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Malden Musings – Ralph & Rosalie Celebrate 60

Ralph and Rosie
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  Celebrating 60 glorious years of matrimony are lifelong Maldonians Ralph and Rosalie Procopio. In 1962 Marilyn serenaded JFK on his birthday; “Sealed with a Kiss” by Brian Hyland raced up the charts; “Car 54, Where Are You?” was must watch TV; and the “M&M Boys” (Mantle and Maris) where the toast of Manhattan. In 1962 Malden, Sheafe Street’s Ralph Procopio married Arch Street’s Rosalie Froio, raised a wonderful family and are living happily ever after. In 2022 Malden, Mayor Gary Christenson acknowledged the couple with a citation on behalf of the City of Malden in honor of their milestone anniversary. Ralph and Rosalie have four beautiful daughters – Christine, Laurie, Raquel and Nicole – and cherish time spent with their nine grandchildren as well as the many good friends they’ve made over the years. Three of their daughters married Malden guys and one married a South Shore guy, but it has never been held against her. Ralph is lifelong Malden, growing up on Sheafe Street. (Where the heck is Sheafe Street?! I kid!) When asked the secret behind such a long and successful marriage, commitment to each other, and family was their answer. Great sentiments, Ralph! Another key to their joyous 60 years, he continued, was having son-in-law Eric Rubin in their lives. Insert smile. Here’s hoping for many more years of happiness.

  Picked up pieces while continuing to enjoy Malden Square’s amazing comeback…

  • WMEX 1510 (AM) is just killing it – throwback radio that ain’t afraid to just play music – all music! From “Swingin’ the Alphabet” with The Three Stooges to “Can’t Find the Tim” by Orpheus to “Mary in the Morning” by Al Martino to “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas – their playlist is amazing.
  • Happy birthday to my late uncle, Frank. My grandparents were immigrants from Lithuania, one step ahead of the Cossacks, who settled in Boston’s West End. In 1947 Frank was a crewman on Exodus 1947, the ship that tried unsuccessfully to bring thousands of Holocaust survivors to Palestine. The Exodus traveled from Baltimore and, while attempting to run a British blockade near Haifa, was halted and boarded. Two teenagers and an American sailor were killed. More than 100 were wounded, including my uncle, who was clubbed nearly to death. Eight months after the incident, the State of Israel was born. The story provided inspiration for the Leon Uris novel “Exodus” and later the movie with Paul Newman and Sal Mineo. My uncle returned home and earned a master’s degree in Library Science from Simmons College. In 1957, he was a block captain of the Committee to “Save the West End.” Eventually displaced to Medford, he worked for years at the Medford Public Library and served as Director from 1969 to 1989.
  • Throwback Thursday on Friday: Malden High School class of 1967 (greatest graduating class ever?) – check out some of the alumni that would later go on to make Malden the outstanding city we live in today: Officer David Brooks, “Bonesy’s” big brother Peter “Panama” Carroll, Gina’s dad and Pearl Street Bakery’s (the late) Al Aretusi, former Ward 4 Councillor Billy Coleman, Outreach worker Paul Collyer, Ward 2 Councillor Paul “Hoss” Condon, Vietnam War hero, the late Kevin “KC” Crowe, Joe Danca (Danca Insurance), Joe Della Gatta (best pizza maker at DiPietro’s ever), Tommy Doucette, Walter “Figgy” Figelski, Larry Gersh (Remember Larry’s antique/junk shop in Malden Square?), Henry Gennetti, Democratic consultant extraordinaire Mike Goldman, Gayle Greenwood, Officer Mike Hardiman, Ed Hichborn, the late Bobby Hyde, Wayne MacKay, Angela Molinari of the Pearl Street Molinaris, recently retired Malden Retirement Board Director Kevin Morrison, Amerige Parks’ (and Jimmy Cahill’s brother-in-law) Joe Repucci, (YMCA legend) Major Smith, Jean (Hall of Famer) Tomasello and Susan Vatalaro. That is one great class.

