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Turning Leaves

Hubby and I have seen quite a few changes in the leaves, usually in the low areas. The burning bushes at the Stop & Shop in North Quincy are beginning to turn color. We have seen, on the TV weather reports, that Norwood has already been in the low 30s overnight so I am sure the trees in that area are turning colors. The other day, on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the temperature was 22 degrees and it was snowing. Last week, Hubby went all around the house, took out the fans and the vented screens, and put down the windows. He still has to put down the outside storm windows on a few of the windows. We will try to take out the air conditioners over the holiday weekend.

Hubby and I were pleased to receive an invitation from Chancellor Keith Motley to attend the Friends and Neighbors Reception at UMass Boston on Mon., Sept. 14. Unlike most UMass receptions that are held at the Campus Center, this one was to be held at the new Venture Development Center on the third floor of Wheatley Hall. As we walked into this new area, we were impressed by its beauty. Our pal Gail Hobin, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Relations, greeted us and urged us to get great seats for the evening.

No sooner had Hubby and I sat down than our University friend, Carol De Souza, came and sat with us. (Carol is Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Administration & Finance.) We love to hear about the accomplishments of her son and daughter. We also enjoy hearing about Carol herself. Many people came over to our table to greet Carol and she introduced them to us. One of her University friends, Linda (Sheehan) O’Brien, sat with us for the rest of the evening. (Linda is Director of Customer Service.) While chatting, I discovered that Linda and I went to both Girls’ Latin School and Boston State College. (She was quite a few years later than I at both schools.) We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.

Then Chancellor Motley came to the microphone. He is certainly a dynamic speaker but Carol told us that he was even better than his usual terrific self when he addressed the students at the university earlier in the day. As a welcome-back to school, the University even had a cookout, with the chancellor doing some of the cooking. Convocation Day sounded like a wonderful day for the students and the faculty.

Hubby and I wondered what the Venture Development Center was. The invitation explained the center: “UMass-Boston’s Venture Development Center is a managed incubator for early-stage business, university, and student entrepreneurs. It provides business mentoring, connections to industry, and government resources, and qualified student interns in a state-of-the-art office, lab, and meeting space.”

Following the formal part of the reception, Hubby and I stayed for a while and had coffee with Carol and Linda. Both Harry and Jim Brett came over to our table to chat. (Harry had been taking photos for the university all evening.) Jim told us that he would be attending the Priests’ Dinner on the upcoming Wednesday. Bill Walczak, the president of UMass-Boston’s Alumni Association, also attended the Friends’ Reception. So did Gloria Vieira. Bill Owens brought the Somali ambassador over and introduced him to us. The ambassador seemed to be enjoying himself at the university. As Hubby and I left the reception, we agreed that the evening was a very pleasant one.

On Friday evening, Sept. 18, Hubby and daughter Sue took me to Gerard’s for my birthday. The three of us are always very happy there; it’s the next most comfortable place to home. When we entered the restaurant, Theresa Beswick greeted us with a big “Hi, good to see you!” We took our usual table in the corner, out of the way of foot traffic. Our waitress came over quickly and took our order. Theresa came over to chat with us and Sue told her that it was my birthday. She, Hubby, and Theresa kidded me about my that. Then our waitress brought out our food and we began to chow down. While we were eating, Theresa came back with scratch tickets for us because of my birthday and Hubby’s, also, which was nine days before mine.

As we were finishing our dinners, Gerard came over and sat with us. Sue told him that Hubby’s and my birthdays were just nine days apart. Gerard then told us that his mother and father were born just four days apart. Amazingly, their Social Security numbers were just one number apart. He also showed us some figures from an internet restaurant-survey site. His restaurant was rated tops among the local restaurants. He was so proud. We were delighted for him.

Niece Terri spoke with daughter Sue a few weeks ago and said that she would like to have a dinner for both Hubby and me in honor of our 75th birthdays in her new apartment. Sue checked our calendar and said that Sept. 28 would be the first Sunday that we had free. Terri called me early in the week and said that she had invited son Paul and his wife Alex, plus daughter Jeanne, son-in-law David, and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren Brendan and Erin. Each family would bring something to help Terri, who said she would make meatballs and spaghetti.

Because it was a Patriots’ Sunday in Foxboro, we delayed leaving the house for the trip to Attleboro until after the game had started. Daughter Sue brought veggies with a dip, and two containers of sour cream dip with potato chips. Daughter Sue had been to Terri’s new apartment so she knew that there was a Dunkie’s close by so that we could get a Box of Joe. We stopped to get the coffee, which was welcomed because it was a cool, gray day.

When we arrived at Terri’s apartment complex, we had to be buzzed in. Terri came out to walk us toward her apartment. As we neared her place, we came to her little corner of the courtyard where Terri had set up a floral arrangement along with “Happy Birthday” balloons. As I walked into the apartment, there were more than just our kids there. I first saw Ashley, nephew Stephen’s daughter, and then her Mom Judi. Niece Mary was sitting next to her with her daughter Renee. My sister-in-law Peg (Terri’s Mom) was sitting across from them. Nephew Steve, nephew David, and grand nephew Steve Jr. kept taking themselves into the kitchen so that they could hear the Patriots’ score on the radio. Son Paul and daughter-in-law Alex were sitting the closest to the front door.

We began talking about the Patriots and especially about the U2 concert. Alex mentioned that she and her mother Sara had seen The Jersey Boys and thought it was wonderful. While we were talking, people were eating lots of hors d’oeuvres that were laid out on a large table.

Daughter Jeanne and granddaughter Erin came in late because Erin and grandson Brendan had to go to Sunday School. David and Brendan had stayed home because Brendan had to lead a Boy Scout meeting that evening. Jeanne flew out to Terri’s kitchen with all the fixings for a bowl of fruit salad. Then Terri brought out the piece de resistance, two trays of homemade lasagna. Because granddaughter Erin does not eat beef, Terri made the lasagna with just cheese filling. She also made luscious meatballs, which she kept separate. Niece Judi had made buffalo chicken dip and artichoke dip, while niece Mary had made an antipasto salad. Paul and Alex had brought tons of soda plus cookies. Sue’s chips and dip were devoured. (She made the dip with Knorr Leek Soup Mix.)

Throughout the afternoon, Daughter Sue and I enjoyed playing with Terri’s cat, a big Burmese cat named Lima. He would jump up on the sofa between Sue and me and let us pat him. Then he would return to the floor and find a place to lie down. We never saw Terri’s second cat. He never shows his face when there are strangers in the apartment. We loved Terri’s new apartment. She had lots of photos around the big living/dining room. Two of the photos were of her grandmother Margaret (Hubby’s and Peg’s mother). The photos were taken on Margaret’s graduation day in 1917, when she was 16 years old. We were amazed at how much Peg now looks like her Mom. Just before we left, Terri gave everyone bags filled with leftover food. We had Terri’s lasagna and meatballs for dinner two more nights. Everything tasted just as good reheated. Terri walked us out to our car. We dropped Peg off at her home in Brockton and were home in relatively short time because there was very little traffic.

I hope to see many of you this Sunday at the Irish Heritage Festival at Adams Corner. I really enjoyed this wise Chinese proverb: “Do not be afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”