Saluti from the Saint Rocco Fraternal Association of Malden! Association President Joyce Mover along with a very committed group of San Rock pilgrims – most with close ties to Edgeworth – recently held their annual fundraiser banquet at Anthony’s on Canal Street. The event isn’t what it used to be with many longtime Edgeworthians no longer with us except in memory only, but the upstairs room was full, nonetheless. Every which way you turned you ran into a Scibelli or Cagno or Angelo or Spadafora…well, you get the picture. Insert smiley face. A really fun time was had by all (especially when Craig broke out the good stuff)! Highlights from the banquet:
- Steve Savio and Sea Breeze entertained. Steve has a wonderful voice; the band is really tight and if your bag is timeless classics from the great American Songbook/popular Italian songs then you will just love this group.
- Mayor Gary Christenson is joined at the hip with Saint Rocco himself. No bigger supporter over the years than hizzoner – very much appreciated, Mr. Mayor! Looking forward to walking the streets of Edgeworth with you during the Sunday San Rock Procession. Always a highlight for me, and I know for you also.
- State Rep Steve Ultrino was front and center; of course he was! Steve and his family have helped this Feast to survive over the years.
- Making a return to the banquet this year were Mike and Barbara Scibelli along with their two beautiful daughters, Toni and Jeri (from H.R. at City Hall).
- Italian American Citizens’ Club President, Global Citizen and Edgeworth Forever’s Billy Settemio was honored, I think, for being Billy Settemio! A sort of lifetime achievement award. Nobody deserves it more!
- Surprise guest of the evening: Lori Hall of the Whitman Street Halls – accompanied by her mom! Great seeing you, Lori!
- Richie Cremone, Freddy & Louise Spadafora, Florence & Joe Smarrella, Margie & Barry Condon, Frances & Peter Tomasello, Joanne Assetta Iovino – “As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us; as we remember them.”
- Marie Imbimbo was also honored by the powers that be for her dedication to the Feast over these many years. Forever a constant during the long weekend, if she isn’t dutifully manning the fried dough stand, Joyce panics.
- Malden Public Library Trustee, Malden Historical Society Big Cheese and stone-cold Edgeworth, John Tramondozzi made a grand entrance. John has more Malden/Edgeworth knowledge in his little pinky finger than I have in my whole being. Just ask him. I kid. John goes way back, and it’s always fun to listen to him pontificate all things Malden.
- Ward 1 Councillor Peg Crowe was in the house. She loves this event and has been a huge supporter over the years – volunteering and getting her hands dirty in the trenches all weekend long.
- You could not keep Very Special Assistant to Mayor Christenson, Maria Luise, away from this event for a million bucks! She just loves being with her paisans and supporting something so near and dear to her Italian heritage. Great seeing you, Maria! Keep up the great work at city hall!
- Diego Barricelli was also honored with one of those precious citations from Mayor Christenson for his dedication always above and beyond the call of duty. When introduced Joyce mentioned that Diego has been awarded the “Saint Rocco Clean Apron Award” for multiple years in a row! Fellow San Rock workers consistently acknowledge Dickie for his hard work behind the grill all weekend without soiling his white apron. The mayor confirmed that with the much sought after citation.
- In case you haven’t heard, this year’s Feast (do not call it a Festival) takes place the weekend of August 11, 12 and 13. Beetlejuice make their triumphant return on Friday night; fan favorites WildFire return for a Saturday night performance with Steve Savio’s “Sea Breeze” and Billy Joel Tribute Act “Heart Attack Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack” entertaining on Sunday.
- More than one young lady overheard saying they want to be just like Rosemarie Barricelli when they grow up. Looking great, Rose!
- Chef Chris (Cirino) of the kitchen is to be complimented. The food, as always, was excellent. Then the vino started to flow. Then the dancers showed up on the dance floor. Then I hightailed it home for my recliner.
