WHO IS THIS GIARRATANI GUY?
I hear time to time from folks who wonder why I care so much about Charlestown but live in East Boston. The answer is simply economics. If I could afford Charlestown again, I would be here again. Hopefully, I will end up back in my favorite neighborhood going back to my youth. You know my mother was a Townie, born and raised there. She was gone for years but eventually steered her family back to Charlestown. However, I did call Charlestown my home for good number of years from age 20 to 36 years of age.
I was always active in politics growing up in the South End and Roxbury in the 60s and 70s. I actually grew up in the same neighborhood and parish as James Michael Curley. politics in old Ward 8 was tough and you learned lots about how government actually operated. I had a state representative who had magical powers. If you were looking for work, he could find you work, if you needed a project apartment, he could move you up the list from number 100 to numero uno in 24 hours, if you needed shoes, he had an apartment full of them upstairs in his house. Once he gave me a puppy to take home.
This was Boston Politics at its best. When I arrived in Charlestown, it didn’t take me long to get politically connected. When I was 22 years old, I worked in the Kennedy campaign of 1976 where guys from Charlestown who campaigned with Jack Kennedy were still running things. I was a great student of politics, listening and learning much along the way. As the Democratic Party drifted further left, I started looking elsewhere but I do remember well 1976, when I worked with the guys from the Alert Club (Alert Athletic Association (at the corner of Baldwin and Bunker Hill) to showup Tip O’Neill in Charlestown for being what we thought was the wrong stance on busing. O’Neill won re-election easy but he lost Charlestown and we were happy as you-know-what. Eventually, I turned Republican for a short period until I found out it was the Stupid Party. I did return home to the Democrats but have been calling myself a Reagan Democrat for years now.
I keep up all my old Townie friendships and continue to make new ones all the time. I still don’t like how gentrified Charlestown has turned but I have met many newcomers who want and have become vested in all that is good here. Back in the early 80s little mercy was shown this so-called Toonies. Thank God that has passed.
Growing up Sicilian Irish, I ended up being quite Irish thanks to my mother and all my Irish uncles. My Uncle George ended up in Quincy but stayed active in politics, helping Quincy turn Democrat. I am sure he brought his Charlestown political skills with him. If you can do politics in Charlestown, the lessons you learn have no ward boundaries. Oh, Uncle Nealy ended up in Dorchester where surprisingly he too did politics.
I really do hope to get back to Charlestown. I am there so often now, some actually think I’ve moved back already. By the way, I love talking politics at the Warren Tavern over an Irish coffee, so if you see my there buy me one and I will share my politics with you. I am cheap too. However, I do talk a lot and that great entertainment I think too.
My mother always said I was Irish like her!