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Malden today, tomorrow and yesterday – The Steve Ultrino Interview

Steve Ultrino
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  And now a word or two from the “Pride of Edgeworth,” State Rep (D) straight out of Ward 2, Steve Ultrino:

  1. What one thing would people be surprised to learn about you? — “Despite my stockier build, I am a very picky eater (except for milk chocolate).”
  2. Where would you most like to buy a one-way ticket to? — “Aruba.”
  3. What person, alive or dead, would you like to eat dinner with?— “Well, I would always like to see my father and grandparents again; however, I always wanted to meet with Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta.”
  4. What’s one song to play to put yourself in a good mood? — “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran; a bonus if Andrea Bocelli sang along.”
  5. What is the one piece of advice that most changed your life? — “A former teacher/Xaverian Brother once told me, “The greatest deed is the one in which you have accomplished and not in which you need to talk about.”
  6. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self? — “Learn how to relax; one thing I am not very good at unfortunately.”
  7. What’s the one thing that keeps you motivated? — “Helping people/working in the community.”
  8. What’s the one thing you want to be remembered for? — “Helping people and community service.”
  9. Malden is a small, vibrant community with, by any standard of measurement, a bright future. You (and your family) have long known Malden. Through good times and bad. With the influx of new restaurants, new residents, a forward-looking administration in City Hall led by Mayor Christenson and his staff, the removal of the city hall building/police station and the ongoing “transit-oriented development” centered around the Orange Line – what is your vision of Malden and the downtown area, in say, five years? And how would you continue to spur growth in Malden? — “I would like to see more of a selection of ethnic restaurants, a hub for innovation in science, education, and the arts.”
  10. Malden has long been known for its outstanding restaurants, delis, and bakeries. You grew up in a neighborhood renowned for its food. Growing up what were your favorite places to grab a slice of pizza, a sub or a French bread? — “The original DiPietro’s Pizzeria and the bakery. However, a full pizza would be at the former Highland Café and my grandmothers of course.”

  Picked up pieces while waiting patiently for, arguably, the best weekend of the year, Saint Rocco Weekend (August 12-14) …

  • Outstanding (red) rose bush display at the entrance of the Jackson Street Parking Garage at 7 Jackson St. Great job, Standard Parking!
  • Little known Malden fact department: superstar Democratic political consultant Michael Goldman’s dad taught Norman Greenbaum how to box at the old Beth Israel Synagogue Community Center some 65 years ago when Normie was a teenager.
  • So, after 42 years the skinny little kid from Russell Street retires from his dream gig: City of Malden Chief of Police. Congratulations Kevin (Molis)! You have done really well and Malden is very proud of you! We thought we would lose you at one point, though. Hollywood came calling. You put loyalty to your hometown before fame and fortune in Tinseltown! For that we are grateful. Most of all, Kevin, Edgeworth is very proud of you! More on Chief Molis when I collect my thoughts.
  • Did you know that… Councilor-at-Large Craig Spadafora is an accomplished photographer and somewhat of a musicologist? True facts.
  • The 1971 smash hit “Clean up Woman” by Betty Wright is stuck in my head and will not leave. Not that this is a bad thing.
  • Ward 7 Councillor Chris Simonelli threw a party for the ages on the 4th of July. Master Chef Albert from Anthony’s on Canal Street catered the affair with some sweet soul music provided by T&T (Tyrone & Tyrone aka “Living on Beats”), who obviously love and know their music. A one-two punch right there unmatched since “Dangerous Dana” Rosenblatt threw leather. Thank you, Chris!
  • Steven E. DiGiacomo passed away suddenly on June 11. He was 73 years old. According to his obituary, “Steve wrote his own rules. He lived 1,000 years in his 74 calendar years because he attacked life, grabbed it by its lapels, kissed it and swung it on the dance floor.” I can personally attest to that. Steve certainly loved life and was a whole heck of a lot of fun to shoot darts and drink beer with deep into the night (responsibly of course)! Stevie, say hello to Neal (Spadafora), Stevie (McCarthy), Richie (Cremone) and Joey (Moreno) when you guys finally hook up again!
  • Happy 7-0, John “Trixie” Trischitta! Trixie is a true legend in these here parts. We’re not exactly sure why he is, but he is. Insert smiley face.
  • So long and much happiness to one of my best friends, Bobby Goodwin, of the Oakland Street Goodwins. Bobby and his wife Kelly (both retired) are fleeing cold New England nights for warmer days in Florida. Bobby and I go back to 1978 or so. We saw the Ramones every single time they came anywhere in New England for a good seven-year period. We had many late-night China Garden feed fests (or better yet, frenzies) on the steps of Johnny Angelo’s Barber Shop, Gabby’s, on Highland Ave. And we spent (too many) hours sitting on a barstool in the old lounge at Anthony’s on Canal Street. Goodie, I cherished every single moment, my friend. We’re gonna miss you. Stay well and I’ll see you as soon as the first chill hits Malden!

  Yet more musings from the inimitable pen of the late John O’Brien, whose wit and wisdom endeared him to generations of Malden High School students, Malden residents and faculty at MHS. These “Musings” from September 1973 are some of his best works. Danger, Will Robinson! There is a word or two used by John that may be offensive to some in 2022. If you are faint of heart, read on at your own risk (said semi-facetiously):

  (“Danger, Will Robinson!!”) “Rumor has it that Women’s Liberation will seek to outlaw the running broad jump.”

  • “Legalize potluck suppers.”
  • “American League hitters stopped taking (Bill) Lee for granted.”
  • “Had a disc attack at the discotheque, but I’ll be back.”
  • “When she said, “no way” in Norway, I knew we were Finished.”
  • (“Danger, Will Robinson!!”) “If baseball outlawed midgets, why shouldn’t basketball outlaw giants?”
  • “In Saint Louis, they’re asking: “Is a pennant in the Cards?”
  • “Since the day we shared a cone, I have pined for you.”
  • “If my search for happiness is a wild goose chase, I’m a dead duck.”

  As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say “Just one more thing, sir” – Torbert Macdonald would have been 105 this past June 6. “Torby” wore many hats in his long and illustrious career. Most notably, a Congressman straight out of Malden (via Everett) who happened to be married to a famous movie starlet, the forever beautiful Phyllis Brooks.

  I received a wonderful email in 2014 from Laurie Macdonald, daughter of our late beloved congressman. At the time Laurie wanted to put her dad’s legacy into historical perspective: “As for the ‘history,’ for the record, my father was President Kennedy’s roommate at Harvard, and life-long close friend. They both joined the Navy, and both were PT Boat captains in World War 2. My father was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his wartime actions. He was an usher at Jack’s wedding and an honorary pallbearer at the funeral. In fact, my father had been with Jack in Palm Beach the weekend before the assassination. President Kennedy was also my older brother’s godfather. Jack and my dad both died far too young; the President in 1963 and my father in 1976 at age 58, after serving 21 years in Congress. It was his death that created the vacancy that now-Senator Ed Markey filled.”

  Happy birthday, Torby! Malden will not forget you.

  Postscript 1: Speaking of Trixie, we were both at the Emerson School (I was in the first grade, he in the sixth) that fateful day in 1963 and both remember the JFK tragedy vividly.

  Postscript 2: I feel very fortunate to have been friends with the late (Malden District Court Clerk Magistrate) Joe Croken. We both had lockers in the same aisle in the Health Club at the old Y. Joe was Torby’s “right hand man” and would share stories with me of his time spent with the legendary Congressman.

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