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Summer Afternoons

“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon;
to me those have always been the two of the
most beautiful words in the English language.”
By Edith Wharton

This is a great time to deadhead your roses and other perennials. On the cool days this past weekend, Hubby took off most of our dead roses so the bushes should flower once again. I took the indoor plants from the dining room and put them on the front porch to work on them. I loosened the soil around the plants and gave all of them a “haircut.” One of the philodendron branches was at least two feet long. It is now a manageable four inches long. I am going to give each pot some new soil and a dose of Neptune’s Harvest Fertilizer. Of course, all the while I was tending to the plants as I sat on the stairs, our outdoor cat Louie was head-butting me to pat him. It was difficult to ignore him.

I love the magazine Reminisce and usually sit down with it when it comes in the mail. The July issue has a wonderful photo on the front cover. It shows a very young Dick Clark sitting on the hopefully-empty covers of old music albums. The photo was taken on Nov. 22, 1958, about a year after “American Bandstand” began. Inside the magazine is a photo of Dick, looking resplendent in his New Year’s Eve tuxedo. The magazine also has a small article on a 100-year-old company, Lance Peanut Butter Cookies. The cookies flourished during the Depression because people could afford the 5-cent cost of a package. These crackers are still being made and Hubby often buys them. There is a fairly long article on the Airstream trailer. It was also very interesting.

On June 15, Hubby and I attended the Healing and Anointing Mass at St. Mark’s Church. Fr. Dan Finn, with the able assistance of Deacon Van Nguyen, ministered to the good-sized crowd. The parish secretary, Judy Greeley, welcomed us to the hall. Judy’s Mom, Barbara, was also at the Mass. Pal Dolly sat with us. Pat Kennedy and Mary Carney were in front of us. Bridie Knauber was also there. I am always delighted to see and chat with Marianna Hannigan. Fr. Dan mentioned during the Mass that he visits the Veterans’ Hospital in Jamaica Plain. He said that the Healing Mass was to help improve us spiritually, mentally, and physically. He told us to entrust our lives to God. He asked us to remember those who were not able to come to the Anointing Mass.

Following the Mass, we were invited to join in the buffet. We had seen Gerard bring in the food so we knew it would be terrific. Secretary Judy told me how easy it is to deal with Gerard for the yearly Anointing Mass. We were treated to a tasty salad, ready-made sandwiches, and meatballs. I had to have part of one of Gerard’s brownies “to make sure that they were not poisoned” as I used to say to my kids when they were little. I always wanted a taste of their ice cream. They caught on to my scam when they were about five years old.

On June 24, Hubby and I attended The Friendship Social Event for those with special needs and disabilities at Florian Hall. We had attended the event once before and knew what a nice time it was. We were welcomed by our friend Irene Duff, who was one of the gals at the Front Desk. When we went into the hall, we saw that Marty Allen and Ann Marshall were busily tending to the buffet table. In came many of the handicapped people with their aides. Dennis Walsh, who organized the event, also welcomed us. Joe Peters had already begun playing the music. A few people were out on the floor dancing and “grooving” to the music. Eileen Collins invited us to sit with her. She had already been joined by Marilyn Ferrara, Peg McDonough (no relation), Marie Schallmo, Mary Sullivan, and her nieces Carol Splaine and Jeanne Findlay.

I was so glad to be at this fundraiser because I had a chance to see, once again, my friend Sr. Peggy Youngclaus SND, from the Simon of Cyrene Society. Sr. Peggy saw me when I came in and came over to chat. I have known Sr. Peggy for many years because she worked with Msgr. Tom McDonnell, who wrote a column for our newspaper. I saw her every September at the Simon of Cyrene Fundraising Breakfast at Pier Four. I also chatted with Bob Scannell, president and CEO of the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, who was sitting at the next table with his wife Mary. Jill Baker, from Councillor Frank Baker’s office, was also there and spoke with us for a few minutes. What a nice group of people attending this fundraiser. The food, provided by Florian, was just wonderful. We were well fed. Just before we left, Mary Sullivan asked if I would like to take home the beautiful yellow rose in the pretty crystal vase that was our table’s centerpiece. I was delighted. The large rose could have easily been featured in a horticultural magazine. It was perfect. It lasted about 10 days. I understand that Lopez the Florist supplied these magnificent roses.

So much has gone on during these past six weeks. Daughter Sue observed her big 5-0 birthday. To celebrate, daughter Jeanne and niece Terri took Sue on a girls-only long weekend. They first visited the Vermont campus of the college that grandson Brendan will attend this fall. Then they did shopping and eating throughout most of the New England states. On Saturday evening, the three gals went to WaterFire in Providence. Jeanne had never been to WaterFire so she was really thrilled. In case you have never been there, you must go. On certain weekend evenings, pieces of wood are placed in metal cauldrons, called braziers, down the middle of the three rivers that run through the center of the city. On WaterFire evenings, the wood is set afire while lovely music is played over loud speakers. People either bring their own chairs or sit along the banks of the rivers just to watch and listen. The gals parked at Providence Place and walked over to the river after they had eaten at Johnny Rocket’s. It was a wonderful evening. I googled WaterFire and found that there is a list of upcoming dates for the spectacle. It is only about an hour’s drive to Providence and well worth the visit on Waterfire evenings. There can be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 people attending. Get there early.

I understand that Terry Ryan is very proud of her son Kevin, who received the Congressman John Joseph Moakley Award for Exemplary Public Service. Bravo, Kevin!

The next items make me sad to write. Two of our longtime residents of Neponset have passed away. Thanks to her daughter-in-law Melissa, I was told that my friend, Catherine “Marie” Graham, had died on June 10, at age 88 years. I have known Marie and her husband Steve Sr. since their son Steve Jr. served as president of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association quite a few years ago. Over the years, we met at many functions, including the Carney Senior Suppers. (Marie was a social worker at Carney Hospital for many years.) Steve Sr. would always call to let me know that there was an addition to their ever-growing family. My daughter Sue even babysat for some of the grandchildren. I send the sympathy of all our family to Marie’s husband Steve Sr., to their children – Peggy Queeney, Steve Jr. and his wife Melissa, and Brian and his wife Barbara. (Marie and Steve were also the parents of the late Cathy Flaherty.) I also send our sympathy to their grandkids, most of whom we know well: Katie Flaherty, Tony Flaherty, Kerry Darcy, Michael Flaherty, Jennifer Queeney, Amy Flaherty, Meghann Graham, Bryan Queeney, Maureen Hartnett, Christine Norris, Lindsay Graham, Courtney Graham, Michael Graham, and Stephen “Trip” Graham III. Steve Sr. and Marie even have 13 great grandchildren.

The other sad news was that another longtime resident of Neponset, John McPherson, had passed away on June 4. I met John and his wife Ethel through my Aunt Ethel and Uncle Tip when we first moved to Neponset almost 50 years ago. Over the years John and Ethel were active in St. Ann’s Parish. I would sometimes see both Ethel and John as I walked home from work when our office was on Neponset Ave. I send my sympathy to John’s wife Ethel and to their children: John, William, Robert, Pat McInnis, Joanne Dooley, Mary Grout, Michael, Theresa Burnley, Kathleen Stern, and Christine Donovan. I send my sympathy, also, to John’s sister Jean. John and Ethel have an amazing 28 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

Here is another Irish saying: “Forsake not a friend of many years for an acquaintance of a day.”