Malden’s own Ed Sheehan wrote these touching words some years ago. Ed was born in 1918 and passed away in 1992 at age 74. Those 74 years were filled with (like most of us) the ups and downs of life but always with a deep-rooted love of Malden. Ed was an actor appearing in the original (1968) Hawaii Five-O, 1980’s Magnum PI with Tom Selleck and the acclaimed 1960 film “Twelve Hours to Kill” with Barbara Eden, Gavin MacLeod and Nico Minardos. If you are Malden, these words go straight from the Ed’s heart to yours. They jump off the page right out at you, much like Elliot Paul and his culturally important volume, “Linden on the Saugus Branch,” where you can see, smell and hear our beloved Malden of yesteryear:
“There is a part of me that will always be Malden. Our family was wealthy in everything but money. My father was a sheet metal worker and my mother, a nurse…moved to Malden …thinking it a nicer place to raise a family. They were right. Our clothes were always clean – our stomachs full. I left high school after the first year to go to work. After that I got my education at the Malden Public Library. I went to Pearl Harbor in 1940 – where it was always summer – I have always been happy. But I need only to shut my eyes to bring back the faces and places of Malden – its streets of brilliant autumn, moist spring, and silent snow. Summer sassafras and lilac, fresh bread, crisp apples – the slap of a screen door and my mother’s voice summoning me to supper. In my memory there is a Malden that will never change. I am grateful to it – I wish it could have happened to everybody.”
It is said in “Malden Musings”…
- Had a wonderful conversation with Paul Abare’s oldest sister, Marie, recently. We went down Paul Abare memory lane (and of course) not a dry eye over the phone by the time we finished. Paul was a very special person who we all looked up to (literally as well as figuratively) and admired not only for his hoop skills, but for the kind, gentle man he was.
- On a recent Friday morning walk through the streets of Malden with brother Joe, we encounter some of Malden’s best and brightest: Parking Department Supervisor Ernie “Son of Ernie” Ardolino, retired Malden firefighter and all-star southpaw pitcher for the Belmont Hill Bashers of the old Malden YMCA Outreach Softball League – Donny Boyce, and the original “problem solver” himself, Dana Brown. Dana was off to give advice and to problem solve for yet another school system within the Greater Boston area. Darn, why can’t we get guys like him to solve ourproblems.
- Good grief! Have you heard about the aspiring local pol showing up unannounced at a certain social media influencer’s home with gifts and a request for a selfie? As Walter Winchell once said, “The same thing happened today that happened yesterday, only to different people.”
- Can you believe Arthur Kahn recently turned 90? Seems like he’s been around for 190 years! I kid. Arthur has told me on at least 25 separate occasions the time his suit was stolen out of his locker at the old Y. The way he tells it, I could hear it another 25. Congratulations, Arthur, the years have been kind to you.
- Breaking news! Dave Angelo (MPD Maintenance Engineer & former Highland Cafe CEO) is a grandfather! Sonny Joseph DiFilippo was born on May 2 weighing in at 10 lbs. 2.8 oz. and 22″ tall! Congratulations, my friend, enjoy!
As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – and now, the word directly from San Rock: “As we approach the 93rd Annual Saint Rocco Feast, we realize how blessed we are to keep this tradition alive – for 93 years! When a group of Italian immigrants assembled for the first time in 1929, it was to honor a tradition they brought with them from their homeland of Italy. They would be proud to know that their tradition is alive and well. The spirit of Saint Rocco lives in our hearts the whole year, and this gives us the strength to carry on the tradition of our forefathers. Mille grazie (many thanks) to all of you for being a part of the San Rocco tradition and supporting us throughout the years. Please mark your calendars for the greatest event in the city of Malden for the past 93 years and join us on August 11th through the 13th. Buona Fest! Viva Saint Rocco! A Cent’Anni!”
Peter is a long-time Malden resident and a regular contributor to the Malden Advocate. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments or criticisms.