Like the 1967 Boston Red Sox, newly minted Councillor-at-Large Carey McDonald came out of nowhere. I know very little about this young man, but by the answers he submitted back to me, he seems like a really cool cat. When I finally do get to chat up Carey, we’ll have a number of issues to discuss; I need to know more about his professional musician parents; I need to know why his parents were inspired to name him Carey (read below for a hint), and where can I see him play cello! For your reading pleasure, Malden’s newest Councillor-at-Large:
- My full name is Carey Pearson McDonald.
- I am currently Executive Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a Malden City Councilor Elect; also, a spouse and parent.
- I am saving up for a road trip, with our tiny camper trailer.
- My home is in Malden’s Faulkner neighborhood.
- I love people who have a passion they want to share with the world.
- Something I say a lot is “what can I do to help?” We all have something to share to help care for our neighbors and our community.
- I consider myself to be unafraid of a challenge, open to new ideas, and a faithful person.
- I need to have coffee in the morning.
- My favorite movie of all time is Children of Men, though I watch more TV shows these days since there are so many good ones.
- My all-time role model is Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia and is the founder of the “Fair Fight” voting rights organization.
- I respect people who show courage and kindness together.
- The best thing anyone has ever said to me is “Dada, I love you” (from my kids).
- I am happy when I can just enjoy the moment with friends and family, these times have been so precious in the past two years.
- I find my phone’s autocorrect funny/hilarious.
- I am named after the song “Carey” by Joni Mitchell.
- I have two kids – Julian is almost 7, and Hosea is 4.
- The farthest I’ve ever been from home is Paris, France, once when I was younger.
- My special talents are – cooking, playing the cello, singing.
- I have no pets now, but used to have a much-loved Schnauzer.
- I played sports as a youngster at *** park – I was more of a music and drama kid, my parents were both professional musicians.
“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end, my only friend, the end” – this past May Malden lost a valued member of the community. I lost a very good friend and a bottomless resource for my articles. His mom Denise misses him dearly – every minute of every day. I thought I would revisit the tribute to Frankie’s life that I ran when he passed. It came from the heart.
He knew more about the history of Malden than you and I – and just about anybody else – but he was much more than a walking/talking encyclopedia of Malden knowledge. Oh, yes, he was – antique collector, music lover, good time enthusiast, fashion plate, “Old Y Guy” and, of course, raconteur (just a few labels Frank would have enjoyed seeing applied to him in print). He was also my pally. Not like he was pallys with Marty Gately and the “Round Table Gang of Four,” but I considered myself a “Friend of Frank” nonetheless – a sweetheart of a guy who endeared himself to me many years ago at the old YMCA, where we shared many a steam and whirlpool together as part of our “Steve Caiazzo Businessman’s Workout” regimen (old Y guys will get that). So, you could have knocked me down with an empty 16 ounce can of Ballantine Ale when Anthony Spadafora informed me that Frankie Russell had “left the building.” It did not seem possible. But sadly, it did seem possible. Odd because I quote(d) him in a soon to be released article; the article that I quoted him in will have printed before this article sees daylight. Funny, I was worried because the quote he sent me needed a little “work.” He rambled on a bit (which he never did), so I had to clean it up for readership consumption. I was concerned that he would be disappointed that I hacked his contribution up a little for it to make more sense. Not to sound glib, but as the old Mad Magazine saying goes, “What, me worry?” Frank had a great sense of humor and would have seen the humor in that last statement.
Which brings me back to Frankie. One of the key elements in the novel “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë is passion versus restraint; “reason sits firm and holds the reins…the passions may rage…but judgment shall still have the last word.” I am not talking out of school when I say that Frank was not a perfect human being. Who is? I am going to miss that huge personality and the Frankie Russell swagger – the biting wit in those emails letting me know when I got it wrong – and the ones I really looked forward to, the times I got it right. Frankie was a good guy, by no means faultless. But then again none of us are. No matter, death leaves a huge hole regardless. I know you “can’t put your arms around a memory,” so from the bottom of my heart, Frankie, I will miss you.
Speaking of Marty Gately, he was one of the first people I reached out to when I heard the news. Marty and Frank were friends. They shared the good, the bad and the ugly in life together as friends always do. Marty is a guy I have always respected, and I really appreciated him taking some time to speak Frank Russell with me:
“Frank was, first and foremost, a very intelligent man (1985 Malden High School grad, BA in history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School). He is a past president of the Malden Historical Society, served as Assistant City Solicitor for both Somerville and Malden, led his own law practice for 19 years, held a leadership position on the Mayor’s Housing Task Force, was on the Board of Directors for both the Monsignor Neagle Apartments and Malden Chamber of Commerce, and he was a lector at Immaculate Conception Parish. Like I said, a very intelligent man.
“Frank and I had a lot of good times together, including working out at the legendary Malden YMCA Men’s Health Club when the Health Club at the old Y was ground zero in Malden for both working out and perfecting the ‘art of the deal.’ Frank was very active in local politics. He was elected to the Malden School Committee and worked on many local campaigns including mine when I first ran for office. He was even able to get the true superstar of the family, his wonderful mother Denise, to host my first campaign coffee party. He had an unbelievable amount of knowledge and passion for politics and for the history of the city he loved so much, Malden. I am positive that he could have written his magnum opus, the critically acclaimed ‘An Early History of Malden’ solely from memory. Without the help of crib notes for sure.
“I will always remember Frank as a core member of what we called the ‘Round Table.’ The Round Table was a joking reference to the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920’s led by writer Dorothy Parker. In the early 1990’s, every Friday, myself, Frank, Sean Lucey, and Keith Swerdlick (who at the time was an aide to Mayor Ed Lucey) and a revolving cast of local characters would meet for the lunch buffet at Anthony’s on Canal Street. The tables were round, which was important to Frank, who was always a stickler for detail. The conversation was always lively. Frank would always show up impeccably dressed. Which is something that was never once said about the rest of us. In the summertime, he would wear his trademark seersucker suit. Winter, spring, summer, or fall he would keep us entertained with his biting wit and that Frankie Russell charisma. The future stretched out in front of each one of us but first Friday afternoons at the Round Table. Frank embraced that challenge (and life in general) with a deep passion. The good, the bad, and the ugly. His love for life, his love for and knowledge of Malden and its history, and his friendship will be sorely missed.”
Postscript: If you do not have Frank Russell’s book “An Early History of Malden” (still available online, by the way) then as card-carrying Maldonians, you should. Frank’s love affair with Malden is evident within the pages of this book. I picked it up when it first hit the “local bookstore” and could not put it down. It literally had to be pried from my gnarly hands by my grandson Christian. In the book Frankie goes waaay back! From Michael “Mr. Sunshine” Wigglesworth’s Colonial era “best seller” “Day of Doom” right up to the Woman’s Suffrage Movement and Malden’s greatest citizen, Elisha Converse (Elisha being the Malden equivalent of Hans Sprungfeld, aka Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield, the purported fictional founder of the town of Springfield on “The Simpsons”). An amazing amount of detail went into this book. Frank outdid himself with his farewell tome. Thank you for that, Frank.