeral to come close to that – the JFK funeral was after an assassination that shocked the nation – even though both men fought well in WWII. Today is the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that required the presence of both men in the Pacific theater of war. Bush was lucky to live to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  His funeral was not tragic or very sad but it did remind us of the decent man which he was to his family,  friends, and country.

Dem Were Da Days! Growing Up In Savin Hill. “Over The Bridge” (2 of 2)

The Woods were a place unlike many others in a city. If you click on the map to the left to get a larger view you will see they are designated as “Savin Hill Park” under the number 9.

This is a map of what Savin Hill looked like when I first moved to the area before Morrissey Boulevard, formerly called Old Colony Parkway, was widened and before the Southeast Expressway was added which took one side of Hubbarston Road and a good chunk of McConnell Park.

But as I said, the Woods were by no means the highlight of things “over the bridge.” Where else in any city could one have such close access to three beaches? We had Savin Hill beach, Malibu beach, and rocky Malibu beach shown on the map in blue under McConnell Park. Mostly though we spent our time at Savin Hill beach adjacent to the park. It was even a great hangout on rainy or cooler days for on top of a small rise there was a shelter building with benches. We experimented with jelly fish by putting them on the walkway in the sun and watching the water evaporate from them. On the hot days we waited patiently in line at the concrete water fountain.

Dem Were Da Days! Growing Up In Savin Hill. “Over The Bridge” (1 of 2)

GOK wrote to ask where was “over the bridge” in Savin Hill. I explained it was somewhat like “the other side of the tracks,” indicative of another part of the town. That expression though  has come to mean a part of a town that is considered poor and dangerous which was obviously not what “over the bridge” was like. I was wrong in suggesting that there was any relationship between those expressions.

That expression was used to designate one part of Savin Hill to distinguish it from the other. Thinking back, I’m not sure that those who lived over the bridge used the term; I think it was only those like me who lived on the opposite side from them who used it. This had me thinking more of the differences between those from over the bridge and us others from Savin Hill. As far as the people were concerned there was none for we mixed freely. There was no stigma or scandal for someone over the bridge to be involved with someone who wasn’t as you would have in towns when someone from the other side of the tracks was involved with someone from the right side.

The Death of President George H. W. Bush During A Bush League Presidency:  Oh How A Mighty Nation Has Fallen. 

We should all know what the term “bush league” refers to but for those uninitiated in the patois of the common man I’ll set out a definition I found that seems to encompass it: “mean, petty, unprofessional,” 1906, from baseball slang for the small-town baseball clubs below the minor league where talent was developed (by 1903), from bush (n.) in the slang sense of “rural, provincial,” which originally was not a value judgment.”

True, it may not have been a value judgment but today it is clearly a pejorative. one. Now according to the Oxford Dictionary it means” “Not of the highest quality or sophistication; second-rate.”  Merriam-Webster has it: “being of an inferior class or group of its kind marked by a lack of sophistication or professionalism.” It is in the synonyms that the true meaning can be discerned: “bad, bastard, bush, crummy, deficient, dissatisfactory, ill, inferior, lame, lousy, . . . wretched, wrong.”

The tributes to President George H.W. Bush have been numerous. One I liked that seemed to describe him well suggested that the best adjective that could describe him was prudent. Another, was offered by Vice President Pence whose son  recently “made his first tailhook landing as a Marine aviator on the U.S.S. George Herbert Walker Bush” who said “There was a kindness about the man that was evident to everyone who ever met him. All his years in public service were characterized by kindness, modesty, and patriotism.”

The Savin Hill Reunion: A Night To Remember: 4 of 4

Billy C____, Neal C____ and Jim C____ were the main attractions at my table. The former two were members of a formidable gang called the Corn Poppers. Just its name struck fear in the hearts of others. Lots of their old friends popped in to say hello. Billy J____ as tough as nails dropped by as did another not-to-be-toyed-with guy Frankie W____ .

Donny W____ a former high-ranking official at a local utility who still lives in Savin Hill spent a while chatting. Also met his son or nephew, one of the younger group. Jim C was close friends with his brother Bobby a highly placed BRA member. Those two regularly used to meet with Bobby L____ and Bobby H_____. The latter two unfortunately passed away before their time.

By the way, speaking of that utility, Billy M____, told me that he, his father, and his son have well over 100 consecutive years combined working for it. When I think of Billy M____ I also think of Billy O____ who I went looking for but couldn’t find. I did however spend time talking with his brother Jud O____ who looks like he’s in great shape. I felt his shoulder. It was a mass of muscles. He denied lifting weights. He said it was because he worked hard all his life starting off as a paper boy in front of St. Kevin’s in Uphams Corner and as a delivery boy for a market.

The Savin Hill Reunion: A Night To Remember: 3 of 4

Talking about Gerry D____  reminded me about another girl we all fell for – I forget who it was now,  either Joanne C____, Joanne B____, or Beverly C____. She   wouldn’t give us the time of day. I’ll never forget sitting across from Baldie Sheehan’s when Gerry said he knew who was going out with her that weekend. We all wondered who was the lucky guy. He said: “Yours truly.” It took me a while to figure it out. Even when I did I didn’t want to believe it.

One guy said I was his first lawyer. He said he finally cleared his record up. I figured I didn’t represent him too well so I said, “You had a record?” He said, “I didn’t have a record, I had an album!” He said he really wasn’t a criminal and once he got off the booze he never got in trouble again. A lot of guys could tell that story.

The Savin Hill Reunion: A Night To Remember: 2 of 4

I also realized it was from Bill M____ that I learned the expression, “wie geht es,  Fräulein, is been gut?’  He that if I went to Germany that was I should say to any young women I met. I never knew what it meant until years later when I decided to take the chance to use it.

I was working for a congressman in DC. I was waiting in the outer office to see him having been told a group of German dignitaries were meeting with him. As they were leaving three or four women were in front. I figured I’d impress them. I uttered my long remembered German expression on them. Their looks told me I hadn’t impressed them. Later I decided to look it up. It means as best I can tell: ‘‘how are you, miss, have you been good?”  What was wrong with that? But digging a little deeper the problem was the word Fräulein which assumes an undue familiarity as well as a young single woman.

The Savin Hill Reunion: A Night To Remember: 1 of 4

I wrote about the Savin Hill Reunion noting it was likely to sell out the 300 tickets I had been told were available. I said it would be a 13,909 crowd. Truth be told it was like that but assume Bobby Orr was skating and it was the final game to decide who would win the Stanley Cup and figure hundreds more would have managed by hook or crook or fire escape doors to gain entrance then that is the type of crowd that appeared for the reunion.

I’m told they cut off the ticket sales at 500 but when I went looking for Billy H____ at table 48, sadly I didn’t find him, it seemed there were many more tables beyond 48. Figure with ten people at a table then you have to conclude the 500 figure was an underestimate. I’m not even counting those who gained entrance surreptitiously which would not be surprising since old habits die hard.

I arrived about a half hour late. There were no parking spots at Florian Hall or across the street. I went to a large lot kitty corner to the right as you look out and hoped for the best. It was clear the old neighborhood had turned out in force.