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~ Malden Musings ~ “Frankie DiSano 1945”

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“My Scrapbook of Malden High School Football” by Frank DiSano – Right End, Class of 1945. These are the words of MHS senior Frank DiSano as inscribed in his scrapbook. “Every high school football player cherishes the remains and the reminders of his football career. To look back and see what his team did or did not do is a heartwarming reading period. This is why I have pasted into this book my treasures. I shall always wish that I could again, one day, repeat my football career. Although I had many faults, I have no regrets.”

An aging scrapbook was entrusted into my care recently. It contains a young man’s childhood memories and dreams long before the real world reared its (sometimes) ugly head. It was packed tight with newspaper clippings meticulously culled from various local dailies from Boston to Malden. Frankie DiSano hailed from Edgeworth – a proud family dating back to the early half of last century with Pearl Street the center of their universe. He played football growing up, but Frank’s obsession became MHS football. He passionately cut articles out of newspapers before, during and after high school. MHS Blue & Gold football! There are literally hundreds of articles spanning decades of MHS gridiron action.

Frankie DiSano came out of Beebe Jr. High and was a “right end” on the MHS football squad, graduating in 1945. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Orazio DiSano of 265 Pearl St. His niece Carol and nephews Vinnie, Ronny and Jimmy lived there growing up with Vinnie – selling the family property recently. His nephew Vinnie and I go back to at least 1965, when we dined by candlelight on my mom’s homemade chicken soup during the Northeast Blackout of 1965. Vinnie was a classmate of my brother Joe’s at Emerson School in Miss Pearl’s third grade class. He got caught at our house during the blackout and stayed for dinner till the coast was clear for him to walk home, alone.

“My Uncle Frank was my father’s youngest brother; he was the father of Steve and Diane Disano and passed away in August of 2001. I think he was a union rep. He lived with his wife Lillian on 47 Garden St. He was a good guy. He was the least combative of my other uncles of which my Uncle Joe is still alive at 100. I think he and my father and my uncle Augustine, (Gus), oversaw the school lunches, and a plaque for Uncle Gus hangs above the MHS cafeteria. They all used to go bowling at Townline every Thursday night I believe. I could only remember going to Frank’s house in Maplewood a few times. That side of the family was not as close as my mother’s side. But he was involved in the Edgeworth community activities with my uncle Gus, Bobby Goodwin’s mother, Mary McNeil, Laura Damiano, and others that I can’t remember. Frank also had a daughter Diane. He talked about his football days quite a bit. He was very proud of his time wearing the B&G.”

Apropos of nothing…the 1960s changed the political landscape, not only here in Malden, but across the world. Courageous young men and women with strong belief systems held government/society accountable and brought us boldly into the future. Students at MHS were no exception, especially the Class of 1965. Here we take a small glimpse at the 1965 Maldonian Yearbook – their motto: “Here at M.H.S. We Strive for “Peace through Understanding.”

  • The School Committee is stacked with some of Malden’s best and brightest! Mrs. Marguerite Holland is joined by future mayor “Gentleman Jim” Conway, Mrs. Bertha Gordon, George Lodgen, and longtime Malden folklorist – the great Bill Mini.
  • John Carroll was a Meteorology teacher. He also coached the Rifle Club, who although they didn’t win the Middlesex Scholastic Rifle Championship, had a 907 average – highest in the league in ’65! John was still teaching at MHS when I got there, and I had him as a senior – a sweet man with a killer sense of humor in tune with the many misfits he had as students. John was a traveler, having journeyed around the world, including Cuba, California, Mexico and Canada. Mr. Carroll’s personality, in my eyes, was bigger than life, with a brilliant mind and a quick wit. Wish I could have questioned him on his many travels. Would love to have known, was Cuba pre-Castro? In Mexico did his curiosity get the best of him (Psilocybin Mexicana, anybody)? California: Market Street in San Francisco? La Jolla Beach in San Diego?
  • Carmine Belmonte was the Merchandising & Salesmanship teacher. Although I never had him as a teacher, he did hook me up with my first “real” job in 1978 at Faulkner Manufacturing on Eastern Ave. Little known fact: He was Little League President in Beverly.
  • Mabel “Miss Malden High” McQuesten functions as a clerk for Principal Webster. But she was so much more to students at MHS throughout the years. A beloved figure in the history of MHS dating back to the 1940s, Miss McQuesten was an “enthusiastic supporter” of athletics at MHS and was said to have accumulated the largest collection of press clippings in Malden from athletic events at MHS. She enjoyed summer vacations in New Hampshire, where I believe the McQuesten family were originally from. From what has been told to me by those that knew her personally, there will never, ever be another Mabel McQuesten.
  • The legendary Samuel Winerman teaches business math and algebra. Mr. Winerman was another respected guy back in the day who mentored and coached many youngsters throughout his storied career. Greater Boston League Basketball Commissioner – he was also the City Recreation Commissioner as well as assistant Track Coach at MHS. Sam spent 1950 through 1952 as Recreation Supervisor for the US Army throughout Europe. “Holy cow,” as Phil Rizzuto used to say.
  • Miss Grace Crowe, Director of School Nurses, retires after 32 years in the school system. That means Miss Crowe started in 1933. In ’33, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as the 32nd president. The Great Depression was raging when he uttered these famous words: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Miss Crowe witnessed history in person.

