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January and February from the Hill

January and February are the darkest months, and the coldest, and the snowiest. In our part of the world, this is the time when the rocks lose the last of their Autumn heat and the earth itself heaves with frost.”
By Hal Borland

The temperatures this weekend surely reinforced the statement that January and February are, indeed, the coldest. (January 27 is generally the coldest day of the whole year in Boston, according to meteorologists.) Last week, with the temperatures in the single digits, we did not turn down the heat on the first floor too much before we went upstairs to bed. We also left the doors of the cabinet under the sink open to allow more warm air to circulate around the water pipes. We are fortunate to have a blower in the back cellar. When the temperature goes below 50 degrees and the water in the furnace is hot, the blower goes on, sending warm air into that room. We had a scare last week. Our furnace would not work. Thank goodness we have the heating contract with National Grid. Hubby made a call to the gas company and the service man came out within a few hours. It took him just a little while to take out the bad part. He had a replacement part in his truck. Within a half hour after he left, the house was nice and warm. We are fortunate in that we have had only one other problem with our furnace in over 26 years.

I was delighted to receive good news from my pal Carol Murphy from the Keystone Apts. Carol’s daughter Danielle is engaged to be married. Her fiancé is Allan Hale of Waco, Texas. Allan is the son of Allan Sr. and Christi Scamman; Danielle, the daughter of Carol and the late Robert A. Murphy. A date for the wedding has not yet been set.

Last Wednesday, Hubby and I drove to Phillips Old Colony House. The first meeting of the 2010 year for the Dorchester Board of Trade was to be held there at 4 p.m. We were greeted by the Executive Secretary Lisa Courtney. Also inside the main dining area were Vice President Donna Finnegan and Treasurer Dianne McBride.

Hubby and I sat at the table on the other side of the main door. We were joined by our pal Phil Carver, from UMass/Boston. Also sitting with us were my co-worker Maureen Forry and Eleni Kontogli from the Neponset Health Center. Aetna Alarms’ Kathy Guinee also sat with us. Jim Cawley from Work Inc. and Charles Hollins from Bay Cove came over to chat with us.

Vice President Donna Finnegan then called the group to order. She announced that the election of officers would be held. First, however, she thanked outgoing president Bill Puddister for his service to the Board of Trade. She also thanked Tram Tran from the Boston Police/District C-11 for her years of service on the Board. She then read the list of officers for the Year 2010, gathered by Loretta Philbrick, who was unable to attend the meeting. The new officers voted in are: President Charles Hollins, Vice President Donna Finnegan, Treasurer Dianne McBride, and Legal Consultant Attorney Joe Lutz. Lisa Courtney remains as Executive Secretary. I will list the Board of Directors in next week’s column.

During Christmas week, Hubby and I had to get over to Doyle’s Restaurant in Jamaica Plain for lunch. Hubby lived right near Doyle’s when he was growing up so he is always happy to see “his old stomping grounds.” We have an additional reason to go to Doyle’s, in addition to its great food. I love Doyle’s calendar and use it often in the Birthday Column in this newspaper. We were seated promptly and we checked out the menu. Hubby’s favorite at Doyle is the roast beef. It is not usually offered at noon but sometimes it is available. Much to Hubby’s delight, it was available that day. The whole time we were eating, we could see Gerry Burke speaking with a young girl across the room. When we finished our food, Gerry brought the girl over to meet us. Her name was Rosana Wan and she was a student at Northeastern University. She proudly showed us a letter that she had received from author David McCullough. The letter was positively charming as I would have expected from a man as nice as he is.
Rosana said, “I wish I could meet him in person.” I remembered that David was to appear at a forum at the end of January at the Kennedy Library. We told her to check the Kennedy Library on Google to see what evening the forum was being held. When I got home, I checked and discovered that the forum was already full. (This was one month early.) I dropped Rosana a note and told her that the forum was already full. She sent me a note back saying that she still hopes to meet Mr. McCullough some day.
I told Gerry and Rosana that I had met David McCullough at Northeastern University when my cousin Janet received an honorary doctorate at the same time that David received one. It was same the time that David’s book on John Adams had been published. He was so nice to Janet, her sister Margie, and the rest of our family who were there. What a thrill to meet him.

