Lots of character
As someone born and raised in both the South End and lower Roxbury, I have always enjoyed the South End Character commentaries by Alison Barnet. Her latest on the late Steve Fotos (July 19) was another good piece. Fotos was 20 years my senior so his viewpoint on the neighborhood showed the changes in just 20 years time. He sold the Daily Record for 3 cents a piece and I sold the Record American for 7 cents a piece. As far as Roxbury went, my family crossed back and forth across that border several times. As far as girlfriends went, we always shopped locally too. My mother also bought fresh fruits and vegetables off the back of a horse-drawn wagon down at the corner of Washington and West Brookline streets. We were "green" before it became cool to be so.
I worked my way through college from behind the counter of the old City Spa Cafeteria in Worcester Square. When I graduated in 1972, I had zero college debt. My father worked nearby at Boston City Hospital from 1943 until 1977. Back during the 50s and early 60s, I was an altar boy at two churches, the Immaculate Conception and St. Philip’s. Back in September 1961, a group of altar boys from the Immaculate went to see a game at Fenway. It happened to be Ted Williams last game which meant we all saw baseball history when Ted Williams hit that homer in his last at-bat in his amazing career. We were sitting in the right-field grandstands. Popcorn in a Red Sox megaphone cost 25 cents. I should have saved that container. Without popcorn, it could probably buy a good car today. It would appear my generation of South End kids had developed a better case of self-esteem. We identified with our neighborhood proudly.
I always look forward to Alison Barnet’s commentaries on the old days. She herself has become a South End character in her own right having lived in this neighborhood over 44 years. Come to think of it, it doesn’t take much to become a South End character since it kind of goes with the territory.