Here I present some random thoughts on 1965 Malden. A coherent thread it may not be at times. Insert smiley face. My recent article on the 1965 Malden Catholic State Champion Football team brought back nostalgic memories for many readers. People had wonderful, vivid memories of their childhood growing up here. Malden was somewhat of a sleepy little burg back in the mid-sixties: two years away from All-American City status, 10 or so years away from the Orange Line bringing the world to our doorstep, a city with the same growing pains as many back in those turbulent ’60s.
Those in Boston proper (notably my mom, who grew up in the North End) called Malden “the countryside.” The only thing “diverse” in 1965 Malden was the choice of bar rooms, taverns, pubs, social clubs, and waterholes. Places we gathered and socialized were plentiful – each distinctive from the other. Our demographics or ethnic population varied little. Although the vast majority did have one common denominator that held us all together, we were a proud working-class city – and still are. The Irish and Italians of Ward 2, the remnants of the Jewish population in the Suffolk Square area, a small but vibrant African American population, and a smattering of this and a smattering of that, which was as good as we could get at that point in time (I will flesh that out later). But each neighborhood had its own distinct flavor and character. From the far-flung reaches of Linden on the Saugus Branch to the West End and Edgeworth, you could find active, tight-knit enclaves full of people with roots proudly dug down deep in Malden’s (sometimes contaminated) soil. Families were large and it was not uncommon to find generations living together or just blocks away. The parks and recreational spaces overflowed with children. Day and night. Civic pride was high and if you wore the “Blue & Gold” you were truly a big man/woman on campus.
Students at Malden High School/Malden Catholic in 1965 were becoming increasingly aware, socially and politically. Finally. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement shared the headlines each night along with that nightmare of a war in Southeast Asia. Students and Maldonians in general were becoming acutely aware of their responsibility as global citizens and were voicing their opinions in ways unheard of just years before.
Here is a small glimpse of Malden 1965 through the pages/eyes of esteemed local daily – David Brickman’s baby – the Malden Evening News:
February 23, 1965:
- At the traditional Washington’s birthday handshaking marathon held at the State House’s Hall of Flags in Boston (Malden boy) Governor John Volpe (and his wife Jennie) shook hands with 6,791 people.
- The A.O.H Division 12 on Charles Street will hold their 93rd anniversary banquet on March 17. The anniversary committee consists of A.O.H. President J.J. Lucey, J. Rock, Mike Conway, Jimmy Lucey, Neal Sullivan, Billy Flanagan, Marcus Kelley, Patrick Kelliher, John Haggerty, John Galvin, Chris Maher, Joey Ryan, Eddie Sheedy and Billy Callahan.
- Councillor-at-Large Paul Callahan, a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, leaves on Feb 24 for California and Hawaii on a three-week tour of Marine duty, taking part in Pacific operations. Major Callahan is also assistant principal at the Forestdale School.
- The Granada Theatre is showing “Sex and the Single Girl” starring Tony Curtis and Lana Wood. The Strand is showing “The Outlaws Is Coming” with The Three Stooges and Adam West and the Hank Williams biopic “Your Cheatin’ Heart” with George Hamilton. My comment: I saw The Three Stooges movie with my older cousin “Big Joe” (Bates) and my little brother, Frank, that year.
- My next-door neighbor at the time, Marty Long’s mom Mary, passed away that week. Mary was only 69 at the time. She was a native of Ireland. The Longs were some of the best people ever and welcomed the Levines into the neighborhood in 1963 like we were long lost “landsmen” from the Emerald Isle.
- The Malden High School boys hoop team beat rival Medford at the Gene Mack Gymnasium in Medford for the 12th straight time, 64-61. Medford’s captain, Stan Fiumara, had a game-high 32 points. Malden was led by Tommy Mercer’s 19 and Tommy Fallano’s 16 points. Future MHS football coach (and Hall of Famer) Paul Finn had 6. My comment: I had the pleasure (misfortune?) of playing against Stan the Man in the Malden Men’s Recreation Hoop League some 20 years after this game. Mr. Fiumara still had serious game. Those Medford teams that played in Malden were stacked with talent: guys like Stan, Tommy Ryser, Jay Sweeney, Mike Hodnett, Bobby Maloney, Freddy Pizzi and Mike McCormack. Forgetaboutit!!
