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Advocate

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MALDEN TODAY, TOMORROW, AND YESTERDAY – “Billy & Donna Celebrate”

  • Happy 52 years of wedded bliss to those two eternal teenagers, Billy and Donna Spadafora! Their relationship, a certainty in an uncertain world, has withstood the test of time and has actually flourished for these many years. Hold hands you love-birds! Billy and Donna survived the disco era, the bad hair decade, and the glory days of Anthony’s all the while raising two of the nicest children Malden has ever seen. Here’s to many more years of happiness!
  • My lucky day as I walked through the hallowed doorway of the Big A Sub Shop on Highland Ave as the big boss man himself, Nick, was behind the counter banging out his cherished product. I was honored to have El Guapo put together my turkey on a braided roll with spicy mustard and hot’s.
  • Not Malden but an interest to many, many Maldonians nonetheless. While listening to the Judy Garland Orgy on 95.3 FM (WHRB Harvard Radio) on Sunday May 15th Judy was belting out a tune from (I believe) 1957. I did not catch the name of it but it had something to do with show biz in the 30’s and 40’s where she name checks all the big comedic stars of the day. The Ritz Brothers, Olsen & Johnson, Harold Lloyd to name a few but the name that brought a smile to my face was, “The Howard Brothers!” Our very own 3 Stooges being recognized by THE Judy Garland! Fabulous. In my humble opinion the Stooges never got the proper respect they deserved while they were alive. For Judy to acknowledge their legacy, priceless! Can anybody identify the song for me?
  • The inaugural Nicky Bombino American Cancer Society Bocce Fundraiser at the Italian American Citizen’s Club was a great big lovefest for Nicky and his family. Money was raised. People spent a beautiful spring afternoon playing bocce ball. And we showered Nicky and his family with love and respect. Malden at its finest.
  • Turner Classic Movies offers some of the best movies of all time, films you probably haven’t seen since you were a kid and (more often than not) if you pay close attention, you’ll see somebody who was born in Malden. Some cool examples which I have personally seen are the following: the gangster classic “Public Enemy” starring James Cagney, where Malden guy Robert Homans appears as (of course) Officer Pat Burke. The 1967 cult classic ‘Good Times,’ featuring Sonny and Cher, also features Malden guy Richard “Sonny” Collier as ‘The Peddler.’  ‘Drums Along the Mohawk’ starred Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert but also featured Malden gal Edna May Oliver as ‘Mrs. McKlennar.’ And Bela Lugosi was featured alongside former Liggett’s Drug Store employee Wally Brown in ‘Zombies on Broadway.’
  • The year was 1976, America was celebrating its Bicentennial, and some of us were celebrating freedom from 12 years of compulsory education. To honor our country in that epic summer of ‘76 some of Malden High School’s best and brightest from the class of 1975 (and friends) decided to organize an event, dubbed by the event organizer Jack Freker as the “Bi Centennial Walk” (or the “Bi Centennial Tour” as some remember). The goal of this historic event was to take a walking tour of all of Malden’s pubs, cafes, and restaurants that served alcoholic beverages and sample their finest ales.
  • One glass of beer, 24 (identified) destinations, one glorious June day. Nine brave souls started the tour at Maher’s Café in Edgeworth. One intrepid individual made it to Morrison’s in Linden some 10 hours later. None made the last stop — the Town Line Bar. All banged in sick the next day.
  • Bob Lanier was a warrior! He battled some of the biggest and baddest centers who ever played the game of basketball, and most times gave as good as he got! Wilt the Stilt! Lew Alcindor/Kareem. Nate Thurmond. Big Red. Bill Walton. Artis Gilmore. Walt Bellamy. The Detroit Pistons 6′ 10″ center passed away recently but will always be remembered fondly by anybody who laced up Chuck Taylor’s growing up in Malden. Who could ever forget his size 22 Chuck’s displayed behind the counter at the old Converse Retail Quonset Hut Shack on the corner of Pearl and Medford Streets!? As teenagers we stood in amazement repeating to each that nobody could have feet that big!
  • Accounts vary on how big his Chuck’s actually were. Converse says they were 18″ and the 22″ is the size in Korea. But as a kid I vividly remember seeing a sign that said 22″ right in front of the sneakers. Who remembers that sign?
  • Boy did I mess up when I mentioned what year Bobby Bionelli graduated and what school he attended. Bobby ‘The Pride of Edgeworth,’ Bionelli, grew up on Emerald Street, went to the Emerson but furthered his education at the Northeast Vocational School graduating in 1977! Bobby is recovering nicely after the heart operation and although not ready for a steak bomb from the Big A, he nonetheless is looking forward to that day. Bobby retired a couple years back from his position as Department Head of Automotive at his alma mater, The Voke in Wakefield, where he toiled for over 35 years. Predating M.T.V. even! In his (much) younger days he could be found behind the ‘pipes’ at the Emerson School yard displaying his street hockey skills with his cousin Rob Sensale, ‘Soup’ Campbell and all the West Street Santo boys. When challenged, they would pack up their gear and take the trip across Highland Avenue to play the ‘Bad Boys of Pearl Street Park’ for a friendly, yet very competitive game of street hockey. Marie’s oldest fondly recalls the Edgeworth of his youth with haircuts at Wendell’s, pizza at the Highland Café, Italian subs with everything on it (including hot’s) at Charlie Moreno’s, clam rolls at King Neptune, and – of course – 35-cent draft beer at Mike’s Café. After all these years he remains an Edgeworth boy with no plans of relocating any time soon! Get well soon my friend and please say hello to moms for me!
  • I met Dickie and Ronny Drinkwater’s oldest brother Ralph last week. A great guy and a gentleman just like his younger brothers.
  • News flash…..two bicyclists were (finally) spotted Monday morning May 15th happily pedaling their bikes down Exchange Street. Good to (finally) see somebody using the bike lane. I am thinking the pleasant weather and the fact that they had the whole bike lane to themselves were the cause of their mile wide smiles.

 

 

“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end” – Most understand that this life of ours is not infinite. If we’re fortunate, we enjoy a few highs, rejoice in some good times. More than likely we have just as many lows along the way (unless you’re a Buddhist of course – insert smiley face). With a milestone birthday rapidly approaching (yes, I know I look good for my age) I think back to the many laughs I had with recently departed friends such as Richie Cremone, Jimmy Damiano, Steve Bouley, as well as the many lost to “the foggy ruins of time.” You know the Frank lyric, “One day you turn around, and it’s summer, next day you turn around, and it’s fall?”  At this point in time and space I realize what truly matters in life. It becomes abundantly clear. In my humble opinion, we should slow dance to Sinatra whenever the opportunity presents itself. Laugh out loud. Regardless. Delight in small pleasures. Always! Enjoy ‘fruit of the vine!’ Embrace friends. Unabashedly. Especially old friends! I regret, on occasion, having not followed my very own counsel. I leave this week with a favorite old quote. If I only wrote one line during my existence, something as clever, anything as cool as this, I would be content. From the original “Goth” whose twisted mind gave us, ‘The Raven,’ I offer up to you, once again, this brilliant ode to living in the moment from Edgar Allen Poe: “Fill with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber through the chambers of my brain. Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies, come to life and fade away: What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.”

That happy loving couple of 52 years, Billy & Donna Spadafora

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