Hill Happenings

I started writing my column a week early because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and with the country at a standstill because of the coronavirus, I’m sitting at home instead of being in a gin mill with my brother Dan, enjoying the Irish music . 

I’m reminded of an Irish song that my mother liked, “The Saddest Day of the Year is when the Pub has No Beer.” Hopefully thanks to our terrific medical people, this virus will soon be under control. Keep the Faith.

Happy 69th birthday (April 17) to Vinnie Baldwin, a hardworking employee of NStar. Vinnie occasionally stops by Mike’s Donut,s and when we reminisce about the Mission Hill project where we grew up, I  invariably think of Vinnie’s late father, Teddy Baldwin. As a youngster I recall some of the kids teasing Teddy, making fun of his jittery mannerism. When Teddy would hear his name called, he would stop and turn with clenched fist, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Little did I know at my early age that Teddy was a World War II veteran, who fought ferociously in the Battle of the Bulge. Teddy would find his harmony at McCarthy’s Tavern (currently The Puddingstone). Thank you, Teddy Baldwin, who would now be 100. May he Rest in Peace.

Betty Smith, a spirited woman from Mission Hill, passed away last month at age 92. I would often see Betty in the old days at the Mission Hill Post, and I enjoyed listening to her many interesting yarns. I last saw Betty at our annual Mission Hill “Ledge” gathering in 2018. The Ledge, before being developed into the brisk Brigham Circle shopping plaza 25 years ago, was a popular hangout for Mission Hill youth. Surrounded by rocks and bushes, it was a great place for underage drinking. 

Said John McCann prior to our 2018 Ledge photo: “This is the 50th anniversary of me having a beer up the Ledge.” 

Betty quickly chimed in: “It was 75 years ago for me.”

Betty had a great life, and she’ll be missed,

Compliments to Mike Mullin, who composed a series of children’s books, including “Snow Pants” and his latest book, “Honey.” The books are available at amazon.com. Mike and I were teammates on the terrific Mission Hill Liquors softball teams years back, and he is the son of proud parents, Bill Mullin and Virginia Mullin, Mission High School graduates in the ‘60s. After Mission High, Bill went to Harvard University, where he was a boxing champion before graduating from Harvard in 1971. Incidentally, Bill’s “71” Harvard classmate was current Dem minority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer. I’m not one to politicize this virus that has paralyzed our country, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind my readers of Schumer’s idiotic statement following the President restricting air travel from China on Jan. 31: “The premature travel ban to and from China by Trump is an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants;” said Schumer. 

I was sad to hear of the passing of Michael Hoey last month. Michael worked for Eversource, and he was a member of the Utilities Workers of America, Local 369. He and I were teammates on the Killilea Club Park League Football City championship team in 1979, and Michael was a smallish but tough cornerback. 

Michael loved sports and especially attending premiere events, and his gatecrashing skills were legendary. In the 1989 Ryder Cup Golf Matches at the Brookline Country Club, Michael utilized a fake press pass to gain entrance. At the conclusion of the event, which was won by the Americans, Michael was seen hugging one of the golfers, a photo of which was featured in Golf Magazine. A few years earlier, after the Celtics won the 1986 championship, Michael maneuvered his way into the Celtics locker with his concocted press pass. More recently, he was spotted on the sidelines wearing headphones at a Patriots Super Bowl game. More important than his ingenuity in the art of stagecraft, Michael was a great guy.

Our April 9 Mission Hill Post meeting in all likelihood will be cancelled. Last month, the Post made donations to the Mission Grammar School and to the Small World at the West Roxbury V.A. We are also sponsoring a local basketball team, “The Mighty Missions.” 

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