As Councilor Wayne Matewsky cut into his birthday cake last Saturday night at his annual backyard party on Lewis Street, it was a special occasion as it marked the milestone of age 60.
Anyone who thinks the big six-zero has slowed down the popular councilor has another thing coming.
“I’m feeling great,” he said this week. “We had a great party – good food and a great DJ. I had a lot of friends and supporters that have been with me a long time. They’re loyal. Loyalty and friendship aren’t easy to come by these days.”
Hundreds piled into Matewsky’s backyard on Saturday night over a period of several hours to wish him well, to give him a Happy Birthday high-five. He said several former and current councilors were in attendance – as well as neighbors he has befriended who are new to the City.
Matewsky has been at it politically as a councilor and previously, a state representative, for decades. He remains very popular within the senior citizen community, the Everett political circles and also within the immigrant community.
Matewsky emerged three years ago to run at-large for the Council after losing his state representative seat to Joe McGonagle.
Few gave him a realistic shot.
Yet he topped the at-large ticket.
Last fall, in his second go-around, he topped the ticket again – and again at a time when most insiders guessed his support had weakened.
But indeed it has not, to an observer.
Matewsky said he has his methods down to a science – how to effectively campaign in the City of Everett. And he’s not giving away those secrets just yet.
Perhaps the secret lies in something simpler than science.
Matewsky shared that over time his friends have become his voters, and his voters have increasingly become his friends. In a diverse city like Everett, Matewksy can count friends from all corners of the community.
It was evident on Saturday night at his backyard soiree, where a mix of people clapped enthusiastically after singing ‘Happy Birthday’ for their friend and councilor.
Matewsky, however, pointed out the willow tree in his backyard that seemingly stretches higher than the Encore casino.
It is the tallest tree in the City, he said, according to the Everett Tree Warden.
It is a tree that he said has always been aligned with him, as his grandfather planted it when he was four. Through the storms and the wind and the years of ice, snow and summer heat, it has persevered.
“My grandfather planted it to block out the Eagle Shoe plant, which is where Mike’s Discount is now and was the biggest shoe factory going – some 350 employees at one time,” he said. “He told my mother to get a tree and plant it. She got a piece from a weeping willow in Burlington at her sister’s house and planted it here. It has thrived through everything. It survived 55 years here, even with one-third of it coming down in a storm in 2014. It’s the biggest tree in Everett and it keeps getting bigger.”
Like the shade of that weeping willow, Matewksy has persevered through the good and bad and remains cool at age 60.