Picked up pieces while anxiously waiting on the next big announcement from Pete Caso’s “All About Malden” Facebook page…
- Welcome to Malden, Floramo’s Restaurant! First meal at Flo’s when I enter those sanctified doors (throwing a curveball at those that know my eating habits), Veal Cutlet with penne! Forgetaboutit!!! More on John Floramo, his restaurant and his partner in cuisine, Jack Urbaczewski, coming at you very soon. While I have your attention John, thank you so much for coming back home!
- Thinking out loud here, how about a Floramo Special: “Pistol Pete Pulled Pork Panini”? Thanks to the “Hoganinator” for this one. Insert smiley face.
- I recently discovered WMEX 1510 on the AM dial – a throwback to when radio was fun. You name it, they play it. Merrymaking at its best! I heard the local (1983) hit “Never Tell an Angel (When Your Heart’s on Fire)” by the pride of East Boston Sal Baglio and his Stompers (who are still active today). Sal has relatives in Malden and is a really talented guy.
- Rest in peace, Anthony “Tony” Pallotta, on June 12 at age 86. Tony and I talked on the phone a couple of times. After reading his obituary, I regret never meeting him in person. Tony met his future wife in the second grade at the Emerson School – sharing 65 years of marriage with Patricia (Puleo). A U.S. Army veteran, Tony went on to lead a truly remarkable life. That last sentence is an understatement. A construction worker by vocation, his obituary called him a “true renaissance man.” And that really doesn’t unpack this amazing man’s life. Tony was an “adventurer, builder, explorer, folk artist, and humanitarian.” I cannot even imagine! What an extraordinary life. Born in Malden in 1935, Tony joined the International Union of Operating Engineers working as an Engineer for Local #4 for 50 years. Tony wasn’t through, though. From what I can tell, for the next 15 years he devoted himself to individuals with intellectual disabilities – working as a volunteer at Project Triangle. Upon turning 65, in his spare time, to raise money and awareness for AIDS vaccine research, he rode his bicycle 500 miles across Montana and all over the Continental divide. What?!
- Last time I spoke with Tony I asked if he were related to the (then) recently deceased Mario (Pallotta). He told me he was not – that the Pallotta name was common, especially on the North Shore. After reading Tony’s obituary, I noticed the similarity in their lives: Both were exceptional human beings, both caring and giving, both working to build a better world through their benevolence.
- Paul Abbatinozzi is a Malden High School graduate. He was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the 32nd round of the 1988 amateur draft, a few picks ahead of pitcher Mo Sanford, who played three years in MLB. Paul played for the GCL White Sox that year, hitting .253/.340/.398 with one home run, 18 RBI and 21 strikeouts in 29 games in his only pro experience. He was Flagler College’s second player to be drafted by a major league team, following (fellow Maldonian) Rob Santo. He was elected to Flagler’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. He later became a high school principal. Paul contacted via the miracle of the “interweb”: “I am sending you a little clip out of the Saint Augustine Record referencing Coach Barnett and Flagler College’s 1,000th win and the connection to Malden baseball players. John Montecalvo and I actually played in Coach Barnett’s first win our senior year:
“‘Barnett didn’t need to build a winning tradition. Aspinwall used a pipeline to the Northeast, including numerous players from the small Massachusetts town of Malden, to compile a 252-158 record (.615). The Saints produced NAIA All-Americans Rob Santo, Jeb Backus and Paul Abbatinozzi and won one NAIA district title and reached the championship game in two others between 1979-1987. Malden products Santo, Abbatinozzi, John Montecalvo, Dean Bowrosen and Artie Eld were the backbone of nine consecutive winning seasons.’”
Love Malden baseball! Thank you, Paul.
- Animal Control Officer Kevin Alkins worked through a medical setback a short while ago. Not to worry, fully recovered he is back with a vengeance ready to tackle the many challenges today’s urban wildlife environment presents. Challenges such as BBQ disasters, panicked residents, and vermin-associated reimbursements (see below) – Kevin sees all and knows all, much like Sir Lancelot from King Arthur’s court – up for any and all challenges! This landed on his desk recently as a SeeClickFix: “I saw somebody on Mt. Vernon Street post about the rats. I have lived on Montrose St. for 58 years, my whole life, and this is just disgusting. I am pretty much afraid to go outside because of these rats. Yesterday I saw one in my yard the size of a cat. Something has to be done, or I really have no problem putting poison everywhere. I will not even have people over for a BBQ afraid a big rat is joining the party. This City should be ashamed of itself. Now, I think it is too late. Just wondering if I could get reimbursed for the rat poison.” Heaven help you, Mr. Alkins.
- You won’t have Superintendent of Cemeteries Jimmy Cahill to “kick around anymore”! Stinger retired recently after many years of dedicated service to the city he loves so much. Contrary to written accounts, Jimmy did not “resign,” he “retired.” Insert smiley face. More on the third favorite man in the “Fabulous Judy’s” life at a later date.
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – former Ward 6 Councillor, longtime Maldonian and social media sensation Neil Kinnon was on the road again. Take it away, Neil: “Drove from Malden to Fargo N.D. over the weekend with (son) Ryan (U hauled it). His job has been there since graduating college, yet he up until now has lived home and worked remote due to Covid. No longer, he now will work from the office or the road living in Fargo.
“Never been to Wisconsin, Minnesota or North Dakota and was surprised at how beautiful Wisconsin and MN were as we drove through. We live in an enormous and great diverse country.
“Stopped in Saint Paul, MN and visited the Cathedral of Saint Paul, the third largest I’m told in U.S. behind the National Cathedral in D.C. and Saint Patrick’s in N.Y.C. It was stunning inside. The Capitol down the Street also quite nice.
“Finally arrived in Fargo Sunday night. The area is booming. Thirteen percent population increase in last decade. New housing going up everywhere. New schools and even new Catholic Churches and schools built. The downtown is a throwback in time and seems to be thriving.
“Learned Fargo was home to Roger Maris, still the true single season home run record holder and also the place Bob Dylan bussed tables and hung out from 1959 until around the time he made it big. Was surprised by Fargo not what I expected and quite nice. Looking forward to another trip back. Good luck to Ryan on his new adventure. Lisa and I are now empty nesters, first time in thirty years. Sure went by fast.”
Wonderful, Neil! Enjoy your newfound freedom. All the best in the future.
Postscript 1: Happy belated (89th) birthday to longtime Maldonian Harry Lockhart. Harry’s daughter Karyn and I were schoolmates, graduating M.H.S. together in 1975. Karyn’s mom, Betty, passed away a year ago; the family is still reeling. Muriel Elizabeth LeCain Lockhart was born in Medford on November 8, 1933, but lived in Malden all her life, graduating from Malden High in 1951 with her husband, Harry. Engaged in 1953, they tied the knot on July 29, 1956. They had three children: Karyn, her brother Kenny from the class of ’77, and their sister Elaine (class of ’87). Harry and Betty were both lifelong Maldonians, living on Hawthorne Street until Betty passed on September 30, 2021. Harry, my sincerest condolences on the loss of your beloved wife. Thank you for reading this column. Stay well, my friend. P.S. Karyn, let’s start planning the 90th right now!
Postscript 2: My mother, Dorothy Drago Levine, left us in 2015. But never actually left us. That hole which appeared in our lives shortly after? You could fly Air Force One through it. Fortunately, she is the fabric of our existence, so she is really never too far away. With that said, “my mom made the best…”
- School lunch sandwiches
- Chicken cutlets
- Christmas mornings
- Apple pie
- Potato balls
- Chicken soup
- Meatballs & spaghetti
Postscript 3: Speaking of my mom’s chicken soup…that is what we dined on during the “Northeast Blackout of 1965” – by candlelight with Joe’s schoolmate Vinnie Disano staying for dinner.