Congratulations to Joylyn Norris as she returns to Malden after five years at UMass Lowell earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Technology. Joylyn, a 2016 Malden High graduate, currently is working for Pfizer as well as continuing her education at Lowell, looking for her master’s. Joylyn has a brilliant mind just like her pops Scotty, graduating cum laude with two years as vice president of Alpha Sigma Tau and spring 2021 president. Wait, but that isn’t all…vice president of American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Tutoring Chair of Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering honors society! What the heck! Brilliant! All the best, Joylyn, in your very bright future! Make sure to thank your pops, he is a good man.
It is said in Malden today, tomorrow and yesterday….
- Good news for lovers of Maplewood Square, Franny’s, Patrick’s and Malden in general. On a recent early morning visit to Franny’s, I discovered that they will not have to relocate! “The Monster That Ate Maplewood Square” (MVRCS) plans on stopping right at their doorstep, but unfortunately, they will devour most of the rest of the Square. This is great news because Malden cannot afford to lose one of the last “Old Men’s” bars in the city or the best breakfast nook in the city.
- Franny’s – where the elite meet! Also ran into 1977 standout football star Louie Femino. Louie was the 1977 Aliberti Award winner as a lineman having a huge role on that rock-solid 1977 MHS football squad. Malden handed Everett their lunch that morning in 1977 as they did on occasion back in the day. Louie grew up on Welsh Street with his brother Charlie, who is back as Police Chief in Somerville.
- Then one day, the greatest football coach in the history of football coaches (and the world, by the way), John “Dibs” DiBiaso came into the Crimson Tide’s life. Nothing was (or will) ever be the same again in Malden or the Greater Boston League.
- Congratulations to you, Jadeane Sica, for another successful run at office. Mazel Tov!
- Oh my, the political landscape in Malden will never be the same again. Sitting here on Wednesday morning (November 3), scanning the results from the night before I am filled with joy that Craig Spadafora topped the ticket, agree with many that Chris (Simonelli) is certainly a breath of fresh air, but was disappointed that my Edgeworth brah, Rob Di Marco, came up short. Oh well, let’s go Malden, time to get to work and get “stuff” done!
- I’m looking for the right description for Franny’s for those unfamiliar. It’s a place where everybody knows your name, of course, but think also Floyd’s Barbershop meets Cheers but with the best breakfast on the North Shore.
Ran into the hardest working man in showbiz as I walked into Franny’s for coffee – yes, you probably already guessed it – DPW Director Bobby Knox. Bobby was taking a well-earned break with a hearty “Lumberjack Breakfast Special” before tackling the many issues that are piled on his desk on a daily basis. Great seeing you, Bobby.
Despite impossible odds, and from all accounts I’ve heard, Karyn Lockhart ran one heck of a class reunion last Saturday night. A small but quality crowd of MHS Class of 1975 classmates gathered, drank responsibly and tried valiantly to read the name tags of fellow classmates whose name escaped them at the moment. Galooch was there as well as Freck, Hawk, Marse and Bunza; Lydia, Brenda, Judy and Bethie also. They all looked fabulous but I gotta be honest, my wife Pam and sister Barbara (Scibelli) stood out.
Congratulations to Albert Spadafora on 50 years of being the congenial host with the most at the most iconic function hall in Malden’s history, Anthony’s on Canal Street. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an Albert Spadafora fan boy. I became friends with Albert probably in 1978. As we came of drinking age, we were trying to find our footing as far as indoor drinking establishments went. We tried Mike’s Café – great neighborhood bar but the average age standing at the bar was around 70. We tried Maher’s Café but way too many guys from Medford for our liking. (Hey, it was the 1970’s: You hated the Yankees and anybody from Meffa equally – insert smiley face here.) We tried the Rosebud and DeMarco’s, but again too many older patrons for our liking and no girls! Then came the great awakening. After a softball game (the YMCA Outreach League) Greg Lucey suggested a place on Canal Street that would meet our criteria. Bam! It was love at first sight. We looked up to and admired Albert, his wife Franny, his father Tony and the real rock behind the bar and the business, Tony’s wife, Alice. I have not stopped patronizing Anthony’s. I have not stopped admiring Albert, his generosity or his altruism. But more importantly I have not stopped appreciating and respecting his mother, Alice. Here’s to 50 more years, Albert!
“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end” – Solomon “Jerry” Levine was many things to many people. To his children he was Superman, Samson and Bruno Sammartino all rolled into one. To his co-workers at Agar Supply, he was their fearless leader. To my mom he was the charming and handsome blue-eyed boy from the neighboring streets of the West End. To his grandson Anthony (Scibelli) he was much more. Written by Anthony from deep inside his soul and recited as we gathered to say so long, that trip to the Forestdale Cemetery his final:
“I think many of us didn’t think this day could ever happen. My grandfather had the strongest personality out of anyone I’ve ever met. And that strength did not diminish over time, even if the way it expressed itself may have changed as the years passed. But that personality and his presence and the shadow that he cast was so strong, it didn’t seem possible that a day could come when he wouldn’t be here. But the impact of his presence, his personality, his stories, and his strength of character, that’s still here. And that will never diminish. As long as the people he knew remember him. And he was not an easy person to forget.
“He was a man of strong principles and beliefs, and the force of his personality made a deep impression on everyone that met him. He could charm anyone, whether it was a telemarketer or his dentist. He was a totally unique presence, and a truly one-of-a-kind individual. My two earliest memories of my grandfather are both from when I was around 3 or 4. The first is sitting in the cabin of the truck he drove professionally for roughly 40 years. What I mostly remember is the overwhelming size of the truck. The other memory, also aged about 4, is sitting on his couch, as he showed me the new tattoos he had gotten on his back. Ray Bradbury wrote a famous book called The Illustrated Man, about a man covered in tattoos, and each tattoo told a different story, with a different theme and moral. The same could easily apply to my grandfather.
“He was an endless well of aphorisms and stories, stories that frequently changed and got more detailed as his grandchildren got older. His life was long and complicated, and we can only wonder about how those stories would go on to change. One of his favorite fables was a story that he remembered as happening between Moses and his son, but as far as I could find was originally from Aesop. It involves a father teaching his sons that sticks are easy to break on their own, but when bundled together, the sticks are almost impossible to break. It was a story he told frequently, and he knew the truth of its message.
“He lived his life on entirely his own terms. No matter what the outcome of his choices, they led to an astonishing 90 years without compromise. He was a complicated man, but he prized simplicity. He found contentment in his daily routines, whether it was reading the newspaper in the Stop and Shop parking lot or watching Judge Judy. He had that rare ability to control his life, and to tell his own story.
“He once told my sister Jeri that he began smoking cigarettes when he was in the third grade. Which could mean he was as young as 8, but knowing the history of his education, he may have been closer to 11. He continued to smoke every day for roughly the next 75 years, when he abruptly stopped overnight. Because he didn’t want to smoke by himself, and without my grandmother. It was fascinating to see him able to change something that, to me at least, felt like such an integral part of his life, on a dime when he was in his late 80s. But it’s just one example of his incredible willpower, and his ability to live his life exactly the way he wanted to.
“I’m sure wherever he is now, the two of them are enjoying a well-deserved smoke.
“I want to close by using a phrase that he often did, when hearing news about someone younger than him, which at 90 was practically everyone. That’s what’s really sad about his passing is that he was just a kid.”