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Crocuses

“The crocuses are grooming
Beneath the sequined snow
To make a dazzling debut
At spring’s first garden show.”
“Canny Crocuses”
By Ethel Turley

Our crocuses are finally peeking through the ground on the sunny side of our house. We still cannot see any tulip or daffodil shoots as yet. If you have bulbs planted in your yard, I am sure that you will see a few shoots peeping through the ground. Go outside and take a look. It gives you such a great feeling to see them . Inside our home, we have two amaryllis bulbs growing at various heights. The first one that we planted will probably have to be staked very soon. The second is growing at a much slower rate.

Since Valentine’s Day is coming very quickly, you might think of purchasing roses. Because of all the rain in California, the prices of roses are expected to be higher than usual. (Many of the roses for Valentine’s Day are grown in California.) This happened a few years ago, also. Gardening expert Paul Parent, that year, urged his listeners to buy flowers other than roses if the price is too high.

Hubby and I were delighted to be invited to the Senatorial Candidates’ Debate that was held at UMass/Boston on Jan. 11. We thank our friend Gail Hobin for inviting us. We had to go through a large group of noisy supporters of the candidates outside the building. When we made it into the lobby of the Student Union Building, Gail’s co-worker Anne Marie Kent greeted us. Ann Marie then accompanied us up to the third floor and brought us to the ballroom where the debate was to be held. Gail was already there. Our pal Carol DeSouza, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Special Projects, also came over and gave us a big hug. It was great seeing both Gail and Carol once again. Hubby and I took seats near the back of the ballroom.

We watched as UMass photographer Harry Brett took photos. Gail then asked Harry if he would take a photo of a group of us in front of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute’s banner that was hanging on the wall behind the stage. Gail invited Hubby, me, Carol, and our civic friends Paul Nutting and Mark Juaire to join her in the photo. What a thrill to have a photo taken with the banner behind us. We knew some of the people that came into the ballroom. Paul and Mimi LaCamera sat in the next section to ours. Our friend Peter Meade, who is the head of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, came over to greet us. I had a chance to speak with Bob Sheridan, the president of the Savings Bank Life Insurance Company (SBLI). Within a half hour, almost every seat in the ballroom was taken. We had been asked to be in our seats by 6:30 p.m. There will be a little more about the debate in next week’s paper.

Our family was saddened by the death of Earl Rubington on Jan. 16, at age 86. Earl was the father of our daughter-in-law Alex, son Paul’s wife. Born in New Haven CT, he died at the Tippett Home/Hospice in Needham. He was a Professor of Sociology for 30 years at Northeastern University, where he also did research. He graduated from Yale University and then went into the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He served as a waist gunner. (I checked Google to see what a waist gunner did because I had never heard that term. “He defended and protected the plane against the enemy.”)

After World War II ended, Earl returned to Yale where he pursued graduate work, earning his Ph.D. in 1955. He co-authored the book Deviance: The Interactionist Perspective, with co-author Martin Weinberg. He edited the book The Study of Social Problems: Seven Perspectives, along with Martin Weinberg. He was also the author of many articles and consistently probed the study of deviance and alcoholism in his work.

On Wed., January 20, a Memorial Service for Earl was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Wellesley Hills. Niece Terri joined us at the service. Daughter Jeanne, son-in-law David, and the World’s Greatest Grandchildren, Brendan and Erin, were at the church before us. (The grandkids had mid terms earlier in the day so they were able to leave school.) Cousins Margie and Janet came in on our heels. Rev. Stephen Cook, the Interim Pastor of the church, welcomed us. Our son Paul was the first speaker. He told us that probably five years ago, he sat down with his father-in-law Earl and took notes for five hours while Earl recounted his experiences during World War II. His waist-gunner position in the B-24 (Liberator) was perhaps one of the most dangerous positions in the Air Force. Paul ended his serious talk with a humorous anecdote. Every time Earl left a message on Alex and Paul’s answering machine, he ended with, “This is Earl; over and out!”
The next two men to speak were longtime friends of Earl’s, George Psathas and Richard Schwartz. George attended Yale with Earl. Both gravitated to Boston where George became a Professor of Sociology at B.U. while Earl was teaching at Northeastern. Richard was also a student at Yale with Earl and a long-time friend who socialized with Earl and his wife Sara. Following their talks, Rev. Cook gave a reflection on Earl’s life. Marc Schectman then said/sang the Mourner’s Kaddish. An insert in the program let us follow along, in English, what was being said in Hebrew. Following Rev. Cook’s final words, a jazz recording of Earl’s favorite song, Body and Soul, by Coleman Hawkins, was played.

Rev. Cook then invited us to adjourn to the Parish Hall for a collation. We first extended our sympathy to Earl’s wife of 58 years, Sara, and then to our daughter in-law/Earl and Sara’s daughter Alex and to our son/their son-in-law Paul. We were urged to enjoy the food that had been prepared for us. The food was laid out on a long table, covered by a beautiful tablecloth, with lit candles in lovely sterling candlesticks. We had china plates for our food and china teacups with saucers for our coffee. The women of the church made sure that we all had enough to eat. I complimented one of the church women on how nice the reception was. The woman named Donna told me how much they think of Sara and how delighted they were to do this. The sympathy of all our family is sent to Earl’s wife Sara and to Alex, Earl and Sara’s daughter and our daughter-in-law.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley has given the parishes in the Boston Archdiocese permission to have a second collection to assist the people of Haiti this weekend, Jan. 30/31. Please be generous. St. Brendan’s Parish is still collecting mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves for the needy in the U.S. through the end of January. You could probably purchase a few of the items at great markdown prices at this time of year. Also, now that the holidays are over, you probably will get back to cleaning and organizing your home. The Gotbooks container is still located outside St. Brendan’s School on Rita Road. If you have any books, CDs, DVDs, audio books, and VHS tapes that you no longer use, why not take them to the containers. The school is compensated every time the container is filled.

I was sorry to read of the death of Helena Cybulski on Jan. 12. Helena was very active in Dorchester events. The last time I saw Helena was on City Hall Plaza at the time of one of the Wednesday Evening Concerts. I send my sympathy to her children, Frank, Stella Brown, Joanne Gogan, William, Paul, and Edmund.

Several times over the past month, Hubby and I have been to Gerard’s Restaurant on a Wednesday evening. On Wednesday evenings Gerard invites a group of musicians to play Irish music from 6 to 9 p.m. The first time, our friend Eileen Burke was with us. Eileen loves Irish music and knows the words to many of the songs that are played. The first evening that we were at Gerard’s, there were two adorable little girls dancing in time to the music in the space in front of the musicians. On the way out, I asked the waitresses if anyone knew the girls’ names. Waitress Stacey Geezil said, “I do. They are my daughters Libby and Brigid.” They were so cute. We all laughed as we watched them.

There is a great group of people that are at Gerard’s on Wednesdays. Joe Gaffney always comes over to greet us. Bill Brett is usually there chatting with everyone. Because this Wednesday was the day after the horrific Haitian earthquake, much of the talk was about the terrible news coming from that country. Gerard came over to speak with us. He told us that his wife Ruth has been able to send much of the proceeds from the sale of her handmade jewelry to that island country. Bravo, Ruth! You are doing wonderful work.

The second time we were at Gerard’s, our niece Terri was with us. She thought that we were so early for dinner that we would never be there at 6 p.m. for the Irish music. Well, she was wrong. It was 6 p.m. before we even finished our dinners. By the time we had coffee, the music had already started. Terri was thrilled. She was able to hear the Irish music.

Here are some wonderful words said by Blessed Mother Teresa: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”