Remembering Linden

I wrote in this week’s blog post of Miss Sigrid Bjorklund, a woman who lived in my neighborhood when I was a teen.

She wasn’t the only one we interviewed.  I dug through some boxes and found  other copies of the Robin’s newsletter that I edited at age 15 in 1977/8.  I thought it important to post those stories.  How I wish someone interviewed my ancestors and posted the summary online 35 years later! Actually, in hindsight, I wish I had actually interviewed my own relatives in 1977!

To read a larger version, just double click on the photo..

First, my former Girl Scout leader, an AMAZING woman Miss Valerie Pierro/Valeria Pirro (26 Sep 1923 – 18 Mar 1991). She was born in Gaeta, Italy and immigrated at the age of 7 in 1930 – By 1940 she was living on Maplewood Street in Malden with her parents Sebastiano Allesandro and Maria (Fretles) Pirro and sisters Civita, Clotilde & Gloria

Miss Pierro email

Miss Pierro email2

In that same issue, Susan and Jennifer Bergh of Beach Street asked their great grandmother Mrs. J. Mangini to submit some poetry. Mrs Mangini  (31 March 1893 – 20 Nov 1985) was born in Cambridge, as Anna Rose Willwerth, daughter of Clement Willwerth and Mary Jane Whalen. She married, on 24 Nov 1915, Joseph Steven Magnini, son of Rolando Hippolito Leroy Mangini and Anna Marie Granara.  They had a son Robert and daughter Irma Claire. Irma married Kenneth Morrison and became the maternal grandparents of Susan and Jennifer through their daughter Anne (Morrison) Bergh.


Mrs. Arone (Anne Marie’s mom), also a Girlscout leader


Next came Anne Marie D’Alelio whose dad owned Jacks


Then Sara Puzzo who worked for the Linden library


And Captain Murphy from the Linden fire station


My former neighbors, who married in Malden in 1930 (vol 43, pg 305), Mrs. Helen B. (Jenks) Spencer (18 Feb 1897 – Sep 1983) & Mr. Jim/James William Spencer (10 Mar 1896 – Oct 1982).  We shoveled their driveway whenever it snowed, they were nice folks who treated us like grandchildren.

Helen was born to Martin Jenks, a stableman/team driver & Catherine Burke both of Ireland and who resided (in 1897) on 25 Eaton, Boston. Her siblings included Margaret, Mary Theresa, Kathleen, Michael Leo, Frances Winifred, James Joseph and Mary Agnes. By 1930 the family was living on Watts Street in Malden.

Jim was born to Thomas Spencer, a farmer on Broadway in Melrose and Julia Mahoney both of Ireland; his siblings included William, Richard, Robert, Phillip, Thomas, Walter, Mary, John and Margaret Lillian. The family resided in Malden and Melrose.



John Todisco, one of my dad’s best friends and the former Ward 8 councilor (21 Feb 1922 – Jul 1981). I recall my dad, Bob Hall and John Froio helping with his campaign. He was the son of Joseph Todisco and Morestina Grella both of Italy.  His siblings included Rocko, Carmine, Nancy Eleanor, Rose and Margaret. He married Grace Avalon Ford on 3 September 1948, daughter of John D. Ford and Gertrude Sparks both of Canada.  They had 3 children – John J. Jr, Patrice and Paula.  Grace’s obituary can be found here:


Our very first “Letter to the Editor” from A. Brandt, my first lesson in “political correctness”.  His full name was Arthur Brandt (26 Feb 1886 – 28 Oct 1978). Born in East Boston to Christian Brandt and Maria Nielson both of Norway. He had no given middle name. In 1942, he resided in Malden and was a Merchant for Economy Grocery Corporation in Revere, he was a Mason – part of the East Boston Palestine Lodge.  He was 5’11”, white, with blue eyes, brown hair with a ruddy complexion. Siblings included Theresa, Charles, Henry, Walter, Louis/Lewis, Francis Low. He married Ida Christien Anderson born about July 1885 in Elizabeth, NJ or PA to Edward Anderson and Annetta both of Norway.  Their children were Arthur Everett & Wilbur. Ida passed away in 1962.


and finally, some Linden Street Hockey News



6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Elizabeth Hall on January 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    It was fun to read about those people of long ago. Mr. Murphy is still around. I think he’s the fire chief now. I’m so glad you kept that stuff.



  2. Linda,

    I stumbled upon your post as I was researching my family’s history. I was looking for information about Morestina Grella (1896 – 1932). I fondly remember Ms. Pierro and girl scout meetings in the community room below the fire station. I was moved to read your interview with my father, John.

    If in your research you stumble across any other information about my family please send it my way.

    Kind regards,
    Patrice Todisco



    • Patrice, thanks for reading! I have fond memories of your dad. He was a good friend of my dad’s Bob Hall and Mr. Froio, we lived just down the street at the corner of Lawrence and Beach. Our dad’s had similar blue station wagons. When I was a young teen, your dad drove by me as I was walking home from school and slowed to wave. I didn’t have my eyeglasses on, thought it was my dad stopping to give me a ride and hopped in, shocking us both! He was very kind and drove me home from school anyway! Good luck with your research! Have you tried They have recently posted quite a few Italian records. You may already have a copy, but I did notice that your grandparents marriage is listed: – Linda



      • Thank you for the link and the memories of my father. They are very special to me.

        I had no idea where my grandparents were married or where they lived in the North End. Nor did I know my father’s grandparents names. I spend a fair amount of time in the North End and upon occasion serve as a docent for Context Travel. I have stood outside of the church in which they were married many times.

        My next big effort is to find my grandparent’s birth records in Italy. Any advice you can send my way is greatly appreciated.


      • Glad I could help! Cyndi’s List might help give you some ideas, I haven’t researched in Italy, but I know FamilySearch is adding records. Your best bet is to find out as much as you can of the family in the US – research aunts, uncles and siblings. One might be the key to your finding the name of the Italian Village which is what you need before you can find them there…. Here is an example of how I located my Lithuanian village:


  3. […] Week 2 – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge Remembering Linden […]



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