Muggsy Whitaker lived on the third floor of a three-decker at 75 Saxon Street. Luzzy Lundbohm lived on the first floor. That’s at least what I seem to recall although it has been quite a while ago and I haven’t though much of it over many years. So I may not be recalling this correctly but if I’m wrong,, my apologies to Muggsy.
I never knew he real first name. It might have been Matthew. It might not have been. He wasn’t the only Muggsy in the neighborhood. Muggsy Lynch had been around for a while before he arrived. I forget which one of them was friends with Porky Lyons or Wimpy McDonough but that’s not important to the tale.
Muggsy had come to the neighborhood even later than I did. I did not arrive there until after I completed 5th grade at the John A. Andrew in South Boston. Muggsy I believe also moved in from South Boston.
I was a relative newcomer. Most of the kids knew each other from at least kindergarten or first grade in either St. William’s school or the John Lothrop Motley. The latter school was for the kids who weren’t Catholics, had been thrown out of St. Williams, or Catholic people like me whose parents preferred the public schools over the parochial schools.
I had to go to what was called CCD classes for an hour or so a week. It was taught by a nuns. They tolerated little intelligence inquiry. In those days you could not go to communion unless you abstained from food and drink from midnight. I’d notice that some of my friends would smoke before Sunday mass and still go to communion.
Yes, back then it wasn’t unusual for six graders to smoke. Seeing them smoke and being quite obedient to Church teaching myself I thought they might be endangering their souls by doing this. If you couldn’t eat or drink before communion wouldn’t you not be able to smoke?
I resolved to solve that problem the next time I had CCD. During that class I raised my hand. I asked the nun if it was all right to smoke before receiving communion. She came down the aisle and bashed me off the side of the head. She told me I was too young to smoke. I still don’t know if you can smoke before communion.
Anyway, Muggsy came to the neighborhood after me. We hung around together for a while but as time passed we saw each other less and less. I started to hang around with people from my college and then went into the service and to law school. We lost contact until one day I was in Jordan Marsh doing some Christmas shopping with the woman would would become my wife and we ran into Muggsy. He had his arms filled with wrapped presents. He put them down and we chatted for a bit. I figured he was doing well from the amount of presents he had purchased.
I heard the news that Trump had fired Sessions and had hired Whitaker in his place. I had no idea that Muggsy went to law school, become a lawyer, moved out to the Midwest and gained such prominence. Another one of the guys from the neighborhood who managed succeed despite a tough upbringing. I though that Muggsy first name must have been Matthew. Then I saw his photograph. It wasn’t Muggsy.
I then recalled that a couple of days after meeting Muggsy reading a newspaper article about him. He allegedly had been shot during a robbery. He was all right but was being held on bail. He faced charges for that robbery and for one that happened at the same liquor store a week or so earlier. If true, Muggsy’s Christmas spending spree was occasioned by his good luck during the first hold up; why he returned to the scene for a second go around was hard to figure. The store owner seeing him walk in with his hand in his pocket this time was prepared.
I don’t know what happened after that. He might have done some time or beat the rap. Who knows, perhaps he did see the light and straighten out. But you got to admit that It seems though a little bit of a strain of criminality runs along with the Whitaker name. Muggsy may have used a weapon; other Whitakers use other criminal means to gain money. Now take this guy Matthew . . . .