Hill Happenings

March 7, 2014
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Condolences to the family of Tommy Tucker, who passed away last month. Tommy was a laborer and a jack-of-all-trades with his hands. Although he sometimes carried himself with a blustery facade, Tommy had a heart of gold.

By coincidence, my brother, Dan Martin, was reminiscing about Tommy shortly before he died. Dan and Tommy were classmates at the old Boston Trade School on Parker Street when Dan severely cut his thumb in cabinet-making class. Tommy stopped the bleeding and rushed Dan to the Peter Bent Hospital. Dan, showing me his scarred thumb 53 years after the fact, said, “I was lucky Tucker was there and in high school he had his own car.”

Tommy will be missed by his family and his many friends at the Mission Hill Post.

Speaking of the Mission Hill Post, I stopped by one Thursday night to say hello to the boys and the cable TV was knocked out. The quietude from the televisions and the soft music from the ancient radio was conducive to conversation. George Curran reminisced about “5 All Night,” the late-night movie show on Channel 5, hosted by George Fennel about 40 years ago. Fennel lived in Mission Hill at 75 St. Alphonsus St. I recall Fennel chatting about the classic movies, and the show began by displaying a silhouette of Mission Church.

At Mike’s Donuts last week we had somewhat of a more serious conversation, discussing the gas tax, which our elected leaders would like to increase every year at the rate of inflation. One customer, while waiting for his honey dip donut, referred to us as “The Mission Hill Think Tank.” The odious aspect of the tax hike is that the legislators who raised the gas tax get paid to drive to work, a per diem based on their travel distance to the State House.

Belated happy birthday to Joe Gillis. Joe is a great guy, and he is an avid Mission Hill Gazette reader.

Condolences to the family of former Mission Hill resident Lawretta Sherlock, who passed away last month at age 97. Local old-timers remembered Lawretta from the Mission Hill projects at Racine Court. Mrs. Sherlock was a beautiful woman.

Congrats to Leon Graves on his leadership appointment by Mayor Walsh, working with at-risk youths. I coached Leon in Mission Hill C.Y.O. baseball about 30 years ago when he was a polite teenager. He was also a terrific catcher.

Post-Super Bowl tidbit: Peter Moianou (aka Billy the Painter) had Seattle in the Bowl, marking the 11th consecutive year that he has correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner. Peter, a Mission Hill resident of Greek origin, is not related to Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, the late and famous football handicapper.

The building that was formerly Ed Burke’s Tavern, across from Mission Park, was razed last week, conjuring up memories from that famous Mission Hill watering hole. In the ’70s, Burkes would host the finest bands in the city, including Fat City and the singing duo The Odd Couple. A cast of unique characters frequented Burkes. Jack Kelly, for instance, had often requested a coat rack be installed, but owner Ed Burke ignored Jack’s request. One evening, Jack entered the bar with a railroad spike and a hammer. After he drove the spike into the wall and hung up his coat, Jack calmly sat at the bar and had a beer.

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