Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


William Bratton Sr., dad of NYPD Commissioner Billy Bratton recently passed away on March 3 at age 89. He was born in Charlestown. He met his wife June while both were living in the Bunker Hill projects in the early 40s.. Like many Townies back then when World War II broke out, he would join the Navy and served in the Pacific theater. After he returned home, he and June got married and began their long ife together. They knew each other 65 years and were a married couple for 61 years until June passed away.

   Bob O’Toole, a friend of the elder Bratton said of him “He did his job, he raised his family and he was ready to be reunited with the love of his life.”

   Most Townies usually leave town going north to places like Malden, Medford or if you make a few more bucks to Winchester. Bill Sr. headed to a bungalow in Weymouth but never forgot his Charlestown.

   I met him last June at the Bunker Hill Day parade when he road with his son Billy Bratton and daughter in law when the Bratton family was honored at the parade.

Our prayers are with the family at this time.


   Only in Charlestown, would the earliest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration be hosted by an Italian guy named State Senator Sal DiDomenico. I missed this year’s party had a previous commitment. I heard. I heard over 400 showed up to party hard. Of Course, all the usual suspects were there from the various organizations in the Town and yes, the Knights of Columbus Hall had more than its share of glad-handing pols mostly wear at least some green.

   I will put this event on my calendar for next year because as you all remember this Sal has West Cork family roots.

   Last year the Hall had five Sals in attendance at this time. This year, it was down to four with my absence. Also, it meant the tallest Sal wasn’t there either. My height I blame on my Harrington family.


   This year’s Golden Shamrock Award is dedicated to the memory of Dave Whelan for his years of volunteer service to the Charlestown Community and for his work with the DiDomenico Foundation of which he was instrumental in creating and sustaining it from the very beginning.

   As has been said of him, “His spirit will live on through the many boards and organizations on which he served and his lasting contribution to making Charlestown stronger, healthier and vibrant community.”


   Back during the Reagan Era and into his presidency, I was a Reagan Democrat as were many Townies at that time. For many he represented working class folks struggling to stay ahead. His wife Nancy like him had class. They both lived until a ripe old age and are now together once again.

   As we deal today with an opiate epidemic , I am reminded of something First Lady Nancy Reagan said years ago, “Drugs take away the dream from every child’s heart and replace it with a nightmare, and it’s time we in America stand up and replace those dreams.”

   She spoke those words years ago but now more than ever we need to follow through on those words and bring them to action.

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