Hill Happenings

About 80 revelers gathered at the West Roxbury Elks to celebrate “Big Jim” Moynihan’s surprise 70th birthday party. A hulking soft-spoken man, Jim is my childhood friend and we grew up in the Mission Hill project in the 1950s and ’60s.

An avid jogger in his prime, Jim was the architect of the Mission Hill Road Race. Jim earned Mission Hill notoriety in the ’80s when he completed seven Boston Marathons.

Big Jim had a swell time, chatting with friends and he was especially pleased to see Donna, Danielle and Melissa. The three delightful women are waitresses at the Busy Bee Restaurant in Brookline. I enjoyed chatting with Big Jim’s family, especially his brother Jack and his sister Terry, both Mission High School graduates who live out of state. Terry Moynihan was a pretty cheerleader at Mission, class of ’63 and she is still looking terrific.

The joyous birthday party was a nice way to reunite friends and celebrate life, especially in light of several deaths of Mission Hill folks, going back to before Christmas when Billy Casey passed away. Billy was a bartender at Curtin’s Tavern (currently The Puddingstone Tavern).

Billy was a good guy and in the old days I hung out with Billy and the gang at the old Peter Bent Lounge (currently The Penguin).

We lost Joe Smolinski last month at age 86. Joe and I, along with a few others, were partners in Mission Hill Liquors before we sold it in 2004. Joe was a Mission High graduate from the Mission Hill project, and also bartended at the Mission Hill Post. Joe was a Marine and he served in the Korean Conflict.

Another Mission Hill native Michael Dwyer, and a Mission High graduate, passed away last month. Michael was a wonderful guy with a generous heart and he was a big supporter of the Salvation Army.

Most recently, Brian Pierce, a retired Boston Court Officer, who grew up in Jamaica Plain passed away. Brian was a good guy and a great athlete. He and I were teammates on the 1979 Killilea Club championship football team. Brian was also a splendid second baseman for the “Assorted Nuts” in the Mission Hill Softball League.

It was a fine sendoff celebration lunch for Rich Rouse at the Mission Bar and Grill last week. Rich is finishing his tenure as Director of Mission Hill Main Streets, at which he did a first-rate job. Host Michel Soltani kept the crowd entertained and the food was excellent.

Faces in the group included Maria Weinograd, proprietor of Mikes Donuts, Eric Alden of Longwood Properties, Inc., former Mission Hill Community Police Officer, Jerry Smart and  Mission Hill’s beloved John Todd.

Thanks to my nice neighbor, Tony Ann Komst for sharing her excellent vegetable soup with me. Tony Ann recently had reconstruction foot surgery at the New England Baptist Hospital and she said the staff at the Baptist was wonderful. Tony Ann had special praise for N.E.B. nurse, Tricia Fitzgerald for being so nice and making her feel comfortable.

It’s  nice to see Mission Hill’s Jake Vaughan doing well in his newest band, “Feedbag”, which has recently performed in P.A.’s Lounge in Somerville and also in Providence.

Mission Hill is proud of Brian Fitzgerald who will work Sunday’s Super Bowl as an N.F.L. Athletic Trainer in the Spotter Concussion Program. Brian is from the Mission High class of “68”, and has been working for the NFL since 2012, monitoring for concussions at the Patriots home games at Gillette Stadium. Brian generally looks at players away from the ball and he has the authority to call a medical timeout by buzzing the referee with the white hat (lead official), and have the player removed from the game for evaluation. 

Brian has been an athletic trainer for 45 years and his full time job is Director of Sports Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Brian has volunteered hundreds of hours of his time in his career, including the Boston Marathon and the Mission Hill Road Race every year and in the old days he was the athletic trainer for the Killilea Club, Mission Hill’s great Park League football team. Getting back to the Super Bowl, it will be a low scoring game with the Patriots prevailing, 23-20

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