Editor's note: Today guest columnist Bernie Clohisy of Haverhill remembers Bill Boland, who was well-known in Haverhill social circles and died recently.
On Dec. 15, 2011, Arthur DuGrenier organized a group of Heav'nly Donut "regulars" to make a Christmas visit to Howie Cashman at Penacook Place nursing and rehabilitation home.
As the camaraderie went on, retired Haverhill policeman John "Smokey" Lane approached me, asking if it would be possible to get a copy of a story I had done on the history of St. James High School football. Thanking John for his kind words, I said I would indeed mail him a copy.
As we recalled gridiron days of yesteryear, my thoughts drifted back to Dec. 12, 1995, when the legendary group who were the Blue and White gathered on the hallowed ground that was the original St. James football field. Among the group was Bill Boland whom Nordo Nissi labelled "Billy." Boland could play with the best of them.
That special day was cold and blustery. After we took the picture, our friend Saint James Dixie Sheehan was not available, so the group walked to Dixie's nearby home, where to those present — as Dr. Arthur Lynch and Ted DeRoche would attest over a "taste" — Saint James football memories were "memorable!" Bill joins teammates Nordo Nissi, Sid Lafey, Dr. John Callahan and Dixie Sheehan. What a "Heav'nly" team!
Just prior to Veteran's Day in 2008, Bill Boland was one of several invited to be in a photo at the grave of Monsignor Michael Madden at Saint James Cemetery. Among those present were two former pastors, Monsignor James Tierney and the Rev. Marc Piche, along with the Rev. Robert Conole, pastor of Sacred Hearts Church. Joining Bill were men such as Dick Maguire and John Linnehan, whose fathers had been honorary pallbearers for Monsignor Madden. After taking the picture, we reconvened at Casey's Diner in Plaistow, as owner Jack Soraghan's father was one of those honored pallbearers. Stories of Sacred Hearts golden days followed!
To those of us who both respect and admired Bill, this correspondent would indeed be remiss not mentioning baseball. Pulitzer Prize recipient Doris Kearns Goodwin perhaps summed it up best when she said, "Fenway Park becomes like a piece of furniture in your household. It's as if you've got a couch that may be a little bit old and turn in places but it's comfortable and familiar and it's got a lot of wonderful memories."
Bill, as your cousin Jim, along with fellow Manhattan Club members, lift their glasses to you with us in the background, thanks for the memories!