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January 27, 2017     Post-Gazette
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January 27, 2017

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PAGE 6. POST-GAZE'n'E, JANUARY 27, 2017 byJeanne Brady If you have ever seen an elderly pitching, but spent most of his gentleman feeding pigeons in the time playing first base. In those neighborhood, you may have days, a lot of the good local play- seen Sidney Fleischer. In fact, ers could be found at Franklin if you live in the North End, you Field, and the local teams at probably know Sidney Fleisher[ the time were always looking I did not have the pleasure my- for talent. But Sidney was told, self until recently; when some with a last name like Fleischer, of his Modern Pastry coffee pals forget the Red Sox. Yawkey was were upset that the City did not anti-Semitic and they wouldn't honor him on Veteran's Day and even look at you[ "I used to contacted the Post-Gazetteabout play baseball down at Frank- doing a story. I agreed and was lin Field for years and years, assured I would be delighted to and every ballplayer was down meet him. They were right, there, everybody was trying out Several months ago, Sidney for every team ... you couldn't unfortunately fell and broke his. pick the Red Sox, because they hip. When his children decided were anti-Semitic, oh[ Really! So to clean his apartment while he you had no chance at all. That's was recuperating at the North what killed it. I mean, a lot of End Nursing Home, they came those guys I played ball with, all across his WWII Army Air Corps pretty good ballplayers, maybe discharge papers noting eight could have gone someplace ... Battle Star medals ... EIGHT. but the Red Sox, if you were As Sidney's son-in-law, .Jim Jewish [chuckling], you wouldn't Mullen, explained to me, Battle even think about it." Meanwhile, Stars were awarded to troops the Braves were moving out of who participated in a full-blown town, so the Jewish players had battle with significant action nowhere to go. Sidney claimed and casualties. Apparently the he just wasn't that good, but saying goes, if you get a 54, it is you have to wonder what might pinned on your coffin. Getting have happened ff Yawkey didn't eight is unheard of. So, when own the Sox. his friends saw other deserving Sidney also played a lot of veterans getting honored on ball in the Holy Name Society Veteran's Day, they asked, why league with all the Irish kids. not Sidney? So how did a nice Jewish boy Sidney dancing with his daughter Daralynn at her wedding. Somehow she got him to ditch the cap ... I met Sidney at the Nursing get in? Ever hear of Sidney Home a few weeks ago with O~leischer?? "I remember as his only daughter, Daralynn kids, religion didn't mean any- Fleischer, and herhusbandJim, thing. OK, you can play this I immediately saw why he is so base.., you want to come in, you beloved. A quiet, unassuming try out for us, whatever name GENTLEMAN, with a twinkle in you want to come in, you could his eye and a soft smile playing change your name. My name around his lips. He was shy at was O'Fleischer [chuckling] ... " first, but showed some spirit A lot of kids just changed their when I brought out a blueberry names in.those days. They didn't turnover from Modern (I got the care who you were as long as skinny on his favorite from his you could play. (Smarter than waitress pal Maria). As I tucked Yawkey it would seem). Daral- into my raspberry turnover, I felt yrm told me how her grandfather like we had established a corn- was named Oscar and was listed mon interest ... as ~O. Fleischer" in the phone I decided to get a little back book. Apparently, they got a lot ground first. Although Sidney of calls from Catholic charities has become a fixture in the looking for money! North End/Waterfront Com- After high school, Sidney at- munity, he's only been here the tended BU for a couple of years last quarter or so of his life. And until the war broke out. He and I had heard about a variety of his buddies couldn't wait to activities and roles this man had enlist ("I was thinking of what before he moved to the North was going on with the Germans; End 27 years ago. I wanted to they were killing every Jew they get a sense of the man's journey could get their hands on! For any to our community, as well as the reason. That's when I enlisted; I role he assumed in it. said, %o hell with them!'"), and Sidney was