Hill Happenings

I was saddened last month by the death of my friend, Joe Looby, but I smile when I think of what a great guy he was and the superb life Joe led. 

Joe was smart, and he was blessed with a keen sense of humor. Joe, a 1960 Mission High graduate, had a part in Brian Culkin’s excellent 2014 documentary, (as did I) “The Mission.” He astutely articulated the pros and cons of growing up in the Mission Hill project. 

Joe loved his music, and he was the man on stage spinning the records on Karaoke nights. Dozens of Mission Hill partiers would flock to bars and dance halls to hear Joe’s “Oldies but Goodies.” 

A Memorial Mass for Joe will be celebrated at Mission Church, Friday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.   

Local athletes, Joe Gillis and (my brother) Dan Martin, competed in the World Handball Tournament last month in Nashville, Tenn. 

Gillis utilized his savvy southpaw serve to win his first match before losing in the second round. Martin, who won the 1994 World Handball Championship (age 50 and over) in County Clare, Ireland, lost in the first round. 

Condolences to the Adams family whose beautiful mother, Anna Adams, passed away shortly after Christmas.

Anna, a soft-spoken woman and a 1953 Mission High graduate, was emblematic of what makes Mission Hill a great place. She was kind and graceful and her sons and daughters are fine citizens. I fondly recall chatting with Anna and her sister, Theresa Parks, several times while sitting on the Brigham Circle bench on warm summer evenings. 

Anna will be dearly missed. 

Sonia Chang-Diaz is our Mission Hill State Senator, and she is a candidate for Governor. 

She was criticized by State Police Association of Mass. President, Michael Cherven, when her campaign organizer, Anthony Collins, wore a hat with an anti-police message. 

Sen. Diaz responded in the Boston Herald: “If the GOP and police unions were actually concerned about chronic distrust in the Black and brown communities, they would spend their time holding their officers accountable, not scrutinizing my staff’s social media photos and looking the other way on police brutality.”

My choice for Governor is Republican Jeff Diehl, a former State Rep. from Whitman. 

As a State Rep. Diehl spearheaded the drive to repeal the gas tax, despite being outspent 30 to 1. This tax would have been backbreaking because when proposed in 2014 it was indexed to inflation. Several of us at Mike’s Donuts signed the petition to repeal, and I submitted the papers to the State House. 

At Mike’s Donuts, we have a new friend, Tim Allen, a City Councilor from Springfield, Mass. 

Last summer Tim’s son, Timmy Allen jr. suffered a major heart attack, and he recuperated at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Tim would go to Mass at Mission Church and pray for his son, after which it was coffee and donuts at Mike’s. The younger Allen made a remarkable recovery, and he is back at his job as principal at Birchland Park Middle School in East Longmeadow, Mass. When the weather warms up in three or four months, I’ll proudly wear my stylish “Timmy Strong” shirt. 

It was nice meeting longtime Mission Hill Post 327 member, John Morrissey, at our Christmas party at Florian Hall.

John, a young 86, was the owner of the old Calumet Cafe (currently the Mission Bar & Grill). John told some interesting tales about the trendy watering hole which later became the “Town House” and the “Choppin’ Block” in the ‘80s. John says he’ll be a regular attendee at our Post meetings, which will recess during the cold winter months.

Q: Why didn’t the shrimp share his food ? 

A: He was a little shellfish.

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