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Holy Hour for Life

“Busy little fingers
Concentrate so hard
On cutting stiff red paper
In heart shapes for her card.
He hands his card to Mother,
Its sticky paste not dry—
And understands the meaning
Of the tear that’s in her eye.”
By Marna Simons

I always loved the cards that our children made in their early grades. They were always made out of red construction paper and were decorated with white paper doilies. The printing on the cards was made with their school crayons. There are even well-done ones from Mrs. Untz’s kindergarten class at the Hemenway School.

Our neighborhood is still reeling from all the snow that we have received. On Sunday, lots of our neighbors were outside shoveling more snow to help widen the streets and driveways. We even saw one of our neighbors shoveling off his roof.The only flat roof we have is over the front porch. Hubby kept knocking the icicles off the edge of this roof. One day, the icicles dripped water on the front steps and we had three mini skating rinks the next morning, with a 24-degree temp, before Hubby could put sand on the stairs. We hate using too much salt because it can burn our neighborhood cats’ paws. The rain overnight on Saturday did a good job in shortening the height of the snow mounds on our street. The entire Mickey Mouse’s “MERRY CHRISTMAS” sign, taped to a metal pole in our front yard, can now be read as the mound of snow in front of it is down low enough.

Hubby took advantage of the warm weather on Sunday (in the 40s with no wind) to take down our electric snowflake from the rose trellis. He also took in the little snowflake lights that he had fastened to the porch railing. He found our good-sized red electric heart in the basement and put it up on the rose trellis. If it gets warm during the next few days, he will tie a string of tiny red LED lights along the porch railing.

On Sunday, Jan. 23, Hubby and I drove to St. Christopher’s Church to attend a Holy Hour for Life. Parishioners from St. Peter’s Lithuanian Church in South Boston joined us for the evening. Sr. Elizabeth Calcagni and Louise Tardif welcomed us to the gathering. We were sorry that the weather and the snowy conditions kept the number of people attending down. Louise gave us a beautiful program, with the Good Shepherd in vivid color on the cover and a lovely color photo of Pope Benedict XVI embracing a group of little children on the back page.

Fr. George Carrigg, administrator of St. Christopher’s, had the audience participate in many of the readings at the Holy Hour. Hubby was one of those chosen to read. One woman gave her reading in both Lithuanian and in English. Another woman gave her reading in both Spanish and English. For the singing selections we were fortunate to have Glenda Landavazo lead us. What a beautiful voice she has! Her “Ave, Maria” was so lovely that I had goose bumps. I understand that Glenda, a graduate of the New England Conservatory, even volunteered to be in the Tanglewood Chorus at the Boston Pops Concerts. If she is able to get a job in the month of February, she will be allowed to stay in the position. She will, however, be returned to Mexico if she does not have a job. What an asset her voice would be to any musical endeavor. She is wonderful. I pray that she is able to stay in the U.S.

Following the Holy Hour, we all were invited downstairs for refreshments. The church’s custodian, Craig, had made his scrumptious brownies. (I did partake in part of one of his brownies.) There were even little fancy pastries. Fr. George urged everyone to take some of the extra goodies home. Hubby and I had a chance to chat with our pal Dorothy Harris, whom we love to see at church gatherings. She told us that “Bunny,” who was in a recent photo in this newspaper, with Eileen Collins, Hubby, and me at the City’s New Year’s Eve celebration, is her sister. Bunny lives at Keystone. It is indeed a small world!
Last week, my neighbor Phil called to tell me that our mutual neighbor, Arthur Knowles, had passed away on Jan. 27. Arthur, his late brother Calvin, and their sister Marguerite Hirtl have lived in the Pope’s Hill area ever since their home was built, probably in the 50s. I always had a chance to speak with Arthur and Cal when they would sit out on their front porch. They also loved to go in town and I would see them as they walked up Pope’s Hill to the bus stop. They were always so pleasant. I send my sympathy to Arthur’s sister Marguerite and to the family’s many nieces and nephews. I am sorry that I was unable to attend the funeral service at the O’Donnell & Mulry Funeral Home.

