What’s Happening on Main Streets

Recalling how old timers would affirm that… as you age, time flies by more rapidly with each passing year. How right they were. The year of 2018 now sits in the rearview mirror while improved technology eliminates many of life’s inconveniences. However, new ones emerge. Once upon a time, an automobile reaching 100,000 miles was a sure sign that breakdowns and costly repairs would be upon you. Every young man needed to be well acquainted with the art of changing a flat tire and checking engine oil levels. Use of pay phones and having your photographs developed was commonplace. Not now. A clairvoyant couldn’t envision how robocallers and grotesquely over-packaged consumer products would become today’s nuisances. The New Year is the perfect time to pause and contemplate.

At December’s Community Alliance meeting Chad Rosner asked attendees to introduce themselves and indicate what you are grateful for. Someone said he was glad “to see the boarded-up K of C building on Tremont Street is finally no more!” Most heads in the meeting nodded in agreement and another longtime remnant of the landscape disappears. With very little rancor the final 2018 meeting voiced approval for expanding Dome Nakapakorn’s Laughing Monk hours and the addition of cordial sales. Joe and Elizabeth Silveira, longtime owners of the two Dunkin’ shops on Tremont Street, were well received as proprietors of a shop to be located at the street level of the new 33-35 South Huntington apartment building. Nicholas Chen and Christy Henry proposed opening the Tavern of Tales at 1478 Tremont Street. The application for a beer, wine and cordial application was discussed with a very favorable reception. The Tavern concept of a warren of rooms with electronic and board games along with light food and refreshments on the ground level of Jason Savage’s handsome building at the old Clutchworks site is intriguing and met with widespread encouragement. A proposal to construct nine condominium units in a four-story brick structure at the long vacant lot at 101 Heath Street at the corner of Bickford Avenue won kudos for promoting home-ownership opportunities, something rarely seen around these parts.

I received many comments from locals who loved the attractively-decorated 8’ tall birch trees in the lobby of Brigham and Women’s Hospital adorned with dozens of ornaments celebrating the Mission Hill neighborhood. The hospital wished to acknowledge its 20-year partnership with Mission Hill Main Streets as our Corporate Buddy. The hospital estimates that nearly 30,000 people will have seen this exhibit over the holidays. MHMS is extremely proud of its affiliation with this globally recognized medical institution and engaged corporate citizen. Special thanks goes to three talented professionals who always make BWH look good: Wanda McClain, Shirma Pierre and Amanda Mitchell.

A dear friend sent a note jabbing the needle into me about our mutually persistent promises to make time to get together for dinner. Our lives have intersected in many ways since high school days and in his note he referred to that maudlin “old poem Tip would recite.” My pal Bill is one of those brilliant guys who can cleverly provoke the response he wants without offending you.

The Tip that Bill referred to was former Speaker of the U.S. House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill of North Cambridge. Poetry reciter Tip passed away 25 years ago this month. Memories of him are vivid to me and for others of my generation who yearned to emulate his distinguished public service. This month Ayanna Pressley will be filling the seat formerly held by the great O’Neill. Charles Hanson Towne, a popular poet at the turn of the 20th century, composed “Around the Corner” which Tip would recite to exhausted audiences after prolonged evenings of political oratory. Here’s how the poem goes:

“Around the corner I have a friend, In this great city that has no end, Yet the days go by and the weeks rush on, And before you know it, a year is gone.

And I never see my old friend’s face, For life is a swift and terrible race, He knows I like him just as well, As in the days when I rang his bell.

And he rang mine but we were younger then, And now we are busy, tired men. Tired of playing a foolish game, tired of trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow” I say! “I will call on Jim. Just to show that I’m thinking of him”, But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes, And distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner, yet miles away, “Here’s a telegram sir” “Jim died today.” And that’s what we get and deserve in the end. Around the corner, a vanished friend.”

One resolution I intend to keep this year will be to enjoy dinner with my friend Bill. Happy 2019!

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