As Mary Walsh walked slowly into her polling place to vote for her son, Martin, a long-time neighbor swept her into a hug.
“It’s a proud moment for you,” said Mario Colucci, 68, speaking softly into her ear. “To be able to vote for your son for mayor.”
Outside the Catherine E. Clark apartments on Dorchester Avenue, several of Walsh’s relatives lingered outside, including his younger brother John, and several cousins who had come from Ireland and England. They had come with coffee, bottles of water, and pastries from the Mud House in Dorchester to energize campaign volunteers holding signs on the street.
But it was Mary Walsh’s arrival in the campaign Jeep that caused the most excitement. The small crowd gathered outside erupted in applause as Mary and Martin, 46, walked into the apartment building.
When they emerged a few minutes later, a crush of reporters surrounded them, including an Irish reporter who interviewed her in Gaelic.
Mary Walsh, 71, was calm, until she was asked what went through her mind as she filled the oval space next to her son’s name.
Her eyes filled with tears.
“I thought of my husband,” she said, her voice shaking. “Oh, he’d be in heaven.”
“He’d be right there,” Walsh said, pointing to the phalanx of campaign volunteers on Dorchester Avenue.
Walsh’s father, John Walsh, died in 2010 at age 82.
“I thought of my whole family,” Mary Walsh said. “They’d be so proud.”