Angela Menino waved to a neighbor at her Hyde Park home, the beginning of her first day without her husband of 48 years, former Mayor Thomas Menino.
Neighbors and residents of Hyde Park, where Menino grew up and lived until his death at the age of 71, remember him as just a regular guy.
His wife Angela returned to their home, clutching a baseball bat fashioned into a cane, a favorite of the mayor at the end of his life. On Friday, she greeted neighbors on the first full day without her husband.
People remembered what Menino did for the city and this neighborhood, even clearing the sidewalks on the street himself after the man who used to take on the responsibility died.
“Whenever the mayor gets out there with a snow blower, he was a regular guy. He really, really was. And yet he was the mayor of Boston,” said Judy Pais, Menino’s neighbor who said the family really came through when her husband passed away. “They sent us two cooked turkeys with all the fixings and they were away at the time and came back for his funeral. I thought that was special, and I’ll never forget it.”
The owner of Tutto Italiano, a sandwich shop where the mayor used to visit at least once a week, broke down in tears.
Not only was he the mayor of the city…you know, he used to come in here just like everybody else, you know. I’m really gonna miss him,” said owner Angelo Locilento.
Menino sometimes let the folks in the shop pick the sandwich he’d have and he never cut the line.
“He was very much one of us in his body language, his personality, the way in which he interacted with us, the way in which he spoke to us never changed,” said Emilio Locilento, the son of the owner.
They loved him there.
“He told my dad, ‘Angelo, I will help you if you need help but are you sure you want to open here?’ So he did everything he could to help us,” said store owner Marilena Locilento.
The mayor used to hand out candy and little cups of apple juice on Halloween and residents are now remembering those days.
“I remember going to his cookouts every year. I just remember he was a very nice guy and just wanted to do something nice for his family,” said Molly Dame.
John Nardi said he’s sad to lose his friend of 55 years.
“We used to walk to Hyde Park High School together,” he said. “He was a terrific guy.”
Another friend, Spaulding Rehab Hospital spokesperson Tim Sullivan, says Mayor Menino helped get the new Spaulding facility in Charlestown open in time to treat marathon Bombing victims. And when Sullivan suggested using some extra land for a Menino Park, the mayor came up with the idea of building a playground for disabled children.
“And it came to him very quickly…which gives you an idea of how insightful he was after spending so much time in the community of people with disabilities and he loves kids,” Sullivan said.