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Wrapping Up 2009

“Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good Old Year is is with the past,
O, be the new so kind.”
By William Cullen Bryant

Each year, on New Year’s Eve, Hubby and I agree that we are happy that we have survived another year. We will sit and watch the countdown to the new year on TV. Maybe we will crack open a bottle of Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice and drink that with potato chips and onion dip.

The kids and the grandkids are all well so that is much to be thankful for. Except for my cantankerous knee, Hubby and I are doing well. I have planted the amaryllis that Hubby gave me. It should be flowering around Valentine’s Day. Hubby and daughter Sue gave me a new Christmas pin, a wreath-shaped pin, with three candles on the wreath, which is studded with marcasites. I wore the pin to cousins Margie and Janet’s Open House on Christmas Eve and to cousins Carolyn and Rock’s home on Christmas Day.

The snow storm almost two weeks ago Sunday caused a great many changes in our schedule. Niece Terri had hosted her side of the family’s (Hubby’s, also) party on Saturday afternoon and evening so we were not able to attend Sat. Mass. When we awoke on Sunday, there was so much snow on our street that we were not able to get out to church. I mentioned that we have only missed church a few times in all our lives, other than being ill or in the hospital. Hubby made me laugh with this joke, “Yes, I let you stay home when you were in labor.” (That never really happened.) The plow finally came late in the afternoon and shoved all the snow back on parts that were already shoveled. Daughter Sue had to go out and shovel again. Hubby measured the “snow line” on her jeans with a yard stick before the plow came up the street. It measured 14 inches!

Hubby and I were pleased to be invited to the annual Christmas Party of the K Club Senior Citizens. The party was held on Mon., Dec. 7, at Florian Hall. As we entered Florian Hall, we were delighted to meet Barbara Capuano, wife of Congressman Michael Capuano, a candidate for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s senatorial seat. We had a great table of new friends sitting with us: Lucille Jeffries, Mary Barry, Louise McDonald, Mary Rizzo, Irene MacPherson, Mary Greene-Dwyer, and our long-time friend, Margaret Buckley, who was wearing her reindeer antlers. We began the party with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Because Dec. 7 was such a special day in America’s history, we seniors were then asked to remember all those who passed away at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 68 years ago.

The meal, a stuffed chicken breast dinner, was positively wonderful, as is all of Florian’s food. All the while, the Master of Ceremonies went around to the tables serenading the members. City Councillor Maureen Feeney also went to each tale and chatted with members. Mike Bradley, Dolly Farquharson, and Alice Matchem came over to speak with us. Bob and Ann Kaeneman, our friends and neighbors, were sitting at a nearby table. Kenny Bruynell and outgoing K Club president Claire Perry were busy helping with the party.

Ann Hayward then serenaded us with some Christmas and some familiar old songs. We were sorry to hear that Ann’s husband Paul was sick and unable to attend the party. Our friends and neighbors Rita Gillespie, Gemma Mariano, Mary Reilly, Marge Bielecki, Gilda Groves, and Fran O’Keefe were sitting at nearby table. “Santa” and “Mrs. Santa” came around and gave each one of us a small gift from Santa’s Bag. Hubby and I picked K Club pens. Our friend Margaret picked a flashlight that had a tape measure in the barrel of the flashlight. (We have a cute photo of Margaret with the tape measure extended.) Each member of the club had a daily planner at his or her dinner plate.

K Club Vice Pres. Kay Walsh came to each member and gave us a copy of the meeting dates of the club for 2010. The paper also listed the new officers of the club: The new president will be Ted Jacobs; vice president, Jim McCabe; treasurer, Ann Hayward; recording secretary, Pat Kennedy; administrative secretary, Mary Kelly; and events’ planner, Kay Palmer. The K Club’s first meeting of 2010 is on Mon., Jan. 11, at Florian Hall.

Hubby, daughter Sue, and I did get the Swine Flu Vaccine on Dec. 16 (my mother’s birthday). Sue had been watching for the distribution of the vaccine, which she wanted to get because, as a teacher, she is with children all day. She happened to see on the internet that the Neponset Health Center was holding a vaccine clinic that evening. It was supposed to start at 5:30 p.m. Hubby and I waited until Sue arrived home from work and then we went down to the health center. Many people must have seen the same notice because there was quite a line waiting to get into the building. It was quite cold standing outside.

We finally got into the health center. Sue was first and saw that we had to walk up a good flight of stairs to the second floor where the vaccine was being distributed. She asked an EMT if I could take an elevator upstairs because my knee was in such bad shape. I thought he would wait until I was ready to climb the stairs. He kindly took me right then and there into the elevator. When he let me off, he took me to the stairway where the people were waiting. He said to me, “Just wait here for your family,” and laughing, he said, “and remember no cutting.” I was able to sit on the steps to the third floor until Hubby and Sue were at the top of the stairs. We gave our applications to the nurses who called us into the alcove where we received the vaccine. They kindly kept families together so we were all done at the same time.

I loved reading the most popular baby names for the first decade of 2000 (2000 to 2010). The most popular boys’ names were: Aiden, Jacob, Ethan, Matthew, Nicholas, Jack, Joshua, Michael, Ryan, and Andrew. The most popular girls’ names were: Emma, Emily, Madison, Isabella, Ava, Sophia, Kaitlyn, Hannah, Hailey, and Olivia. We have two new cousins named Olivia and Michael from those lists, born in 2009.

I was delighted to see the photo of everybody’s favorite hockey player Bobby Orr holding his first grandchild, Alexis Brooke Orr. The baby was born at Beth Israel Hospital last month, to Bobby’s son Darren and his wife Chelsea. Bobby and his wife Peggy flew all night, after canceling a meeting, to visit the new baby. What a smile Bobby has on his face in the photo! Bobby called her a “cutie.” Congratulations to all the Orrs; grandchildren are a joy.

St. Brendan’s has a project called “Warm Hands, Warm Hearts,” in which they collect mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves. If you have some of these items around your home that are not being used, or if you see great markdowns now that Christmas is over, why not purchase a few of these items. They will mean a great deal to some people who do not have these things to keep them warm. There is a basket in the front of the church for donations. The program will run through the end of January.

I was sorry to hear of the death of Ann Sullivan on Dec. 23. I had met Ann when her daughter Betty Cikacz was the head of the Senior Program at the Kit Clark Senior Center in Fields Corner. I send my sympathy to Ann’s husband Kenneth and to their children Debby Coughlin, Kenny, and especially to my friend Betty. I am sorry that I was not able to make Ann’s wake. We were in Rockport that day at our family’s Christmas party that had been delayed a week because of the snowstorm the previous Sunday.

On Christmas Eve day, our terrific mailman Mike delivered a small package to me. In it was an insulated coffee mug with the WBZ logo on it. Accompanying the mug was a letter thanking me for my continuing loyalty to ‘BZ. We truly do love WBZ. That station is on from sometime between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. until the radio is shut off at midnight each day. You have to keep that station to know what is going on in the world. We also love the traffic and weather reports every 10 minutes. Keep up the good work, WBZ! You’re doing a terrific job.
Our family wishes you all a very Happy New Year: Bonnee Annee; Gutes Neues Jahr; Felice Ano Nuovo; Prospero Ano Nuovo; Gelikkig Nieuwjaar; Gott Nytt Ar; and Athbliain Faoi Mhaise!