Malden Musings: The Crime of the Century (2022)

Malden Musings: The Crime of the Century (1)

One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of Edgeworth, and the St. Rocco Feast, took place in August of 1982 at the 53rd annual San Rock Festa. It was just another ordinary St. Rocco weekend right up until Sunday morning. Then blam! The backstory; as always, all the regulars gathered to sample the calzone, sausages & peppers, fried dough, and cannoli.They gathered to toast loved ones no longer with them. And toshare the home-made vino that sat fermenting for months in every basement in Edgeworth. Regulars like Lou Brandano, (then Ward 2 Councilor) Dom Fermano, Tony Spadafora Sr., Johnny Colangeli Sr., John Puleo Sr., Freddy Caruso, Joey Cantera, Frankie Ultrino, Nick Angelo, Anne Sbraccia, Jean Selidelli, (then Ward 6 Councilor) Billy Croken, Bobby McCarthy, and a whole heck of a lot more San Rockpilgrims. The Bobby Fiore Orchestra entertained. The Angelo girls poured drinks. Children's faces were painted. But the talk of the weekend, the talk for the next few years actually happened as Saturday night worked its way towards dawn. Seems that in the wee small hours of that night a heartless and vicious thug pulled what was called at the time, “the prank of the century." This miscreant pulled a most cowardly act and cut down the grease pole that had been placed in the ground the night before. As dawn rose over Edgeworth groggypilgrims arose. Through blood shot eyes they found the axle greased covered pole on the ground in a prone position. Tempers flared but cooler heads prevailed. Salvatore "Butch" Gennetti was the calm voice of reason; "It was a shame. Someone used a saw to cut the pole down. To do something like that is kind of (expletive deleted) when you consider the hard work involved." When everybody finally sobered up, they realized that Butch's words should inspire them to continue the weekend and make the most of it. The show went on. Of course it did. This is Edgeworth! The pole went back up. The vino poured once again. That afternoon, after the Procession, the grease pole climbers set the record for retrieving the salami at the very top of the pole. Mark& Joey Martino, Al Fucci Jr., Johnny& Gary Esposito, Rickie McCoy, Luke Angelli, Billy Spadafora, Sonny Trioli, John Racioppi, Kenny "Boo Boo" Bucci, and Eddie& Bobby Doherty made the best of a bad situation and put on a show for the ages. The crime remains unsolved to this very day. Every so often rumors of 'who done it'fly out the doors of the Italian American Citizen's Club, the I.T.A.M.'s, and the Molinari'sback yardbut the elusive culprit has never been brought to justice. Just as an F.Y.I. the statute of limitations never runs out for a crime as heinous as this in Edgeworth. Just the facts ma'am.

"Reasons to be cheerful, Part 1"—The headline in the March 29edition of the South Florida Sun Sentinel screamed, "Boca investor Mason Slaine pledges $100 million toward purchase of Sentinel's parent company." If the name sounds familiar, it should. Mason is a proud son of Malden graduating at the high school, I believe, in 1971. The article goes on to say how the Boca Raton investor and philanthropist is willing to put up the dough toward buying the Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the South Florida Sun sentinel and Orlando Sentinel. What a great guy! Check out his explanation for the buyout attempt: “I am a Florida resident, and I believe heartily in strong investigative journalism as a necessary part of creating a safe and honest society,” Slaine wrote in an email to a group of Orlando Sentinel reporters who had contacted him. “I consider papers such as the ones theTribune owns in Florida to be a sacred public trust. The journalists should help safeguard the community and in turn the community should support the publishingplatforms.”

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Such a mensch! Last June, Mason donated $1.5 million to a Boca Raton Regional Hospital, citing help the hospital had accorded to him and his family. The admissions area of a new tower was to be named after Mason, who sits on the hospital foundation’s board of trustees. He formerly served on the foundation’s executive committee.

His little brother Davidis also a successful investor and philanthropist. Dave graduated M.H.S. in 1978 and was a standout hoop player at the high school earning All Scholastic honors as a senior. Dave would come up the Y and rain long range jumpers all over the older guys back in the day before he moved to New York for fame and fortune. By the way, Dave has never forgotten his Malden roots. Keeping in touch with many of his Malden friends and helping out financially whenever possible.

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"Reasons to be cheerful, Part 2" —Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1970: "Suns Vs. Celtics In Junior Police Showdown."

The Suns and the Celtics emerged as winners in their Malden Junior Police Basketball League tilts to set the scene for this Saturday's showdown between the top two teams.

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The unbeaten Suns, behind the strong play of Joe Levine and Jackie Gerrin, whipped the Bucks, 30-18. Meanwhile, led by Mike Morrelli and Billy Murray, the Celtics were busy defeating the Knicks, 21-12, to boost their record to 5-2.

This Saturday, the second place Celtics challenge the league-leading Suns in the 9:15 lid lifter of a three-game set in the Marshall Gym. It will be followed by the Pistons-Knicks at 10 and the Lakers-Bucks at 10:45.

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The Lakers received high scoring performances from Bobby Blundell and Vance Ferratusco as they downed the Pistons, 15-12. Chris Flood and Pail Cammaratta held the hot hands in the losing effort.

The Knicks were led by John Stanasek and John Furlong while high men for the Bucks were Gary Twyman and Dougie Rogers."

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The Junior Police League was a lot of fun and a steppingstone for a lot of outstanding Malden players. I did not play but my brother Joe totally dominated his time in the league. They couldn't figure out his left hand! Jackie Gerrin is still around. He graduated with Joe in '73, and both seemed to have found the fountain of youth. Mike Morelli's uncle Richard Morelli had a field named after him in Melrose, his grandfather owned the Summer Street Fruit Store on the corner of Summer and Maple in the 1950's through the 1960's, his cousin Mike (Cherone) isarising star at M.A.T.V. with his hit show '02148,'and his other cousin Gary (Cherone) plays in a little band out of Boston called Extreme. Billy Murray went on to play ball at Browne and M.H.S. Vance Ferratusco played for Lincoln then M.H.S. and is now the go-toguy at Minuteman Press on Eastern Ave. John Stanasek and Johnny Furlong went on to legendary sports career in Malden with Furgie doing time as Ward 5 Councilor. The late Gary Twyman was a talented all-aroundathlete. A three-sport star in baseball, football, and basketball better than you and me. Dougie went on to star at Malden High School with his cousin Gregory. I hated to play against Doug. He would swallow you up with those long arms and spit you out while gliding down the court for another lay in.

As Peter Falk's iconic TV character "Columbo" would say"Just one more thing sir” — I knew David DeaneHaskell. Who didn't?! I really liked David DeaneHaskell! Who didn't!?! Dave went on to his great reward a couple weeks back and believe me, he will not soon be forgotten. Many wonderful things have been said and have been written abouthim since his passing. None better than this from His granddaughter Rose: "Dave Haskell was born on a kitchen table on Franklin St., Malden. He went to the Daniel's Elementary School, Lincoln Jr. High and Malden High School '54. He started his career life working at the Revere Knitting Mills, as well as an usher at Granada Theatre. From Malden High, he paid his due diligence and enrolled in the United States Army. Following his service duty, he married in Malden and settledon Park St. Work brought him away from Malden for about six years, then he returned to James St., and the Bell Rock Area. He was a second generation bowler at the Charles St. Bowladrome. In 1971, Dave and his wife Ethel purchased their dream home on Earl St. Their children and grandchildren have learned skills such as gardening, woodworking cooking and piano, with Dave throughout the years. A Malden boy, thru and thru."

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Peter Levine is a longtime Malden resident and contributor to The Observer-Advocate. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments, complaints or criticisms.

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