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Malden Musings: “Barry Alman Reflects”

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By Peter Levine


Barry Alman was a child of Amerige Park endowed by the deity of your choice with a killer southpaw jump shot. He’s called San Diego “home” now for 35 or so years working as a professional basketball ref and amateur photographer all the while still considering Malden (his real) home. (It’s in his blood, of course he does!) Barry reached out to me last week, for another nostalgic trip down Malden memory lane.

Barry fondly recalls the 1960s glory days of Amerige Park hoop competing with and against neighborhood greats like Irwin Zalko, Billy Carty, Johnny Salmon, “Puggy” Forbes, Bobby Hyde, Ed Markey and his brothers Richie and John, Barry Fitzpatrick, Franny Repucci, Paul Finn, Angel Torres, Ira Mahakian, Paul Alessio, “Jumbo” McKinnon, Billy Hanifan, Mike Cerchione, Jimmy “Slim Jim” Cahill, David and Tony Stokes, Joe Colameta, Richie Burns, Phil Macy, Dave McNary, George Miller, Danny Myers, Henry Katz, Gary Campsmith and Cliff Cioffi. He remembers one particular summer working for the Malden Recreation Council with Jimmy Mirley, Irwin (Zalko) and Ronny Drinkwater (during Bevy’s fighting days) when there was something new and exciting happening every single day of that long, hot summer. Barry mentioned that there was hardly ever a dull moment during his childhood, even during the winter months when he’d get friends like Eddie “Porky” Garrant, Eddie Manley, Joe Repucci and Peter Plachowicz together to shovel the snow off the court at Amerige – cracked, bleeding hands and all – and play hoops long into the night.

And then there is this, a love letter to Malden from our San Diego expatriate, Barry Alman – who obviously left his heart not in San Francisco – but in the city by the polluted river, Malden. His Malden! “I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small burg north of Boston. In local parlance, it was ‘wicked awesome!’ Here are some of my thoughts from that not-too-distant past which continue to haunt me – in the best of ways.” Barry speaks:

  • We were spoiled to watch our sports teams and heroes, win win win.
  • We loved our Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, and our Patriots.
  • We also loved and followed Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern.
  • Back in my day, there was no ESPN, or even cable TV. Only the “big games” were broadcast, so if you were a real fan, you attended in person, with your friends, or your father.
  • I loved riding the MBTA into Boston Garden and to Fenway and did so, often.
  • So many fond memories, of the smoke-filled Gaahden, and of the bleechahhs and the Green Monstah!!
  • But what I remember more fondly were my days as a yungsta, as a student/athlete at Beebe Jr. High School.
  • I loved basketball season with my coach, Jack Schlegel, and my teammates/friends such as…
  • Billy Hanifan, Henry Katz, Alan Winrow, George Colangeli, Phil Macy, Richie Byrnes, Paul Abare, and Dicky Barris. We were pretty good!
  • I anticipated our games against cross town rivals Browne: with Hugh K. Small, Danny O’Brien, and Billy Croken. But playing against Lincoln with Larry Pazyra, David & Tony Stokes, Greg Chansky, and Ronnie Spaulding was a really big deal.
  • I think that Joe Colameta and Mike Cerchione were unavailable, as they were students at Cheverus.
  • Baseball season was another story. Coach Frank Adorn was the best, even though he dubbed me as a “thrower,” not a pitcher. I don’t remember much, except the smell of the green grass and the dust of Amerige Park, and of course, the bike rides home, on my trusty Schwinn.
  • I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention that the next few years were much more interesting. We got to team up with our former junior high rivals. I was surprised that they were actually good kids. Good solid friendships were developed, quickly. That’s not necessarily the best part…
  • We had amazing cheerleaders and majorettes. Pretty and perky they were!
  • Great legs and big smiles, they had. “Our colors are the blue and gold. Our war cry, MHS.” Thank you, Arleen Burke and Leona Glasser, Ronna Thur Weiner, Julie Hardiman, and all your teammates.
  • I miss those good ole days!
  • I miss the fun Friday nights we had at The Granada Lanes.
  • I miss hanging with Bill Goss, Cliff Fales, Lou French, Elaine Heartquist, and all the others.
  • I miss avoiding the local cops.
  • I miss Brigham’s, Santoro’s Sub Shop, the Strand Movie Theater, Jessel’s Pub, Friendly’s, and shooting pool and hoops at the ‘Y’ with Bobby Wade.
  • I miss shooting hoops with the older kids like Bobby Hyde, Buddy Arthur, Johnny Salmon, Billy Carty, Angel Torres, Joe Brennan, Dave Barriss, Beef Butarro, Barry Fitzpatrick, Billy Hanifan, Joe Reppucci, Eddie Manley, Porky Garrant, Peter (Placowicz), Peter ‘Panama’ Carroll, Irwin Zalko, Choff, Avi Soroko, Joe Colameta, and all the others.
  • Wow, that was fun! I hope you enjoyed it, Peter!
  • I did Barry, immensely.

