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Grandparents' Luncheon

I really do like autumn. I love the cool, crisp weather after the hot summer. (I can work around the house with the temps in the 60s and low 70s.) I love to see the leaves turning to a riot of color. The leaves along Route 3 in Weymouth now show spots of color that were not there just a few days ago. When we were kids, we used to pick up brightly-colored maple leaves on the way home from school and press them between sheets of waxed paper. With Mom’s or Grandma’s supervision, we could even press them in waxed paper with a lukewarm iron.

Our friend Eileen Collins asked Hubby and me to join her and her group at the annual Grandparents’ Luncheon, held this year on Sept. 18, at the Boston Teachers’ Union Hall at Bayside. Because my office is just around the corner, Hubby and I walked over to the BTU Hall. The place was filled with senior citizens. I saw Eileen waving to us. She told us that she had seats saved for us at a neighboring table. Our friends Maureen Reedy and Kay Seaberg were already seated at the table along with new friends. Hubby “adopted” the two little ladies, both named Carmela, sitting next to him.

Jim (Hislop), the DJ Man, played wonderful music for the crowd throughout the afternoon. Our friend Della, sitting at Eileen’s table, got up to dance most of the dances. The head of the City’s Elderly Commission, Eliza Greenberg, was out on the dance floor and proved that she could be an Arthur Murray teacher. She is a great dancer. My feet were going, non-stop, under the table. Jim even brought out a bunch of old-fashioned hula hoops. Some of the seniors joined the Elderly Commission’s staff in keeping the hula hoops moving around their waists. Some were able to keep them going around their necks. I just looked on in amazement. I never could keep a hula hoop going, even when I was a kid.

Then it was time for the luncheon. Out came quite a few waitresses with bowls of salad for each table. After they had finished serving the salad, they brought out large bowls of meatballs and ziti. (Hubby made sure his little ladies had enough of the main course.) Our terrific waitress told me that the caterer was the one from the BTU Hall, Dominic’s. The food was so good that the waitresses ended up bringing out second helpings, which were devoured almost as quickly as the first. For dessert, the gals brought out ice cream with some chocolate sauce drizzled on it.

Just as we finished eating, Jim announced that Mayor Menino was coming into the building. As the Mayor entered the hall, he was welcomed with a loud round of applause. He went directly to the microphone to welcome all of us seniors. He then asked me to stand up because that day just happened to be my birthday. I am sure that it was Eileen Collins who had told the DJ of my birthday. All the seniors sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Eileen also mentioned to the DJ that our pals Ken and Mary Bruynell had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary the previous day. The Mayor asked Ken and Mary to come to the dance floor and dance while the DJ played a lovely song for them. Hubby took some great photos throughout the afternoon. At the end of the luncheon, Hubby and I walked back around the corner to our car. It was a gorgeous day to be out and about. We got in the car and drove directly to South Boston. We knew that there were three ships in the Port of Boston that day. We drove down along Summer St. and saw three cruise ships lined up in a row at the Black Falcon Pier. They looked gorgeous in the bright sun.

The following evening, Hubby and I drove to Florian Hall. We had been invited to the party in honor of the 60th anniversary of our friends Ken and Mary Bruynell. The place was mobbed as we walked in the door of the lounge area. Eileen Collins saw us standing at the door and invited us to sit with her. We were joined by Mary Scarborough, Norma Conley, Della Melchionda, Betty Cook, Rosalie Mascioli, and Angie Tesauro. Our friends Ginny Aveni and John Downey were sitting at a neighboring table. So were Tom and Kay Walsh and Bob and Ann Kaeneman. Paul and Ann Hayward were also present. The disc jockey would ask Ann, a little later, to sing for the guests that evening. On each table was a framed photo of Ken and Mary on their wedding day, Sept. 17, 1949.

Ken and Mary’s children were all there at the party. Their oldest is James, better known a Chip, with his wife Betty. The next oldest child is Mike, his wife Claire, and their children Melissa, Erin, and Mary. Their daughter Marie Barrett is next. She was there with her husband Billy, and their children Bobby and Lauren. The youngest Bruynell is Ken Jr., better known as Buddy, who was there with his wife Karen and their children Hillary, Jonathan, and Tommy. The Bruynells’ Godchild Sandy Edwards came all the way from California for the dinner, much to the delight of Ken and Mary.

Several of the sons stood and spoke glowingly about their parents. Then Ken himself came to the microphone and spoke about his terrific children and how they make a difference in the world. Mary Coombs, who served as the Bruynells’ Maid of Honor 60 years ago, took the microphone and told us a great deal about how she and her girl friends, including Mary, met Ken and his buddies, especially during the tough days of World War II. She mentioned that Ken and Mary were the first two of their group to marry. We listened to Mary Coombs with rapt attention. She is a terrific storyteller.

While we were eating our delicious stuffed chicken breast dinner, the DJ played and sang some wonderful music. I learned that he is Ken and Mary’s next-door neighbor Tony. We were also delighted that Tony asked our friend and neighbor Ann Hayward to come to the microphone to sing a few songs. Ann has sung professionally for years. She still sings at St. Ann’s Church. Everyone, as they left Florian Hall, went over to congratulate Ken and Mary on their spectacular 60th wedding anniversary. It was a delightful evening.

I was sorry to read of the death of Melvin Beaton on Sept. 6. Melvin was the father of Richard Beaton and his wife Ann Harrington, Nancy’s daughter. I was also sorry to read of the death of Louise Garrity on Sept. 9. Louise was the mother of Annmarie Traft and her husband Mike. She was a medical secretary at Carney Hospital for 20 years before retiring in 1989.

Mea culpa: in last week’s column, when writing about Cousin Lynda’s baby shower, I changed the name of the newest member of our family. Cousins David and Courtney’s daughter, who is seven weeks old, is Olivia Paulette.

If you or your people are from County Mayo, you will be interested in this information: Boston’s County Mayo Association will hold their annual Dance at Concannon’s in Norwood on Sat., Oct. 10, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Music will be provided by Noel Henry’s Showband and John Staunton. This is always a terrific evening. The Mayo people are a great group.

St. Brendan’s Parish will hold its annual Clothing Drive the weekend of Oct. 17/18. Start saving your items now. Speaking of St. Brendan’s, the parish is also conducting a men’s clothing drive for the Long Island Shelter for the Homeless. Hubby brought down 21 shirts and 17 sweaters a few months ago. With cold weather on our doorstep, the need is desperate. Please get up in the attic and check out the men’s clothes that you don’t need any more. The men at the shelter will be so pleased to get new clothes, especially warm clothing. Bring your items to St. Brendan’s Rectory, 15 Rita Rd., Dorchester.

When Hubby and I went to vote at the Murphy School last Tuesday, several women had set up a Bake Sale outside the polling area. After we had voted, Hubby and I walked over to the table. We bought two slices of Irish bread, each in a bag with a purple tie. We brought the bread home, put on the coffee, and put the two slices of Irish bread in the toaster. The bread tasted terrific. I wonder if anyone knows who made the Irish bread. I would love to have the recipe.

The more I hear about the Irish Heritage Festival at Adams Corner/Village on Sunday, Oct. 11, the more interested I become. There are going to be two stages for music and stepdancing. I heard, on WROL, that Erin’s Melody is just one of the terrific bands that is going to play that day. There are even going to be some Irish Wolfhounds for us to see. Some of the local restaurants, like Gerard’s, are going to have patio-dining. It sounds like a wonderful day.

I loved these words of St. Francis: “Start by doing what is necessary, Then by doing what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”