Townie Tidbits

Story and Photos By Sal Giarratani


Dave Whelan is a hard person to forget. There are some people who exist day to day around us. Sometimes we see them, sometimes we don’t They leave no footprints behind them.

His sudden passing from us left us emptied. Kim Mahoney said it best in last week’s Patriot “He was a light that shone bright in all of the town. We want to keep that light shining brightly.”

Those words set the tone for the Second Annual Disco for Dave fundraiser, which raises money for a scholarship foundation because he believed that education was a important key to reaching life’s dreams.

So, we gathered on the dance floor at the Knights to the sounds of disco from our younger age when thinking about anything negative took a back step.

Dave was more than just a community activist, he was the embodiment of what it means to be a Townie and what it means to both love and respect your community and those who came before you.

In between doing lots of great old disco moves, I also lscanned the room and missed many old faces no longer with us. It seemed Dave joined them much too soon, but we all have our time and he had is. We shared time with him as we did with his dad Bud who was a character in his own right.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch or in this case, the dance floor old ‘Disco Sal’ still had the moves that rivaled those of John Travolta himself back in ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ Don’t have that great polyester three piece suit, don’t have those Cuban heels, don’t have that dark hair and sideburns, but I still do have passion for a great time moving to the music which on this night came from Smokey Cain himself.

Just as he danced into so many hearts over the years, we danced n honor of him now, and danced and donated to Dave’s cause of always learning and growing.

Donna Summer another light that burned out too soon had her Last Dance, and we remember her. Now we remember Dave through the musical sound that made him. As long as we remember him and his life, there is no Last Dance for Dave, he dances on into eternity now. And yearly on the dance loor at the Knights too.



I was over in East Cambridge recently to celebrate the Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and it seems no matter where I go I always run into people I know. This time while walking through the feast area, I heard a voice calling me from a short distance away. It was David Flanagan and Linda Houghton-Collings. Townies go everywhere, but sometimes not that far. In this case from Charlestown to East Cambridge. I really wasn’t surprised to see Dave, after all like me, he is part-Italian too.

We all stayed , listened and watched The Drifters on stage bring u back in time. Of course for me it was further back than Dave or Linda but let’s not go there.

Oh, I also bumped into friends from East Boston but that’s news for an East Boston newspaper, not here.

Dave likes being back in Charlestown on Bunker Hill Street not far from his younger days living in the projects on the other side of St. Francis de Sale Church. He and Tommy Cuhna have known each other like forever and are still BFFs.



Does anyone remember Maria Girvin both a writer and photographer for the old Charlestown Patriot over half my lifetime ago. We hung out today for a while and then went our separate ways. Anyone know where she is today? I am a little curious. Did she stay n the newspaper business? Let me know if you find out any information on Maria.



My favorite Boston Irish band is still The McTaggarts They perform aoverhe Boston area and often set up shop at he Black Rose in Faneuil Hall area

Always a big hit with the crowd. Both Jimmy Bryne and Mike O’Brien are BFFs of mine. Mike hails from Dublin and Jimmy from Cork and not far from where my maternal grandparents were born and raised.

Jimmy gave e a copy of the band’s new music disc THE McTEGGARTS LIVE and  I am playing it all the time while  driving in my car. The music was recorded live at a concert at Ireland’s Four Provinces in WashingtoN DC.

Best song on it is of course DANNY BOY sung by Jimmy Brye himself. I always call this song the Irish version of Frank Sinatra’s MY WAY.  For more information, go to the

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