It is said in “Malden Musings”… This might be fun. Saw this on Facebook (where else!), and thought I’d give it a whirl. Let me know what you think, but if your list consists of New Kids on the Block as your best concert and not your worst, you need not contact me:

  1. First concert: (1972) The James Montgomery Blues Band with Peter Myles’ Asylum opening. Jenkins Auditorium at MHS (all I remember about the night is Schlitz in cans, lots of weed, and finishing the night at Signor Pizza in Malden Square (think the movie “Dazed and Confused”).
  2. Last concert: (2022) Aerosmith/Extreme, Fenway Park (Malden boy makes good).
  3. Worst concert: (1978) Ted Nugent, Boston Garden (dreadful – we were back in Malden before “Cat Scratch Fever”).
  4. Loudest concert: (1994) Social Distortion at Metro on Lansdowne Street (name dropping alert): Standing onstage with Social D’s manager Jim Guerinot right behind the drum kit reduced my hearing ability for years.
  5. Best Concert: (so many) Ramones/Stompers, Club Casino 1981 (?) Sal Baglio & Joey Ramone (?). Forgetaboutit! A night that will go down in infamy. Insert a great big smiley face.
  6. Seen the most: Extreme. From Gary’s first band Adrenaline in July of 1979 at the Pegasus Club in Ipswich to Fenway Park in 2022 (and many, many stops in between).
  7. Most surprising: Allman Brothers Band (surprised because they sounded so good live).
  8. Happy I got to see: (1993) The Cure, Great Woods (they commanded the stage from the moment they hit it until the wee small hours).
  9. Wish I could have seen: Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Miles Davis, Merle Haggard, John Prine, The Jam, George Harrison, Elvis, The Clash, Tiny Tim, Frank.
  10. Still need to see: Elvis Costello, Paul Weller, Roxy Music, Engelbert.

As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo’ would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – Malden slice of life brought to you by longtime (where else) Edgeworth resident Jimmy “Moe” Molinari: “I posted a Ma story and my lifelong friend Johnny Flanagan said, ‘Eleanor always told me to eat and then she fed me!’ That reminded me of a time me, Chris Parker, ‘Bubba’ Hatch and Michael Hagerty raced a car and hit a curb blowing out a tire. So, we got another tire and in my yard under lights 2 in the morning are replacing the rim. My mom wakes up and says, ‘Jimmy what are you doing?’ I reply, ‘Bubba got a flat, we’re fixing it.’ Ma says, ‘oh okay, you boys hungry I’ll heat up macaroni.’ Got me laughing out loud! Just like the Goodfellas scene! Three in the morning in my kitchen me, Park, Bub, Hags just broke about five laws and we’re joking and laughing eating macaroni and meatballs with Ma! Dad was away somewhere with his friends, if not, we’d be behind Spady’s under streetlights changing it because dad just knew we were ‘up to no good,’ as he would say. Ma? She had an entirely different mindset. Food was the answer to 90 percent of any of life’s problems!” Classic Moe, thanks for sharing, Jimmy.

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