Hill Happenings

June 14, 2013
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As the youngest of six, I’m a lucky guy to have had a terrific big brother. Thanks, John. John Martin passed away peacefully in Las Vegas June 2 after an enduring illness.

A deluge of memories of John billowed through my mind, from our days growing up in the Mission Hill projects to John’s days pitching for the Owl’s Nest in the Mission Hill Softball League.

When I was 7 or 8, John took me to the Boston Park League Football championship game at Fens Stadium to cheer on the local team, the Hilltoppers. It was a cold Sunday afternoon, but there had to be at least 3,000 fans. At halftime, John took me into the Hilltoppers locker room to get some heat. I vividly recall feeling like a big shot sitting next to the players, and I got to hear the Hilltoppers’ coach’s halftime speech. At age 7, it was a perfect Sunday with my big brother.

John was a lucky guy. He had a lovely wife, Chris Martin. A few year ago, my brother Dan and I flew to Minnesota to attend the wedding of John and Chris’s son, Richard Martin. John never stopped being the big brother. At the wedding reception, John chided brother Dan, “Take it easy on the drinks. Dinner won’t be served for another hour.”

There will be a Memorial Mass for John at Mission Church on Tues., July 2 at 12:10 p.m., said by Father Lavin.

I’m told that Harvard is cutting back on some of their local contracts. One of the casualties is New England Pressure Washing, owned and operated by local hard worker Mike Cosby. Back when I was the manager of Mission Hill Liquors, Mike would steam-clean in front of the store, leaving it as clean as a hound’s tooth. Here’s hoping Harvard renews its contract with New England Pressure Washing.

Last month at the Corrib restaurant in West Roxbury, I got to say hello to Father Robert Lennon from Mission Church. Father Bob is the Healing Ministry priest at the Basilica.

There are a few old-timers around the Hill who remember Father Bob when he was a terrific baseball player as a youngster. In 1944, Father Bob was an infielder on the Mission CYO State Championship team, which played games at Braves Field and Fenway Park.

Mission Hill mourned the death of Alfie Shargabian, a 1969 Mission High School graduate, who passed away unexpectedly last month at his home in Florida. Alfie, a retired MBTA bus driver, loved baseball and coached in the Mission Hill Little League.

A good athlete, Alfie played baseball for Mission High, and when he was a sophomore and I was a senior, he and I were teammates. During that season, Alfie clouted a grand-slam home run at Jefferson Park. I fondly recall the ball sailing far over the rocks down the left-field line and Alfie circling the bases with a big smile.

Condolences to the family of former Mission Hill resident Gerry Coughlin, who passed away last month. Gerry, who lived in Whitman, was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was a retired letter carrier, having delivered the mail in Grove Hall for many years.

Gerry was a fierce defensive lineman for the great Killilea Club football team more than 40 years ago. More recently, Gerry enjoyed his retirement, spending time with his family and attending church. In fact, in recent times Gerry became the pastor emeritus at the Promiseland Family Church in Rockland.

Good luck to local basketball headliner Wayne Selden, who graduated from Tilton School in New Hampshire last month. The 18-year-old, 6-foot-6-inch guard will attend Kansas University on a basketball scholarship. Wayne’s Mission Hill grandparents, Tony and Mary Pitts, hosted a cookout commemorating Wayne’s milestone. Among the faces at the cookout was Alfreda Harris, the founder of the Shelburne Center in Roxbury. I enjoyed reminiscing with Alfreda about the Mission Hill basketball days from yesteryear.

Of course, Mary Pitts’s food was superb. In fact, when I left the cookout, I took a plate of food home.

Good luck to local real estate man Joe Sheehan, who is back in the business, working for Brigham Circle Property.

I engaged in an interesting chat with local poet Brian Williams last month at Mike’s Donuts. Brian’s poetry reading was the main attraction last month at the Parker Hill Library, which attracted a sizeable audience. I liked Brian’s poem “Itz Really Cool 2 Stay N School.”

I often stop by the 7-Eleven in Mission Hill for small items. All the workers are courteous and efficient, but my favorite clerk is Martha Gebrekristos. Martha is affable and gifted with a beautiful smile. Martha, who works evenings, has an identical twin sister, Sarah Gebrekristos, who works Sundays. I’m told that Sarah is also charming.

The late John Martin. (Courtesy Photo)

The late John Martin. (Courtesy Photo)

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