Hill Happenings

Congratulations to Fran Toner, who reached the pinnacle of his career last month when he was named Chief of Campus Police at the Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain. 

Fran, who was previously a Sergeant, is a Mission High School graduate, Class of ‘77. Fran is a great guy and a fine officer, and I witnessed his dedication firsthand when I was the shuttle bus driver at the Shattuck from 2006 until 2014.

Everybody loved John “Harpo” Foley, and I was saddened by the news last week that he lost his long battle with kidney disease at age 73.  John, a retired postal worker, was a Mission High graduate who played on the school’s last football team in 1965. 

I knew John for 60 years, and I seldom heard him raise his voice. John loved sports, and as my teammate on the Mission Club Park League football team from 1966-1970, he was a fierce defensive lineman. 

In 1973, 30 of us took a trip to New York to see the Celtics-Knicks playoff game. We shared the bus with a group of younger kids and the Mission Hill herd had several coolers of beer. 

John was thirsty, but he was seated away from the cooler in the crowded bus, so he politely asked the kid, who he called “rookie” sitting next to him to get him a beer. After the sixth or seventh request, John said, “Rookie, get yourself a beer and while you’re up, slap one on me.”  

John was the best. 

Last month, an event was held at the Kroc Center in Roxbury celebrating Boston’s Basketball legends. Among the great ballplayers featured were Roscoe Baker, Roxbury Memorial, Class of ’57, and Billy Raynor, the great guard from the Mission Hill project, who earned All Scholastic honors in 1970 at Catholic Memorial High School. 

Tony “Amps” Pitts, from Mission Hill, was also included among the legends. Tony’s grandson, Anthony Selden is a terrific power forward for Gardner-Webb, a Division 1 school in North Carolina.  Anthony is 6 foot, 6 inches tall and 235 pounds, unlike the lean kid that I saw play at Snowden High School.

Anthony’s big brother, Wayne Selden, earned a spot on the New York Knicks roster this season after playing in Israel last year. 

Twenty years ago, Wayne was the bat boy for our Mission Hill Liquors softball team up the Hill. 

The Pitts-Seldens are a wonderful family.

This Veterans Day, Col. George Rollins and I had the pleasure of escorting retired Lt. Col. Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse to the Department of Veterans Services Annual Veterans Day ceremony. 

The event was coordinated by dear friend Randace Rauscher and held at the historic Great Hall in Faneuil Hall, Boston. 

During the Ceremony, Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary Cheryl Poppe awarded Woody with the Community Engagement Award for his unwavering dedication to his fellow veterans across the Commonwealth. Woody, a World War II veteran and a Mission Hill resident for 60 years, is a member of Mission Hill Post 327. 

Following our meeting and Christmas party at Florian Hall in Dorchester on Dec. 4, there will be no Mission Hill Post meetings in January and February. 

Who was Santa Claus’s favorite singer? 

Elf-is Presley. 

Merry Christmas! 

All comments are welcome at [email protected]

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