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Back to School

“It’s back to class and back to books
For all the girls and boys,
Who merrily skip toward the school,
With mingled woes and joys.”

“Back to School”
by Craig Sathoff

On the first day of kindergarten for son Paul, I was in the middle of a large group of mothers as we watched our children go up the front stairs of the Mary Hemenway School. Paul stopped half way up the stairs. I was worried. Had he decided to make a fuss? No, that wasn’t the case. He found me in the sea of mothers. He gave me a big smile and a wave, and then proceeded up the rest of the stairs into the room of Mrs. Untz. We were so happy that he had Mrs. Untz. We had heard that she was a long-time teacher and was great with her students. Paul loved school. Daughter Sue, who would enter kindergarten the following year, was like a sponge. She loved sitting with Paul and me as he told me what he had learned that day. She learned a great deal of the kindergarten work from Paul. Those are such lovely memories.

How sorry I was to read of the death of Katherine “Kay” Quigley on Aug. 25, at the age of 93. Kay and her husband William (“Bill”) Esq., were longtime residents of the Neponset/Pope’s Hill community. She and Bill were two of the founding members of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association. Kay served for many years on the executive board of the association. Bill and Kay also hosted the annual Pope’s Hill Lawn Party in their back yard, also for many years. Kay was one of the founding members of the K Club, the Senior Citizens of Neponset, along with Kay Walsh, Barbara Cheney, Mary Maloney, and her pal Mary Parodi. She was also one of the “Kitchen Canaries,” who, along with her friend Mary, Ethel Horgan, and others, set up the refreshments at the club’s biweekly meetings. In recent years, she lived with her daughter Joanne and son-in-law Gerry. She still attended the K Club meetings when she was able. My family joins all of Pope’s Hill in sending sympathy to her five daughters; Kathleen Puckett Leslie, Jeanne Gibbs, Patricia, Helen, and Joanne Morrissey. Pope’s Hill is still a fine neighborhood, thanks to the foundations laid by people like Kay and her husband Bill.

I was delighted to receive info on this year’s annual Notre Dame Montessori School’s 13th annual “Seeds Planted, Harvest Begun” Fundraiser. It will be held on Thurs., Nov. 1, 6 to 9 p.m., at BC High. This year’s honoree is well known to many; she is Boston’s First Lady, Angela Faletra Menino. Hubby and I have already put that date on our calendar. By the way, the little Montessori children will begin school next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 10 and 11.

Now for the final installment on our wedding in Florida: Ann, her daughter Julie, my daughter Sue, and I were invited back to the Marriott Hotel for the after-the-wedding party. Ann was very tired so we dropped her and Julie back at our hotel. Sue and I drove to the Marriott, thanks to Julie’s GPS. We called Linda Leary Spinner and asked to be admitted to the penthouse. Young Jack White, brother of the bride, came down with the special key to operate the elevator and up we went to the penthouse. Bill and JoAnn Leary, the grandparents of the bride, were sitting at a table in one of the rooms, so I sat with them. Sue found the aunts of the bride, Lisa and Linda, out on the deck and stayed with them. We had a great time chatting with all the family as they came through the penthouse suite. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day. We wished everyone a “good evening” when we left after enjoying the family.

When we arrived back at our hotel about 1 a.m., we asked the desk clerk if we could print our boarding passes for tomorrow. “No problem,” said he as he showed Sue where the printer was. Out came the passes in no time. Sue also accessed MassTimes.org and found that the closest church to our hotel in Boynton Beach was St. Mark’s. There was an 11 a.m. Mass, just perfect for us, giving us plenty of time to get to the airport.

The next morning, we were up fairly early and had a delicious breakfast at the hotel, which we were sorry to leave. The rooms were lovely. The grounds were beautiful, with cyclamen and Chinese petunias everywhere. We thought that all the flowers were knocked off the stems when we had a heavy downpour early one morning, but the blossoms all reappeared later in the day, as if by magic. The breakfasts were excellent and offered a variety of foods. The pool looked lovely but we didn’t really have time to swim. (I did have my bathing suit, however). We packed our suitcases and were out of the hotel before the mandatory 11 a.m. check-out time.

We found our way to St. Mark’s Church easily, thanks to Julie’s GPS. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot. Into the church we went and discovered that Mass had already begun. We were able to receive Communion. We even sang “Happy Birthday” to Father Sam, who celebrated our Mass. On the way out of church, we took a bulletin. When we had a chance to read it, we discovered that the 11 a.m. Mass time on MassTimes.org was not correct. MassTimes had the winter schedule on line, not the summer one. In the summer, there was a 10 a.m. Mass and the next one was not until noon. We could not wait to attend the noon Mass because we had to get to the airport for our flight home. By the way, also in the bulletin, we discovered that Sunday was Father Sam’s 80th birthday.

Ann, Julie, Sue, and I got back into our “White Chariot,” our Ford Edge, and began to drive toward the West Palm Beach Airport. We thought we had better grab a sandwich somewhere since we would not be back in Boston till after 6 p.m. As we drove, we went past a Five Guys Restaurant. Ann and Julie had never eaten at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant so we warned them not to order too many fries; the portions are huge. We practically opened the restaurant so we were served very quickly: burgers, fries, sodas, and water. Ann and Julie were pleased with the food, so Sue and I were happy.

Back we went to the car and finished the drive to the pretty airport. We first went into the rent-a-car area and returned our white beauty. There was a little tear in my eye as we took our luggage out of the car. The SUV had served us well. Within a minute or two, a small van appeared with a lovely driver. She took our heavy bags and put them on board. Two minutes later, we were at the Jet Blue boarding area. We already had our boarding passes so we didn’t have to wait too long in check-in line. With my new knees, I had to go through the Body Scanner machine. As I exited the machine, a woman TSA agent said to me, “You don’t look your age.” I said, “Thank you!” I really wanted to go up and give her a big hug for saying such a nice thing but I was afraid I’d end up in federal prison for accosting her. When I got close to her, she patted my midriff area. I wondered why. When I checked with Ann, Julie, and Sue, I discovered that they were also patted down. It was to see if we had anything beneath our clothing. My blouse was a little too big for me and was billowing out with the air currents in the airport. The agent discovered quickly that it was just me inside my large blouse. It is quite scary, however, to think that the agents have to pat down the passengers.

We found our gate easily. Sue sat on the floor so she could plug in her little electronic device. Ann, Julie, and I sat and people-watched. Ann bought a package of popcorn, which was delicious. I was tempted to buy one also but remembered that Jet Blue, in addition to coffee, soda, juice, and water, gives a package of popcorn, chips, or even cookies during the flight. I would wait.

As it came close to boarding time, the Jet Blue agents allowed handicapped people or those with children to board. We were right after those people. As I sat, I watched the other passengers going to their seats. All of a sudden, I saw a woman and man smiling at Sue and me. They were our former neighbors, Mark and Dolores Bailey, who lived in “Ma Penney’s house,” right next door to us, at least 20 years ago. Sue used to sit for their baby daughter Elizabeth and I would cat-sit when they went away. We were so delighted to see them. We would chat with them when the flight was over because they were sitting quite a few rows behind us.

As soon as the pilot started the engines, he spoke over the intercom, telling us that our flight home was changed to take us over the water because there were thunderstorms all along the East Coast. The flight home was just like the one to Florida, uneventful. When we finally landed in Boston, we waited for Dolores and Mark. They were with their daughter Katherine and Mark’s brother Joel. They were also in Florida for a wedding. We talked all the way to the luggage area. Just meeting them topped off our lovely wedding trip even more so.

I loved this saying by Mark Twain: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”