I loved reading, in St. Brendan’s bulletin, that the GotBooks container, outside St. Brendan School on Rita Road, is still doing well. The container has already been filled almost 20 times. Each time the container is filled, the school receives compensation. While you are stuck in the house with all this snow, why not look through your books and give those you no longer need to the GotBooks container. (The container also accepts CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and audio books.)

My pal Joan, from church, has been cleaning out her bookcases. She found a small pamphlet/book on Jamaica Plain, printed in 1976 as part of the City’s Bicentennial Celebration of the American Revolution. The second book took me back much further than 1976. It was called The Breakfast Club’s Family Album by Don McNeill. I remember listening to “The Breakfast Club,” with Don as host, when I was a young girl. The Breakfast Club began on June 23,1933 and ran to Dec. 27, 1968. The show was divided into four 15-minutes with a “time to eat breakfast” at the beginning of each segment. One of the performers on “The Breakfast Club” was Fran Allison, who played the gossipy old lady, “Aunt Fanny.” If you recognize Fran’s name, it is because she went on to be the Fran in TV’s popular children’s show “Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.” By the way, “The Breakfast Club,” with host Don McNeill, was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.

In the mail the other day, I discovered a box from my cousin Jo in Syracuse. (I was surprised that she was able to get to the Post Office since Syracuse has received about a third more snow that Boston has received.) Inside the box were two books about James Michael Curley. The first was The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor; the second, I’d Do It Again: A Record of All My Uproarious Years, Curley’s autobiography, published in 1957, Hubby had read The Last Hurrah as required reading in a course he took for graduate credit. I had also read that book. We have also watched the movie several times and loved Spencer Tracy as Mayor Frank Skeffington, the main character in the book and movie, who was fashioned after a thinly-disguised Curley. The second book was one that Hubby and I don’t even remember seeing. Hubby brought that book Into my work the other day and pored over it. Now we have four new books to read.

Last Saturday, we were later than usual getting to church. Daughter Jeanne and the World’s Greatest Granddaughter Erin had come in just about 3 p.m. We always make coffee for Jeanne because it is a long trip back to Rockport for her and Erin. Erin had some diet soda. Erin was delighted to tell us that she had finally spent the L.L. Bean gift card that we had given her for Christmas. About 3:25 p.m., Hubby and I ran upstairs to change for church. We came down the stairs and discovered that Jeanne and Erin had to pick out a birthday gift at Target at South Bay and would be back after Mass to take daughter Sue to dinner.

Daughter Sue left right after Mass because Jeanne and Erin were waiting outside. (They go to church on Sundays.) The three of them went to the La Paloma Restaurant in Quincy. Hubby and I, however, were invited downstairs to the church hall for cake and coffee in honor of Fr. George’s 54th anniversary. This was a preliminary celebration to the big celebration the following day after the noon Mass. The cake was wonderful; a gold cake with strawberry filling between the layers, with a whipped cream frosting, made by Shaw’s. We have some wonderful photos taken during this mini-celebration.

My friend Eileen, who lives at Keystone, knew that Hubby and I would be sorry to learn that one of her fellow Keystone residents, John “Pete” Peters, had passed away on Jan. 18. We knew Pete from the Wednesday Evening Concert Series at City Hall Plaza. Peter used to sit with us and chat in the back of the bus into and out from City Hall. Pete would sometimes meet his favorite radio personality, Mel Simons, at the concerts and would chat with him there. He even called into WBZ when Mel was on the radio with overnight host Steve Leveille. Pete was the Past Commander of the McKeon Post #146 AMVETS and also Past Commander of the Old Dorchester Post #65 AL. Hubby and I send our sympathy to his niece Lisa Forkey and to his nephew Scott Peters. We also send our sympathy to Pete’s longtime friend Marie McDonough, who will miss him a great deal.

This was printed in our church bulletin last weekend: “Whoever is praying for snow, please stop!