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Garden Party

Even though Hubby has been retired from the Boston Public Schools for more than 12 years, he is still in a school frame of mind. At this time of year, he must buy pens, pencils, notebooks, and even school glue. These products are usually on sale at great discounts at this time of year so he does make some wise purchases. We will probably end up giving the supplies to the kids and the grandkids but that will make him happy, also. Last week, he even bought pages of stickers for the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin. After 39 years of preparing to go back to school, Hubby is having a hard time breaking old habits.

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Hubby and I were fortunate to be invited to the annual Mayor’s Garden Party. The party, once again, would be held in at the Boston Public Garden. It was to have been held in early June but rainy weather caused the party to be postponed. Pal Eileen Collins invited Hubby and me to go in town on the bus that the city had provided for her group. The bus picked us up at St. Brendan’s Church and the rest of our party at the Keystone Apts. On the bus with Hubby and me, in addition to Eileen, were Mary, Barbara, and Diana Scarborough, Gwen Adams, Carol Murphy, Mary “Sis” Keeley, Barbara Sullivan, Ann Marshall, and Irene Duff. It was a magnificent day, sunny and a little cool, as we drove along the Expressway.

When we arrived at the Public Garden, the bus let us off near one of the gates. The walk to our table was easy. Eileen had hurried ahead to get a table for us, God love her. On the way to our table, we were greeted by Eileen O’Connor, who takes such terrific photos of the City’s seniors. As soon as we sat down, we spotted our friends Joe and Carol Chaisson, who were walking along the pathway. Eileen invited them to sit with us. Our friend Thelma Burns came walking toward us through the crowd. She not only knew Eileen and me, she also knew Joe and Carol. She had a great time chatting with all of us.

Toni Pollack, the commissioner of the City’s Parks Dept., came to the microphone and welcomed all 750 of us. So did Eliza Greenberg, head of Boston’s Elderly Commission. Boston’s First Lady, Angela Menino, went around to all the tables. Then her husband, Mayor Tom Menino, came to the microphone. He thanked the Hampshire House, the Four Seasons Hotel, Tom Kershaw (the owner of Cheers), Jennifer’s Frosties, and the Paget Family, who own the Swan Boats, for contributing to the success of the day. The wonderful band playing for our enjoyment that day was the Ray Cavicchio Orchestra with vocalist Sharon Zee. Also singing was DD Martin. Ray kindly played one of my favorite songs, Serenata, by Leroy Anderson, right after the lunch break.

Then the city workers came around with the bagged lunches. We were given a small squeeze-box of apple juice, a tasty turkey sandwich, a pack of potato chips, and an apple. A little while later, the workers came around, once again, carrying boxes of swan-shaped cookies, giving one to each senior. My cookie, unfortunately, must have lost his elegant head and neck in some kind of skirmish. He still tasted good, however. The same workers also brought around a Hoodsie for each of us, thanks to Jennifer’s Frosties’ owner, Peter Costa.

Not only were we given the lovely lunch, but each of us received a ticket for a free ride on the Swan Boats. At least half of the seniors, Including Hubby, walked over to the dock where the Swan Boats were waiting. There were quite a few Swan Boats sailing that morning so the wait was not too long. Each senior was also given a ticket for a drawing of Boston items. Hubby, who is usually quite lucky, once again was holding one of the winning tickets. His prize was a Swan Boat tote bag, with a small Swan Boat tree ornament. He was delighted. (The tote bag will be well used.) Several years ago, I won a large silver swan Christmas ornament, which we treasure. At the end of the afternoon’s program, our bus was waiting right outside the gate and ferried us home in a very short time. What a lovely way to spend a beautiful September day. By the way, I must thank the people at our garden-party table for giving me the floral centerpiece, a lovely pot of petunias, because it was close to my birthday.

I loved the article in the Sept. 4 edition of the Pilot newspaper on my friend, Bishop Joseph Maguire. Fr. Maguire celebrated his 90th birthday on Sept. 4. He was my parish priest back in the early 1950s at the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Jamaica Plain. I remember when he left our parish. Even the nuns cried. Over the years, I have kept in contact with him wherever he has been stationed. So did my brother Jackie and my cousin Jimmie. He has been my friend ever since. The last time I saw him was at the closing of the Blessed Sacrament Church a few years ago. Our friends Mary and Kay Hayes, my cousin Grace Horgan, and Jim Hennigan and his daughter Maura joined us at the church on that sad day.

Over the past several weeks, Hubby and I have had a few unnerving experiences. The first Sunday of August, Hubby and I were sitting at the kitchen table, writing the checks for the monthly bills. We heard a terrible crash. We thought the large plant hanging in one of the kitchen windows had fallen. When we got up to investigate, we discovered that a golf ball had come through the storm window and the upper half of the inside window. There was glass everywhere: on the floor, on the windowsill, in the plants, and on the door of the dishwasher, which was open because I had just done the dishes. We saw the trajectory of the golf ball that did the damage. We checked with a family that lives around the corner. They had not seen anyone aound while they were cleaning their yard. Thank goodness we have venetian blinds on our windows, which stopped the golf ball. If the ball hadn’t been stopped, it probably would have hit Hubby on the side of his head. (What a scare!) The cost to repair both the storm and inside windows was close to $80.

Several days later, we were in our car, stopped at the corner of Pope’s Hill St. There were no cars coming in the slow lane on Morrissey Blvd as far as Hubby could see so he pulled out onto the boulevard. Before we completely passed the Stop & Shop, a car flew over three lanes, from the fastest lane, almost hit us, and started up Freeport St. Hubby gave him the horn. He, in return, started screaming at us and even showed us one of his fingers. We just shook our heads. He was the one at fault but we took the abuse. We also have been dismayed several times recently as we turn into the Sovereign Bank driveway, after we have given our turn signal. Some of the cars right behind us are following so closely that we cannot see the front of their cars. If Hubby had to stop while turning, the cars would hit us. We shake our heads, once again.

Last week, Hubby read that Michael Weatherly, who plays Anthony Di Nozzo on “NCIS,” is going to be married soon. We figured that, at his age (41), he probably had been married previously. Daughter Sue checked on the internet and discovered that he had been married and had a son before his divorce more than 10 years ago. She also discovered that Michael’s father is/was the major U.S. importer of Swiss Army Knives. As we were watching one of the programs on the NCIS Marathon on Labor Day, part of the story line was about Swiss Army Knives. The writers must have been given permission from Michael’s father to mention them. Then Sue looked into Sean Murray’s bio. Sean plays Tim McGee on “NCIS.” She found out that Sean is the stepson of Donald Bellisario, the show’s producer and creator. By the way, Michael began his TV career by playing the roommate of Theo Huxtable on the terrific “Cosby Show” in 1984.

Daughter Sue has been laughing over the promotions for Jay Leno’s new show. In a sketch similar to the “Jeopardy” Show, Jay, as Alex Trebek, asks the contestants, “Who lives in Vatican City?” The gal who pushed her buzzer first answered, “The Vaticans.”

With teachers, retired teachers, a retired principal, and a retired assistant principal throughout my family and being a former first grade teacher myself, I thought that this quote, from Henry Brooks Adams, was perfect with the beginning of school in Boston last week: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” I wish all students and faculties a most successful school year.