  “In the year 2525 if Malden is still alive….” With all due respect to Zager and Evans, whose brilliant but gloomy take on the future leaves one with a sense of dread as we travel down the road of life, I predict right here and now, on the pages of the Malden Advocate, that Malden will survive as it always has. Predictions for the year 2525, 508 years into future Malden:

  • Gary Christenson will be in his 227th term as Mayor of Malden – kept alive through the miracle of modern science much like the 1962 sci-fi horror flick “The Brain That Would Not Die.”
  • The newest City Hall building is located on Pearl Street and is called “Peter Caso City Hall” after Facebook sensation Peter (‘All About Malden’) Caso’s close but no cigar, valiant but unsuccessful, underdog run for mayor in the year 2026. After his run for the corner office, often compared to that improbable 1967 Boston Red Sox Impossible Dream Team run, Peter dedicated his life to making his FB page the first page ever to garner one million pilgrims.
  • Malden’s population hits 575,000 for the first time in its history.
  • Malden also owns bragging rights in the Commonwealth with over 5,500 Dunkin’ shops.
  • Aliens make up 75% of the student population at Malden High School with children from Mars being 45% of the student body.

  As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – “Malden Musings” revisits the dustup created by our search for the longest blast ever at Devir Park (the longest blast not chemically induced, that is); West Street’s Dickie Santo’s brought some pretty concrete evidence to the table to virtually end the discussion that raged through Malden about who hit the longest home run at Devir Park. Kim’s husband says the individual who owns that celebrated honor is none other than his little brother Rob Santo. Dickie says that baby brother Robbie hit multiple tape measure shots during his playing days for Augustine’s/Cremone’s Athletics at Devir. Although he was a left-handed batter, he did hit balls out onto Emerald Street, but the majority of his “moon shots” were hit to either dead centerfield or to right field. One such instance occurred in a game where he absolutely crushed a ball to right field that sailed beyond third base to the Bruce Field Little League diamond and took one short hop and hit the fence in front of the Irish American Club.

  A few minutes after hitting the ball, a couple of “old-timers” who were watching a little league game strolled over to the field where the A’s were playing and wanted to know who hit that ball. The old-timers said they had been watching baseball games at Devir Park for 40 years and never saw a ball hit that far. He also hit balls to dead center into the tennis courts. Many times, he hit balls into Bruce Field while Little League games were going on, and it happened so often that those games were halted until his at-bat was over. Dickie says this can be verified with (former MPD) Officer Joe Connolly, as one home run hit his son in the back as he was standing along the first base line watching one of the Little League games. Dave Bouley witnessed many of the titanic blasts, but, unfortunately, Harry Mehos and Eddie Larson are no longer with us to also confirm this. Rob also hit many of the longest home runs at opposing parks, such as Trum Field in Somerville, Playstead Park in Medford and Morelli Field in Melrose. A Malden High Athletic Hall of Famer, Rob is still a barroom legend in Saint Augustine, Florida, from his playing days at Flagler College, where many of his records from the early ’80s still stand to this day. As people may also know, he was signed in 1985 by the Baltimore Orioles and spent a year in their minor league system and is alleged to have a 500-foot blast to his credit playing for the Baby Birds. Dickie remembers being at a game at Morelli Field in Melrose watching with David Zinetti and Jerry Robbins when Robbie hit one over the trees in right field, and they just looked at him in total disbelief! Let the conversation continue.

  Postscript 1: Years from now, when they are sorting through the glorious mess that I have accumulated over the decades – proudly displayed – they will happen upon my very own Signature Series Louisville Slugger Robbie Santo Model Bat.

  Postscript 2: I would be remiss if I did not mention the retirement of City Clerk Greg Lucey. Regular readers of this column already know of my affection for the Luceys. The love and respect I have for this family is beyond measure. My 1,500 words are almost up so I will continue this in weeks to come.

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