Paul Kenney, 67, describes himself as * OFD” — Originally From Dorchester — and for the last 34 years has lived in Milton with his wife Carol and daughter Alex. He works for Mass DOT as a Program Coordinator in District 6. Kenney says every May 10, a smile crosses his face at the memory of one of the greatest moments in Hub history, Bobby Orr's 1970 * flying goal” against St. Louis that broke a 29-year Stanley Cup drought for the Bruins. Here is his recollection of that day and its aftermath.
I'm the kid.
The photo that appeared a half-century ago on the front page of the May 11, 1970, Monday morning edition of the Boston Herald Traveler shows a picture of Bruins captain Johnny Bucyk slowly skating around the Boston Garden ice with * Lord Stanley,” the Stanley Cup trophy, cradled in his arms resting against his right shoulder.
Standing within three feet of that scene, making sure not to impede his progress, was yours truly applauding in wide-eyed tribute for the B's first hockey title since 1941.
It was Mother's Day, May 10, and outside Boston was a sweltering 91 degrees. But in the air condition-less, old smoke-filled barn, lovingly known from Lenox to P-town as * The Garden,” it was a sultry cauldron filled with high anticipation for the Cup clincher against the St. Louis Blues.
To highlight how different things were in the pre-cellphone era of 50 years ago, the No. 1 song in America was * American Woman” by the Guess Who, President Richard Nixon was halfway through his first term, the median price of a house in Boston was $23,600, and the Woodstock Festival had happened just eight months prior.
I was a 17-year-old high school senior, living on the top floor of a Dorchester three-decker, who attended all the Stanley Cup games at the Garden.
How, you ask? Simple.
The routine began in the cigarette-littered Garden lobby where, like in the TV show * Cheers,” everyone knew the scalpers, and that included the cops, and these ticket entrepreneurs were also wired into the ushers who manned the Garden entrances.
It worked this way: you forked over $2.50 to one of these * ticket expediters” and in return he handed over a ticket stub from a previous game. Then you marched up to the third level, stopping at the usher on the far left who was guarding the turnstile. You handed him your stub saying simply, * This is from Jimmy” and voila, you were another addition to the announced capacity of 13,909.
There was no assigned seat mind you, but that was merely a minor inconvenience to watch a team that 50 years on is still revered as the greatest cast of characters to ever grace the Boston sports landscape.
You either sat at the top of the stadium steps behind one of the nets, or stood behind the last row on the sides of the stadium, watching with a permanent stoop in order to see the part of the ice that was partially obstructed by the balcony overhang.
Occasionally, an usher would venture by and broom us away, but we simply moved to another location in a caravan of puck-worshiping nomads.
For the Cup clincher, the scalpers really cleaned up, doubling the price to an astronomical $5.
When Bobby Orr scored his iconic cup-clinching overtime goal, I and hundreds of others swarmed out onto the Garden ice for a closer look at our beloved * Big Bad Bruins.”
There was a mosh-pit scrum in the middle of the ice, so I figured if anyone was ever going to notice me, I'd go down to the corner at the opposite side of the Channel 38 camera.
The next morning, there I stood, adorned in my long Derek Sanderson-like sideburns, beaming high, wide, and handsome in glowing illegality with me and Bucyk forever frozen in a black and white ink-dotted pose.
My regular route walking to school always took me past the * legendary” Dorchester bakery, The Avenue aka The Sudan, and as I walked by one of the neighborhood mothers, Mary Nee, who worked at the store, beckoned me in.
She said, * Paul, I want to shake your hand. The only people I know on the front page are either dead, or they're murderers!”
I remember her words like they were uttered yesterday.
My 15 minutes of Warholian fame didn't end there. About six weeks later Sears and Roebuck issued a 16-inch commemorative ceramic mug with the front page photo stenciled on. I currently own five.
And now, a half-century later, I am happy to report that I am in good health, and still smile whenever the thought of that May 10, 1970, Mother's Day pops into my head.
As Paul Harvey used to say; * Now you know the rest of the story.