born in Revere, Sidney chose the Army Air Corps but grew up in Dorchester, (now the Air Force), because he where he apparently had a great wanted to fly. Unfortunately, time. He went to Dorchester they didn't need pilots, so Sidney High and loved playing baseball was sent to airplane mechanic at Franklin Field near Codman school. But then they asked him Square. A southpaw, he tried if he could shoot. "Do you know Sydney greeting a young neighbor. There's that capagain! "Flyboy" Sidney Fleiseher in the Army Air Corps. how to shoot a gun? No? Well, let's see how you do, you can become a gunner." Next thing he knew, he was a gunner on a B-17 bomber flying air sup- port for General Patton in Italy and North Africa. When I asked Sidney about Patton, he reacted strongly: Sidney deep in thought ... "He was a soldier [smiling broadly] ... no question about it, he ... was ... a ... SOLDIER. Oh, god [chuckling]. Yeah, we just went with him! ... We were younger in those days, we GO[ The war was on and we were gonna get 'emI" So until the end of the war, Sidney followed Patton all over Italy and North Africa, including Sidney holding court at Modern Pastry. Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Rome, Shoe Company. (Remember Sicily, and the Po Valley, earning "Mootsie's Tootsies?" Founder those EIGHT Battle Stars. It was Maxwell Blum's nickname was obviously a rough time, but he "Mutzie~ and when his daughter remembered, ~ ... we were happy created a new line of women's shooting down, trying to kill as shoes, they were named for many as we could, because they him.) He married in 1955, and were Germans. It was Germans had four children -- Daralynn, we were fighting..." But they Andrew, Marc, and David. (And were also hungry. And this is now he has nine grandchildren, where thepigeons come in: "We all near and dear to his heartJ hadn't had food; it wasn't catch- Sidney had his own shoe manu- ing up to us. Someplace, I think facturing business for a while as it was in [Italy], a couple guys well. He sold shoes all over the said here, let's go to church. So world, but particularly in the we all went into church and the Caribbean (apparently Santo place was loaded with pigeons. Domingo had the prettiest girls[) We ate good for two days [laugh- He also worked in Boston, selling ing] ... We climbed up in the raf- shoes to retailers in the Leather ters and [grabbed them] ... and District, where all the shoe they ate good[" So now, Sidney stores used to be. He lamented always carries bread with him that they have all closed now; he when he walks, feeding all the retired in 2005. (But only from pigeons he can in gratitude for the shoe business -- he has their Italian brethren's sacrifice kept busy!) so many years ago. Again he Of course, Sidney wasn't all says, laughing, "They ate good!" about work. He loves music, If you know Sidney, you know especially the Big Bands, and he is clearly blessed. But he was dancing-- I'm told he was a fan- also actually blessed during tasticjitterbugger[ When asked the war. As Sidney described what he did between coming it, "We left Africa and went into home from the war in '45 and Italy ... and we started march- ma1Tyingin'55, hehadto think. ing through Rome. And the Pope When his daughter prompted, came out ... [laughing uncon- "Well, you liked to dance!" He trollably], made a martyr out laughed heartily and said, "Yeah, of us! There's the Pope coming music, dancing, plenty of that[~ by, blessing everybody!" So, as When I suggested that he must Mullen put it, "the Jewish boy have been very popular with the got some Holy Water ... from girls (check out his photo in uni- the POPE!~ When I suggested form!), he demurred, admitting "that the Pope's blessing might only to going out a lot. He also have helped him get those eight joined the Masons, eventually Battle Stars, he said, ~Yeah, we becoming a 32nd degree Mason. had help from him." (Look that up, it's impressive[) After the war, Sidney returned Daralynn remembers her father home and went into the whole- studying his little blue book all sale shoe business, selling shoes to shoe stores for the Maxwell (Continued-on Page 10) The "Modern family" gathered for Sidney's 95th birthday. Sitting, L-R: Clifford Myrtil, Carole Lucas, Karen Gould, Sidney Fleischer (in Flyboy cap!), and Bik-Fung Ng. Standing L-R: Joe Swankowski and Maria Luberto of Modern Pastry. (Cake generously donated by Modern Pastry owner John Picariello.) ?