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.
He told how he is part of a Quincy bowling league put on by Billy M____’s wife, Dianne, I believe, who I once had eyes on until Billy came along. They still bowl with the candlepins at some lanes in Quincy. Talking to him made me recall that we had a candlepin bowling league as teenagers at Uphams Corner. Those were the days before the Patriots and the guys were NY Giant fans. Some of us bowled in the basement of the K of C building on Pleasant Street. I think that was why Dick D____ and Tim O____ and I joined the Knights.
Danny R____ known as the Mayor of Savin Hill dropped by as did his brother Teddy R____, the latter by the way just got elected to his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame for his prowess in football, basketball and hockey. He’s the only guy I know in any hall of fame. Early in the evening I saw Joe C____ who lived a few houses away from me on Sagamore Street. He was one of the older guys. He married married Peggy S____’s sister. I was good friends with his brothers Jimmy C____ and Mikey C____ each of whom passed on much too young. When I think of them for some reason I associate them with walking through the neighborhood on a Good Friday when we had to be silent from noon until 3:00 p.m.
If my recollection is correct they had an Irish setter that went along with us. Mac, the Barry’s dog, who always wandered around with us might also have been there. He’d sit on the front steps and follow me where ever I went even over to the old Army camps off Morrissey Boulevard. That was a great marsh area which was destroyed when the Boston Globe built its plant there. We would explore the open area, catch minnows in the small streams, and sometimes find unspent bullets that we would set off by throwing them into a small fire which we would build. We’d lie flat until they went off.
Joe C____ an old friend from Auckland Street I was delighted to see. He worked a while in the DA’s office with me. Always up and always pleasant and as a result well liked. Then there was Mary G______ and Mikey G_____ her brother. Mary married Larry C____ who didn’t show up even though he’s a neighborhood guy. Mikey always had good information about the neighborhood.
Dick D____ who sat with me seemed to have a good time but tired as the night progressed. He had been given a ride there by Timmy O____ who also brought his brother from Maine, Jimmy O with his infectious smile. Dick should have known it’d be like trying to get a hungry dog off a meat wagon to get Timmy to leave. Timmy was his gregarious self. The last I saw him he was sitting with a group of women self-labeled the Golden Girls. He told me a couple of days later that he invited them to come down for a visit to his Fort Meyer place of abode this winter. A couple threatened to take up his offer.
Two top Boston police officers former superintendent Bob F____ and Detective Sergeant (William) Bo M____ were there and said hello. Bo was the one who heard Brian H____’s last words pinning his hit done by Whitey B_____ on Jimmy F___.
The buffet was tasty. I realized why when I got home. I had to have a couple of glasses of water and later woke up dying of thirst. Yes, they do like to spice the food up with salt.
There are others I talked to: a guy I know whose name I’m drawing a blank on who went in the Marines in 1958, came out in 1961, went to college and back into the Marines, received a commission through OCS served two tours in Vietnam, and retired as a lieutenant colonel after three years on Guam as station commander. Many others who spoke with me briefly or otherwise but as the night and then the days went quickly by they have momentarily slipped from my mind as I write this.
There were some people I hoped to see who if still alive didn’t attend or if they did because of the crowd I never got to see them. These were friends such as Brendan B____, Betty McG____, Jimmy M____, Paul O____, Roseanne D____, Jake O’B ____ or any of the O’B____s, any of the McD____s, Eddie C_____, Porky L_____, Danny S____. There were others who had gone on who I missed such as Gerry D____, Bobby R____. Bobby L____, Joe L____, Luke McD____. Wimpy McD____, and took some good tales with them.
I’m sure as soon as I post this final piece I’ll remember things that I wanted to say or people who I left out. It will be like having made a closing argument in a case. I’d sit down and the things I meant to say came pouring back into my mind. My apologies to those I forgot.
Truly it was a mob scene and a great tribute to the neighborhood that so many people came out. As an old Irishman slowly walking up a Connemara back road as the rain fell softly onto his well-worn dark gray woolen suit under his similarly colored beaten down scally cap with his blackthorn shillelagh cane and old faithful Irish collie strolling aside him said to a couple of Yanks who stopped and stared at him, “take a good look for you’ll never see my like again” I suggest we will never see the like of such a neighborhood as Savin Hill once was again.