Editor’s Note: For this week’s column, we sat down with Town Meeting Member Christine Castelluccio Moreschi over coffee to ask her what makes Precinct 2 so special and what she sees as the top issues in the Saugus neighborhood she represents. Moreschi is a fourth-generation native Saugonian who has lived in Precinct 2 all her life. She is a 1982 Saugus High School graduate. She is completing the final year of her fifth two-year term on the Saugus Town Meeting. Since July of 2017, she has served as Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree’s chief administrative aide. Previously, she worked five years as the Administrator’s Secretary at Veterans Memorial Elementary School. She earned an Associate in Science degree in Paralegal Studies from North Shore Community College. Prior to her employment in the School Department, she worked for 25 years with the U.S. Postal Service. Her husband, Thomas – an Everett native – is a retired U.S. Postal worker. They have been married for 23 years and have two daughters, both of them Saugus High School graduates: Gabriella (2019), who is now a senior at Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass.; and Isabella (2021), who is a sophomore at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Christine Moreschi has been active on various volunteer committees related to the town’s public education system. Moreschi served as a member of the Saugus High School Project Building committee, the citizens’ panel that worked closely on the planning of the Saugus-Middle High School. She also served on the Food Service Committee and the Wellness Committee. She was president of the Belmonte Middle School Parent Teacher Organization and is a former member of the Veterans Memorial Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. She has been active with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Saugus for many years.
Moreschi’s family has been active in town and civic affairs. She’s the daughter of retired Saugus Fire Department Capt. Anthony Castelluccio. Her mother, Jean (Ciampa), had seven brothers – all of them served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Another relative – the late Christie Ciampa – served for 14 years on the Saugus Board of Selectmen.
Moreschi said she plans to attend the second in a series of “Saugus Over Coffee” forums set for 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Community Room of the Saugus Public Library. She is interested in meeting residents of Precinct 2 and encourages them to attend the forum, which is cosponsored by The Saugus Advocate and the Saugus Public Library.
Highlights of this week’s interview follow.
Q: What makes Precinct 2 special? What are the special features that make it unique among Saugus neighborhoods?
A: Well, I have been there my whole entire life. I think that it’s the residents of Precinct 2. A lot of them are second or third generation. They’ve stayed in their family’s home or moved close to their family’s home. And it’s a close-knit community. People are there for each other.
Q: Are there any special landmarks? When people think about Precinct 2, they think of Cliftondale. But it seems like there’s more to it than Cliftondale.
A: Yes, there is more. You have the MEG Foundation center. You also have the railroad station on Eustis Street. And I know that the Sweetser School isn’t there anymore. You’ve got the streets where the Sweetser School was. That was a grade school. I went there.
Q: And you have the Post Office?
A: Yes, you have the Post Office. And you have the Cliftondale Congregational Church on Essex Street in Precinct 2, and that’s right next to the MEG center.
Q: Yes, the Congregational Church is an important place. It’s the home of the Food Pantry.
A: Yes. The Food Pantry is there.
Q: It’s like a landmark in the precinct.
A: Yes, it most importantly is.
Q: If there was one person in Saugus history who sticks out in Precinct 2, who would that be?
A: Yes – I guess Officer Phillip Pitts. He was a police officer and the first police officer who was ever killed in Saugus.
Q: He was with the Saugus Police Department?
A: Yes, he was with the Saugus Police Department.
Q: So, is there a marker where he was killed?
A: I don’t think so. It happened in 1889. He was shot at the Boston & Maine Railroad Station, which is the one on Eustis Street. He was 41 years old and he interrupted a burglary. He got shot and two days later he died.
Q: I guess one of the biggest landmarks in Precinct 2 would be the MEG Building.
A: Yes – there’s a lot of history there.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves or pressing projects in Precinct 2? In your mind, what are the top challenges facing Precinct 2 – things you would do as a Town Meeting member?
A: Yes, we’re trying to get Cliftondale revitalized. That’s definitely the top priority for the residents of Precinct 2. We need to get some businesses down there. My concern is the businesses.
When I was younger, it used to be a place to go. The Tumble Inn [It closed in June of 2020 after 70 years] was there, and my parents would go down there every day. They used to meet there for coffee and breakfast. And there was a bakery down there.
I know times have changed. We all know that times have changed. I know we’d like to see it like Melrose. But Melrose doesn’t have Route 1, and we have a lot of stores off Route 1. But we would like for it to be a close-knit community again.
And years ago, there was a lot of foot traffic down there [in Cliftondale]. Now you don’t have that so much. We’d like to bring that back. I would like to see that come back.
Q: And I guess Rossetti’s [Peter A. Rossetti Insurance Agency, Inc.] is a long-established Cliftondale business. Must be one of the oldest businesses in Precinct 2, right?
A: Yes – they could be. They’ve been down there a while; I don’t know how many years.
Q: What other issues besides Cliftondale revitalization face the people of Precinct 2? That’s like a huge issue. But what are some of the other issues of concern?
A: I love my precinct. I don’t think there are a lot of issues. I just think that the major one right now is Cliftondale revitalization.
Q: Well, aren’t there a lot of issues related to Cliftondale, like whether the Post Office should move someplace else or stay?
A: I think it should stay. It’s just my personal opinion, because people do need to mail letters. And it’s the only post office in Saugus. It’s been there a very long time; ever since I’ve been there, it’s been there.
And we also have to think of the older generation who may not be able to walk or go to a different location for a post office, a church or a bank. It was the older generation that would walk to Cliftondale to go to local businesses. Remember, Cliftondale was a village. It wasn’t Cliftondale Square. It was called Cliftondale Village and it was one of the oldest villages.
Q: When did they start calling it Cliftondale Square?
A: I don’t know.
Q: What about when you were a kid?
A: Cliftondale Village.
Q: So it was called Cliftondale Village when you were a kid?
A: Yes, I believe so, because it was more like a homey place. People were always down there. And they would go to the different establishments like Tumble Inn and the bakery. It brings back fond memories.
I don’t think a lot of residents in Precinct 2 want to see it built up to more than that. I think that they just really like for their businesses to come back – a restaurant, some place where they can walk to and have a bite to eat. You know what I mean? … sit with their friends over a cup of coffee.
I called it Cliftondale Square when I was growing up. The older generation called it Cliftondale Village.
Q: Any other thoughts about Precinct 2?
A: There is a lot of traffic that goes through Precinct 2, but there is a lot of traffic that goes through everywhere, so it’s not unique to that.
Q: Do you think you will get a good turnout on Monday for the second in a series of 10 forums of “Saugus Over Coffee?”
A: I hope so. I hope the residents will come out and get to meet their Town Meeting members. I think we will have a good turnout.
Q: Precinct 2 is certainly one of the more active precincts in the town.
A: Yes. I agree with you.
Q: Anything else that you would like to talk about?
A: No. Thank you for this opportunity.