Hill Happenings

The atrocity committed against beloved Andres Cruz, proprietor of AC Hardware, left a void in the heart of his Mission Hill neighborhood. The Boston Police did a tremendous job, immediately arresting the three suspects in Andres’ murder.

Andres was the exemplar of the American dream. He arrived here 30 years ago from Puerto Rico and he worked at the old Blooms Hardware store on Tremont Street before purchasing his own store. Andres was friendly with a witty sense of humor. Recently, I was having a problem with mice in my house. Undecided on what to buy, I had a container of Decon in my hand and I asked Andres, “Is this stuff any good?” Replied Andres, “I don’t know, I never tasted it.” Thanks for the laugh and for being a wonderful person.

Happy 79th birthday to my friend, Jim McGonagle. Jim, from the Mission Hill project at 56 Tobin Court, was a terrific amateur boxer in the 1950s, who fought frequently at the Boston Garden. Jim’s best night in the ring occurred in 1957 at Rollaway Arena in Revere in the New England championships. According to the Boston Herald Traveler, “McGonagle scored a sensational upset over previously unbeaten Ed Mahoney of Medford.” A rowdy Mission Hill throng watched the fight, after which they went to the Harbor Cafe, a popular gin mill at Roxbury Crossing where Jim’s father, Vic McGonagle worked.

Jim Kiernan, a retired lawyer from Mission Hill, passed away last week. Jim graduated from Mission High School in 1961 where he was a three sport stand out athlete and he later graduated from Suffolk University Law School. Jim was a great guy who conversed with me every morning at Mike’s Donuts until his health deteriorated recently.

Kevin Schlehuber has appeared on several “Big Brother” episodes on CBS. Kevin, from a Mission Hill family of seven, is also the father of seven. Kevin was a fine player for “Richie’s Rebels,” the great Mission Hill softball team, named after his late beloved brother, Richie Schlehuber. Kevin previously had a brush with notoriety in 1988 when he was on the Geraldo Rivera Show as a “hunk husband.”

God has blessed “Big Bad John” Sheehan and Eileen Sheehan, a classy Mission Hill couple who celebrated 60 years of marriage on July 20. John and Eileen’s family members accompanied the couple at the Irish Village on Cape Cod to commemorate the occasion.

Happy 91st birthday to John H. Clifford (July 31), a 1943 Mission High alumnus and a World War II Naval veteran. John is devoted to Mission Church, having been an altar boy/altar server for 70 years. As a youth John, was a member of the “Mohawks,” the famous Hill gang who hung around Calumet Street by the “Ledge.”

Good luck in retirement to former Mission Hill resident, Bobby O’Neil, who received a nice sendoff from his peers at the New England Baptist Hospital after a 50-year career.

I work part-time at the Baptist Hospital in Environmental Service and one of my co-workers is Michelet Brun. Michelet emigrated from Haiti in 1991, having been issued a green card. After becoming a U.S. citizen in 1997, Michelet’s dream became complete when he was reunited with his family. Michelet’s family happily left their dwelling in Bon Repos, Haiti shortly after Michelet was granted his U.S. citizenship. Michelet, with his noble work ethic, is the epitome of a successful immigrant. His wife and four children have assimilated and are all working, contributing to our great country.

Rita Grant celebrated her 100th birthday last week with a wonderful party at the Knights of Columbus in Wilmington. Rita was my Tobin Court neighbor in the 1960s and the Grants are a fine family. I fondly recall my friendship with Dottie Grant, an alumna from the Mission High class of ‘68.

The Puddingstone Tavern won the annual Dixie Cup Soccer Tournament last week at Smith Street Playground. The event raises money for M.S. and The Penguin Bar and Flann O’Brien’s also participated in the soccer action.

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