It was a nice send off and thank you party for outgoing State Rep. Jeff Sanchez at the Puddingstone Tavern last month. Jeff, who has represented Mission Hill since 2002, was surprisingly defeated by Nika Elugardo in a close election. Upsets happen in political races but I didn’t see this one coming.
I was reminded of my good friend, Frank Dwyer, who was Mission Hill’s State Rep from 1970-1972. Prior to the following election, I heard negative chatter around the taverns and Ellie’s Donuts (across from Mission Church) from malcontents who were expecting too much from a first-term legislator. Dwyer, a great guy who currently resides in West Roxbury, lost the election in 1972 by 23 votes to Mel King.
Jeff Sanchez’s scenario was different, as I didn’t hear any negativity. Jeff is a liberal but not as far left as Nika. During a debate in Jamaica Plain, Jeff said he favored a $15 minimum wage but Nika went a step further, calling for a $20 minimum wage in the near future. This high minimum wage is ludicrous because the actual wage will be zero if a company can’t or won’t pay $20 per hour, especially to teenagers entering the job market.
I had a nice political chat with Tom Killilea, a 1954 Mission High graduate, last week. Tom, a wonderful man who was an educator in the Belmont school system, ran for state rep in Mission Hill in 1964. However, a victory party was not to be. Tom opted for a defeat party, which was held up the Hill at the “Turkey Trees”. The turkey trees, located between the Baptist Hospital and the basketball courts, is the sight of generations of Mission Hill outdoor drinkers. I asked Tom if he had a big turnout for his defeat party and he replied, “About as many people as I got votes.”
A side bar to Jeff Sanchez’ defeat is I’ll miss his aide, the lovely Alicia Delvento. Alicia would hold court at Mike’s Donuts, taking questions and listening to complaints from constituents, always with a pleasant demeanor. Come back to visit us, Alicia.
Two of our beloved state legislators were Dave O’Connor and Kevin Fitzgerald. I loved Kevin, who was my 1967 Mission High classmate, and my basketball and baseball teammate. Kevin was first elected in 1974 and he passed away from cancer in 2007. Fitzgerald Park is named in honor of Kevin. Fitzgerald Park is the starting and finishing point for the annual Mission Hill Road Race, which will be held on Saturday morning on Oct. 13. Dave O’Connor, a World War II veteran, was Mission Hill’s state rep from 1951 to 1970. A 1943 Mission High graduate, Dave, similar to Kevin, was always looking out for the little guy.
I’m familiar with a noteworthy story from 1956 when a mother of four was arrested by Boston Police at 4:30 a.m. for unpaid parking tickets. Outraged, Dave posted bail for the woman and filed a bill, which prevented similar arrests. Dave passed away in 2011 at age 86.
Old pro boxing guru John Curran from Mission Hill, will be the corner man for Boo Boo Andrade in his WBO middleweight title fight against BJ Saunders, Sat. Oct. 20 at T.D. Garden. On that same night Mike Mangiacotti, Mission High of 1959, will be inducted into the Mission High School Athletic Hall of Fame at Xaverian High in Westwood. Although Mission High closed in 1991, the schools have maintained a relationship, as the Xaverian brothers also taught at Mission High. Mike Mangiacotti was a magnificent quarterback for Mission High and a great baseball player at the school. Mike, a fine gentleman is doing great and he looks terrific. Mike’s entrance to the Hall of Fame is the second Mission High inductee, as a few years ago the famous 1953 Mission High basketball team was honored.
Also on Oct. 20, Paul Fitzgerald will celebrate his 59th birthday. Paul loves Mission Hill, having lived here his entire life. Paul, a hard worker, has been employed at the New England Baptist Hospital for 42 years in Environmental Services.
Condolences to the family of Billy Hegarty, who passed away last month following a battle with cancer. Billy, from Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill, was a hard worker who labored as a roofer. A member of the Old Colony Yacht Club, he loved the sea and boating. Billy will be dearly missed.
A tip of the hat goes to Harvard employee, Mark Coyle, who was the recipient of the Richard Gillis Award for excellence in medical education. Mark, a fine gentleman and a Fenwood Road resident, is a lab technician and he has been employed at Harvard for 32 years.
Last Saturday, I attended the Mission Hill Senior Prom hosted by Wentworth Institute of Technology and it was a fun evening with great food, music and wonderful people. I enjoyed conversing with our senior citizens, among them Theresa Parks, who looks terrific. Thanks to the New England Baptist Hospital, represented by charming Chris Dwyer, one of the many sponsors of the event and also to Laura Adams from Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, also a sponsor. Mission Hill City Councilor Josh Zakim attended the party, as did our state representative-elect, Nika Elugardo. To culminate the evening, Seth Burns and his lovely wife Mary Allendorf-Burns were crowned King and Queen of the prom.