Roslindale Hits the Bigtime

| January 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

I grew up in a neighborhood of Boston called Roslindale, also known as Rozzie.  The older I get, the more fondly I remember this neighborhood and the more loyal I am to it.  It is part of my identity.  It is a neighborhood of which few have heard, even those who know Boston pretty well.  We are the place you go through to get from the better known ethnically diverse neighborhood of Jamaica Plain to the better known upscale neighborhood of West Roxbury.  When I was growing up, Roslindale was a lower middle class blue collar enclave.  Most of my friends were of Irish, Italian or Greek descent.  All three of my siblings still live there.  There were (are) housing projects at either end of the neighborhood along Washington Street, Boston’s main street that ran west from downtown through the middle of Rozzie.  I didn’t dare enter those projects until I was in my twenties and had some friends among the few white people that lived there.

While the neighborhood was obscure, two of my political heroes lived there, though I didn’t know that until I moved to Washington.  Mary McGrory, the legendary columnist for the Washington Star and then the Washington Post,  lived on Metropolitan Avenue, about a mile and a half from where I grew up.   I didn’t know she lived there until Barney Frank told me so.  He said she used to claim to live in wealthier West Roxbury, but really lived in Roslindale.  One of the thrills of my political life was having the ability to check that story with her personally.  Happily, she denied it vigorously and expressed her pride in being from Roslindale.  She even wrote me a note responding to mine to her about our meeting.  Here it is:

Mary McGrory Note 11-11-1997 pic final

The other political hero was Father Robert Drinan, Barney Frank’s predecessor in Congress.  He filed the first bill of impeachment against Richard Nixon and was a liberal lion during his time in Congress.  I only discovered his Roslindale roots a few years ago when his posthumous biography came out.  He was born about a quarter mile from my house.

But now, Roslindale has really hit the bigtime.  In a hilarious spoof by Jimmy Kimmel of Boston’s reaction to the famous deflate-gate incident in which the New England Patriots are accused of illegally letting air out of their footballs in the game against the Indianapolis Colts, Roslindale is mentioned, not once, but twice.  And once by Ben Affleck himself.  I would quibble with one of the characters saying he’s from “Rozzie Square.”  Nobody is from Rozzie Square.  That’s merely the center of the neighborhood.  But I give him points for calling it a square, not Roslindale “Village,” which it has lately been dubbed, presumably by the yuppies who have discovered it in recent times.

Still, it is quite a thrill to be the only geographic location, besides Boston, to be name-checked in the whole piece.

We have arrived!



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