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Lingering in Winter

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.”
By John Boswell

Being stuck in the house with this week’s storm, Hubby and I did get a chance to throw out some old newspapers. It is amazing how quickly the pile of unread papers grows. We looked through most of the papers and found that our friend at UMass/Boston, Carol De Souza, was honored recently by the University for 30 years of service in the Department of Administration and Finance. Three other residents of Quincy were also honored: Donna Haig Freeman was honored for serving 15 years in the Center for Social Policy. Lois Powers was honored for serving 20 years in the Department of Career Services. Finally, Jim McCarthy was honored for 25 years in the University Advising and Testing Center. My congratulations are sent to all.

Back to our 50th anniversary party, given by our kids, at the Fox & Hounds Restaurant in Quincy, on Sunday, Nov. 14: after everyone had eaten, daughter Jeanne brought out a Question & Answer Game about our wedding. (There were very few attending the party who were old enough to remember the wedding.) She asked her Dad to read the questions. When was the wedding? July 2, 1960. What happened to Margie’s shoe and who came to her aid? The heel of Maid-of-Honor Margie’s brand new shoe came off. Cousin Jimmy’s then girl friend Grace wore the same size shoe and changed shoes with Margie. (We have a video of Grace running across Columbia Rd., with one shoe off/one shoe on, to ask a cobbler to fix the heel.) What were the colors of the maid-of-honor’s and the bridesmaids’ dresses? Margie wore yellow and Janet and Agnes wore blue. Those who answered the questions received small (really tiny) rewards for their correct answers. This was a very funny time, with lots of kidding.

The cake that we had at our 50th anniversary celebration was beautiful. Son Paul had ordered it from Shaw’s. It was also scrumptious. Sue had arranged, with the restaurant, to have the wait staff finish cutting and serving the cake after Hubby and I cut the first piece. Just before we left the Fox and Hounds, my niece/my brother Jackie’s daughter Cheryl came in to wish us well. She had been at church and was delayed in getting to Quincy. She was also representing her Mom, my sister-in-law Valerie, who lives in Florida. Val had already purchased her plane tickets to come to the party but her back problems flared up again and she couldn’t fly, We were so happy to see Cheryl and asked her to tell her Mom that we were sorry that she couldn’t join us. At Hubby’s and my 70th birthday party six years ago, Val and my brother Jackie drove all the way from Florida to be at our party. We were shocked when they walked in the door of the Irish Ale House in Dedham. We didn’t expect them to drive that far so it was a wonderful surprise. By the way, over Christmas vacation week, daughter Sue took our camera’s memory card and took off all the photos. She doctored all 207 of them a little bit and sent them to Walgreen’s so that we could send some of the photos to our relatives for the New Year.

Hubby and I were pleased to be invited to Bob Genduso’s 70th surprise birthday party. The party was held at the Old Dorchester Post on a recent Sunday. As I waited for Hubby to park the car, I was standing on the front stairs of the “Old D. P.” when Bob came along with his son Rob. He asked me if I was going to his pal MR. McDonough’s retirement party. Thank goodness I said, “Yes.” That was the ruse that Rob had used to get his Dad to the party. By the time we made it upstairs, there was much excitement because Bob had arrived. He was in the process of going around to all the tables to greet everyone there. Of course, his lovely wife Barbara was the hostess for the event. Also present were son Rob, his wife Stacey, and their children Abigail and Lily, and Bob’s daughter Andrea, her husband John, and their son Bryan. We knew quite a few others at the party. Joe and Ann Mazzone were there. So were Mike and Dottie Juliano, Bob and Rosemary Norton, Doug and Pat MacNeil (their neighbors for many years), and John and Janice Schneiderman. Also present at the party were Rob’s in-laws and Bob and Barbara’s good friends John and Kathy Sweeney. Hubby and I were so happy to have a chance to chat with Kathy, a teacher, about schools and present-day teaching. We also had a chance to chat with John and Janice Schneiderman. I must mention the food that was catered by Pat’s of Lower Mills. It was great. It was a wonderful afternoon for Bob, who served as president of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association for so many years.

On Dec. 29, Hubby and I were delighted to be among 2,300 seniors invited to attend Boston’s New Year’s Eve celebration. We drove to the Keystone Apartments where we were taken by bus into the World Trade Center. We were floored by the amount of buses that were waiting to discharge their occupants. Our friend Eileen Collins headed for the auditorium to get a table. Each of the rest of us was given a plastic bag with an array of bulletins that showed what services are available for seniors. We found Eileen in the huge auditorium and took our seats. Those sitting with us were Dot Coloumbre, Claire Bavis, Dale Nee, Phyllis Smith, Phyllis Hartford, Evie Dunne, Gwen Adams, Ruth “Bunny” Barboza, Eleanor Love Joy, and Ruth Villard with her friend Ginny.

We had a chance to speak with several of Boston’s Elderly Commission workers. Sheila Lawn came over with her friend Mike Cowin, a State Trooper. The Elderly Commission’s photographer Eileen O’Connor came around to each of the tables. She took several photos at our table and was kind enough to take a photo of our group in front of one of the pretty Christmas decorations in the hall. Three more workers Mary Beth, Mike, and Jane were busy making sure that all the seniors were taken care of properly. Boston’s First Lady Angela Menino welcomed us to the celebration, filling in for her husband Mayor Tom, who was still in the hospital recovering from knee surgery.

Patty McMahon, who heads the City’s Youth Services, came over and said that she had about 100 young people at the celebration, to help serve the seniors. We seniors dined on a delicious turkey dinner, complete with stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, we were given a chocolate cupcake, with chocolate frosting and a white cream filling inside. Finally we waited in the World Trade Center until it was announced that our bus back to Keystone was ready to board. The New Year’s Celebration was a very nice time and we were home before 3 p.m.

Just before Christmas, Hubby took a bunch of books to the “Got Books” container outside St. Brendan School on Rita Road. The container was so filled that he was barely able to get our books into the container. In addition to books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and audio books are also accepted. Remember that each time the container is filled, the school is compensated. What a great way to clean your home in the new year. By the way, this container has been filled more than one dozen times.

During Christmas week, I had a chance to watch more TV than usual. On Thurs., Dec. 30, I happened to be watching New England Cable News and was very surprised at what I saw. This was R. D. Sahl’s last day as an anchor on NECN. R.D. has been at NECN for 13 years and has been in the news business for 40 years. He is going to Boston University to teach. He also told his many fans, including Hubby and me, that he will be back on NECN on special assignment. We wish him well at B.U.

Thanks to a reminder from my friend Mary Norton, I must mention that I was saddened by the death of Mary (Quealey) Long on Oct. 16. Mary was the president of the Boston School of Nursing’s Class of 1961. I have often heard what a wonderful nurse Mary was. I knew her from St. Joseph’s Nursing Home on Centre St. in Dorchester. I send my sympathy, belatedly, to her children: Daniel, Mary Smith, and Gregory (Det., B.P.D.)

I heard that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer sell stamps which show the current first class postage rate. All stamps that will be used for the current first class postage rate (for a letter up to one ounce) will be a “forever stamp.” I also heard, on WBZ, that the USPS is no longer going to print 1¢ and 2¢ stamps.

I must say how much Hubby and I have enjoyed the past few weeks with the Patriots. Even this past Sunday, when we were not home to watch the game on TV, we did listen to the game with Miami on the radio with Gil Santos and Gino Cappeletti.

I loved this saying, which is just perfect to begin a new year: “Home is where you are loved by those who know all about you.”