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April Flowers

“Sometimes sunshine, sometimes showers
Bathe and nurture budding flowers
As April sings a song of spring
And dances on a bluebird’s wing.”
“A Song of Spring”
by Nora M. Bozeman

The flowers in our yard are magnificent. Under the three forsythia bushes, we had planted red tulip bulbs. The bright red tulips look so pretty against the yellow bushes. We made the mistake of planting yellow tulips in among the daffodils. At a distance, we can’t tell which are daffodils and which are tulips. The rose bushes are leafing out beautifully although we may have lost two bushes over the winter. We will give them another month before we dig them up and plant new ones. Our friend and neighbor Phil and his crew cleaned our yard after the winter. There were a few broken branches in the large yard-waste paper bags. All of the weathermen on TV keep mentioning that the growing season is about three weeks ahead of schedule because of the recent warm weather. People with allergies are really suffering.

So many of you enjoy Castle Island and Sully’s the way our family does. Daughter Sue sent me an e-mail, telling me that Sully’s now has a website. Go to : www.sullivanscastleisland.com. The site says that Sully’s will be open every day until Nov. 28, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It is be open from 8:30 a.m. for breakfast. The grill is on by 10 a.m. each day. Closing is dependent on the weather. By the way, Sully’s is now 60 years old.

One of the nicest events that Hubby and I attend each year is the annual Community Breakfast at UMass/Boston. The morning of Mar. 25 was a lovely day as we drove along Morrissey Blvd. When we got off the elevator at the Student Center, we were delighted to see our friend Patti Brett standing behind the Registration Desk. Gail Hobin, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Relations at the University, was at the door to welcome us. Our friend Phil Carver was just inside so we had a chance to chat with him.

As we went to our usual table with its nice view of parts of our city, historian Robert Severy of the Dorchester Historical Society gave me an envelope. In it were three photos, one of Hubby and two of me, taken at the Community Breakfast two years before, in 2008. (Robert has a way of making people look good.) He also gave us a small book, Guide to Maple Lot Sec. 21, Cedar Grove Cemetery, which he had written. Hubby took that and began reading it before the breakfast.

Soon, our friends and usual table companions, Water and Doris Pienton, from Savin Hill, joined us. It is always fun when we sit with them. Pal Loretta Philbrick also joined us once again. We invited Fr. George Carrigg from St. Christopher’s Parish and Sister Elizabeth Calcagni, director of the Notre Dame Montessori School at St. Christopher’s, to sit with us. It was a terrific table.

Chancellor Keith Motley came to the microphone after Gail Hobin had welcomed us to the breakfast. We always enjoy hearing the chancellor speak about the university. He speaks with such energy and enthusiasm. He introduced Boston’s Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Supt. Dan Linskey. Then it was time for the chancellor to present the Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Community Commitment and Service. Keith presented the chancellor’s award to Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, FAAN. Jeanette is the senior vice president for patient care and chief nurse executive at Mass. General Hospital. Under her direction, Partners HealthCare System and UMass/Boston’s School of Nursing and Health Services together formed the Clinical Leadership Collaborative for Diversity in Nursing, a scholarship and leadership development initiative for minority nursing students. She has led several humanitarian relief efforts. (Our daughter Jeanne is a graduate of UMass’s Nursing Program and did part of her training at Mass. General.)

The Robert H. Quinn Award was presented to Thomas J. Lyons, the community services manager at MassHousing, an agency that provides home ownership and rental opportunities for Mass. residents with low and moderate incomes. A Boston native, he served in the Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He founded the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston, a Marine Corps organization with more than 2,300 members. (It started with 28 members.)He also served as Boston’s Deputy Commissioner for Veterans’ Services for more than 11 years. He is on the Governor’s Veterans’ Advisory Council and chairs the Veterans’ Housing Committee.

