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Back to School

I think back to the days when I taught first grade in Weymouth. In those years, Weymouth did not have a public kindergarten and very few of the children had been to a private pre-school. When I asked the children to stand at their desks, some stood to the left of the desk, some, to the right, and some straddled their seat with a leg on each side. I learned, after the first year, to say, “Stand up on the chalkboard side.” Taking the kids to the bathrooms was another formidable task the first few days. I just had to be sure that I came back to our room with as many kids as I had when we started. The boys liked having water fights in the bathroom at the sinks. The weather was usually very warm in early Sept. so I would break in the middle of the afternoon to let the children have a drink of water, which they loved. Most of the children learned the school’s daily routine very quickly; a few, mostly boys, took a little longer.

The final concert of the Dorothy Curran Wednesday Evening Concert Series was held on Aug. 12. Boston’s Parks Dept. Commissioner Toni Pollok welcomed us on the final evening. Dianne Kerrissey, also from the Parks Dept., said a few words. So did the First Lady of Boston, Angela Menino, and Boston’s Elderly Commissioner Eliza Greenberg.

Host Angelo Picardi thanked Laborers’ Union, Local 22, for helping to fund the evening’s concert. He urged people to come to the Fisherman’s Feast in the North End from Aug. 13 to 16. Angelo then introduced a wonderful singer, John from Venezuela, a second-year student at Berklee College of Music. John had a wonderful voice and charmed us. Angelo then reminisced about the 36 years of the Dorothy Curran Concert Series. It began with just two concerts, an Irish Night and an Italian Night. The most number of concerts in one year was ten and then it was down to six per year. Then Angelo said, “I will return to the first year. I will sing two songs, one Irish, one Italian.” He followed the Irish song with the beautiful Nessun Dorma. Ray Cavicchio supplied terrific musical accompaniment on his accordion. Angelo was in magnificent voice that evening and received a standing ovation.

The Air Force Band of Liberty’s Jazz Band took the stage. They began, of course, with the National Anthem. Band members included Stephen Hucks on piano and Dave Dell doing Duke Ellington’s Boy Meets Horn.

Then the special guest for the evening, Ann Hampton Callaway, came to the microphone. She mentioned that she wrote and sang the theme song for “The Nanny” TV show. (Daughter Sue and I had to go back and listen to the song.) She then sang another of her own songs, Swingin’ Away the Blues. Ann mentioned that she loved Frank Sinatra’s music and proceeded to sing It’s the Wrong Time. She told us that she had a new album called Comes Love. and then she sang the beautiful song At Last from the album. Also on the album was the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which she proceeded to sing for her Dad. It was a lovely evening. We were sorry that, because of budget problems, there were only four concerts this year. Sitting outside listening to music is a lovely way to spend a warm summer evening.

I was sorry to read of the death of Dorothy Becker on Aug. 24, at age 90. Dorothy was my boss when I worked for the Boston Public Library during my senior year in high school and my first year of college. During those years at the Connolly Branch Library in Jamaica Plain, Dorothy was the Children’s Librarian and I was one of her assistants. We did puppets shows and story hours for the children. It was a fun job, except when there were lots of books to return to the bookshelves. Dorothy retired from the BPL in 1985, after 45 years of service. Following her retirement, she volunteered in the Randolph Schools. She was a terrific boss, for whom I enjoyed working.

The parishioners of St. Christopher’s were pleased to learn that, on Aug. 6, just before his birthday celebration, the Harbor Point Task Force honored Fr. George Carrigg for his 39 years of ministry to the Harbor Point Community. This November, they will dedicate the Harbor Point Christmas Tree, which will be planted on the green, to him at the Tree-Lighting Ceremony. Fr. George, in the weekly church bulletin, in addition to thanking the Task Force for the honor, thanked them for cutting the grass in the field behind the church for his annual birthday cookout.

