The cars were lining my street, the yards were freshly groomed, and on this Dot Day the neighborhood was eerily quiet. It was the 1986 finals and the Boston Celtics held a 3-2 lead going into game six. Nobody was moving until this game was decided and Larry Bird, the only man who could put Dot Day prep on hold, did not disappoint.
By the fourth quarter, the aunts, uncles and the rest of my neighbors started cracking beers. You could hear the yelling and screaming out of everyone’s windows as the Celtics came closer to sealing their 16th championship. As soon as the game ending everyone popped up from their seats and proclaimed “LETS GO!”.
It seemed the entire neighborhood rolled out onto the streets at the same time for the march down to Peabody Square. Within a few minutes my family had taken up their spots in front of the Store 24 next to Engine 18, the row of seats resembling a bleacher section at Fenway.
All us little folks gathered and started scheming our mischief for the parade. This was our ritual, which usually meant we pooled our money bummed off our parents so we could buy or snaps, horns, cork guns, cap guns and other overly annoying toys from the shopping cart vendors walking Dot Ave.
After securing our bounty it was off to the Peabody Tavern for a free hot dog from Sanna Coleman. All fueled up on sugar and hot dogs, it was time to turn our canvas Dot Rat painters caps back and get to work away from the prying eyes of our parents.
Maybe it was the Celtics being world champs or my entire family being together in one spot. Perhaps it was the neighborhood as I knew it all together celebrating what we considered the best place on the planet. Dot Day 1986 was THE ONE that sealed the deal for me. It was the year that made me stop on the first Sunday in June ever since and raise a glass to toast to a community that made me who I am. All my successes and failures in life, for better or worse, have a lineage right back to the streets of Dorchester. This lineage is born from our traditions and history should always be preserved for future generations….this all starts with Dorchester Day.