It is said in “Malden Musings”….

  • Congratulations to you, Kenny Mazonson, for receiving a sort of lifetime achievement award for your selfless commitment over the years to the youth of Malden. Good to see we’re still recognizing those among us who actually put in the hard work, day after day, year after year. In Kenny’s case, never blowing his own horn. The commemoration honoring Kenny’s life of giving back was at the 47th Annual Eastern Massachusetts Baseball Umpires Association Award Ceremony (say that five times fast) on March 26 at (where else) Anthony’s on Canal Street. The “Service to Youth Award” was in recognition and appreciation for Kenny’s many years of service, dedication and faithfulness to the youth of Malden and his “unselfish devotion” as well as his many contributions to the game of baseball. My note: I’ve seen it firsthand over the decades, its Ken’s life calling, an award that should be named after him! Ken’s pal – and partner in baseball crime – Dave Caiazzo was in attendance, beaming proudly throughout the morning: two of Malden baseball’s greatest ambassadors.
  • A couple weeks back I printed a wonderful Malden remembrance from a Malden actor of yesteryear, Ed Sheehan. Since then, I have been unable to find any significant information on his life or career. He was an author (“Days of ’41”), worked as a “ship fitter” at the Pearl Harbor Shipyard in World War II and was a renowned radio personality later in life in Honolulu. Besides that, particulars are scant. Looking for any help from his kinfolk. Any of Ed’s people left in Malden? Please let me know.
  • Random thought…top 10 hoop players who are members of the Italian American Citizens Club voted on recently by a slightly inebriated group of club members – they are as follows: Chris Bennett, Buddy Arthur, Paul Doyle, Cliff Cioffi, Shawn Brickman, Joe Levine, Jimmy Cahill, Billy Nolan, Greg Phaneuf, Dave Angelo, Billy Coleman and Harvey “Nat the Cat” Nadler.
  • Malden Police Blotter – Malden Police Dept – February 21, 1899: Arresting Officers: Neville & Perham – Elmer H Adams was arrested at 6:20 pm – he was a native of America (“US”) – living at 69 Cedar Street – a white male age 29 years – 5′ 10 1/2″ 160 lbs. – his complexion was “light” – and he was a “musician” – he was arrested for “non-support” – a warrant was issued for his arrest – he was placed in Cell 2 – he paid a fine of $5.38 and was released.
  • Maldonian spotted on YouTube Premium on an atypically warm Saturday night in May! Late evening binge watching my recommended daily dose of grim and gritty police dramas from yesteryear, I spotted yet another Malden guy. Wally Brown appeared as Detective Ambrose on the 1961 “87th Precinct” episode titled “The Floater.” The “87th Precinct” TV show starred Robert Lansing and pre-“Three’s Company” Norman Fell.
  • Shout out to a new paisan, Donald Bagley of the Maplewood Square Bagleys! He’d fit in like a glove down in Edgeworth – inside joke! All the best, Donald!

As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – “An Empty Bottle, A Broken Heart, & You’re Still on My Mind”… Condolences go out to Leo Sullivan on the passing of his stepson Lenny Silvestri, to the late “Eddie the Greek’s” brother Romulo “Romeo” DiGiantomasso, to Marty Murphy on the passing of his sister Maureen Murphy Melo and to Jim “Murph” Murphy on the passing of his son James “Jimmy” Murphy, Jr.

“As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us; as we remember them.”

Postscript: The packed room at Anthony’s for Mayor Christenson’s kickoff campaign fundraiser was a testament to the power of his popularity and the confidence that Malden has in him to continue the exemplary job that we have entrusted him with. A who’s who of Maldonians turned out to shake hands and be photographed with the man who slayed “The Beast That Ate Pleasant Street”! Jack Bello and his lovely wife, Diane, former Ward 7 superstar Neal Anderson, newly married Adam Weldai, Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan, Edgeworth’s Habiba Idrissi, Lisa and Paul Hammersley’s adorable daughter, Bella, Helen Weitz and Marilyn Andrews to name but a few. Good job, Malden! Go Gary!

—Peter is a longtime Malden resident and a regular contributor to the Malden Advocate. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments or criticisms.

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