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When stars of frost are glowing

“Wintertime’s a white time
When stars of frost are glowing.”

“Four Season’s”
by Rowena Bennett

Hubby has had to scrape the windshield of our car several times in the past few weeks. Sometimes, the following day, we have the car windows open because the temps are in the 60s. We still have a few roses on our bushes in the front yard. The three geranium plants hanging on the front porch are still alive. Usually we only have them until Thanksgiving before they are killed by the cold. We also have a little pot of pansies still growing. One year, we nursed a pot of pansies on the front porch through the winter. They lasted till the following winter.


Back to our evening at the Venezia Restaurant for the “Seed Planted; Harvest Begun” fund-raiser for the Notre Dame Montessori School on Nov. 9: Hubby, daughter Sue, Joan Hill, and I agreed with our Notre Dame nuns that the food at the Venezia was positively wonderful. We started with the salad station and then proceeded to the pasta station. (I never got past the pasta.) There was also a carving station. We were well fed that evening.

Then it was time for the live auction. There was some back-and-forth action with members of the audience who were determined to get the item or the service. Boxer Kevin McBride, one of the guests that evening, offered an autographed pair of boxing gloves. There was also a hockey stick signed by the Boston Bruins. Stapleton Florists from South Boston offered 12 months of floral arrangements. (How I would have loved that one.) My Brother’s Keeper gave two adult bikes to the auction. You could have even been a “talk host,” thanks to the Greater Media Boston Group Station WTKK. This item would start out with your being with Jim Braude and Margery Egan in the early morning. Then, in late morning, you’d be with Doug Meehan and, finally, with Michael Graham in the afternoon. That was too scary a task for us to put in a bid.

We were welcomed to the evening’s festivities by Lindy Calvada. Martha Barrett Robertson, an alumna of the Notre Dame Montessori School, spoke of her early education there. Mom Anne and Dad Phil looked on proudly as she spoke. Then it was time to invite Fr. George Carrigg, from St. Christopher’s Parish, to speak to the guests. It was his honor to present the 2011 Seeds Planted: Harvest Begun Award to Sister Janet Eisner, president of Emmanuel College since 1979. A Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, Sister Janet is one of the most accomplished and influential women in education. She is also the longest currently serving woman president in the country. According to the evening’s program, “She has guided Emmanuel through an era of exceptional achievement, having made decisions with careful consideration and an eye for the future.”

Sister Elizabeth, SND, the director of the Montessori School, gave her “reflections” on the evening. The desserts and coffee were then served. I saw Hubby go back for another of the delicious desserts. While we were enjoying the coffee and pastries, the raffle winners were announced. Following that, the silent auction was closed and those winners were announced. Hubby helped to clean up so we were among the last to leave. I was, however, rewarded for staying later. I was fortunate to be given the lovely autumn flower arrangement from our table. Stapleton’s, from South Boston, does a nice job. The flowers have lasted almost two week.


On Tues., Nov. 29, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I joined about 40 of our neighbors at a Houghton Street Neighborhood Watch meeting at the Leahy-Holloran Community Center. Our neighbor Janie introduced Carolyn MacNeil, director of the Boston Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch Unit. Also at the meeting were our neighbors Jean, Courtney, Robin, Joanie and Jim, Deb and John, Priscilla, Phyllis and Charlie, Michele and Joe, and Bob. Carolyn asked that we state our names, addresses, and number of years in the Houghton Street area. Our neighbor John won hands down, with 61 years. There were some others with almost 50 years, including Hubby, daughter Sue, and me with 49 years. Carolyn congratulated all of us for having a great neighborhood.

In came Community Service Officer Dennis Rorie along with Sgt. Jim Doyle. Dennis told us that he has been “on the job” for 37 years. He told us that no officers from District C-11 were on duty at the Occupy Boston site. He noted that Houghton Strete is a “cut-through” street. It is used to avoid lights and traffic. Dennis also mentioned that if we thought that anyone was hanging around the area, especially if that person was in a neighbor’s back yard, we should definitely call 911. (To get the Boston Police via a cell phone, you must dial 617-343-4911.) Carolyn urged us to keep our neighborhood clean, especially with no graffiti.

