Pat and Paul McCann: summered here, married here, and still loving this town
Pat Foley and Paul McCann became fast friends nearly 80 years ago – from the time they were infants living next door to each other on Channel Street, when their families summered in Hull, to later getting married and becoming year-round residents. The fifth generation of both families continues to spend part of its summers in Hull.
“We love this town,” Pat says. “There are such wonderful people here and a real sense of community.”
The McCanns have a deep appreciation for all that Hull has to offer, including the town-owned Captain Cleverly’s Park adjacent to the Coast Guard Station, which is just across the way from the Main Street home they have lived in for the past 45 years.
The park, according to Paul, was named in honor of the several members of that family who were harbor pilots, guiding ships into the harbor.
Paul’s interest in the park has continued through his adult years after he became acquainted with the Cleverly family. For many years, he has filled the planters with seasonal flowers, which he waters with his own hose, and a small evergreen tree decorated with solar-powered lights for the holidays, which has brought great joy to the community and visitors. The scene is so picturesque that the Hull, England, website posted a photo of this Hull, Massachusetts, park on its website.
Paul can trace his family’s history and connection to Hull back more than a century. His grandfather was a conductor on the railroad that traveled to Pemberton Point in the early 1900s, which is how the McCann family became acquainted with Hull.
At that time, the railroad owned the property and the house and leased it to Paul’s grandmother and grandfather, with an option to buy.
The McCanns have fond memories of the many summers they spent as children in their summer homes in Pemberton Point. “We started our friendship in the 1940s from the time we were infants,” Pat says, and the two have been together ever since. “In later years I would always tease Paul that I was the best he could do because he didn’t have a car.”
Paul remembers how he and his 10 siblings would each pack a pillowcase “with all the clothing we thought we would need for the summer” and then pile into the family sedan with his father and mother and head for Hull from their South Boston home.
Pat recalls leaving her family’s Dorchester home with her parents and three siblings and heading for Hull as soon as school got out for the summer. “I can remember stepping out of the car and smelling the salt air and the rosa rugosa every year when we arrived. Now when I smell the rosa rugosa I feel like a kid again.”
Since they were very small, Pat and Paul enjoyed spending time together at the beach and participating in Pemberton Improvement Association children’s summer events, and that enjoyment continues today.
The McCanns and their family remain involved with the myriad activities that the town offers. “It’s all very spontaneous, and even when you’re not related, everyone is considered to be family,” Pat says.
After spending their childhood summers in Hull, Pat and Paul went their separate ways to pursue their high school and college educations – he at Boston College High Schools and later Boston College and Suffolk University and she at Fontbonne Academy in Milton and later Boston University. But they always stayed in touch.
“We’d attend each other’s dances, proms, and other events during that time,” Paul remembers.
Pat set up her own clinic as a physical therapist in Latin America in the 1960s during the polio epidemic and later graduated from Boston University as one of the college’s first physician assistants, working in orthopedics and rehabilitation. Paul pursued a law degree and served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.
In 1975, the couple was married in the church near the Cleverly Park that is now a residence and raised their children in Hull.
During that time, Paul was a prime mover in the transformation of Boston as an attorney for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where he worked for more than 50 years. “He played a major role in the urban renewal process and the rebirth of the city,” Pat says.
The McCanns continue to get great pleasure from living in Hull, and their children, P.J. (Paul junior) and Joanna Frazier and their four grandchildren (Cecily, Hatti, Dean, and Catalina) enjoy spending time in Hull during the summer, especially at the beach.