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Malden today, tomorrow and yesterday – “Just Once More”

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  Because you overwhelmingly demanded it! Because you had to read it “just once more!” Because it was so wicked awesome the first (three?) times! My column from 2014 (with a few edits) reflecting on our collective past! Back by popular demand! Actually, I got caught without enough material once again for a new column so why the heck not!

  Just once more…

  • I’d like to see Brendan Duffy walking through the basketball court at the old Y, dripping sweat, after a hard-fought handball game upstairs.
  • I’d like to see “Rapid” Johnny Rafuse in the ring.
  • I’d like to walk that long front corridor at the Granada Theatre (now Ming’s), sit in one of those ratty old seats and take in a midnight movie (“The Song Remains the Same,” anybody?).
  • I’d like to see Medford guy Joe Pet’s “Incredible Two Man Band” at the Centre Bar & Grille on a Saturday night with all my good time friends.
  • I’d like to spend a Sunday night at the Broadway East, when Richie Willis and his boys in North Shore A Capella were the hottest ticket in town.
  • I’d like to walk into Jack Haney’s, sit down at one of those vintage bar stools and order a 35-cent draft.
  • I’d like to walk into Joe & Nemo’s with childhood friends Chuckie Sullivan, Barry Mills, Bobby Hench, Barry Hitchcock and Chuckie Frangulas.
  • I’d like to sit at the counter at Bernie Miller’s place – O’Neil’s Drug Store – on Charles Street, have a cherry coke and hang out with all the neighborhood kids.
  • I’d like to spend a Sunday night at the Blue Star Bar & Grille.
  • I’d like to see beloved educator/literary muse/bon vivant John O’Brien walking through the Square, trench coat & soft hat, salt & pepper beard – making his way to his next class.
  • I’d like to see Al Owens walking down Malden Street with that pronounced swagger of his.
  • I’d also like to see his friend and classmate John Surette walking down Beltran Street.
  • I’d like to see Paul Gennetti’s big handsome smile – missed every single day by those who loved him.
  • I’d like to walk up that long flight of stairs to Al’s Pool Room and watch Al LeFave and Tony DeFilippo hold a table all afternoon.
  • I’d like to walk into Schopell’s on a Saturday morning, take a side table and listen to Bill Mini, Don Squires, Arthur Kahn and the rest of their crew swap stories about bygone days in Malden.
  • I’d like to see Patrolman Sal “Butchie” Gennetti (now Commissioner) directing traffic in the middle of the Square.
  • I’d like to watch Godzilla on “Creature Double Feature” on a Saturday afternoon with “Uncle Dale” (Dorman) making with the wise cracks during commercials.
  • I’d like to hear Tommy Kelly recite Shakespeare, word for word, line for line, after a long night of “celebrating.”
  • I’d like to see the Santos, the Sensiles, the Bionellis and the Surettes playing street hockey at Girls Catholic across from the “Red School.”
  • I’d like to walk over to the Shell Station on the corner of the Fells and Emerald Street (Dalton’s), grab a 10-ounce Coke out of the machine, walk over to the Bandstand, take a seat on the steps with my Big A meatball sub and ice-cold Coke and not have a worry in the world.
  • I’d like a French Bread fresh out of the oven at DiPietro’s Bakery.
  • I’d like to walk into Riley’s Roast Beef, order a jumbo beef plain and watch the afterhours crowd stumble through.
  • I’d like to see Anthony Spadafora Sr. sitting by the fireplace on a Saturday afternoon.
  • I’d like to see “Sal the Barber” tanning himself on his lounge chair in front of his barbershop on Charles Street.
  • I’d like to see Coach Frank Adorn hitting fungos to his two sons, Frankie and Steve.
  • I’d like to walk into Signor Pizza in the Square, grab a pizza with the Green Street boys and plan our Friday night.
  • I’d like to walk into Jerry’s Army & Navy Store – Jimmy Kelley and Richie “Hard Rock” Hannon working the aisles – and “purchase” a new leather coat.
  • I’d like to pull up to Linden Park and play a pickup game of hoops with the Pashoians, Jimmy Murphy, Tommy & Jimmy Restuccia and Billy Murray.
  • I’d like to walk into the living room of Superintendent Paul Phaneuf’s house on Greystone Road and see him sitting on his favorite recliner reading a classic with a tall glass of Ballantine Ale by his side.
  • I’d like to see Anna Puleo sitting by the phone at the old Highland Café taking pizza orders on a Friday night.
  • I’d like to pull up to Amerige Park and play a pickup game of hoops with Paul Coleman, Bert Cioffi and Peter Plachowicz.
  • I’d like to pull up to Harvard Street Park and play a pickup game of hoops with Rod Marshall, Gregory, Philip & Douglas Rogers (oh yeah) and Derek Wilson.
  • I’d like to pull up to Green Street Park and play a pickup game of hoops with Larry Kinnon, “Choppa,” Brad Snow and the Nolan brothers.
  • I’d like to pull up to Devir Park and play a pickup game of hoops with Frankie Hanley, Danny, and Jimmy Guerin and all those great guys from Medford.
  • I’d like to walk down Pearl Street on a hot summer night and see Eleanor & Frank Molinari sitting on their porch.
  • I’d like to see the Edgeworth based garage band “Anthem” with Dickie “Dr. Love” Santo on bass and Dommy “Love Gun” Settemio on guitar play one last gig at the I.T.A.M.’s.
  • I’d like to see Sheriff Jimmy DiPaola holding court, anywhere.
  • I’d like to drive down Pearl Street on a hot summer night and inhale the aroma of fresh bread baking from the kitchen at Pearl Street Bakery.
  • I’d like to put a dime in the juke box, select the latest Beatles hit song and have a large Highland Café pizza.
  • I’d like to walk into King Neptune with my childhood bud Jimmy Damiano, order some French fries, and talk Red Sox all afternoon.
  • I’d like to see Billy & Dom Settemio behind the bar at the Stadium Café on one of those special “Three Stooges Marathon Monday” nights.
  • I’d like to walk into the old Cai’s Playoff Pub and see pro athletes Bob Montgomery, Cam Neely, “LB,” Julio Franco, Gordie Kluzak and Rick Upchurch nursing cold beers with the regulars.
  • I’d like to watch Rufino “Ruffy” Mugica pitch a baseball game.
  • I’d like to see Danny Rao throw another touchdown pass.
  • I’d like to watch Mikey Powers score another goal.
  • I’d like to watch Rob Santo hit a baseball.
  • I’d like to see Colleen McBride shoot a jump shot.
  • I’d like to see Mark Cannon run with the football.
  • I’d like to watch John Stanasek play a game of hoops.
  • I’d like to see Matty Marden score another goal.
  • I’d like to watch Dave Russo make wrestling look easy.
  • I’d like to see Harry Mehos work the sideline at a Malden High School football game.
  • I’d like to hear Bobby Crowley sing “60 Minute Man.”
  • I’d like to see John Surette and Boy’s Life do “Two Doors Down” once last time.
  • I’d like to walk into the Italian American Veteran’s Club on Oakland Street and see Joe “Joe Candy” Candelora, Johnny Barry, Joey Moreno and Frankie Villa standing at the bar.
  • I’d like to hear “Choppa” call me “Pistol Pete” and see that great big smile of his!
  • I’d like to see Walter “Killer” Kowalski and his wife Theresa sitting in their favorite booth at the old Ferrari’s on Eastern Avenue eating lunch.
  • I’d like to walk into the Converse Rubber Retail Store on Pearl Street and pick out a pair of 9 1/2 Chuck Taylor’s.
  • I’d like to see Sean Collins sitting at his favorite spot at the Rez.
  • I’d like to spend a Friday night up the Mount, bundled up warm for the cold, waiting for that certain time of the night when Russ “Galooch” Garland would command our attention and break out into “God Bless America” or Norm Pashoian to start singing “My Way.”
  • I’d like to go to lunch at the G&G Deli on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan with my grandfather Harry (Levine) and my family…

