Home / View from Pope's Hill /

Halloween Lead Up

“Strange things are happening,
So strange you would not believe,
Were it not this particular season
And this particular eve.

Oh yes, strange things do happen
When the town clock strikes 13,
And witches and goblins gather
To celebrate Halloween!”
“Strange Things” by Frances Heighton

I already have the Halloween CDs ready to play this Sunday as the neighborhood kids come calling at our home. A few years back, one of the CDs was so scary that some of the little trick-or-treaters thought that our house really was haunted. Once they saw our Halloween candy, however, they forgot about being afraid. I understand that the children in Foxborough, because of the Patriots’ game on Sunday, will be celebrating Halloween on Saturday evening.

I remember when our kids were little. They loved trying to get a bite of little donettes on a string. I would be sure to get the powdered-sugar kind so that it would leave confectioner’s sugar all over their faces. Just as the kids were ready to take a bite out of the donettes, I would wiggle the string so the donette would leave marks all over their faces.

A fairly-recent happening: on Father’s Day evening, daughter Sue and niece Terri came into the Bostonian to see me. They had just had dinner. Then they were off for an exciting evening. They were heading in town to the TD Garden to see James Taylor and Carole King in concert. The girls were so thrilled with the concert that they called me and let me hear two words of the duo singing together. I love the song, ”You’ve Got A Friend,” which was written by Carole King and sung so beautifully by James, The girls said that they loved hearing the two singing together.

I mentioned, in a previous column, that I was delighted to reconnect with Chris who works at the Bostonian. One day, he came in my room with two lovely ladies. I was delighted to meet his wife Marie and their daughter Christina. I also had a wonderful visit from Cora Flood, the senior coordinator of the Irish Pastoral Centre. Cora had both of her cherubs with her, Orla and Killian. Orla discovered the aquarium out near the elevator so she kept going out side my room to see the fish. Killian had a great time amusing himself by getting up and down in my room. Hubby and I are always delighted to see Cora once a month at the luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre.

On a very hot day, I was delighted to receive a visit from Fr. John McCarthy, the Irish Chaplain, who lives in St. Brendan’s Rectory. He is so easy to chat with that the time flew by. While we were talking, in came Tom Lynch, administrator of the Bostonian. I didn’t recognize the two women Tom had with him. Then I discovered one of the women was Sr. Marie Puleo, President of Caritas Carney Hospital. The second woman was Nancy Hoffman, Vice President in charge of Finance and Administration at Carney. They knew Fr. John and came into my room to see him. During their conversations, Sr. Marie realized, with the name McDonough, that I must be “Vinnie’s wife” so she greeted me warmly.
Hubby knew Sr. Marie when both worked part-time at Purity Supreme Market years back. What a great afternoon that was.

Another lovely event that happened while I was at the Bostonian: into my room came one of the animals that came from the Barn Babies group. Donia was holding her. I took one look at this gorgeous animal and I was smitten. Donia told me that her name was Zoe. She was a little white Persian kitten. What a wonderful personality this little baby had. While I was holding her, she fell asleep. If I had not just had knee surgery, I would have adopted her in a second. I can, however, remember Dr. Cater’s warning just after I had my first knee replaced in 2007, “Don’t get a pet now. You might trip over it.” (We had just lost our 16-year-old feline princess Abbey and had started to look in animal shelters for a cat to replace her.) Almost all the while I had Zoe in my hands, she was in a peaceful sleep. How sorry I was to have to return her.

At our Pope’s Hill E Board meeting the other evening, I had a chance to chat with John Schneiderman. He told me how wonderful his 60th birthday weekend was. On his birthday, Sept. 10, his wife Janice surprised him with a party at Gerard’s, with a small group of his friends: Bill and Harry Brett, Bob Collins, Gerard himself, John’s wife Janice, and a few of the other regulars at the restaurant. On Saturday evening, there was a surprise party with 50 members of his family, including four grandkids, and some close friends at the Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus. Janice had “Elvis” come over to their table and they sang a song for everyone. As John said, “Great time! Great food!”

