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Gathering golden moments

Erin PrattErin Pratt

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

Thank goodness we didn’t repeat the month of January 2005. That was the snowiest month – 43.3 inches – in Boston’s weather-keeping records.


Thanks to a kind invitation from Boston’s Elderly Affairs Commission, Hubby and I were invited to the city of Boston’s Seniors’ New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 29. It was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so we could get home before dark. Hubby and I drove to Keystone where we picked up a bus to take us into the World Trade Center. We were in town very quickly because the school vacation week’s traffic was very light. Since we had been to last year’s party, we knew that there would be many other seniors attending. We saw the lineup of buses, bringing seniors from all parts of the city. Pal Eileen Collins had been to the party before so she immediately went into the huge hall and took a table for all of us.

As we entered the hall, who should greet us but Clerk Magistrate of the Suffolk Superior Court’s Criminal Division Maura Hennigan. Many of the seniors stopped, as we did, to greet her. I always enjoyed seeing Maura at the summer concerts on City Hall Plaza. Standing right near her was our pal from the city, ace photographer Eileen O’Connor. We were so happy to see her. She is now feeling much better. We told her to take it easy and we would hopefully see her very soon at another city function.

We sat down and watched the flurry of excitement. At noon, Mayor Tom Menino led us in the countdown to “midnight” – just a few days early. We remembered that the city had enlisted teenagers to help serve the luncheon because there were at least 2,500 seniors in the Center. Each group of teens had colored t-shirts and was assigned to a particular section. Our young people were all wearing pink shirts. The “kids” could not have been nicer. They refilled our water glasses and made sure we all had enough food. The luncheon was wonderful: turkey, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter, with a cream-filled Hostess cupcake for dessert. Everything tasted great.

The entertainment was very lively. If I heard correctly, the lead singer was Dennis Taylor, who is 15 years old. Quite a few seniors got up and danced to the music. Our table and our group at the next table were not really dancers, however, but we were great listeners. They included Eileen Collins, Mary Scarborough, Ken and Mary Bruynell, Dot Coulombre, Peggy McDonough, Marie Schallmo, Marilyn Ferrara, Evie Dunne, Phyllis Hartford, Carol Murphy, Eleanor Lovejoy, Dale Nee, and Kimet and Wess Kollcinaku. Sometimes we sang along with the music.

While the music was playing, I turned to look at the stage area. One of the volunteers sitting at the next table after the meal was served looked very familiar. I went over to him and asked, “Are you Tom Tinlin?” “I sure am,” he said as he stood up. I told him that I had met him a few years back at the Strand Theatre at one of the mayor’s previous State of the City addresses. (At that time he had given me his business card, which stated that he was the commissioner of the city’s Transportation Department.) I had realized, when I first met him, that his last name was the same as Sister Paula Tinlin from Carney Hospital. “She’s my aunt,” he told me. He kidded me by saying that he tries to help his aunt as often as he can, giving as an example helping her put up her Christmas tree. “That’s the only way I’m getting into Heaven,” said he and we both laughed. It was great seeing him once again.

When it was time to be returned to Keystone, it took a while for our bus to be called. We could tell, from those calling the bus destinations, that every part of the city was involved. We thank the city for giving us such a nice time for our early New Year’s Eve Party.


Mea culpa: Thanks to a heads-up from pal Eileen, I learned that I made a mistake in speaking of the death of Stephen Kelley Jr., who passed away on Nov. 19. I send my sympathy his wife, my friend Mary, and to their children Anne Marie Hayes and Stephen Kelley. Mea culpa, too, for giving the wrong first name to my late friend Kathy Neimann’s brother. His name is Thomas Barry. I apologize to Tom for the mistake. I must make another New Year’s resolution, three weeks late, to be more careful in typing my column. I must need stronger glasses.


Last Saturday, I noticed that there was a letter from my friend Judy Jones in the mail. I always enjoy reading Judy’s letters. This one was even more special. When I opened the envelope, out came three terrific photos of my granddaughter Erin at the Garden on Jan. 6. Judy, in her note, explained that her granddaughter, Molly Rattigan, was at the Celtics’ game the evening that Erin was honored for saving three people from a riptide. Molly took amazing photos of Erin. The first was of Erin alone, holding her award, standing on the Celtics’ logo in the middle of the parquet floor. See photo with this column. The second one shows Erin smiling, with her name in front of her. The third one showed Erin smiling standing next to Celtics’ Captain Paul Pierce, with other bigwigs surrounding her. I thank Molly for the great photos and I thank her grandmother Judy Jones for telling her to watch for Erin at the game. We will treasure the photos!


Last Thurs., Jan. 19, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I drove to the Irish Cultural Centre for the Irish Pastoral Centre’s monthly luncheon. Traffic was extremely light so we were in Canton about 10:50 a.m. There was a reserved sign for a group that was taking a bus to the luncheon on our usual table so we moved back one table.

Our pals Lucy, Ronnie, and Barbara came in and sat with us.

We were sorry to hear from our interim senior coordinator Catherine Moloney that our pal Angela Durkin, who does so much for the IPC, had lost her daughter-in-law, Anna Durkin, in a car accident in Connemara. Angela was over at the airport making reservations for her trip to Ireland for the funeral during the time of the luncheon. Angela’s son Eoin and Anna have two young boys. Anna, age 46, and Eoin ran a post office and a supermarket in Baile na hAbhann. The obituary for Anna also noted that Eoin had lost his sister, Ciara Durkin, a corporal in the US National Guard, in a shooting in Afghanistan in September 2007. The shooting of Ciara, in an army compound, has never been explained. All of us at the IPC’s luncheon send our sympathy to Anna’s husband Eoin, their young sons, and to Eoin’s Mom, our friend Angela.

We heard several pieces of good news at the Irish luncheon. Peter Maloney announced that he and his wife Mary were celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary. We also learned that our senior coordinator at the Irish Pastoral Centre, Cora, delivered a healthy baby boy on Jan. 12. Conor Rory weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 21 inches long. (Rory was Cora’s late brother’s first name.) Cora and Brian Crosse have two older children. Orla is four and Killian is two. The proud grandparents are Paddy and Maura Flood and Pat and Noreen Crosse. All of us from the Irish Pastoral luncheon send best wishes to Brian and Cora.

At each Irish luncheon, we take chances to benefit the Irish Pastoral Centre. At the January luncheon, our friend Lucy was one of the winners. She was stunned because she told us that she never wins anything. We also learned that the IPC is having a celebration in honor of St. Brigid on Feb. 4, in Father Lane Hall at St. Brendan’s Church. See further info of the celebration in this newspaper in the Neighborhood Notes section, under Irish Pastoral Centre.

Here is a quote from Ben Franklin: “He that can have patience can have what he will.”