  Just once more – for the sake of old times and old-timers!

  Thank you to James Calogero, whom I totally lifted this idea (and especially the last line) from while I was thumbing through an issue of “Boston’s North End” from 2002.

  “This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end” – the Square was bangin once again this Saturday night! Millennial’s, hipsters, Malden newcomers and (yes) a few grizzled old townies scurrying about jockeying for that perfect spot to leave their vehicles, Parking Department 2019 Rookie of the Year Jimmy Kambutu keeping a close eye on all the parking shenanigans. The closer to Faces the better! The closer to Mystic Station the better. The closer to 3 Amigos the better! The closer to Hugh O’Neill’s the better! The closer to Dandy Donuts the better! Wait, I kid, the original (George’s) Double D left the building years ago. The closer to All Season’s Table the better! Nonstop action on this beautiful early spring evening.

  First stop for me: Hugh O’Neill’s for a wee snifter before I head over to my go-to destination, All Season’s Table. Hugh’s was poppin’ (am I using the correct millennial terminology?). Congratulations to Hugh’s on their 20th birthday celebration, by the way. Malden Square is a better place with Hugh O’Neill’s serving up great chow and outstanding craft beer all the while bringing a small taste of Ireland right smack dab in the middle of town. An Irish group sat under the big screen TV during the Sox game as they played all your favorite tunes from the Emerald Isle. The Dubliners own the song, but my request for the “Irish Rover” was spot on from this talented duo. I had a Maltings Irish Ale (Red Ale) out of Sullivan’s Brewing Company and was glad I did. One and done.

  I bade farewell to the friendly waitstaff behind the bar, and speaking of AST, what better place on planet earth to celebrate another birthday than Doug’s Palace of Delights, All Season’s Table! This time it was for that superstar real estate agent and super-mom to four adorable children, my stepdaughter, Angela Falzarano! I am happy to report the food, drink and service have not changed one bit over the years. A delight to all your senses! I am also happy to report that the drinks were just how you remember them. Delightful! I am also overjoyed to report that CEO and visionary businessman Douglas (Tran) joined us and was as charming and congenial as always. Love that guy! We arrived somewhat early on that Saturday night just as the dining room was filling up. We spent a glorious couple of hours eating and drinking (12-year-old Christian loved the Edamame and Gyoza), enjoying all that AST has to offer. As we left, the joint started rockin’ – a room full of happiness. I really appreciate the time, care and effort AST put into making us feel welcome. Doug and his crew have not only brought the Square back to life but have become a beloved Malden institution in the process. Happy birthday to Angela Falzarano who has (also) seemingly discovered the fountain of youth all the while killing it in her chosen profession all the while raising four darling children: Christian, Lola, Lana and the newest Falzarano, Milo. Goes to show what marrying well can do for ya! Her husband Joe ain’t a bad guy either.

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