Dennis answered quite a few questions that evening. District C-11 did not get any of the recruits from the recent graduating class of police. However, he told us that recruits usually serve three months in one district and then are transferred to another district. He also urged us to leave on an outdoor light at our homes. He warned us to take GPS devices inside when we are not in the car. Do not put it under the front seat. That is the first place a thief would look for the GPS device.

We were given quite a few handouts that evening along with a list of police phone numbers. We also got a guideline form on which we could write a description of a suspect while it was still fresh in our minds. Dennis reminded us that Sgt. Doyle had apprehended two “young kids” with “several GPS devices” on Pope’s Hill Street one morning at 2:30. “The kids shouldn’t have been there at that time of night.” He reminded us that, in Massachusetts, it is illegal to walk down a street smoking a “joint.” He also gave each of us a decal to put on our front door stating that we belong to the local Crime Watch group. He and Carolyn gave us blue Boston Police whistles, that, he said, give off an ear-splitting sound when blown. “Don’t let your kids fool with these whistles” was the warning.

While Dennis was answering questions, we found out the main reason for calling the Neighborhood Watch meeting that evening. A Houghton Street home had been broken into while the home’s loud alarm was sounding. One woman, sadly, told Dennis about the problem brought on by the lack of parking spots in the area. Her car keeps getting “keyed” wherever she parks. In another instance from the summertime, an employee of a store on Morrissey Boulevard was jumped and the pay that he had just received was taken. Our neighborhood hopes to have a follow-up meeting at the end of January or in February.


Last Friday evening, Hubby and I were so pleased to be invited to the Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular at the Wang Centre. The evening featured the Rockettes, whom I had seen twice before, in the late1950s. My friend Agnes and I went to New York for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s. Of course, we went to the Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Pageant. Then, when my girls were teens, we went to New York and met our friends, the Learys, who were then living on Long Island. We went to see the Easter Pageant. Never, however, have I been so impressed with the Rockettes as this year. Pals Eileen Collins, Peggy McDonough, Ken and Mary Bruynell, and Hubby and I had been into City Hall earlier in the day and decided not to go home. We would go to the Wang Center after eating. We then walked to McDonald’s for a light supper after which we took a couple of cabs to the theater.

We were so early that we waited inside the theater’s front lobby because it was cold outside. We noticed that there was a red carpet leading into the theater. We saw all the security people hovering around the front of the building. We began chatting with three nuns from the Mount St. Joseph Mother House. One of the security men told us where to stand so that we would have front-row seats because the Rockettes were to enter the theater on the arms of ten Marines who had gathered in the inner lobby. All of a sudden, the most gorgeous Santa burst through the doors, waving to all of us. He then went outside the theater, followed by the Marines. The Rockettes’ bus had arrived. In came the beautiful gals, dress in white, fur-like costumes. The Marines, in their dress-blue uniforms, looked amazing, contrasting against the gals’ pure white costumes. What a great introduction to a terrific evening.

We were soon all seated in our orchestra seats. We watched as the later theater-goers walked down the aisles. Some were young girls, from very small ones to teen-agers, dressed in their party clothes. They looked so cute. (One little one even had on red-sequined shoes.) We could hardly wait for the 8 p.m. curtain. There will be lots more about the Rockettes’ show in next week’s paper. If there is any way you can see this show, I urge you to go. Hubby noticed that the AAA November Newsletter offered up to a 20 percent discount on the ticket prices. Hubby also saw that the mayor offered half price tickets to the Rockettes’s Christmas Spectacular. Check out the city’s e-mail address – MayorsHolidayspecial.com – to check on availability.


Here is a cute saying from Phyllis Diller: “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”