So, I grew up on Sterling Square, within a stone's throw of Whitey Bulger's 'single' in Old Harbor Village. Whitey was my neighbor, his sister was my friend. He was part of my childhood landscape. They say he killed 19 people and introduced drugs to Southie. But we knew none of that. He was just Whitey ("call-him-Jimmy-to-his-face") Bulger: My neighbor.
Everyone has a story about him, even me. And most of us have opinions and observations and even fears about growing up in his shadow. At the time I really didn't believe all the stories. Certainly no one I knew - or saw lounging around the soda fountain in the drug store (aka 'The Druggie") - could ever have done the things he was accused of doing.
Yeah I didn't believe a word of it. Even when odd events occurred in the midst of the housing project we shared (indeed, Old Harbor residents never ever used the plural (as in "the projects".) We only lived in the one place after all, so why the 's' on the end? To this day I am irked by this and by the audacity of 'outsiders' who refer to my hometown as "Southie." Anyone who didn't grow up here should show some respect and refer to it as "South Boston." News media are notorious for this disrespectful reference BTW.
Oh but I am getting ahead of myself here. So much to tell, so much to ponder. Not all of it about Whitey, but since my formative years were shaped by his long shadow, all of it applies.
And I do have to measure the telling ...