Hill Happenings

Congrats to Mission Church secretary, Rose Cotrone, who was the recipient of the Cheverus Medal by Cardinal Sean O’Malley at a ceremony at the Cathedral of Holy Cross last Sunday.

The award recognizes those who have served church life in exemplary ways. I often stop by the church rectory to see Rose, seeking information. Rose has worked at the Church rectory for 32 years, and she is more than a secretary. Rose is a distinguished parishioner who loves Mission Church.

Kenzie Bok will be the new Boston City Councilor from District 8, which includes Mission Hill. Kenzie is a terrific woman, who occasionally stops in Mike’s Donuts, and I enjoy chatting with her about local matters. U.S. Senate-candidate, Joe Kennedy visited Mike’s Donuts last month after conversing with the patrons at Penguin Pizza, the terrific Brigham Circle restaurant owned by Dermott Doyne 

In addition to electing the candidates last month, there was a non-binding ballot question regarding changing the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square. Thomas Dudley, for whom the Square is named, was the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and he died in Roxbury in 1643. Citywide the voters cast their ballots against the name change, but the majority of Roxbury voters opted for the change to Nubian Square. 

If Dudley Square were to be changed, I recommend naming it after a distinguished Roxbury person or persons, and the Haynes family comes to mind, instead of Nubian, which refers to an ancient African empire. Rev. Dr. Michael Haynes, who died in September at age 92, was the pastor of the historic Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. He was a relentless fighter for civil rights and Rev. Haynes spent time with Martin Luther King when MKL came to Boston in April of 1965 to speak at the Boston Common.

The oldest in the family is Roy Haynes, 94, the great jazz drummer who played in the famous Charlie Parker Quintet Band. Other family members include Roscoe Baker and the late Vincent Haynes and the late Douglas Haynes. Roscoe, 82, was the director of the Roxbury Boys & Girls Club, and he was a terrific basketball player, titillating the large crowds at Tobin Gym when he played for the Boston Bruins hoop team in the ‘60s.

I’m honored to say that I was a close friend of Vinnie Haynes, having first met him in Mission Hill years ago. Vinnie, who was a World War 11 veteran, loved photography. I cherish the framed picture he gave me that he took in 1952 of a Boston Park League football game at Fens Stadium.

One Sunday afternoon, I spent hours at Vinnie’s Roxbury home, having dinner and listening to his stories. One story he told me had Vinnie officiating a Park League football game in South Boston in the mid-‘60s. The Southie home team lost, and after the game, the referees became the object of vilification, and a handful of knuckleheads used racial slurs. Vinnie had parked his car across the field near the projects and the other referee tried to persuade him to leave his car there until later for safety reasons. Vinnie declined, and as he was about to get in his car, he got anxious when he saw a group of kids moving toward him. Vinnie sensed trouble, but then one of the Southie teenagers shouted: “Hey, ref, good game.”

I loved Vinnie, and although I voted against changing the name of Dudley Square, Haynes Square has a nice ring to it.

A nice farewell party was held for Waldianika “Waldo” Neptune last week on her last evening working the front desk at Charlesbank Apartments where I live at 650 Huntington Ave. Waldo, who studied at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy isn’t going far, as she will continue her pharmaceutical training at CVS in Mission Hill.

It was cool seeing my friend Emerson Chadderton profiled on the cover of “Heart of the Hill,” a magazine published by New England Baptist Hospital-Lahey Clinic. Emerson and I work together at the Baptist, where he is our team leader.

I enjoyed talking some politics with Mission Hill resident, Joe Christakis, who is a junior at Wentworth University. Unlike, the majority of his classmates, Joe is a supporter of President Trump. Joe, who is personable and intelligent, is the grandson of Peter Christakis – the owner of the famous Busy Bee Restaurant in Brookline. I now know why I write, having read a 60-year-old quote from Mary Flannery O’Connor who said: “ I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

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