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"Spring's Gifts"

“Spring has gifts for everyone:
rain-washed air and golden sun,
signs of birds to greet the day,
skies turned palest blue from gray.”
“Spring’s Gifts” by Virginia Moore

We certainly needed the rain that fell on our area Sunday and Monday of this week. Hubby still has not brought out our garden hoses, so he has been running out from our home with big pitchers of water, especially for the roses. Thanks to our friend Phil and his crew, our yard has been cleaned of debris from the winter. Our roses have leafed-out beautifully, but I still do not see any rose buds. We bought a box of dry fertilizer from QVC and will start putting it on our outdoor plants around the first of each month. I hope we see the same good results as those of the plants that were shown on TV. Our grape vine is one of the last to send out new leaves. We always worry that it has been killed over the winter.

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On March 22, Hubby, pal Eileen, and I were at the monthly Irish Pastoral Centre’s luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton. Our friends Tom and Barbara Cheney were early that day so we were delighted to have them sit with us. We introduced them to our friend Mike Shields. Mike is the one who organizes the trip to one of the Connecticut casinos every few months. Mike and the Cheneys are all from Quincy so they had a great time chatting. Mike knows Tom and Barbara’s son Mike. At the Mass, Father John McCarthy said that St. Patrick’s Day is now very commercialized and is not a celebration of faith. He mentioned that God promised that “I come so you can have life.” Fr. John also told us that “We are all blessed by the people we meet every day.” Following the Mass, Catherine Moloney, from the Irish Pastoral Centre, told us that the number of people attending the monthly Mass must be kept at 170. She also announced that the price for the luncheon will be increased at the April meeting to $12 per person. She told us that she would be unable to take over for Cora Flood, who is not returning to the Senior Coordinator post at the Irish Pastoral Centre because she now had three young children. Catherine told us that her husband most likely be transferred to California in June with his work. We all feel terrible about losing both Cora and Catherine. Mike Shields then came to the microphone to tell us that he still had openings for his bus trip to Foxwoods on April 24. Catherine, at the end of the luncheon, announced that she had a few tickets to the 60th anniversary showing of “The Quiet Man,” probably my most favorite movie of all, on Sun., March 25, at the Somerville Theatre. We had plans for Sunday so we were, unfortunately, not able to go.

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Hubby and I were happy that we were invited to the K Club meeting on April 9 by Club president Jim McCabe. Our friends Tom and Barbara Cheney had seen a wonderful article, written in the Dorchester Reporter, on the 30th anniversary of the K Club, dated Sept. 26, 2002. Barbara read some of the article to the present members. The article had been saved by Lillian Holst, one of the most faithful members of the club. I loved listening to Barbara read parts of the article about the K Club because I remember a great deal of what went on at the club. I was pretty sure that it was founded by caring people like Kay Quigley, Mary Maloney, Barbara Cheney, and Kay Walsh, for whom the club was named. “Please don’t use my name for the club,” said Kay Walsh, so the founders cut her name to just the initial “K.” (Neponset’s resident artist, Mary Maloney, designed a stylized K for the stationery.) Most of the planning for the new club took place in Kay Quigley’s kitchen on Neponset Avenue, with other caring people like Mary Parodi. There had to be some type of activity for the many senior citizens in the neighborhood. Kay Walsh distributed a questionnaire, asking seniors what they wanted. They wanted a senior club with Bingo.

Kay Walsh then came to the microphone and told us that she had approached Florian Hall and asked if they would give the newly-formed club a place to meet. There were just 75 people at this first meeting. Kay mentioned that O’Connor’s Funeral Home bought the coffee pots for the first meeting. The McKeon Post donated money to help the club, and soon it was up and running. Florian Hall has continued to give the club a place to meet twice monthly for almost 40 years. Bravo to the Firefighters Union and Florian Associates for allowing the club to meet there over these last four decades.

I don’t remember John Gannon, the first president of the club. I do, however, remember the second president, Etta Russell, very well. In those days, there were very few Xerox machines. My pal and neighbor Etta needed several copies of the names of the people in the club so I offered to print the names on purple duplicator masters. (When Hubby was appointed assistant principal, we bought a reconditioned liquid duplicator for our home because he didn’t have time to run off the worksheets for his students with his additional new duties at school.) Then we bought a typewriter so the names were typewritten on the purple masters. I remember Jay Greb, my neighbor, making her fantastic pistachio cake for the club, to go along with the donuts. Jo Jepsen even made cranberry bread in tin coffee cans for the meetings.

I know that the “Kitchen Canaries” were a big part of the efficient running of the club. These women worked in Florian’s kitchen; people like my aunt Ethel, the two Marys, and the two Kays all helped to get coffee, tea, and desserts ready for the meetings. I can even remember being invited to a summer K Club party in the beautiful yard of Mrs. Greb’s home on Tilesboro Street.

I remember other presidents of the club. There were hard-working people like Josephine “Jo” Jepsen, Marion Hughes, Claire Perry, Nancy Larkin, Eddie Kelley, and Dick Sheehan. (I am sorry that I don’t know the newer presidents of the club, except for Jim McCabe.) There were so many others who have helped the club along the way. Ken Bruynell organized many of the Super Bingos and even had a seating plan on the wall at Florian so that members could easily find their places. There were so many other men besides Kenny who worked behind the scenes for the club: John Innello, Paul Hayward, Bob Goode, Jim McCabe, Bob Kaeneman, Ted Jacobs, and Bob Lessard. There were also so many women who assisted in the smooth running of the club: Ann Hayward, Irma Sheehan, Kay McKenna, Fran McDonald, and Ann Messina. I know I have left out many. I am sorry.

The K Club is getting close to the 40th anniversary of its founding, in September of this year. It has provided many happy afternoons for its thousands of members over those many years. It is a place where seniors can be made aware of problems that face seniors. It gives members a chance to meet our local politicians and tell them of their concerns. Bravo to the K Club! The club usually meets every other Monday at Florian Hall. It welcomes new members, who will now receive membership cards, which they must show to get into the hall. Come down to Florian Hall for the meetings. (The next ones are April 30 and May 7 and 21.) You will make new friends and see old friends.

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On Wed., March 28, at the Pope’s Hill meeting, President Phil Carver asked the speakers to tell members about their summer offerings for the children of the neighborhood. We had representatives from the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, South Boston Pop Warner group, the Leahy-Holloran Community Center, the Campfire Girls, the All-Dorchester Sports League, the Stitch House, Pope John Paul II’s Neponset Campus, and the Pope’s Hill summer programs.

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I know that many in our neighborhood are happy customers of the Joyce and Gendreau Jewelry Store in Quincy as Hubby and I are. I just happened to see that Anne Gendreau, co-owner of the business, had passed away on March 14. I am sure that her customers will be sorry to read this. My sympathy is sent to her husband Frank, her children, and grandchildren. I was also saddened to read of the death of our long-time friend and neighbor, Muriel Gibbs. I first met Muriel through our mutual friends and neighbors, Mary Parodi and Kay Quigley. Muriel had lived at the corner of Houghton and Pope’s Hill Street with the Parodis on the second floor. She and her family then moved down the street one block. I would sometimes see Muriel with both Kay and Mary at the K Club parties. People always spoke well of Muriel and said how nice she was. I am sorry that one of the oldest and finest persons in our neighborhood has passed away. I send my sympathy to Muriel’s children, Laraine McIntire, Richard, and Ralph. She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of us neighbors. If I remember correctly, Muriel worked at the A.M. Johnson Real Estate and Insurance Agency on Neponset Avenue for years.

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Here is a Chinese proverb: “Those who move mountains begin by carrying away small stones.”