Hill Happenings

I recently read “From Broken Glass”, by Steve Ross, a wonderful man whom I’ve known since we crossed paths when we worked with the youth in the City of Boston in the mid ‘70s.

Steve, the father of former Boston City Councilor, Mike Ross, who represented Mission Hill, is a Holocaust survivor. Steve’s happy childhood turned into a hellish nightmare at age 9 in the summer of 1939 in Lodz, Poland, when the Nazis arrived. Steve’s dreadful existence ended in April of 1945 when he was rescued by American troops in Dachau, Germany.  Among the American armed forces who rescued the famished victims on that day in Dachau was Bernie Fitzgerald (Mission High School 1942 and father of beloved Mission Hill state rep, the late Kevin Fitzgerald). 

Steve, now 90, who is a Korean War veteran, Ray Flynn and Kevin Fitzgerald spearheaded the creation of the New England Holocaust Museum, erected in 1995 near the Freedom Trail in Boston. While part of the book was about his astounding survival in the Nazi labor camps, much of Steve’s writing was about later dedicating his life to working with troubled kids throughout the city.

It was nice to see Frank Pedersen mentioned in the book. Frank, who grew up in the Mission Hill project, was also a street youth worker and he and Steve worked together in the D Street projects in South Boston during the ‘60s. About 250 kids attended the basketball clinic at Madison Park High School last month, hosted by Mission Hill home-towner Wayne Selden, who played for the Chicago Bulls last year. Wayne emphasized the fundamentals of the game to the engaged hoopsters. After the ball playing, four barbers took the court, giving free haircuts to the kids. Wayne also arranged for free backpacks, gift certificates, pizza and soda while the unsparing Selden sprung for ice cream from the truck outside the gym. Wayne, who recently signed a one-year contract to play for Shandong in the Chinese Basketball Association, left for China last week.

Forty years ago in October, the Killilea Club won their last Boston Park League football championship, defeating the North End Raiders 14-12 at Casey Town Field in Dorchester. Killilea running backs John Breen and Wally Gleeson scored the touchdowns on that memorable humid Sunday afternoon and Billy Cosby’s last-minute interception near the goal line secured Killilea’s victory. I was the left end on that terrific team, and it was so much fun playing with a group of great guys under an excellent coaching staff including head coach, George Higgins.

Thanks to all who participated in the day of golfing at the Norwood Country Club last month, which raised funds for our Disabled Veterans. Golfing skill was on display by the Mission Hill Killion clan, as the team of Mike Killion, his son Matt Killion, his nephew, Kevin Killion and Marc Bossi were victorious. Kaleigh Daley, age 14, won the award for longest drive of the day. Kaleigh, a sophomore at Dedham High, is the granddaughter of Jimmy Daley and Ellen Daley, a delightful couple who grew up in the Mission Hill project. It was a fun day for a great cause at the Country Club and kudos to Col. George Rollins who organized the yearly event.

Col. Rollins is also restructuring the Mission Hill Post 327. With the local Post building having been sold, the Colonel will preside over a meeting for Mission Hill members, Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Corrb Restaurant in West Roxbury at 7 p.m.

Getting back to the Golf fundraiser, Tom “Dubba” Walsh was a participant. Dubba was a great third baseman for Mission High School, Class of 64. Selected by the Boston Red Sox, he played three years in the Red Sox minor league system. Dubba advanced to the Red Sox Double A level, but his career was cut short when, as an U.S. Army National Guardsman, he was sent to Vietnam.

A tip of the hat to the Mission Hill Legacy Project for sponsoring the Mission Hill Senior Prom, held at the Harvard School of Public Health last month. It’s nice that our seniors stay active and enjoy themselves. Congrats to the Queen of the Prom, Carmen Pola and Raymond Rosario who was crowned the King. I enjoyed a cool end of the summer cookout in the front of my residence at the Charlesbank Apartments at 650 Huntington Ave. on Sept. 21. Despite the rain, nearly 100 residents enjoyed the Jazz band and the burgers. Thanks to the volunteers who made the day a fun-filled success.

It was nice to see the multitude of Mission Hill folks gather at Fitzgerald Park for the Mission Hill Road Race last Saturday under brilliant sunshine. I enjoyed cheering on friends and family members who ran the race, including my son, Robert Martin and my 75-year-old brother Dan Martin. Spotted in the crowd in the walking division of the race was my friend Carol from Mission Hill, a first-time participant. It was enjoyable conversing with old friends from the Mission Hill project, including Joe Tuohey and former boxing champion, Jim McGonagle.  

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