By Peter Levine
From the “A” to the “D” to the “A” to the “M”! His name is Adam (said in my best LL Cool J voice)! You most likely know him as the newly minted principal at the Forestdale School. I know him as a wicked good kid and a very much valued member of the Malden community. He’s Adam Weldai and we are not. Congratulations, by the way, my friend, on the new gig! About time they recognized you for your many contributions (the ones we know about, and the ones we don’t) to the city you/I/we all love so much. For newcomers to our fair city, let me introduce to you, the man we’ve known for all these years (that would make a great lyric!), Mr. Adam Weldai:
1. What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you? My superlative in the Malden High School yearbook was “Most seen in the halls.” I think it’s much funnier now, because since then I have spent most of my life in classrooms and schools!
2. Where would you most like to buy a one-way ticket to? Washington D.C.! It’s such an awesome place, and my best friends from college and their two amazing kids live down there.
3. What person, alive or dead, would you like to eat dinner with? Victor Borge! I would hope there would be a piano in the room, too. (I loved watching him with my grandparents when I was younger, we had a lot of VHS tapes!)
4. What’s one song to play to put yourself in a good mood? Anything by Sean Kingston – it’s really the beat that gets me.
5. What is the one piece of advice that most changed your life? This is going to seem silly because it’s not really advice, but I loved the TV series “The Office,” and in the series finale, Andy Bernard said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” That really stuck with me – and reminded me to appreciate every day, every experience and not take things for granted.
6. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self? Don’t forget the expression “man plans, God laughs” – what will be, will be – just enjoy the time!
7. What’s the one thing that keeps you motivated? That I know there’s always something new to learn – no matter how comfortable and secure you feel about anything, there’s always something new to learn, or another perspective to try to empathize with and understand.
8. What’s the one thing you want to be remembered for? Being a practical and responsible leader who got things done and making people (our kids in particular) feel that they were happy, loved and could both set and try to reach their goals.
9. Growing up in Malden – most admired or most inspirational mentor? As a kid, Steve Feldstein was my principal at the Forestdale School and he made me feel like I belonged here, feel happy, and feel that I could work hard and become anything one day – becoming the principal of the Forestdale feels like nothing I could have ever imagined, and a real tribute to him for sure. I was lucky though, I was surrounded by people from childhood to adulthood like Marguerite Gonsalves, Gary Christenson, Greg Lucey, who kept pushing me to get involved and never lose my integrity or heart for what I love to do.
10. 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? Steve’s Roast Beef for a burger, New York Pizza for a slice (buffalo chicken!) or a tuna sub with hots but my all-time favorite growing up was Converse Restaurant for breakfast at any time of day. Nowadays we tend to spend a lot of time at Faces and Mystic Station and ordering out from Fresco’s!
It is said in “Malden Musings”…
- On a warm late July Sunday morning, a couple of us “palm-colored boomers” (my brother Joe and I) hit the trifecta, running into three of Malden’s finest athletes (and nicest guys) from the past 50 years! We hugged it out with John Stanasek at Revere Beach as he was finishing up the morning at his post-retirement gig at the DCR. Then brother Joe and I saluted Timmy Buckley and his crew as we passed each other walking the beach. Finishing up the morning with coffee at Market Basket on Squire Road ($2.93 for two medium coffees – fuhgeddaboudit!), I had the pleasure of greeting old friend Greg DeCandia!
- Greg grew up on Thacher Street in Edgeworth and was one of the finest baseball players Malden ever produced. I had a softball team out of Devir Park in the old Malden YMCA Outreach Softball League in the late 1970s and stacked it with homegrown talent. I was fortunate enough to recruit Greg and his brother George that year as well as Greg Lucey, Mark Brady, Jay Gramolini, Richie Silvestri and Jon Crannell. We were good that year, but we just could not beat Mike Ploumbidis and his talented gang from the Belmont School area.
- Timmy (Buckley) was just a stud athlete – another Maldonian who could play anything – excelling in hockey, baseball and football.
- John Stanasek? Well, they broke the mold when the (deity of your choice) created “Stana” – a Lincoln Park guy who could play any sport or game of chance at a higher level than you, me or anybody! My John Stanasek highlight reel is voluminous, but the game that sticks out most would be a roundball game his junior year at MHS as starting point guard against the 1975 Catholic Conference Co-Champions, Don Bosco. Bosco arrogantly strutted into the Marshall Gym as overwhelming favorites led by 6’1″ All-Everything Joe Beaulieu and future Boston College star point guard Dwan Chandler. Long story short, junior starter John Stanasek dominated Boston Globe All Scholastic/Parade All-American Dwan Chandler (both physically and by renting space in Chandler’s head this night), with the boy’s hoop team and the Marshal Gym fandom joyously invading Malden Square with an upset win under their collective belts! Amazing performance by Stana and his teammates – a very talented team with standout seniors Jack Freker, Mark Burns, Steve Carpenter and Kenny Fulgham playing the game of their life.
- I did not intend to make this article a John Stanasek tribute column, but what the heck – he deserves it…his three years as starting quarterback for MHS (1973-1975) are talked about to this very day. From the Six Twenty-One on Broadway to Patrick’s in Maplewood all the way down to the I.A.C.C. on Pearl Street, you can still hear tales of John’s gridiron prowess. His three Thanksgiving Day performances against arch-rival across the Fells, Medford, have gone down in Malden folklore. As a sophomore, he and senior running back Tommy Cunha (101 yards rushing) led a dramatic second-half turnaround, upsetting the favorites, 22-13. Then, when he was a junior, they routed Medford, 42-15, with MHS going on to share the GBL title with Peabody. Then, as a senior, he played in the infamous “Mud Bowl” that switched from Hormel to Macdonald Stadium aka Pearl Street Stadium because of field conditions. Malden had better “mudders,” winning its third game in a row over the Mustangs. Don Roach ran 23 yards for a TD in the second period and 10 yards for a score in the third. He also caught a conversion pass from Stana as Malden won, 14-8, to clinch a tie for the GBL title with Everett.
- Speaking of Tommy Cunha, another outstanding Malden athlete, graduating in 1974, who, I believe, you can still see in 2023 jogging the streets of Malden while the rest of us power walk those same streets. I loved having Tommy on my basketball teams at the “Old Y.” Tommy was a gamer. He played smart. He played tough. He was team-oriented and never took a bad shot. Get him and Gus Murray on the same team – we stay on the court all night; fuhgeddaboudit!
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – Ken Chadwick of Palm Bay, Fla., formerly of Malden, Mass., this is your life… “Just read your Joe & Nemo’s piece, loved J&N! One New Years Eve, my dad, mom, and sister were sitting around the house, my dad suggested he go to J&N’s for a New Years Eve meal of hot dogs and hamburgers. I think he spent about $20, brought home a bundle of them and we had a wonderful New Years Eve meal! I lived on Wallace Street, up on Waites Mount. I used to shine shoes between 6 and 9 at night in front of or around the Granada. Also, sold newspapers in front of the First National Store, across from the Sacred Heart Church. Remember Kotzen’s? My Mom would buy furniture there and some guy used to come to the house once a week to collect a weekly payment. Probably around 5 to 10 bucks – LOL! Now nearing 80 years old, and living in FL., still have great memories of walking down Tremont and Washington street to Beebe Jr. High…..what wonderful memories!” I agree, Ken, what wonderful memories. With us forever. All the best!
Postscript: “Palm Colored Boomers” – as Curly Howard once opined, “I resemble that remark!” Insert smiley face.
—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.