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Hazy days of August

“August comes with hazy days,
Crickets chirping, lazy days,
Ice cream cones and lemonade.
Afternoons spent in the shade.”
By Clare Mishica

There seems to be more free time during August. The calendar is bare: no doctors or dentists appointments. The other morning, just about 9 a.m., when it was somewhat cool, Hubby and I decided we’d go over to Castle Island and enjoy a cup of coffee. The air was beautiful. There were very few cars in the parking area. Hubby went to Sully’s and he not only purchased the coffee, but he also came back with one donut. (I snitched a small piece.) We moved down the parking lot so that we would have an unobstructed view of the water. It was so peaceful. What a great way to start the day!

A few days later, we were down at South Bay late in the afternoon and decided that we would try to find a parking spot at Castle Island. Much to our surprise, there were quite a few parking spots on that beautiful evening. (We still don’t know why.) Hubby parked our car near a bench that was in the shade. Hubby went walking around the fort and out as far as the bridge over the first water inlet. I sat on the bench and had a wonderful time watching the planes fly into Logan. I also loved watching the dogs that went past me with their owners. I must confess that I really love the little dogs. Hubby and I often laugh when we see little dogs’ legs going so fast to keep up with their masters that their legs are a blur.

On Wed., Aug. 3, Hubby, daughter Sue, pal Eileen, and I drove to Carney Hospital for a very special evening. We were a little early for the first tour of the new operating rooms so we ended up sitting down in the waiting area. We were laughing about being there voluntarily. Ordinarily, we would be facing some type of surgery. We were then welcomed by Kathy Sears, Director of the Operating Rooms. It was Kathy who told us about all the innovations in the three new rooms. (There are four old operating rooms, which will still be used.) One of the new features is a fingerprint ID safeguard to gain access to the area. There is a Control Room, where two staff leaders book the upcoming surgeries. The PACU, I believe, is the name for the recovery room. Rita is the materials manager. She makes sure the sterilized materials that are needed are in place for that particular type of surgery. (The materials come after being sterilized in the autoclaves, with the initials of those who packed the surgical tools and sealed them in blue packaging.)

Kathy showed us the new sinks. Instead of turning on the water by the person hitting the valve with his knee, the water comes on whenever someone comes near the faucet. Kathy mentioned that there are even different soaps for different operations. The air in the operating room is circulated to keep down the germs. The new operating table is able to support a person weighing 1,000 pounds. The table can be disassembled easily. I never knew that the patient usually has his arms outstretched with palms to the ceiling during surgery.

One of the most fascinating parts of the tour was learning about the job of the circulating nurse. It is her job to watch that those involved in the actual surgery are sterile at all times, even though she herself is not sterile. She can remove someone from the operating team if that member of the team becomes non-sterile in any way. The new OR has the very bright LED lights and a good-sized machine called the Stryketz that tells how much fluid the patient has lost during the operation. We non-medical people were in awe of what we learned on this tour. We never knew how much preparation is involved both before the surgery and during the surgery.

It was good to see our cousin Diane Horgan on the same tour of the OR as ours. When we came out of the new operating room, our friend Jim Brett was waiting to go on the second tour of the evening. I was so pleased to see George Gilpin, from Eascare Ambulance, at the unveiling of the new operating rooms. He was speaking with my friend David Hicks from Fallon Ambulance. George chatted with me for a few minutes and mentioned that he and his wife Mary became grandparents again with the birth of George David Gilpin Jr., on June 26. George is the son of George Sr. and Michelle Gilpin of Beverly. The Gilpins have an older daughter named Emma Grace. The other proud grandparents are Joe and Debbie Bavagnano of Salem. My best to all!

On a beautiful day last week, Hubby and I decided that it would be perfect day to visit my cousin Katherine, who lives in Jamaica Plain. She is the oldest one in my mother’s family. (I confess that I am now the second oldest.) I have loved her and her late sister Mary since I was a little kid and they were teenagers. They enjoyed being with my grandmother and grandfather and were often at our home during World War II. Grandma and Grandpa, my aunt Ethel, her husband Tip, and their son Jimmie, and my Mom and Dad , my brother Jackie, and I all lived in a big apartment in “J.P.” (My Uncle Tom was in the Army in those years.) There was so little housing available that we all had to live together. Katherine had taught herself to play the piano and would often play for us. We would join in the singing and have a wonderful time. We didn’t have much money and went to the movies only for special ones like Cinderella and Snow White. Our only forms of entertainment were our piano, with Katherine playing, our radio, and, a little later, 78 rpm records. God bless Katherine for her many hours of entertainment. By the way, her brother Fran taught himself to play the organ. The Mills side of our family was – and is – very musical.

Katherine showed us a photo of the newest addition to her family, a great grandniece. She was so proud of her. Then she said to me, “She looks very much like you did when you were that young, Barbara.” I couldn’t believe that Katherine could remember me at that age. (The baby was just about two.) Hubby and I had a lovely visit with Katherine that beautiful afternoon. I am so glad that we went.

After we left Katherine, we decided that we would go to the Roche Brothers store in West Roxbury. We enjoyed the drive to West Roxbury because we were so familiar with Roslindale and West Roxbury since we were kids growing up in Jamaica Plain. As we drove by a CVS in West Roxbury, I asked Hubby to pull in the parking lot so I could get two bottles of orange juice that were on sale. As I was leaving, walking toward the door, a handsome man came in the store and walked toward me. “I know him,” I said to myself. The man was Mel Simons. I called his name and he stopped in his tracks and came over to me. I asked him if he was going to go home and take a nap since he would be on WBZ later, from midnight to 3 a.m., with his trivia quiz, on Steve LeVeille’s program that night. Mel said that, unfortunately, he was not able to nap in the afternoon. He told me how much he likes working with Steve. He also said that he was working on a new book. Mel asked me about the Wednesday evening concerts on City Hall Plaza. (I have seen Mel several times at the concerts) I told him that there were only three concerts this year because of lack of funding. The last concert, Country Evening, was held the previous evening. I told Mel that Hubby and I would be listening to WBZ that evening. (We didn’t stay awake for the three hours but Hubby did tape the first hour.) I am so glad that we needed orange juice at CVS because I had a chance to chat with Mel.

I was sorry to read of the death of John Innello on Aug, 13. John and his wife Caroline sat next to Hubby and me at the Mayor’s dinner for those married 50 years or more last November. I often met John and Caroline at senior meetings and enjoyed chatting with both of them. John, for years, untangled the Christmas lights that adorn the trees around the Keystone Apts. The men putting them up were so pleased because they had a much easier time handling them. John served in the U.S. Army during World War II. I send my sympathy to his wife Caroline and to their daughter Sandra VanderWert, their grandchildren, and their great grandchild.

Hubby was surprised that the GotBooks container had disappeared from outside St. Brendan’s School. I called my pal Nancy at St. Brendan’s and asked if the container was gone for good. She said, “Yes,” but she told me that Mary O’Rourke had told her that there is one at the Stop & Shop on Newport Ave. in North Quincy.” Hubby and I still have some books that should go to GotBooks.

Here is a great thought from Thomas Alva Edison: “Many of life’s failures are people who do not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”