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You down with OFD? Yeah, you know me!

Getting pumped for Sunday's big parade? Not yet? It's OK, let the Reporter help you get in the mood to celebrate all things Dorchester. Here's a classic from our Dot Day archives: Mike Baker's ode to OFDs.

ORIGINALLY FROM DORCHESTER

You've seen them. They're very BRIGHT and very YELLOW. They even have their very own royal crest - the OFD bumper stickers.

You see them when you're at the Plaza or the Wrentham Outlets … at Wal-Mart in Quincy or while visiting another sister-in-law who's having another baby at South Shore Hospital.

Attention!! If you are from Dorchester, and you now live in Weymouth, you cannot put an OFD sticker on your car. Technically, you still live in Dorchester. That's why it's called "Dorchester South." Maybe they should have a sticker that says OFDBNILIW (Originally From Dorchester But Now I Live In Weymouth).

Now, I have lived in Dorchester all my life. In fact, my life experience in Dorchester can be summed up in one word - "saints." Born in St. Margaret's, raised in St. Peter's, sent off to St. William's for a cup of tea. Now I'm raising my kids in St. Ann's.

I have a question: Have you noticed that on Sundays you attend Mass at St. Ann's Church, but our children go to St. Ann School? Why is that? Who dropped the 's?

The irony of OFD is that years ago when folks moved away to the suburbs it was because they thought they would improve their quality of life. Now folks are leaving because they simply can't afford to live here. Ironic, don't cha think?

Depending on who you talk to there are several distinct Dorchesters. There's the Dorchester of my generation - the late '70s and '80s. There's the Dorchester of the "Boomer" generation. And now there's the current Dorchester generation, which I am so happy not to be part of. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be rocking the tilted baseball hat with my pants hanging from my legs. I often wonder what my kids will be wearing.

Did you know that for just 10 bucks YOU can become a member of OFD. That's right. And let me tell you membership has it privileges.

Membership in OFD entitles you to:

Colorful membership certificate (Wouldn't that be a Dot Rat t-shirt?)

OFD member card (wallet-size) (Basically like the Super-hopper pass at Disneyworld.)

OFD bumper stickers (How about a custom chair for your custom-shoveled spot in the winter?)

Ongoing OFD - Dorchester Newsletters (They just send you a copy of the Reporter.)

Many nice people move in and out of Dorchester everyday. But calling yourself "Originally From Dorchester" isn't a street address, it's something you earn. So if you live here, or at some point in your life you lived here, you cannot be considered "Originally From Dorchester" unless you recognize and have participated in some of these Dorchester hallmarks:

• Ate at Linda Mae's.

• Still call them what they are: Apartments, not condominiums.

•Your parents bought your Easter outfit at Bradlees.

• Your grandparents bought your parents their Easter outfit at Orbit's.

• The Neponset Avenue trolley.

• The Fields Corner Farmers Market.

• You saw your first movie at the Neponset drive in.

• You cashed your check at the Capitol Supermarket, and paid your Edison bill at the same time.

• You'll forever consider yourself just a kid from Walsh Park, the Hemmy, Garvey, the Courts, the Murphy, the Tot Lot, the Ryan, Dot Park, Ronan Park, the Toohig, or Adams Corner.

• Wore your "Barracuda" jacket inside out.

• Couldn't wait to wear your new "Sweats bi Ebe" on gym day.

• When the only reasons to go to Southie were:

1. Castle Island

2. St. Patty"s day parade

3. Jones's for your Girbaud's & Champion sweaters.

• You bought your Gazelles from "Deb & Georges"

• Wished you still had your Dot Rat t-shirt.

• Midnight Mass at St. Peter's.

• Someone always had a friend whose brother owned a "tap."

• At some point wore the four-striped ADIDAS from "FAYVA"

• You wore your "IZOD" shirt with the collar turned in & your pants "Quincy cuffed."

• Shopped at Edwards.

• Had a coffee & doughnut at "Dippen Donuts" on Bowdoin Street.

• Grammar school class outings to Castle Island or Dorchester Heights.

• The older kids had you convinced that "van full of clowns" story was true. They were just here!"

• Hoped to one day play in the Dot House Saturday men's basketball league.

• Thought wine coolers were sweet.

• You bought your clothes from the Birdman's van.

• You went to school with Ronny, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, and Ralph.

• Had someone ask you "Oh, do you know Marky Mark?"

• Took the Red Line to "Bosco."

• If you "scooped" someone over the weekend.

• Roller-skated on Friday nights at the Dot house.

• You bought your Roger Clemens rookie card from Mr. K on Belfort Street.

• If you made up a theme song for the "park" you hung out at.

• Thought getting in trouble with Capt. Dunford was scarier than getting in trouble with your parents.

• If you had to catch the 7:15 a.m. charter bus to CM from Ashmont Station.

• You remember a time when you could leave your bike on your porch.

• You remember the time when that bike was stolen from your porch.

• Danny Ryan told you who you were voting for.

• Still have your SFD (Still From Dorchester) bumper sticker from Eddie White.

• You only needed one glove when hanging at the park on a Friday night.

• After the game, nothing hit the spot like a "Scary Mary" burger from the Bungalow at McConnell Park.

• You wore your "Lucky Strike Bowling League Champions" jacket proudly.

• When the Adams Corner political rally meant something.

• You remember when C.F. Donovan's was Bulldogs.

• You stood in the rain for hours just to watch Pope John Paul II ride down Dot Ave.

• You held campaign signs for Jim Brett.

• You held campaign signs to get in the union.

• You held campaign signs to get out of a court date.

• You worked Red Shirts in the summer.

• You have amazing GPS skills when navigating Dot Park at night.

• A Thursday night double header meant softball games at the Hemmy & McConnell.

• You still think Chickatawbut is a two-way street.

• Remember when there were two gas tanks

• If you still can't bring yourself to call him Dan. He'll always be Mr. Burke to you.

• If you attended a MRM prom.

• If you sat down to read both the Reporter and the Argus.

• If you remember when there was only one Dorchester Reporter.

• The excitement when Reagan came to the Eire.

• Nike Cortez, nice.

• Rat tails, ouch.

• When going on a Friday night meant heading to Sonny's, Eire, and Laydens. Always in that order.

• St. Peter's had the best band.

• When there weren't so many peace walks.

• When there was a Bingo game almost every night of the week.

• You remember when it was a hardware store, not Blasi's Café.

• When Mario worked at Mario's.

• You remember the Dot House was a lot smaller.

• Saturday nights you always had the "Isle Denial"

• The smell of the Baker Chocolate Factory in Lower Mills.

• The Mather School.

• Remember when you were allowed to walk greater distances for your Halloween candy.

• The redemption center on Freeport Street.

• Being a BNBL champion meant you were pretty good.

• When there weren't so many tournaments to remember our friends.

• When you laid out linoleum to settle disputes.

• You break danced against the Electric Generation.

• You were always a little more "Four Fun" than "New Kids."

• Stickball teams were split up by "three deckers" vs. "double deckers"

• You're still mad that there are two Braintree trains to every Ashmont train.

• Marched with your little league team in the Dot Day parade.

• When Dot Day was the Super Bowl of social events.

Now, put that on a bumper sticker.

Mike Baker attended St. Peter's School '87 & Catholic Memorial class of '91. This article was first published in the 2006 Dorchester Day edition of the Reporter. Mike lives in St. Ann's parish with his wife Kristine and their three children, Mairead, Colin, and Eamon.