Written by Kristen McCart
If you’ve ever walked by the L Street Bathhouse in Southie, you may have noticed the carved monuments on the outside of the building. Have you ever wondered about the stories behind them? They are not historical landmarks, but memorials to those we have lost and who hold a special place in the hearts of the community. One of those memorials belongs to three teenage boys, known as The Three Samaritans of South Boston.
On December 14, 1968 Mike (Michael Beatty), Ernie (Ernest Santoro), and Jackie (John Walker) were three friends who attended a dance on the South Shore to celebrate Mike’s 16th birthday. When the dance ended, the three boys offered their rides home to others at the dance, and decided to hitch a ride back to Southie. It was a raining that night and the three teens came upon a young couple with car trouble and offered to assist them by pushing their car. While the three boys were pushing the back of the car, a driver of another car who had been drinking, hit the three boys and the car with the young couple inside. Two of the boys died instantly, while the third died later at a hospital. Three families from Southie were forever changed. The community mourned the boys then quickly began to raise funds for a memorial in tribute to Mike, Ernie, and Jackie and heir last act of selflessness.
On the one year anniversary of the tragedy, the dedication of the memorial was held at the L Street Bathhouse as the families and community looked on. The words carved into their memorial speak true to the spirit and loyalty of this community. “The measure of their lives was not in years. Their thoughtful friendship enriched the lives of all who knew them and as friends shared their joy and sorrows to the end of their days. Their little nameless acts of kindness and love will serve as an inspiration and their memory a benediction. May they rest eternally together.”
You may wonder how I know this story so well. Michael Beatty would have been my uncle and though we never met, my grandmother made sure to tell me just how wonderful he was. The same high school photo used in the memorial, hung on her wall. She would smile as she told me stories about “her Michael.” Though his death devastated our family, we have continued to keep his spirit alive and we hope you will too.
Kristen McCart is a 30 something Southie original and proud dog momma of Benji. Kristen still lives in Southie, and loves being so close to her family. Kristen is unapologetically honest, but has a huge heart.