While we were at Doyle’s, we sat in the room where the bar is located. (Usually we areseated in the second room.) Hubby was facing the wall where an old Doyle’s menu had been painted. He started to laugh. “Do you have a paper?” He began writing. The menu didn’t have a date on it but it had to have been very old. The homemade corned beef hash dinner with beets, rolls, and butter was 20 cents; Boston Baked Beans, with rolls and butter, 15 cents; grilled frankforts (plural), with cole slaw and french fries, 25 cents; baked kidney beans, with rolls and butter, 20 cents; broiled Scotch ham, with sliced tomato and french fries, 30 cents; minute sirloin steak, with string beans, potato, and rolls and butter, 25 cents; hamburg steak, with potato, string beans, rolls, and butter, 25 cents; cold corned beef, with cole slaw and potato salad, 30 cents; and salmon salad, with mayonnaise, rolls, and butter, 30 cents. What amazing prices! Hubby and I both laughed. We did leave Doyle’s with full tummies and a couple of Doyle’s great calendars.

Those of you who are early risers and who are listeners to WBZ Radio probably know of Generosa, who calls the overnight host Steve LeVeille after 4 a.m. every Friday. (“Friday, Friday” are her famous words.) Generosa broke her hip in a fall about six weeks ago. I heard her last Friday when she called Steve. She said that she still is not able to walk. Judging from what she said, she needed help to put the phone call through to Steve. I figure she must still be in a rehab facility. A friend named Ann Reynolds called and asked if I knew which rehab facility Generosa was in but I had no clue. Daughter Sue, however, found Generosa’s home address in Peabody. (She is called the “Princess of Peabody.”) I will ask a couple of the senior buildings like Keystone to put Generosa’s home address on their bulletin boards. If you would like her address, call the Reporter at 617-436-1222. My extension is #20. Leave your name and phone number and I will call you back with the address. An update: I heard Generosa on Friday, Jan. 29, as she spoke with Steve. She mentioned that she has been walking “a little.” She is an amazing woman. I think she is well into her 90s.

I received an e-mail from the Patriots’ media relations office, stating that the New England Patriots’ Cheerleaders will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend from Beijing, China. This goodwill trip is to thank the Chinese for their continued support of football and the New England Patriots. This is the fourth trip that the gals have made to China in the last three years. Because of the time difference, the gals will be watching the Super Bowl on Monday morning.

Did you happen to see the full “Wolf” Moon this past weekend? Because it is the closest to the earth that it will be throughout all this year, the moon was the brightest and the largest full moon of 2010.
I was sorry to read of the death of Martin “Joe” McNicholas on Jan. 25. Joe’s daughter, Nancy Valletta passed away on Dec. 9, at age 48. We send our sympathy to Joe’s wife Nancy, to their son Mark, and to Joe’s sister Kathleen Hanley.

The World Meteorological Organization announced, last week, that Mount Washington has lost its 76-year-old record of having the strongest winds, 231 mph, on Apr. 12, 1934. The organization said that, during Cyclone Olivia, over Barrow Island, off the coast of Australia, winds reached an incredible 254 mph on April 10, 1996.

Thanks to St. Gregory’s Bulletin, I learned that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the patroness of Haiti. We should pray to her to help the poor Haitian People recover from the earthquake. St. Brendan’s Bulletin also had the prayer to Our Lady in last Sunday’s bulletin.

Bravo to the Members Plus Credit Union, which donated all the fees collected from their coin-counting machine during the month of January to the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester.

I loved this saying by Congressman J.C. Watts: “Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”