Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


I am a history buff since forever. In college I took the first Irish History class every taught there. Ninety-nine percent of my classmates had Irish surnames. I was the only Sal in the class. The professor’s name was Burke too.

Within the last 10 or so years I became aware of a piece of Irish history that apparently never made it on the radar screen. I can remembering watching a movie named « The San Patricios,” a movie about the US-Mexican War of 846 when more than 500 immigrant soldiers, mostly Irish, deserted the US Calvary  and joined forces with Mexico. The movie which won awards came out in 1996.  I viewed it by accident while flipping channels on my TV . This little known story among Irish Americans needs wider broadcast. After watching it a few times I still don’t know if they were traitors or heroes. History sometimes gets very complex. See the movie for yourself and better still do some research on this piece of history.

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The Charlestown Recovery House recently held a public meeting to discuss its petition to add a few more beds to the recovery house. They are looking to expand from 27 beds to 33 beds and they›ve added at this time they are only looking to fill 30 beds. As John McGahan said, “Addiction is a statewide problem. We keep saying we need to get out on the front end of this crisis. We need to get into the schools and educate the young. We just keep banging away at it here.”

As someone who worked over 41 years for the mental health department in Boston and especially as a DMH police officer for 28 years, I often saw first hand the results of this opiate epidemic. Places like Charlestown Recovery House are so needed today more than ever.

We need to continue to support  this Recovery House, they are doing God’s work..



Boston State College merged with UMass Boston back in 1982 but for alumni of Boston State, this special educational institution has never died and lives on inside those who graduated from it.

I attended Boston State between 1968-72 and graduated back in June of 1972. It was the proudest day of my life up to that point of my life.

I recently for the 10th Annual Alumni Celebration earlier this month and was feeling like 24 years old again. However, that was 46 years ago. Soon, I will be celebrating my 50th graduation  anniversary.

I met lots of folks including my Irish History professor Dr. Gerald Burke who actually remembered me as a writer back on campus. He turned to his wife and said, “Honey, this is the student I was telling you about who was a great writer at the school.”He told me he still follows my writings to this day. It is always nice to know you are remembered and for me to be remembered as “Sal the writer.”

I bumped into a lady from Malden who graduated with me and remembered my writing skill when she saw my name tag when she walked into the hall. Talked with her and a friend for a while about the old days and her friend turns to me and says I read you every week in the Charlestown Patriot.

Finally, walking around I bumped into an old Charlestown friend, Dave Flanagan. He graduated from Boston State College in 1976. I had forgotten he had told me years ago he went to Boston State too.

It was great to step back into the past and celebrate one›s youth again. When Ia was just starting out on my writing career. It was also great to remember  this college’s great  tuition fees. It was a blue collar college where you graduated with zero debt.

How many other Townies remember Boston State College?

photo by Angela Cristiani

Dave Flanagan, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley and Sal Giarratani




I recently attended a Christmas Party dinner/dance over at the VFW Beachmont Post in Revere. The catering was done by The Tumble Inn Diner in Saugus on Lincoln Avenue. The co-owners are Laura Cuhna and Rick Scirocco. When Rick discovered I had a Townie connection, he let me know that while he didn’t come from Charlestown, he did grow up visiting family members on his mother’s Irish side. (Byrne, Rogers, Walsh, Welch, Morse and more ties in Charlestown’s one square mile of real estate Rick hasn’t forgotten those Irish roots of his.


We Gaelic-Garlic guys are everywhere!

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