Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hats Off to the Dudley Square Hokey Man

Every Tuesday for the past eighteen months a bunch of bigwigs from the BPD and Transit Police and ISD and even Rep. Capuano's office troll Dudley Square to make a statement:  we care, we are paying attention, and we intend to make Dudley cleaner and safer.

 But the brooms-on-the-ground-people who do the cleaning rarely get credit so today, it's hats off to the Dudley Square "hokey man", Jimmie Ammons of Mattapan, who,  he said, "works for District 10 in the Department of Public Works".  For five years, Ammons has wheeled his hokey, a trash barrel on wheels with broom and dustpan, and cleaned the streets in other neighborhoods.  This is the first time he's worked in the neighborhood where he grew up so, "It's kinda special," he said.

A seasonal worker, Ammons is usually hired from June through September but this year, thanks to an infusion of money for summer jobs in the city he came back to work in April.  Though the $12.87 per hour, "good money", he said, that he was earning was cut to $8 and some change, he's not complaining.

"I love it," he said of his job.  "I like it.  I grew up around here so it's like keeping your house clean."  His work area runs from Washington Street at Dudley Street down to Williams and then back up Warren to Dudley.

Ammons is really proud that in five years of seasonal work he has never missed a day or been late.  One day a few weeks ago a car backed into him and he refused to go to the hospital, he said, because he didn't want to miss a day of work.  In five years, he's never been late or missed a day, he repeats more than once, so the point is not lost.

Ammons turned 50 on Father's Day and as we talk a DPW truck drives by and honks.  "See those two?" he said.  Both of the men in the truck are full-time workers in their early 70's, he said, and it's his hope that one of them will retire soon and he'll fill that place.  "In a perfect world," he said, "I'll fill that place.  In a perfect world."  He pauses a beat.  "But it's not a perfect world," he says and smiles.

At least it's a little bit cleaner. 

Mr. Jimmie Ammons of Mattapan is keeping it clean in Dudley Square

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