John Picardi was born in Malden on Orchard Street – yes, in the actual house on Orchard Street!
We learned that and so much more on Saturday, when a group of residents gave an early birthday surprise to John with a ‘traveling’ party. John and his wife Sue were expecting a neighbor, but they got a community instead!
Debbie DeMaria, who was traveling and could not be there, made sure a few of us would help to celebrate an amazing 98 years of life! (His actual birthday is March 28th). Candidate for Mayor Lissette Alvarado, Brian DeLacey, Lynn Wang DeLacey, Bill and Tracy Muise and myself surprised them by showing up with cake and party favors. However, it was not the cake that brought John joy. It was the company and we were treated to some great conversation.
Mr. Picardi considers Malden his forever home, even though he left Malden High School to enter the military along with his brothers and many friends. There is so much more to this story, but ‘you had to be there’ to understand!
He told us many stories that day. He is a veteran of the D-Day landings at Normandy and served in other military theaters around the Globe during World War II. Even at 98, his memory is solid and the accounts he gave about his travels and war stories were better than anything you could read about in a history book. Speaking of books, he authored Profile For Love “A story of reality so shocking that it’s unimaginably true” – I believe this lead as he told us some stories that were horrifying, but we saw that it was important for him to tell us and that we listened.
His first wife passed away from cancer, but he found love again and asked his new wife, Sue, if she would move back to the home he loved in Malden. She told me “of course I said yes, that is what he wanted” and she loves it here too!
John is still active in local politics and asked us many questions at the same time he was showing us war memorabilia – his energy is amazing. Mr. Picardi has attended and spoke at a recent Planning Board Meeting and Maplewood Square Committee Meetings regarding the expansion of MVRCS fighting to keep Maplewood Square the homey place he remembers. This is probably why he is known to his friends as “Mr. Maplewood” – a wonderful resident who cares deeply about the City of Malden.
I am looking forward to our next visit and if you see Mr. John Picardi around Malden make sure to say Happy Birthday, he deserves the whole month!