Saturday, October 16, 2010

Faded Glory

From Dave Brigham:

I recently took my daughter, Amelia, to the Joanne C. Pellegrini playground in Newton, just a few minutes from where we live. I hadn't been there in years, and had forgotten about the three huge murals on the walls of the small community center, and a retaining wall at the back of the property.

The park is named for the late wife of the late Anthony "Fat" Pellegrini, the colorful, unofficial (mobbed up?) mayor of Newton's Nonantum section. Known to locals as The Lake, Nonantum was for years the Italian section of town, and still is to some degree. Fat's son, an Elvis impersonator who went by the name Monk Pelli, used to perform regularly at this park, right in front of the mural of The King.

Hawthorn Playground Mural, Newton MA

I never saw Pelli perform; I went to the park once with my girlfriend (now wife) and a few friends hoping to see the show, but it got delayed so long that we bagged it. Lifelong regret, that one.

The detail from mural below shows the Marx Brothers. Other characters on the wall include Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Charlie Chan, Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Brown. My wife, who grew up in Newton and knows The Lake well, claims Fat is depicted on the mural as well, but I couldn't pick him out.

Hawthorn Playground Mural, Newton MA

The most prominent mural, and best preserved, is the one of the late Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops for their world renowned Fourth of July concert in Boston.

Arthur Fiedler Mural, Newton MA

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