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Birthday celebration

I do remember how tired I used to be at the beginning of the school year. My students, without benefit of kindergarten, took more skill in handling than children with kindergarten training. I had to show them where all the various places in the school were. We did not have a cafeteria so the kids ate right in their home rooms. Then one of the teachers was assigned to playground duty for a 20-minute stint for the week. Then a second teacher would take over for the last 20 minutes.

Hubby and I continue to have a busy time with our families. On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we drove to Whitman, with daughter Sue, for the ninth birthday celebration of our grand niece Renee. Renee’s Mom Mary and Dad David welcomed us on that cool afternoon. Mary already had the “munchies” out for us to eat. We had brought a Box of Joe from the local “Dunkie’s” so we dove into that to help us keep warm. Daughter Sue had spent the night with her cousin Terri so they came in together. They had stopped by Terri’s Mom’s house and brought Peg, also known as Nana Peg, to her granddaughter’s birthday. Renee’s other grandmother, Pat Curley, was already there; Grandpa Bob was not feeling well so he wasn’t able to attend. Mary’s sister Anne was there, along with her girls Meghan and Shannon. The sun was bright that afternoon. We had to move the umbrella over the table around to block the sun.

Hubby started taking photos almost immediately. Sue had already given the photos we had made to Terri of her son Jeff, his wife Sammi, and their kids, Jaelynn and Kiera. Jeff, a soldier, and his family will soon be going to Korea. They were in Boston several weeks ago from the midwest and we took many photos when they were here. (I mailed them to Jeff last week so he would get them before he deploys.)

Renee had asked that her Mom and Dad have a pizza party for her birthday this year. A little later in the afternoon, David went out and picked up the delicious pizza. Mary brought out from the house a wonderful assortment of fresh fruits. She also brought out all the fixings for a terrific salad. Before the cake was cut, Renee opened her gifts. She received the new American Girl doll, Chrissa. She also received outfits for the doll. The most unique gift was an American Girl doll’s wheelchair. (Renee must be thinking about going into the medical field.) We all examined the wheelchair. It was beautifully made, a miniature version of a well-built adult wheelchair, complete with brakes. It was amazing. We all took turns in rolling Chrissa in the wheelchair all around the table top.

After Renee opened her gifts, Mary brought out the big sheet cake that she purchased at BJ’s for the party. It was very tasty. (I had to try it to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.) The afternoon became chillier. David lit the fire pit, which generated a great amount of heat. Even those of us who remained at the picnic table could feel the heat. David put something in the pit to make the fire burn with different colors. It was very pretty. As the sun started to set, we figured we had better head home. Nana Peg, David, Mary, Renee, niece Terri, nephew Steve and his wife Judi walked us to our car. It was a lovely way to spend an early fall afternoon.

The following Sunday, Sept. 13, we had another family celebration, this time on my side of the family. Cousin Margie had planned a celebration for her sister Janet’s special birthday. She chose the Inn at Bay Pointe in Quincy for the celebration, which would run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Almost everyone was there early. As Hubby, daughter Sue, and I drove into the Inn’s parking lot, right on the water, daughter Jeanne and son-in-law David drove in behind us. They had to leave the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, at Sunday School on the North Shore.

We had our own room at the restaurant, which our family filled. Margie and Janet were already there. Their brother Bobby was also there. So were most of his children and grandkids: Kevin, his wife Dara, and their boys Ryan and Adam; Lisa, her husband Harry, and their children Katie and Danny; Donald, his wife Tara, and their girls Elizabeth and Christina; and daughter Lynda (eight months pregnant) and her husband Mike. Son David and his wife Courtney, both Army Majors stationed at West Point, had stayed “at home” with their brand new baby, Sophia Paulette. Janet’s friend since college, Sister Lois, FMM, drove all morning from her headquarters in the Bronx so she could be at the celebration. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” said she. Also at the party were another of Janet’s college friends, Jean and her husband Michael. Son Paul and daughter–in-law Alex came in and moved their table closer to us so that they, Sue, Jeanne, David, Hubby and I could chat more easily. Alex told us that she had gone to the J.F.K. Library to pay her respects to the late Sen. Kennedy. She waited for hours in line.

Our waiter Michael invited us all to partake of the restaurant’s Sunday Brunch/Lunch, which also had meats at the carving station. They had wonderful food, fruits, and desserts. For the rest of the time, Janet and Margie went around the small room speaking with everyone. Janet also opened her gifts. She got a big kick out of our birthday card. It was the same one we had given to Hubby’s brother John, when we flew to Virginia for his 8oth birthday celebration . It was a huge Hallmark card with the words, “A LONG, LONG TIME AGO” on the front cover. When you opened the card, it was printed, “YOU WERE BORN!” I signed the card “from your much-older cousins, Vinnie and Barbara.” The card played the “Star Wars” theme when it was opened. Janet took the card around to show everyone. Even when we left the restaurant, the weather had remained beautiful. What a gorgeous day to be right on the water, especially when we had such a pleasant event to celebrate, Janet’s big birthday!

Last Thursday, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove to the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton to attend the monthly luncheon of the Irish Pastoral Center. Long-time worker Angela welcomed us and escorted us to our table. We were a little later than usual because I had a regular check-up scheduled at Carney Hospital at 9:40 a.m., that same day. We knew that our Quincy friends would not be there that day because they had to volunteer at a benefit for the blind. No sooner had we sat down than two lovely gals from Milton asked if they could sit with us. Their names were Joan and Helen. We discovered that Helen was a former Boston School teacher so Hubby and she compared the schools in which they had worked. We could see Fr. John McCarthy setting up the altar for Mass.

Fr. John began the monthly Mass just about noon. Maureen McNally sang throughout the Mass, accompanied by her guitar. John Connolly from the Irish Express sometimes joined in with his music. In his sermon, Fr. John mentioned that there is a man named Gerry, who drives the Irish people to the airport for their trip to Lourdes. Usually the 20 people start their trip to Lourdes as strangers and return changed, as a little family. Gerry decided to join the trip to Lourdes one time. Fr. John and his group usually begin their visit with a trip to the Lourdes baths, the very cold baths. If you are able to submerge yourself in the water, you can say a prayer and make a wish. Gerry, the bus driver, joined a 12-year-old boy name Ciaran, who was only able to walk with crutches. Gerry and Ciaran went into the water together. When Gerry and the boy came out of the water, Gerry had tears in his eyes. The most important thing that the boy could wish for was: “Help Mom get rid of the flu.” That was so moving to hear. Fr. John followed this by saying that it was wonderful to follow and serve Jesus.

Following the Mass, Catherine Bradfield, who is filling in for the Senior Coordinator Cora Flood, announced that lunch was served. It was chicken with rice and pasta, a salad, mixed vegetables, with rolls and butter. Hubby had already gone to get coffee for us. We also could have drinks from the bar area. As we were eating, Tom Clifford, from the “Ireland on the Move” program on cable TV, came to our table and asked if we would mind if he, his wife Molly, and their daughter Rosey sat with us. We were delighted to have them. Rosey told us that she is married and lives in Ireland with her husband. Our pal Eileen had a great deal to speak with Rosey about because Eileen’s daughter Eileen also lives in Ireland and runs a preschool there. Rosey was in the U.S. for a couple of weeks to visit her parents. Molly and pal Eileen had a great time chatting together. It was a wonderful table of new friends. It was a very nice time at the Cultural Centre, even if we didn’t win any of the lovely raffle prizes.

Here is a wise proverb: “Anyone who is all wrapped up in himself is overdressed!”