- “Coaches against Players” will take place Feb 27th at the Medford MDC Rink. A few of the Bantam Hockey League managers and coaches participating in the exhibition game will be Paul Surette, Tommy Mayne, Jake Crowley, John Blake, Al McGee, Joe Tomasi, Joey Mayne and Charlie Pini. A few of the players: Phil Shea, Bobby Boland, future Malden Police Chief Kenny Coye, Paul McCarthy, Steve Harris, Ruffino (Ruffy) Mugica (future fireballer), Mike Moriarty, Pete Hanifan, Frank Knox and Arthur Murray.
March 9, 1965:
- The Malden Evening News headline screamed, “8 Youths Face Charges in Court Stemming from Burglary Wave.” Echoing the same sentiments that are heard this very day, Police Chief (John) Buckley told the City Council, “unless the people take an interest and call the department when they see someone acting suspiciously, then things will get worse.” The police broke the case with the help of a call from a citizen. My comment: The names of the juveniles I will not print because of some well-known Malden names involved.
- “Malden Minister Answers Plea, Flies to Selma, Joins March.” Forty-five-year-old (Reverend) Earl Lawson of 120 Madison St. joined an army of civil rights supporters from throughout the nation for the scheduled “freedom march” from Selma (Alabama) to the state capital in Montgomery. My comment: Malden at it’s very best!
- Nelson’s Bakery in Maplewood Square is offering “gaily decorated Shamrock Specials” in anticipation for Saint Patrick’s Day. Shamrock Cookies, Saint Patrick Cups and Saint Patrick Gingerbread Men can be purchased all week.
- “Blue & Gold Alumnus Remembers Anniversary.” Edward J. Hoffman of 61 Acorn St. was business manager when the first edition of The Blue and Gold was published in October of 1915. He became one of the first student editors. His generous $100 cash gift along with a brand-new typewriter made many people at The Blue and Goldvery happy. Eddie, a practicing attorney in Boston at the time, graduated in the 1916 class at Malden High. The gift coincided with the paper’s upcoming 50th anniversary.
- John Forrest (communications – electronics specialist) of Bainbridge Street, Norm Cook (aircraft maintenance specialist) of Lincoln Street and David Atwater (technical training as an office equipment repairman) of Rockland Avenue recently completed U.S. Air Force training at Lackland AFB in Texas.
- Malden High School Class of 1960 are planning their 5th reunion to be held at Valle’s Steak House in Saugus.
- The Malden Business School at 6 Pleasant St. is offering IBM Career Training. Various programs offered are Key Punch Operator, Office Data Processing, Machine Operator, Computer Programming, and Data Processing Specialist.
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – here in Malden 1965, we got up for work early each day (Converse Rubber, Faulkner Mfg., Volpe Construction, Lewis Candy), punched the clock, had a snort or two before we hightailed home for dinner, tuned into the 6 o’clock news religiously (we had trust in Walter) and got a good night’s sleep. Malden 2023 has had an awakening of sorts. Mayor Christenson made a campaign promise to tear down “The Beast That Devoured Pleasant Street,” reconnect Pleasant Street, then introduce us to the phrase “transit-oriented development.” Our fortunes changed. Business took notice. They lined up and came calling (Kevin Duffy has been a busy man!). Malden became a city on the go – no longer viewed as mired in the dismal past. Mayor Christenson and his administration had a strong game plan with a vision for the future – not afraid to make the big, bold decisions. Here in Malden 2023, we get up for work each day (some travel, some remotely), punch the clock (on occasion), have a snort or two before we head home for dinner, tune into the 24-hour news cycle that is available to us now (but not with as much confidence/trust as we had in Walter, unfortunately) and get a good night’s sleep. Sound familiar? Let’s have a toast for Malden 1965 & 2023!