After Swampscott, we lived at 67 Wildwood St in Mattapan. This was from 66–69. This was off Morton St and not too far from Blue Hill Ave. The corner of Blue Hill Aveand Morton was where the famous Old Brown Jug was located. More sports for sure, including Off the Stairs, which required a tennis ball that you threw against the steps and it would rise out to the street where the other team tried to field it on the fly. The key was to hit the point of the step and send the ball well past everyone. I also remember endless hours with my glove and a hard rubber ball I would throw endlessly against the back stone wall and field, over and over. Oh yeah and nickel a hand blackjack!
When my mother wasn’t home, we would clear the living room and play floor hockey, 2 brothers vs 2 brothers.
I used to lead the Shabbat services at the nearby Hebrew School,, well the junior congregation. Two girls always came and sat in the back when I was chanting away and we would talk some, but that was about all. Shy then, Sye now 😎.
1966 was the year I saw my first game at Fenway. Howard and I sat in the grandstands. You never forget the 1st time you walk up those stairs and see all that green. Grass… The Wall…. things I had only seen on the black and white tv. The Sox were trounced 14–2, but Tony Conigliaro, my favorite player, hit a triple out to the 420 mark. I remember on occasion some of us would venture down to Fenway and watch a couple innings when they opened the gates up around the 7th inning. I also recall sneaking into to at least 1 game with a friend, blending our way with a youth group and making a dash for it.
Those 3 years were also when red lining was happening, a conscious effort to move all the Black families into the area. Jewish families were leaving. It makes me sad to think about, not only the systemic racism, but the need/pish to leave. My introduction to race was pretty positive. Ruth Brown, my 6th grade advanced class teacher was the best teacher I ever had, a remarkably caring woman. I remember walking to school with David Warner, who never ceased making me laugh. I remember him making fun of Elvis’ song, In the Ghetto, dismissing it with, what does HE know about the ghetto? And my classmate, Billy Grant, one of the nicest people in my class, and smarter than most everyone.
Oh yeah there was some election in Boston schools where you could be voted into an office in the then brand new City Hall. Little Stevie Leibowitz was Real Estate Commissioner for a day. And the real commissioner gave me a pin of City Hall, which I still have.
Things were looking good, I wrapped up 6th grade scoring 52nd best in the city on the Latin School entrance exam. It was like I had my own little niche I created, a step away from big brother’s shadow.
But then we finally moved out, to the projects in Brighton. It was a spiral down and maybe that is a good place to stop.