On April 4, 1946 Mission Hill’s Charley Kelly was discharged from the Navy, as World War ll was finally over. Charley was picked up at the Fargo Building in South Boston by his brother Martin Kelly and their friend Red McIntyre and the three went to the Calumet Cafe (Currently Mission Bar and Grill) for cold beers.
Just a few years earlier Charley was playing basketball at Saint Alphonsus Hall where he was a part of the famous Kelly basketball family along with his brother, Ivan Kelly for Mission High School, class of 1943. Shortly after graduating from Mission, Charley enlisted in the Navy. He was a radio man on the USS Wasp and he was in battles in Guam, the Marianas, and Okinawa. It was in Okinawa when disaster struck, as a 500-pound bomb gashed through the decks of their ship, killing 200 American soldiers. The luck of the Irish was with Charley on that awful day. Exhausted after finishing duty, Charley opted for rest in lieu of the lunch hall where many of his comrades lost their lives.
Although it’s been 72 years since that day at the Calumet Café, it is etched in Charley’s mind, happy to be home but bereaved at the loss of so many brave men. Charley, currently residing in West Roxbury, is still sharp as a tack. On May 24, this wonderful man from the greatest generation will celebrate his 93rd birthday.
Joan Kern will also celebrate her birthday on May 24. Joan, a Mission High alumna, is the mother of the four terrific Kern boys and she was married to the late and great Ed Kern.
The Massachusetts Senate approved bill S2371 on April 4, which was singed by Governor Baker and will implement major changes in the criminal justice system. The bill was pushed by our Mission Hill state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Quoted in last month’s Gazette, Chang-Diaz makes valid points about problems in the criminal justice system, including too much money being spent incarcerating inmates and CORI reform. However, a more urgent problem is that of shortsighted Massachusetts judges giving light sentences to thugs, who get out and re-offend. A few years ago, Bampumim Teixeira, a guest of our state with a green card, was twice convicted of bank robbery, but he was sentenced to less than a year in jail and he was not deported. Last May, Teixeira murdered two South Boston doctors, Lina Bolanos and Richard Field, after breaking into the couple’s home.
Two weeks ago alleged “Uber rapist,” Frederick Amfo, was foolishly released on bail in Quincy Court by Judge Mark S. Coven. Amfo allegedly took the first flight out to his home country of Ghana, probably never to face justice. It’s nearly impossible to dismiss a judge in this state. In the last century there has been one Massachusetts judge expelled, Judge Jerome Troy, in 1973 for “judicial corruption” by Gov. Francis Sargent. I urge state Sen. Diaz and our state Rep. Jeff Sanchez to push for a bill that will make judges accountable, if not elected, perhaps a review of their decisions every two or three years.
On a more upbeat note, congratulations to my friend Ellen Saucier who will receive the Kevin Fitzgerald award for her advocacy of Mission Grammar School. Ellen will be recognized at a Mission Grammar fundraiser at Emmanuel College May 17 at 6:30 p.m. For ticket info, visit missiongrammar.org/RoadToCollege. Ellen Saucier attended Mission Grammar, and later Mission High where she was a terrific softball player. Mission Grammar was founded in 1893 and the school has a wonderful principal in Aliece Dutson. The students love Aliece and they call her Cyndi Lauper because of their similar looks. Happy birthday to my lovely neighbor, Lisa Kunkel. Lisa will celebrate a milestone birthday May 4 and the next time I see Lisa in the Puddingstone Tavern, I’ll buy her a Bass Ale.
Play ball ! The Mission Hill Little League began play this week, preceded by the terrific parade on Saturday (April 21), as many families gathered around the Hill to watch the festivities. I played on the Red Sox Little League team in the early 1960s at the Smith Street Playground and I have fond memories, being a teammate of John Killion and Phil Thompson, who became my devout friends. In 1964 the Little League changed locations from the Smith Street dirt field to the grassy field up the Hill, which is now called Killilea Playground. Mission Hill trivia, the first batter in the sparkling new Little League park 54 years ago was Billy Westerman. Yankee hurler, Jack Todd struck out Westerman on a high hard one.
Last month I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of dinner and chit-chat with beautiful Janine Welch and other friends and family members. Janine is participating in the Maine cancer fundraising drive, “Tri for a Cure.” For more info and to make a donation in Janine’s name, go to bit.ly/2JFoWIe.
Happy Birthday to Danny Adams, who will celebrate his 50th birthday on May 18. Danny, with his Mission Hill street smarts, is a terrific and dedicated Boston Police officer. Danny’s younger sister, Laura, will celebrate her birthday May 12. Laura does wonderful work, tending for our Mission Hill senior citizens.