What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Ellen Walker

Special to the Gazette

If weather is one of the favorite topics in New England, then the month of February certainly left its mark. Snow, sleet, sun-shine, high winds, rain and spring-like weather all made their appearance last month.  Nonetheless, our local businesses kept their doors open and stayed strong despite all of nature’s challenges.

Valentine’s Day at the Parker Hill Library was celebrated by many caring individuals known as the gratitude planning group who surprised the library staff with beautiful, thoughtful Valentines and gifts! Mission Grammar students, and residents of Mission Hill, sent a selection of wonderful valentine cards and thoughts that were packaged in an exquisite box created by Lydia Polanco of the Mission Hill Artists Collective. Catherine Delorey, one of the organizers, spoke on behalf of the group saying “it warms my heart to be present with friends and it was so much fun and such a wonderful idea. We love you all. This just came together with Valentine’s from all over Mission Hill!”  She then presented a plaque to Karen Gallagher, branch librarian and all the library staff, thanking them for their dedication and steadfast friendly service to the community through the COVID pandemic months, helping us to stay connected and encouraged.

Karen spoke about the staff extraordinaire and how awesome Ivette, LaNiesha, Mara, Erica, Thealyn, Anna, Mary, Theresa and Tucker are.  Patricia Foley, BPL Director of Neighborhood Services was also present and spoke very highly of the team and the generosity of the community. Councilor Kenzie Bok spoke briefly stating “I love all neighborhoods, but Mission Hill is a pretty special group of people.” She always looks forward to opportunities to spend time here.  Next time you are at the library, be sure to stop by and sign the gratitude book!

Boston is known for its renowned educational institutions and many of them are in Mission Hill area. These include Emmanuel College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Northeastern University. All have pledged generous support to our 25th celebration planned for September 10th. These schools and their student are not only the bloodlines to our local business but also help sustain the work MHMS does for the community.

We are delighted that the Needham Bank has signed on to be the Community Business Partner for this special, one-time only event. I recently overhead a very satisfied customer leaving the Tremont Street branch and saying, “they have the friendliest tellers in there!”  It goes without saying that is an essential part of being a community bank. Gar Chiang, the MHMS Board President said “Needham Banks business philosophy connects to what we do at MHMS.   As they reach out to the communities Needham Bank serves and supports small businesses,  I can see why they are the best partner for this event.  Together we will work and share our ideas to make our community more vibrant!”

Do you have a fabulous photo of Mission Hill 25 years ago?  We recently found this one of Calumet Market – how many of you remember the old grocery store? Do you want to share your photos of both the main street businesses and places with us as part of our quest to find vintage photos to display at our 25th anniversary community event? Please indicate as many details as you can about your photo/s and send them to MHMS, 1542 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120 or [email protected]. Thank you!

One of MHMS Advisory Board members, Tricia Fitzgerald, remembers Calumet Market … and more.  She recently shared some memories with us of growing up on Mission Hill.  Here is her story along with a great photo from 1959!  “There is no conversation I enjoy more than the one that springs from answering the question where are you from.”  As one of seven children who grew up on Mission Hill, where both of my parents grew up as well, I recall many wonderful people, places, and memories. As small in area as Mission Hill is and no matter who asks the question, I can almost always make a connection to a person, place or event involving Mission Hill. Hence, the iconic t-shirt: “Mission Hill – we are everywhere!”

When I think back as to what was so special about growing up here, the schools, parks,  parish, library, Tobin Gym, St. Alphonsus Hall, and so many of the local establishments come to mind. But it is really the people connected to those places that made so many great memories. My neighbors in the projects, especially the moms, so strong, caring, and supportive, will always hold a special place in my heart. By example, they taught me so much.”

Great news on the soccer front. Mike O’Rourke, Area B-2 Mission Hill Community Service Officer, said they are looking forward to bringing back the Dixie Cup Soccer games this Fall.  Pamela Carthy from Penguin Pizza said this was always a fun, family day for everyone – including the players!

MHMS wishes you all a safe and healthy month!

“March is the Month of Expectation.

The things we do not know –

The Persons of prognostication

Are coming now.”

Emily Dickinson, March is the Month of Expectation

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