By Richard Rouse
The New Year is proceeding in Mission Hill and a special note of thanks goes to all the businesses owners who ramped up the holiday decorating on their storefronts. The neighborhood looked great. Well done to Flann O’Brien’s, Mission Café, Squealing Pig, Penguin Pizza, Tremont House of Pizza, Brigham Circle Diner, Mike’s Donuts, Lilly’s Pasta, Chacho’s, Fuentes Market and Spinney Insurance. All Mission Hill Main Streets’ benefactors help by attending an event, buying a T-shirt or being a sponsor in our purchasing those 85 evergreen wreaths that provide a great seasonal flourish. The only thing lacking was a light dusting of snow for effect. Somehow, I think Mother Nature will make me rue that statement.
2012 has also brought a new challenge to the neighborhood with the news that the MBTA plans to eliminate weekend trolley service on the E Line. State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez is leading the charge to fight this shortsighted decision, which will be a wallop to the economic health of the community and a tremendous inconvenience to its residents. Just imagine the impact this change will mean for all of us, as well as the employees of the institutions, schools and tourists who have been steadily increasing their visits to our museums and cultural institutions? It is ironic that on the very day that the Gardner Museum will be unveiling its new internationally acclaimed addition, the Mass. Department of Transportation has scheduled a community meeting on Jan. 19 to hear testimony about the impact of this decision. MHMS urges everyone to attend and write to Rep. Sánchez and Gov. Patrick at the State House to help communicate what such a rash choice will mean to the area.
Prayers and best wishes have sprung from hearts of many for two of Mission Hill’s finest gentlemen. I speak of John Clifford of Calumet Street who has been recovering for many months from surgery and has been seen recently at his familiar perch in Mike’s Donuts. How wonderful it is to see John, a member of that greatest generation, who is “Mister Mission Hill” for so many.
The other fellow that you’ve heard me speak of so fondly is the former author of this column and friend to all, Barry Twomey. This past Christmas Eve, Barry was driving his new Mazda two-seater on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire when the vehicle spun out on the ice and was hit broadside by an 18-wheeler. Barry was helicoptered to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he has undergone multiple surgeries and will remain for a few more weeks. Barry’s family reports that his spirits are good despite having his jaw wired shut, several broken bones and lung damage. Always the upbeat optimist, I know Barry will battle his way back to us. However, being so far away from his beloved Mission Hill will be extremely difficult. You can drop him a line at One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, which will surely be appreciated.
Finally, lovers of edible bivalve mollusks—oysters—now have a place to go. The Squealing Pig at 134 Smith St. just underwent a facelift with the old wooden bar replaced by marble, floors redone and a new oyster bar installed so that you can enjoy fresh shellfish like the O’Neill’s other Squealing Pig Pub in Provincetown. They have preserved the cozy fireplace and Irish specialties and their “best desserts” proclaimed by the Phantom Gourmet.
The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.