Letter: Gazette is right about Curley House

July 18, 2014
By

The final paragraph of your editorial about the future of the Curley House, “What would Curley do?” (July 4), struck a nerve with me.

Few Bostonians realize that Boston has the best water in the world as a result of James Michael Curley’s move as governor to create the Quabbin Reservoir. We have the Sumner Tunnel (called “Curley’s Folly” by Boston newspapers while it was being built) and city sidewalks courtesy of Curley’s constant full-steam-ahead approach to public life.

My family and my mother had direct benefit from Curley’s speed of action. Ma was orphaned at 3 and raised on Ashley Street in JP by her aunt and uncle. After graduating high school at Blessed Sacrament, she became politically active, supporting Curley and eventually became his precinct captain near Hyde and Jackson Squares. But she never met the man, nor had any glimmer that he knew who she was.

As a typist in the typing pool at the State House, she, like all others, tried to interview and move up. One day, she interviewed for the position of executive secretary to the Commonwealth’s secretary of education. She felt she had completely blown the interview, so she was walking back to the typing pool with her head down, until she could not move forward because a man was standing in her way. She looked up, and it was Gov. Curley.

He asked, “Mary, how are you?”

She explained, “Not feeling particularly good at the moment,” and the reason for that.

Curley said, “Follow me,” and she did.

Next thing she realized, she was standing with Curley in the office of the secretary of education, and Curley said, “This is Mary Cronin. She is your new executive secretary.” In a matter of minutes, her life was changed by James Michael Curley.

There is no way Curley would have left that Curley mansion stay underutilized, so I agree totally with your editorial.

Francis X. Cronin Stone

Jamaica Plain