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The week after Christmas - I like best of all

“The week after Christmas
I like best of all;
The rushing is over
And friends come to call.
There’s time for relaxing,
Old dreams to recall.
The week after Christmas
I like best of all.”
“Favorite Time” by Hilda Butler Farr

Hubby, daughter Sue, and I will be traveling around for the time being, giving out presents to those people that we didn’t see before Christmas. We even have planned to have breakfast with several people in January. I called my friend Connie, whom I have known since kindergarten. She and I were students in elementary school, at Girls’ Latin, and at State Teachers’ College at Boston. I was sorry that she wasn’t home at the time I called but I did leave a message for her and her husband Bob, who live in New Jersey. I spoke with pal Elaine. We plan to have brunch sometime in January. I think that pal Sue and I will meet sometime over the M.L. King weekend to exchange gifts, most likely at Gerard’s.

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Speaking of Gerard’s, Hubby took me there for lunch a few days before Christmas because we had had a hectic morning. While we were there, Gerard came into the dining area with one of the worst cases of laryngitis I have ever heard. We hope that he had a little time to rest and recover over Christmas.

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On Tues., Dec. 20, Hubby and I were happy to receive an invitation to the Fields Corner Community Development Corporation’s Christmas Party at the old District C-11 Police Station on Adams Street, right in Fields Corner. The executive director of the corporation, Donna Finnegan, welcomed us with big hugs. Our pal Barry Mullen, looking handsome in his suit, told us to beware because he had a terrible cold. (We waved at each other.) Barry, who had all the offices looking very festive with his decorations, invited us to eat. He always puts out a wonderful spread. (I know he cooked the tasty ham.) I tried to stick to the scrumptuous fruits and I even split a couple of the desserts with Hubby. The other officers of the FCCDC were there, also: President Ellen Mason, VP Matt Thompson, Treasurer Steve Sousa, and Secretary Maria Pena. The board of directors includes Mike Cote, John Lyons, Joe Rucker, our pal John Walsh, and Evelyn Darling. The staff of the FCCDC includes Linh Pham, Barry Mullen, Louise Smith, Robyn Murphy, Pat Mitchell, Carl Payne, Anthony Lopes, and Ken Wrencher. We had a great time chatting with some of the guests, including Kevin Barry. I told Kevin that I had recently spoken with his brother Paul. Barry Mullen, who knows how much Hubby and I love Cape Cod, gave me the names of two wonderful stores to visit when we are at the Cape. They are “Candlesticks and Couches” on Route 28 and “Just Picked.” Before we left the party, Barry handed us two wooden nutcrackers. Our grandkids will positively love them.

***

On Thurs., Dec. 1, Hubby and I were invited to the Education for Service Awards for Boston State College, which were to be held at UMass Boston. Cousin Janet called and asked if we had received an invitation. She offered to pick us up on her way there. When we went in the Alumni Lounge at the new Campus Center, we saw our UMass pals Carol DeSouza and Linda O’Brien already seated. We then took a table right next to them. In came our longtime friends, Barbara Fitzgerald and Mary Grassa O’Neill. Cousin Janet, a retired Boston school principal, worked with Mary for quite a few years so they were happy to see each other. I was delighted to see Joyce Murphy, who was serving as the emcee for the evening. I first met Joyce while she served as president of Carney Hospital for nine years. I always enjoy chatting with her. I saw WBZ’s Dan Rea come in but he had to leave fairly quickly because of another engagement. In came Chancellor J. Keith Motley. He made his way throughout the room, speaking to everyone. When he came to our group, Cousin Janet explained that she and I are “double “ first cousins. Our mothers were sisters; our fathers were brothers. The chancellor made us laugh with his remarks about our being related. We both received a hilarious photo from him that reminded us of the evening.

Then he went to the microphone to welcome all of us to the Fifth Annual Boston State College Celebration and presentation of the Fourth Annual Education for Service Awards. Mistress of Ceremonies Joyce Murphy was a member of the Class of 1974 and received the Education for Service Award last year. This year’s recipients were: Peter Tsaffaras of the Class of 1973, who maintains a general law practice in Quincy; Beverly Lowery, from the Classes of 1975 and 1980, a retired Canton teacher who volunteers as an advocate for special-needs children; Gerard Burke of the Class of 1959, currently an adjunct professor at UMass Boston’s University College, where he is a senior lecturer in modern Irish history; Joan Moon, a retired professor who taught at Boston State College from 1964 to 1982, and her husband, Dr. John Moon, who taught at Boston State from 1958 to 1982 when he joined the faculty at Fitchburg State College; and Carole Remick, a posthumous award winner who lost her battle with cancer on Oct. 8th of this year. Although she retired in 1997, she continued to run the High School Journalism Collaborative at UMass. I had a minute before everyone left and told Dr. Gerry Burke that I worked in the office of the Boston Irish Reporter. It was a very pleasant evening so we stayed for a little while, chatting with Linda O’Brien, Carol De Souza, and Barbara Fitzgerald and her daughter Mary Beth.

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I was sorry to read of the death off Hannah (Foley) Levins on Dec. 21. Hannah lived, for many years, in Neponset before moving to Cape Cod with her husband John. She was very active in St. Ann’s Parish. She leaves her children, John, Mary Nau, and Anne Perry. She was also the mother of the late Winifred Kelly.

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I thought you’d like to know that the road-hazard accident that I wrote about last week was an expensive one. The insurance man who came to check on the damage caused by the tricycle that we ran over on Route 95 told us that the accident caused almost $3,200 in damages to the undercarriage of our month-old car. How sad!

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Now, for happier news: a few months ago, I mentioned that granddaughter Erin, who was 16 at the time (in early Sept.), saved three people caught in a riptide while she was on duty as a lifeguard in Gloucester. When he heard that the Boston Celtics were holding a “Local Hero” contest, proud Dad David submitted Erin’s name and wrote an account of her rescue. Well, Erin won the contest and is going to be honored at the Celtics’ game on Fri., Jan. 6, Little Christmas. The team is sending a limo to pick up Erin, her Mom Jeanne, her Dad David, and her brother Brendan. On the day that tickets went on sale for the Celtics, proud aunt Sue went online to get four tickets to that game. Niece Terri, Sue, and Hubby, and I will be at the game. We wouldn’t miss that evening for the world.

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This is a shortened column due to our hectic Christmas schedule. There will be a lot more about our activities in next week’s paper.

As we look forward to New Year’s Eve, don’t forget to leave a little money outside your home just before midnight. Then be sure it is the first thing through your door after midnight. It is an old custom that says that money will come through your door all year.

I probably will promise that I will not let the daily newspapers pile up in the house. I hope that I keep that resolution. May you all have a happy and healthy 2012!