Townie Tidbits

Story and Photos By Sal Giarratani


About two weeks ago coming back on 93 from Burlington, I took the Sullivan Square exit heading to Charlestown and was surprised by all the exiting traffic. I observed most of the traffic was headed to either Main Street or Rutherford Avenue. Could not figure out why at the time. However, when I arrived in Town and was headed to Zume’s for my hot vanilla latte, I met up with Billy Boyle sitting fort outside Passacantilli’s headquarters. He was greeting everyone walking past him. Seemed he knew everyone and everyone knew him. What else is new.

When I told him about the crammed exit off 93 at the end of East Somerville, he told me much of the traffic I saw headed for Charlestown was actually on their way into Boston. They exit the highway to avoid the gridlock on the elevated section of 93 to Boston and pick it up again at the Haymarket tunnel entrance. Charlestown once again gets impacted by suburban vehicles rushing through the neighborhood to get to Boston a bit faster  this shortcut.

Then last Friday, I was coming down Main Street toward City Square and as usual, got myself caught in another traffic nightmare. When you come down Main Street past Rogan’s Hall, you meet up with much more traffic on Chelsea Street. Are these the same cars that got off at Sullivan Square I just mentioned above? Whatever, it takes almost forever to get onto the bridge to the North End. You can bet when they start constructing the new replacement bridge next year, this nightmare traffic can only get far worse, right?

Now for Door Number 3, just wait for the Wynn casino to open up.



As someone who has owned many pets growing up as a kid and who still has a cat today, I appreciated his attention to all creatures great and small. It seems as the world gets crazier, more folks are into pets. I liked the quote he used about how our pets are full of God and are the words of God. Father Ronan says his dog often gets him to slow down and appreciate life all around. Father Ronan added that thanks to “Lily’ his dog, he gets to walk in the sunshine and rain and appreciates each new day of life.

Notice how pets are on the increase. I think the relationship between pet and owner builds a bond that can reach out to other people surrounding us. On Sunday, October 1, at Thompson Square, the clergy of Charlestown will bless the animals. Dogs and cats maybe a few birds, both Catholic and non-Catholic will take a moment to reflect on the importance all creatures great and small have with one another.

When I was much younger and living on Pearl Street next to the Holden School, I had a beautiful young German shephard named ‘Rebel.” Today, I have a cat named “Nica.” In between both before and after many other dogs and cats. Once I asked my dad when a pet died, will we see him or her again, and he told me these friends of ours are with God in heaven too. Looking back, I hope my father might have been wrong because if I get to see all my lifetime of pets in heaven when I get there, I am not too sure the place isn’t called Hell. I wouldn’t mind seeing Rebel or Nica, Mikey or Lily, perhaps Friar or Queenie but not all at the same time. And what about the duck my brother and I had back in the South End as kids named “Donald”? Am I getting him back too?

All creatures great and small and, I guess, Noah’s Ark too?



Folks will be gathering this Friday night Sept. 29 at the Knights to honor and remember Frankie Stillman who left a huge imprint on Charlestown Youth Hockey. He played hockey at Charlestown High and was the rink manager on Union Street too. His sudden death in 2014 left a big hole in thye world of Charlestown hockey so all “Frankie’s Friends will gather and give Frankie a great Irish wake. Yes there will be sadness in the room but also laughter to all who knew him and are better for that. For more information, you can still call Mike Gautreau at 978-604-9632

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