An insider’s guide to Nonantum from life-long resident and Chairperson of the Nonantum Neighborhood Association Terry Sauro.
This guide was published in December 2019.
I grew up on Lincoln Road and moved two streets over to Cook when I was married. I will never leave the Lake. I love Nonantum and as the saying goes, "you can take a Mush/Jivel out of the Lake but you can't take the Lake out of the Mush/Jivel!” (see below for a translation!)
If you drive through Nonantum you will see our beautiful electrical boxes that have historic pictures which say "Nonantum: a Village of Tradition!" Let me walk you through our village.
Nonantum means "blessing” or “prayer," and the area was the home of Waban, one of the first Native Americans in Massachusetts to convert to Christianity. Nonantum is also known as Silver Lake or the Lake. The lake in question was filled with construction rubble and built over from the 1930s until its total demise in 1971. The neighborhood kids cleared the snow each winter and played hockey on it through the 1950s.
Favorite Thing About Your Village: Our village is unique as we have many businesses that have been on Watertown Street for over 50 years and one for nearly 130 years. Ace Hardware (Swartz) opened in 1890 and actually had a bowling alley in the basement. If you walk a little further down the street you will find DePasquale's homemade sausages, a family business since the 50s. If you want a cannoli stroll down to Antoine's Pastry shop for delicious pastries.
Your favorite place to get coffee or a snack: Stop at Eddy's for the best breakfast and pick up on the chatter of the Lake. Cross the street and you will find the old-timers at Dunkin and Donuts solving the city and world events.
Your favorite restaurants: Olivia's, West Street Grille, Tommy Doyle's, and newcomer Moldova.
A fun playground or park: Pellegrini Playground and Stearns Park have great playgrounds for our children and the fields have many soccer events, baseball games, etc.
Annual village events to watch for: Many Nonantum events are hosted by the members of the St. Mary of Carmen Society. In 1935, eleven Italian Americans founded the St. Mary of Carmen Society to help new immigrants from Italy settle in Nonantum. Sons and grandsons of the original members keep the society alive today. Every third weekend in July the society runs the St. Mary of Carmen Society, an event that overtakes Nonantum for five fun-packed days.
Each December you will find a magical event in Coletti Magni park, with a 55 foot Santa Claus erected and the park decorated with magical lights, blow-up characters, and a manger! There is a Santa Mailbox in the park where children leave their letters and each letter is answered from Santa.
The Xmas Party Association was founded in 1899 by Edwin O Childs, former Mayor of Nonantum. Anthony Pellegrini, Senior Chairman of the Xmas party would have a party at the post 440 for the children and were able to give bags of gifts and goodies to more than 3,000 children. Today, Anthony Pellegrini Jr. and his sister Linda Pellegrini Anderson and their family have kept the tradition alive at Coletti-Magni Park. This year’s tree lighting (2019) will be held on December 8th at 6:15 PM.
The Nonantum Neighborhood Association has had eight old fashioned Village Days in the park and on Watertown Street, always the first Sunday in June. We have given $14,000 scholarships to Nonantum Seniors each year.
Our Association has a bus trip every winter and we have traveled to New York, Newport, and this year on More info: www.nonantumneighborhoodassociation.org
Insider village tips: The Lake has their own lingo so if you hear "Mush" (means a guy) "Jivel" means (a girl)"Quista Jivel" (means a good looking girl) "that mush has some overshay (He's a liar) "Mush has a coramunga in his cover" (that guy is carrying a gun). True story: when Jimmy Pellegrini was on the beat and confronted a Mush he turned to the other officer who was a Mush from the Lake and said "Mush has a coramunga in his cover." They apprehended the gun with nobody getting hurt and the Mush on the ground was wondering how they knew he had a gun!
Terry Sauro (middle)
Nonantum electrical box
Christmas celebration in Coletti-Magni Park
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