Then, on Sunday, Sept. 12, John participated in a golf tournament at the Hyannis Country Club. The tournament benefited the Cape Cod Senior Babe Ruth League, where John’s nephew is a pitcher. John praised Janice for the wonderful surprise parties for his 40th, 50th, and 60th birthdays. He said to me, “I am surprised that Janice has put up with me this long. We just celebrated our 27th anniversary on Sept. 23. I’m a lucky man. She is the best!”

At the same E Board meeting, I had a chance to find out about Melissa and Richard Driscoll’s latest arrival. William Francis Driscoll arrived on June 21: he was 9pounds,15 ounces, and 21 inches long. He came home to his big sisters, Maeghan and Shannon, and his older brother John. The happy grandparents are Mildred Driscoll of Dorchester and Richard and Mary Bauters of Marshfield.

I also discovered, at the E Board meeting, that one of our members recently welcomed a grandchild. Pat Dennehy welcomed Sinead Marie Dennehy on July 13.The proud parents are Rina and Mike Dennehy of Milton. The proud grandparents are Pat Dennehy of Dorchester and Frances and Charles Donnelly of Ireland. Jack, Cait, and Alex welcomed their new sister home. Alice Holloran also told us that her grandson Brendan Joseph Holloran celebrated his first birthday on Sept. 26. The parents are Tim and Kristin Holloran; the grandparents, Alice Holloran and Terry Dunleavy.

Last Friday, Hubby and I took off for a weekend at the Red Jacket in South Yarmouth. The ride down the Cape was beautiful. I loved looking at the trees with leaves in shades of gold, yellow, mauve, somewhat orange, and, of course, vivid red. Traffic was wonderful so we were over the Sagamore Bridge in very quick time. We headed straight for Hyannis to the Old Country Buffet Restaurant, where we would have lunch. (The salad bar is terrific.) How surprised we were to drive up to the restaurant and to see that it was out of business. The name of the restaurant had even been taken off the outside wall. We were so disappointed. We were right near Friendly’s so went there for lunch.
After lunch, we shopped our way down to our hotel. We first hit K Mart. Then we drove a short distance to the Christmas Tree Shop Plaza in Hyannis. While Hubby went into Trader Joe’s to get daughter Sue some cereal, I went into the Christmas Tree Shop. I was surprised that there were not more customers in the store on a Friday afternoon.
Holding onto a shopping cart, I had no trouble getting around with my new knee. There were all kinds of Halloween and Thanksgiving items. I had to restrain myself. We have Halloween decorations that we didn’t even get up this year. I did buy Christmas and Thanksgiving tablecloths. Daughter Sue needed some candy for Halloween so we stopped at CVS for that. We also hit the Job Lot Store near the Airport Rotary.

About 5 p.m., we drove up to the Red Jacket. It was just dusk. We were greeted by a wonderful desk clerk, Megan, who knew my name without my even saying it. She welcomed me back after the summer. The lobby looked great with a large fall exhibit behind the concierge’s desk. Over the weekend, more and more scary decorations appeared in the lobby and in the dining room. There was a mummy hanging from the exit door in the dining area. There was a frightening witch decoration that spoke and moved whenever anyone passed in front of her. Hubby took a photo of me standing next to the witch. Thank goodness he didn’t say, “Which twin has the Toni?” There will be more about our Cape trip next week. By the way, the Red Jacket closed on Sunday, the 24th, and will reopen as a Haunted Hotel just for this Halloween weekend. It sounds like fun!

I was sorry to read about the death of my friend, the Honorable Paul Murphy, on Oct. 21. Paul was the retired Chief Justice of the West Roxbury District Court. He was also our state representative for five terms. Sometimes I would see him if Hubby and I attended Mass at St. Mark’s Church. If he saw me, he would always tell me how much he liked my column. Once in a while he would send me a little note. He was a kind man and a very nice person. My sympathy is sent to his siblings: Albert, Joseph, Mary, and James.

I loved this saying by John Lubbock: “There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”