Hill Happenings

I felt like a kid in a candy store last month at the Museum of Fine Arts admiring the paintings of gifted Mission Hill artist, Itsuo Kiritani. The paintings were on display for one day at the Shapiro Courtyard. Among the dozens that I viewed, my favorite paintings were one of our own Mike’s Donuts and a beauty of the Coolidge Corner movie theater. Itsuo is a great guy and I see him occasionally when he and his lovely wife, Elizabeth stop in Mike’s for a coffee. 

Since I got older I have appreciated the M.F.A. and a canvas painting that is permanently at the museum  is, “The Passage of the Delaware” by Thomas Sully-1819. This is a fabulous depiction of General George Washington leading his troops across the frigid Delaware River enroute to victory at the Battle of Trenton in 1776 five months after we declared our Independence. This is food for thought, as I and my fellow Mission Hillers fire up our grills on Monday, July 4 to celebrate America’s 246th birthday. 

Condolences to the family of George Stanton, a lifelong Mission Hill resident, who passed away last month. George was a Mission High graduate and he proudly served his country in the Korean War. George was devoted to Mission Church and he was a member of the Mission Hill Post 327. May he rest in peace. Mission Hill also mourned the death of Katie King last month. I didn’t know Katie but I’m friends with her siblings and they are a wonderful family. Katie was a brilliant student at Mission High, class of 1960. She and her husband, Dickie Cobb had 6 children and 15 grandchildren. R.I.P. Katie. 

When several of the Mission Hill Post members gathered at Brigham Circle to observe Memorial Day, the headstone of the U.S. Private John J. Pike was brought to my attention. Pike, a Mission High graduate, was killed in action in Sicily in Nov. 9,1943. God Bless Private Pike and the more than 400,000 from our Greatest Generation who gave their all for us.

It was nice meeting new Mission Hill resident, Doctor Todd Jones last week at Mike’s Donuts. Todd graduated from Columbia Medical School May 18 and he is now working at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Hard work paid off for Todd who is a nice guy. 

Happy 50th birthday (July 7) to my son, Rob Martin and thanks for making me proud. Tayla Paschal will celebrate her milestone  birthday this weekend (July 1). Tayla is the assistant manager at Charlesbank Cooperative Apartments in Mission Hill, where I abide. She has a delightful disposition and Tayla does her job with zest, creating an atmosphere that we Charlesbank shareholders are one happy family. 

Good luck in retirement to my friend, Dan Sweeney, a long time Mission Hill resident. Dan was a loyal employee in the City of Boston Housing Department. Belated Happy Birthday (June 15) to Randace Raucsher. Randace is a charming young lady and she celebrated her birthday with many friends at Brendan Behan’s in J.P. Randace does a terrific job as Director of External Affairs at Ma. Dept. of Veteran Services and she is also a talented artist. 

Golfer Fran Toner became a Mission Hill headliner last month when he banged a hole in one  at the Riverbend Golf Course in West Bridgewater. Toner’s spectacular shot occurred on the 185 yard 14th hole. Fran is an avid golfer and it is a nice respite from his job as Commissioner of Campus Police at the Shattuck Hospital. 

Thanks to the New England Baptist Hospital for sponsoring the Senior Celtics Exercise Program last week at the Tobin Community Center. I enjoyed chatting with celebrity guest, Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell. I surprised Maxwell when I repeated his 1984 quote prior to game 7 of the Celtics-Lakers series. “ Climb on my back, boys”, said Maxwell, who scored 24 points, leading the Celtics to the championship. 

Also in our conversation was Mission Hill’s favorite nurse, Mary Allendorf-Burns, now retired after 50 years of nursing. When I reminded Maxwell that Mary’s work was far more important than his job, the former great Celtic adamantly agreed. 

John Spinney from Marshfield passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family. John, formerly from Jamaica Plain, founded Spinney Insurance in Mission Hill 35 years ago. John, a Boston College graduate, was a distinguished businessman and Spinney Insurance is still a first class operation, run by John’s son, Mike Spinney. I often stop by Spinney Insurance at 1560 Tremont St. to chat with my friend Mike and I also am a client of his. 

What do ducks like about the Fourth of July ? Fire quackers ! Happy Independence Day.   [email protected]

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