Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#272 Bill Hughes: Longshoreman, Lawyer, Actor, Writer, Activist, etc.

Bill Hughes was born just after his twin brother Jim in the now defunct South Baltimore General Hospital. His mom was Irish-born and feisty. His father was short-fused, a local guy who worked on the docks and used "the belt" as punishment. One of nine children and raised in Locust Point, Bill learned how to swim in the harbor and played in Latrobe Park. When he was 7, Bill got detained for fighting, which almost caused a riot when Bill’s mom cussed the cop out. Bill’s mom dressed the twins alike. They were always “The Twins,” never Bill and Jim, which Bill grew to hate, but there was a good part to being a twin: they could team up to beat up the neighborhood bully, which they did. After that, The Twins were feared. In 3rd grade, Bill passed, but Jim failed. That ended the twin thing. Bill found school boring and the nuns at Our Lady of Good Counsel sometimes used him as a punching bag. He played on three championship soccer teams and was named “All-Maryland” while at the Calvert Hall High School. Bill got a soccer scholarship to the University of Baltimore (received an AA Degree). For 5 years, Bill worked as a longshoreman out of ILA Local 829 on the Baltimore waterfront. One summer, he was collecting unemployment insurance when he ran into a high school crony who was in law school. Bill thought: "If that dumb bastard can do law school, so could I." Bill attended the UB law school at night (where he received an “A” from Adjunct Professor Spiro Agnew and a JD degree) and had a day job as a courthouse clerk. One of the best things Bill ever did was pass the Maryland Bar exam. After that, Bill spent over a decade in the City Solicitor’s Office, where he was the chief of the Litigation Division for a few years. He was also a 24th Ward boss and an attorney for the Stonewall Democratic Club. During that time, a lawsuit was filed to stop Harborplace from being built, but Bill won that case. In 1958, Bill was at the Greatest Game Ever Played (the NFL Championship: Baltimore Colts vs. NY Giants) with his then-girlfriend Carolyn who he later married. They have a lovely daughter, Lisa, and three terrific grandchildren—Schuylar, Calista, and Kynan. Eventually, that relationship tanked when they realized they were incompatible. Now Bill is very happily married to Ann, who he met at a Liberated Singles event at the Unitarian Church. Ann is Bill’s rock, and they have one grandson, Matteo. Throughout his life, Bill has also been an attorney, an educator (an adjunct professor at UB Law School and Dundalk CC), a photographer, videographer, producer for Baltimore’s Channel 75, and an actor. He’s a member of AFTRA/SAG and has been in four John Waters movies. In Pecker, Bill played the Wild Man of 22nd Street. Bill is also an insatiable reader and loves reading and writing book reviews.
Bill has published four books, written tons of political essays, and been a columnist for many news outlets. He even did a stint as a commentator for WBAI’s Radio Free Eireann in NYC. Bill is proud of working as an activist and writer for the cause of Irish Freedom. Bill is a devotee of the American Revolution, loves to travel with Ann, and has a private pilot’s license (even though he’s afraid of heights). Before he dies, he hopes to witness the restoration of the American Republic. After he dies, Bill is going to be cremated and have his ashes tossed off Fort McHenry, after which he hopes somebody will belt out The Ballad of James Connolly.

[Note: You can see Bill's videos at YouTube and Vimeo, his photos at Flickr, and his column at the American Chronicle.]

No comments: