Friday, July 13, 2007

R.I.P. Mr. Butch

Mr. Butch in Allston, '83
Photo credit: Bill Swersey

Mr. Butch was a fixture in Kenmore Square back when I worked at the Bruegger's, across the street from what used to be Charlie's. This was the cool Kenmore. The one that claimed The Rathskeller, Pizza Pad, Blaine! Beauty School and Cornwalls (when it was below street level) as its own. Narcissus had just closed down and a "Soup or Salad" had just opened up. The Store 24 used to have a greeting card carousel with cards showing Divine in various John Water movie scenes. Shawmut, the greatest bank in the world, sat on the corner where the Sovereign now resides. It's changed institutional hands a bunch of times over the years since 1990 (I think it was Bay Bank before it was a Shawmut). Mr. Butch used to sleep in a vintage Volkswagen van in the bank parking lot.

I didn't know him personally, but I saw him all the time. My old friend Kenton, who once lived in a bachelor-style apartment in Allston, claimed that Mr. Butch was staying in his living room for a while. He and his 10 or so roommates let him sleep on the couch. One day, as the legend goes, a call came in for one of the dudes and Mr. Butch answered the phone. Evidently, the kid had a sick relative and a concerned family member wanted to alert him to his condition. When the kid came home, Mr. Butch said, "Are you Kenny?" (for the sake of the story, I'm calling the kid "Kenny," as I really don't remember what the guy's name was). "Yeah," the kid said, "Why?" Mr. Butch looked him in the eye, very seriously, then said, "Your uncle died!"

Ah, Mr. Butch, you were one of a kind.

Here's the article on And here is his bio on Wikipedia.

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