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"One kind word can warm three winter months.”

“That chill is in the air,
Which the wise know well…
This joy, I know,
Will soon be under snow.”
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hubby spent a few minutes Monday morning scraping the frost off the windows of our car. Last week, we pulled most of the plants from the pots on the porch. We left the geraniums because they are such hardy plants. They still haven’t succumbed to the cold temps. We have the Christmas lights ready to put on the porch railings. We have to wait until the weather warms up to work outside.

I loved seeing the photo of Frances Rivera, from the Ch. 56 News at 10 p.m. program, with her new baby, Tessa, at the opening of the Pinkberry Yogurt franchise on Newbury St. Just seeing the side of Tessa’s head in the photo, I can tell that she is gorgeous. Frances is back to work as of last week.

On Sun., Nov. 21. Hubby, daughter Sue, our friend Eileen Burke, and I met at Florian Hall for one of the nicest events that we attend each year, the annual breakfast for City Councillor Maureen Feeney’s Youth Fund. We found a table with Ken and Mary Bruynell, Eileen Collins, and Mary and Barbara Scarborough, who were already seated. I congratulated Mary Scarborough on recently becoming a great grandmother. (I think she is much too young to be a great grandmother.) No sooner had we sat down than State Senator Jack Hart came over to greet us. City Councillor John Connolly, his wife Meg, and their two cherubs, Clare and Teddy, stayed at our table for quite a while. Our traveling companions, Walter and Doris Pienton, were sitting at a table nearby. Doris brought me a piece of sculpted green soap, in the shape of a rose. It was beautifully done. Bridie Kelly and Esther Mannion dropped by to chat with us. City Councillor Steve Murphy, who had just introduced his fellow City Councillor Maureen Feeney to the crowd, stopped by each table. John and Caroline Innello were sitting at the next table. Caroline told me that she and John have been invited to the mayor’s party for those married 50 or more years.
Fr. John McCarthy walked by and I noticed that he had his hair cut since we had seen him at the Irish Cultural Centre on Thursday. I told him that he had “lowered his ears.” I don’t believe that he knew that expression since he grew up in Ireland and that is a very old American expression. I explained that it meant he had just had a haircut. Fr. John is always of pleasant to speak with.

Justin Holmes welcomed everyone to Maureen’s breakfast. Kevin and Karen Doherty were standing in the buffet line near us so I had a chance to speak with both of them. They told me that their son Kevin Jr. was going to play at the breakfast. (He did play and was terrific.) Also on hand to hear Kevin’s playing were his grandparents Greg and Sarah Ashe. I saw Dolly Farquharson and Joe Chaisson at a distance but I didn’t get a chance to speak with them. Alan Duffy was standing near our table so I had a chance to chat with him. Richard McKinnon came over to thank me for sending him an article on Costa Rica. I saw John and Janice Schneiderman at one of the tables. I also saw Tiger Stockbridge chatting with his friends. The breakfast was a lovely way to spend a pretty Sunday morning.
•••
About two weeks ago, I received a call from Sheila Lawn from the City of Boston’s Elderly Commission, asking if I would like to appear on a City of Boston Cable program, “Don’t Retire, Inspire.” She knew that I still worked, at my age, because she had asked me that when she invited Hubby and me for the mayor’s party for those married 50 years. I hesitated but then I said I would do the program. Sheila mentioned that there was an opening in the taping schedule for Wed., Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. Because I knew that I wasn’t going to be cooking because Cousins Carolyn and Rock had kindly invited our whole family to their Thanksgiving dinner, I said that I could do the taping on that day.

Sheila called me again on Tues., just before the taping, to make sure that I was O.K. with doing the show. “Sure, Sheila” I said, “I’ll be there.” I really was worried that I would do well. I have only been interviewed once before this. Jack Thomas, retired from the Boston Globe, interviewed me for the 25th anniversary Special Edition of the Dorchester Reporter. I didn’t mind Jack because we were sitting over coffee at Gerard’s Restaurant. I prayed that I wouldn’t botch the TV interview.

On Wed., Hubby and I decided that it would be easier to drive to Broadway in South Boston and then take a cab from there. We knew that parking in downtown Boston would be tough. It was a lovely day, but with strong winds. Thank goodness, we were able to hail a cab easily so we didn’t have to stand in the wind very long. The ride over the Broadway Bridge to town took very little time. We gave the cabbie the address and he stopped right in front of the building on Tremont St. We knew that the studio opened at 2 p.m. so we only had to wait about five minutes.

Right at 2 p.m., the door was unlocked and a very nice lady welcomed us inside. I knew, from having read an article by this woman and having seen her photo in the Boston Seniority Magazine, that she was Augusta Alban, the host of the program. She asked me to sit in the chair that I would be using for the taping She then told me what would happen. There were three cameras doing the taping. “Ignore them,” she said. ”It is just a talk between you and me.” She then asked about my background. I told her that I had taught almost five full years in Weymouth, “B.K.,” before kids. I then stayed home until my friend Nancy Harrington became ill and asked that I fill in for her, writing her column in a Dorchester paper. I told Augusta that it was easy to remember my first column. It was the day that Pope John Paul II came to Boston, Oct. 1, 1979. (I remember having one eye on our TV set and one eye on the typewriter as I wrote that column.)

During the summer of 1983, I received a phone call from Ed Forry, asking if I’d like to write for his new newspaper, the Dorchester Reporter. We began the newspaper in September of 1983. I’ve been writing for this paper since then. I mentioned that after my mother-in-law passed away, Ed asked me to work in the office. (My mother-in-law had spent time at our home when she was ill.) Augusta asked if I enjoyed working in the office. I told her, “Yes, it is exciting.”

Then it was time for the taping. I think I didn’t look at the cameras during the taping. I also tried to keep my hands in check. I do use my hands a great deal when talking. I thought that I could never make it through 25 minutes of taping but the time went very quickly. During the last few minutes, Augusta asked me several questions. One was, ”What is one word that describes you?” I thought, at first, I should say, “Gadabout.” That is probably what many people think about me because Hubby and I attend so many functions. Then, I reconsidered and said, “Teacher” because I try to teach in my column. I try to tell my readers things they might like to know, like the fact that Geminid Meteor Showers are coming and that two radio stations are already playing Christmas music. When the taping was finished, Augusta and Sheila told us that all went well and that they would see us at the mayor’s party. Hubby and I went outside the studio on Tremont St. and were able to hail a taxi in a minute or two to take us back to Broadway to get our car.

•••
Thanks to my friend Barbie, we learned that our friend Margaret McCauley had passed away on Nov. 24. We have known Margaret and her husband Tom since their son Mike and our son Paul began B.C. High in Sept., 1975. Since March of 1976, we have been invited to their home for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade every March. Their St. Patrick’s Parade Day party was always unbelievable. Their kids, their spouses, the grandchildren, the great grandchildren, her nieces, and their many friends from B.C. High; everybody was there. Margaret even received an award from B.C. High for her 40 years of volunteering at the school. She was also a member of B.C. High’s Mothers’ Guild for many years. Hubby and I send our deepest sympathy to her husband Tom and to their children: Tom and his wife Mary; the Honorable Mary McCauley-Manzi and her husband Vincent Manzi; Kevin and his wife Ann; and Michael and his wife Dr. Wanda Lopez-McCauley. We also send our sympathy to her many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. We are so sorry that we did not know of Margaret’s passing until Monday. She was a lovely lady. We will miss her.

•••
I enjoyed this Japanese proverb as winter approaches: “One kind word can warm three winter months.”