Remember that the 19th annual Irish Festival will be held at the Irish Cultural Centre, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, this Sat. and Sun., from 11 a.m. to 9 a.m. There will be Irish music, including Andy Cooney, Erin’s Melody, and Noel Henry’s Band, food and beverages, sports, a children’s area, and Mass on Sunday. Admission: $15; $10 for ICC members; children under 12 free. Pray for good weather.

I happened to receive an e-mail from Pope’s Hill’s President Phil Carver regarding additions to the list of those items that can be recycled. I never thought of putting paperback books in the recycling bin. I think I would rather give them to the Got Books container outside St. Brendan’s School. One of the new items is empty pizza boxes. They were not allowed before this. Spiral cans (Pringles, coffee and nut cans, etc.), can be put in your new recycling bin. Rigid plastics, including laundry baskets, buckets, and toys, are now permitted. They now even take paper clips. If you have too much recycling for the new big, wheeled cart, you may still use your old blue recycling bin. The city, however, will not replace your old blue bin when it can’t be used anymore.

We had a busy August. Hubby’s grand nephew Jeff, a soldier, is being sent to Korea soon. He is taking his wife Sammi and his two kids, Jaelyn and Kiera, with him. Jeff, Sammi, and the kids came to Boston for a week’s visit before they had to leave the U.S. Jeff first went to see his Mom, our niece Terri. Then he had to go see his grandmother, Hubby’s sister Peg. Because this would be the last time we would see Jeff, Sammi, and the kids for probably three years, his great uncle, Hubby’s brother John and his wife Joe Ann came to Boston from their home in Virginia. (Hubby, Terri, and I had just come back from attending John’s 80th birthday celebration in Virginia.)

Then we had the task of getting the entire family to see Jeff while he was here in Boston. On Sunday night, we all met at Christo’s Restaurant in Brockton. There were lots of us, 16 to be exact: Jeff, Sammi, and the kids, Mom Terri, Grandma Peg, Jeff’s uncle David, his wife Mary, and their daughter Renee, Great Uncle John and Great Aunt Joe Ann, our daughter Jeanne and the World’s Greatest Granddaughter Erin, Hubby, Sue, and I. We had been given our own room. We put chairs across the doorway to keep Kiera corralled. (She is only a year old.) We had lots of food. Quite a few ordered Christo’s Pizza, which is excellent. We even ordered desserts. Jeanne and Erin split the strawberry shortcake. So did John and Joe Ann. So did Hubby and I. Thank goodness we did. The shortcake was much too much for one person.

In between seeing the family, Jeff, Sammi, the kids, and Terri visited the Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts (especially the Egyptian rooms), the Science Museum, and even Castle Island. Jaelynn had never see a big building and was excited to see all the big buildings in Boston from Castle Island. She was thrilled to see the Tall Ship Dinner boat go out. She loved watching the airplanes over at Logan. Jeff loved being at Castle Island also. He missed seeing the ocean because he has been stationed in the Midwest, all just flat land. They were going to put the kids on the swings at the kids’ playground at the Island but the Heavens opened up and it poured as they were walking toward the swings.

It was almost time, however, for them to meet us at Phillips/Freeport Tavern for our final meeting before Jeff, Sammi, and the kids had to head back home. We first took the kids to see the fish pond outside Phillips. There were quite a few Koi fish in the pond. Then we saw one of the big turtles, then another. One of the turtles obligingly came out of the water to sun himself on the rim of the pond. We loved watching him and the kids were thrilled to see him. We have such great photos. We wished Jeff, Sammi, and the kids a safe trip back to Jeff’s base. We also wished John and Joe a safe trip back to Virginia. Hubby did get to see John and Joe at their hotel the next morning. Daughter Sue had printed their boarding passes for their plane and Hubby brought them to John. John and Hubby had time for coffee and a sweet roll in the hotel’s dining area they left. Thanks goodness we have such wonderful photos to remind us of this special time.

Boston Schools open today. I wish the students and their teachers a happy and successful school year!