By Peter Levine
Thirty-five years or so since his last run for public office, Dante DiSerio has decided to give it yet another shot, throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate for Councillor-at-Large. Longtime Maldonians might remember Dante for his previous unsuccessful – but spirited – runs for Mayor, Ward 2 Councillor and Councillor-at-Large. Others may know him as their ever-reliable mail carrier, now retired. Some might know him as Bobby’s big brother. Others might know him as a fitness enthusiast, seen power walking the streets of Malden since his retirement (Dante’s best walking partner? Former Boston Celtic center Hank “High Henry” Finkel). Dante DiSerio is “good people,” as we used to say back in the day. I call Dante friend and know him as one of the finest human beings Malden has ever produced. Dante is always available for an in-person conversation, but in case he doesn’t come knocking at your door this campaign season, here is a very small snapshot of Dante’s life:
- My full name is…Dante Joseph DiSerio (Jr.)
- I am currently…retired from the United States Postal Service.
- I am saving up for…an electric vehicle.
- My home is in… Malden, Fellsway, Ward 2.
- I love people who…help others.
- Something I say a lot is…good luck! Hope you feel better.
- I consider myself to be…nice, friendly, lucky to be here.
- I need to have…more help around the house!
- My favorite movie of all time is…Midnight Cowboy.
- My all-time role model is…my parents – dead heat tie!
- I respect people who…work out.
- The best thing anyone has ever said to me is…hey, you look good, Dante!
- I am happy when…I am done working out.
- I find (Jamie Kennedy) funny/hilarious.
- I am named after…my father.
- I have (one) child.
- The farthest I’ve ever been from home is…Italy.
- My special talents are…cooking & speaking Italian.
- I have (no) pets.
- I played sports as a youngster at (Devir) Park.
Destroying gloominess and bringing home the truth; take it away, Jim Magarian (aka Jamie), MHS Class of 1971:
“I have read your column in the Malden Musings several times and thoroughly enjoy the trip back in time.
“Am sure you don’t know or remember me, but I am a MHS alum, class of 71 (and proud of it!)
“Living in Peabody for last 45 years.
“Each article you write, is a blast from the good old days as you say.
“I graduated with the Perry Verge class (I see him on occasion as I we have reffed HS ice hockey together over the years). Steve Brandano was our class President, and we just had our 50th MHS reunion last year (a year delayed due to Covid).
“Your St. Rocco (or San Rock!) coverage was great, as I could not make it this year and really missed being there. My old HS friend John Maffeo filled me in, as I have always tried to meet up with him at the ‘Feast’ every year, same with Anthony Spadafora, Butchie Gennetti (see him at Revere beach on occasion), and some of the other regulars.
“Have been going to the Feast since I was alive, as my mom was from Pearl St. right next to the old St Peter’s Church.
“You recently mentioned your baseball team that you played/coached, with Richie Silvestri! Richie and I worked at the Malden Evening News together on Ferry St. for years, what a great guy!
“Again, thanks for writing the articles, they always bring me back in time to the good days. Always look forward to reading your articles. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated!”
“Malden Back in the Day” – the print version brought to you by “Malden Musings.” Malden in 1912 was not Malden in 2023. Former Police Chief Kevin Molis and I have chatted in the past about what era Malden we would like to go back to and spend a day walking the streets. We both agreed that a stroll through Malden Square during the war years (’41-’45) would have been interesting, but after reading the Police Commissioner’s Report of 1912, I gotta say, the early part of last century might get the nod; a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” type moment. Here are a few of the more, shall I say, interesting aspects of the “doings and conditions” of the Malden Police Department circa the turn of last century…
- There were 939 arrests during the year 1912.
- 836 males were arrested – 103 females.
- The MPD paid its officers $47,866.87 for the year – for the entire department! Officer George Mackay made that in the first quarter this year! Insert smiley face?
- One male and one female were arrested for adultery.
- Five males were arrested for “bastardy.” No idea what that is!
- One male was arrested for “discharging firearms on the Lord’s Day.”
- 311 males and 33 females were arrested for “drunkenness.”
- This one is a real head scratcher; one male and one female were arrested for “fornication.”
- Ten men and 16 women were arrested for “insane.”
- Maybe Chief Cronin can explain this one – 11 men and six women were arrested for “stubbornness.”
- One male was arrested for an “unnatural act.”
- This one here is also a serious head scratcher – one women was arrested for “trespass of fowl.” Somebody, anybody – please help me with that one!
- There were five “dead bodies found.”
- There were 44 “dogs killed.”
- There were 33 1/4 gallons of malt liquor seized.
- Diversity in the MPD was 90 or so years away as Burkes, Mahers, Cravens, Kelleys, Crowes, Shaughnessys and Morans dominated roll call.
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – I know, you yearned for more questions asked and more questions answered by Dante. Ask and thou shall receive, faithful readership, Dante Part 2:
- What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you? I am sort of a health nut.
- Where would you most like to buy a one-way ticket to? Italy.
- What person, alive or dead, would you like to eat dinner with? John Lennon.
- What’s one song to play to put yourself in a good mood? Hey Jude – Beatles.
- What is the one piece of advice that most changed your life? A wise man once said to me – “treat yourself good.”
- What one piece of advice would you give your younger self? “Do the right thing!”
- What’s the one thing that keeps you motivated? Striving for good health.
- What’s the one thing you want to be remembered for? For being a good person.
- Growing up in Malden – most admired or most inspirational mentor? Mel Baron, my teacher at Malden High School.
- Malden has long been known for its outstanding restaurants, delis and bakeries. Growing up what were your favorite places to grab a slice of pizza, a sub or a hamburger? Pizza – Harvard Pastry. Sub – Big A. Hamburger – Joe & Nemo’s.
Postscript 1: It was so kind of Stephen Sylvester to write: “Thank you for such an informative article [San Rocco 2023 Edition]. It tied in so well the history of the Feast and how it brings back people who have moved away from Edgeworth but return to the old stomping grounds on the 2nd weekend of August every year. Also, how generations of the neighborhood keep it alive. A big thanks to the ‘Cannoli Girls’ and good luck on your next chapter of your life along your new journey. Stay the course and keep the Saint Rocco Feast going. Start planning the 100th and make it bigger than ever and hopefully bring more alumni back to celebrate.”
Postscript 2: It was so kind of Scott Millikan to write: “It’s good to hear you praising John Stanasek’s athletic accomplishments at MHS. He was an incredible all-around athlete! John’s class (1976) was loaded with dynamic athletes. Donny Roach was an incredible football, hockey and baseball player! And you can’t say enough about Charlie Russell’s athletic ability! He was the Indoor State Champion in the 600-yard dash two years in a row! He broke his own [Massachusetts] High School record at the Eastern Indoor Championship at Princeton, NJ in the 600 with the 2nd fastest time in the country at 1:12. In Outdoor Track Charlie was the Allstate 440-yard Champion two years in a row. He was the New England Champion at the 440 in his senior year and he was the anchor leg of our 4×440 yd Relay Team that won the 1976 All-States in a record time. He was also a very good Football player at MHS! I had the pleasure of playing with Donny Roach, Charlie Russell, and John Furlong for Bob Rotondi and his 1973 undefeated Knights team.”
Postscript 3: This year big brother Joe was selected to enter the hallowed halls of the MHS Sports Hall of Fame! For this, I shall save a special 1,500 words. Stay tuned.
—Peter is a longtime Malden resident and a regular contributor to the Malden Advocate. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments or criticisms.