Both recipients were most deserving of their awards. I was sorry that I did not have a chance to speak with Robert Quinn. He was so busy being greeted by well-wishers. I did get a chance to speak with his wife Claudina. I also had a chance to greet Bob’s partner, Jim Morris, whom I congratulated on his and wife Mary’s 30th wedding anniversary. I also was delighted to see Tom and Barbara Cheney. We told them how wonderful the “Taste of Ireland,” the St. Patrick’s event at the Leahy-Holloran Community Center, was on March 20. They would have loved it. We also had a chance to speak with Joe and Carol Chaisson, who were sitting up near the back of the room. They enjoyed the Community Breakfast as much as we did. I also had a chance to chat with our friend from as far back as Pope’s Hill’s High School Information days at B.C. High, Joe O’Brien. Our friend Jim Brett was also at the breakfast. This is always such a pleasant time. We see so many people that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Thanks to an e-mail from WGBH-TV, Ch. 2, I found out when the program “America’s Orchestra: 125 Years of the Boston Pops” will be shown and repeated. As I mentioned last week, the first airing of the program will be this Sunday, Apr. 18, at 7 p.m. on Ch. 2. It will show Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and the present conductor, Keith Lockhart, along with such guests as Josh Groban and James Taylor. The program will be shown again on Sun., May 16, 8 p.m., on Ch. 2, and finally on Wed., June 23, 8 p.m., on Ch. 2. We hope to tape it this Sunday.

What a nice Easter we had. We just pushed it ahead one day. To make it easier, Jeanne and David invited us to have dinner on Saturday. By doing it that way, they were able to rest on Easter before the start of the work week. With daughter Sue in the back seat, complete with her pillow so she could sleep on the hour-long journey to Rockport, we left home about noon. Traffic was wonderful until we came close to the North Shore Mall. We figured that these were last-minute Easter shoppers. Then we got stuck approaching bridge reconstruction over the Annisquam River, in Gloucester. After that, it was clear sailing. It was a magnificent day as we drove along Route 127 and saw all the beautiful homes overlooking the water.

When we arrived at Jeanne and David’s home, Jeanne was sitting on the stairs waiting for us. The World’s Greatest Granddaughter Erin came out of the house to help us unload the car. Out came the chocolate pudding pie, the potato salad, and all the bottles of soda. Then daughter Sue got out of the back seat. Her face was flushed. Jeanne, our nurse, put her hand on Sue’s forehead. “You’re burning up,” said she. Sue had told me the evening before that she thought she was getting a cold. Erin ran upstairs and put clean sheets over her Mom and Dad’s bed. Sue took an aspirin and headed upstairs. She spent the rest of our Easter celebration sleeping. In came my sister-in-law Peg and niece Terri. Terri, also a nurse, alternated with Jeanne in checking on Sue during the day. They brought soda and water upstairs to try to bring Sue’s temp down from 100.7 degrees.

Jeanne and David had all of the food ready when we arrived. There were meatballs, a spiral-cut ham, turkey, roast beef, cheeses, rolls, plus chips and onion dip, made from Knorr Leek Soup Mix with Lay’s low-salt chips. Jeanne put the potato salad that Sue had made on the table. There were all kinds of soda, even a bottle of Welch’s Sparkling White Grape Juice. There was so much food. Jeanne had invited several of her friends and neighbors, along with their kids, to join us during the afternoon. The food went quickly. There will be more about our Easter celebration in next week’s column.
There was a happy event in our family last week. Brendan, the World’s Greatest Grandson, passed his driving test on Wednesday. He was so excited. Jeanne had taken him driving all around town. Jeanne even let him back up our street because there were no parking spots left on our street. He did that beautifully. Congratulations, Brendan; we knew you could pass the test.

I was sorry to read of the death of Dr. June Warren Lee on Apr. 4, at age 58. Dr. June, very successfully, practiced dentistry with her husband, Dr. William “Bill,” in Neponset. I am sure the people of Neponset join with me in sending sympathy to her husband and to their children Jaime Gagne and Daniel. I know she will be missed by her many patients.

In case you will be going to Cape Cod over the Patriots’ Day weekend, here is some wonderful news. All four lanes of the Sagamore Bridge will be open and available for traffic during Patriots’ Day weekend, Friday, Apr. 16, beginning at 6 a.m., through Monday, Apr. 19. Work on the bridge will resume on Tues., Apr. 20.

With everything in bloom in our area, this thought, by Sue Muszalk, seems like the perfect way to end this column: “A garden is a place where little miracles occur every moment.”