Hill Happenings

Frank, a brilliant, multi-talented man, was born in Charlestown, but fell in love with Mission Hill after his first beer at Ed Burke’s Tavern in the ‘60s.

He was a terrific athlete, playing  quarterback for the Killilea Club, and he played for the famous “Owls Nest” in the Mission Hill Softball League.

 Frank was a gifted actor and in the early days of the Mission Hill Theater Group, he starred in various plays including “The Odd Couple.” More recently, Frank appeared in several award-winning Boston movies including the 2010 crime thriller “The Town,” when he portrayed a Boston Police officer outside Fenway Park.

In real life Frank was also a police officer, joining the Chelsea force in 1974, and he later became a lawyer after attending night school. Frank rose through the ranks and he became Chief of Police in Chelsea in 2001.

 Frank, with his wit, could find humor in anything but he also had a heart of gold. About 20 years ago a close friend of mine, a single Mission Hill mother, was worried sick about her 14-year-old daughter, who hadn’t been home in four days. The teenager was hanging out in Chelsea with older kids, so I immediately called Police Chief Garvin, and he told us to come by the next day.

 I’ll never forget  Frank’s words as the three of us were sitting in his office and my friend sobbing. Frank put his arm around her and said, “Don’t worry, honey, we’ll find your daughter.”

The Chelsea detectives found the troubled youngster in a few days. Twenty years later, daughter and mother are doing well.

Thanks, Frank.

Happy 91st birthday (Aug. 9), to Mr. John Todd, a gem of a man, who I am fortunate to have known since our days at Tobi Court in the Mission Hill project.

 A few months ago I stopped by John’s Calumet Street home, when John’s son, Kevin Todd, was visiting his father. Kevin chuckled to his dad, “Your son, Mossy, is here.”

There is an element of truth there, as Mr. Todd, with his wisdom and street smarts, has been a second father figure to many Mission Hill kids and adults.

 John still has a sharp mind, and I enjoy hearing his anecdotes. When I visited John last week, he elaborated on the story in 1966 when John was a Northeastern University policeman and had the privileged assignment of picking up the great Jackie Robinson at the airport.

 Robinson, who was to speak at the college, was major league baseball’s first black player. Robinson was nostalgic, and he asked John to cruise by Commonwealth Ave. to Brave’s Field, where he had played many games.

 John said, “Robinson was a gentleman and he couldn’t have been any nicer.”

John has a lifetime of tales, and as I often walk around the Hill, I’ll stop by John’s home soon for some new and old stories.

Condolences to the family of Annette (Gleeson) Gear who passed away July 7. Annette was a beautiful woman in so many ways. She was the mother of three terrific children and Annette took special pride in being a big sister to her six younger brothers and a sister.

Annette, who was blessed with an angelic personality, was a member of the Mission Hill Post 327, and upon her social calls to the Post, the place would come alive.

Her husband, Kenny Gear passed away three days before Annette. May they rest in peace.

Sonia Chang Diaz, who represents Mission Hill in the State Senate, is a candidate for Governor. I voted for Charlie Baker in 2014 and 2018 but it’s time for him to go. 

Baker recently signed a bloated $48.1 billion budget, and I doubt many of the legislators read the 422-page fiscal document.

 “I rely on the leadership (meaning House Speaker, Ron Mariano) to read the budget,” said a veteran lawmaker to Boston Herald scribe, Peter Lucas.

One way to curtail the Speaker’s power is term limits.

Last month, however, when a motion was proposed to limit the Speaker to serving eight years, it was quietly defeated 125-35..There are still many Mission Hill businesses displaying  Help Wanted signs including the Stop & Shop, which could use more cashiers to alleviate long lines.

 Workers are needed everywhere and some establishments are getting desperate.

My brother, Dan, recently stopped in the “Dollar Store” near his home in Revere and the sign read: “Help Wanted Get Paid Tomorrow.”

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