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Early August Celebrations

“Where’er you tread,
the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish
Where you turn your eyes.
By Alexander Pope

Our pansies are the only plants that are not doing well. Hubby thinks it might be from overwatering. He has cut back. The whiskey barrels are beautiful. I finally got out into the yard and snapped off all the spent geraniums in the barrels. This assures that the strength of the plants will be put into making new blossoms. We are trying to do some trimming. The wet spring has made perfect conditions for growing bushes. Hubby took the hedge trimmers to cut some of the spreading yew near the front gate. He trimmed the bush a little so that the gate would stay opened. Last year, when he started to trim the forsythias, he hit a bigger branch than usual and the trimmer jumped, cutting his hand. The emergency room doctor recommended that he do no more work with the hedge trimmer. I still have two pink kalanchoe plants from the Mayor’s Breakfast on the front porch. They are as pretty today as when we received them in May. They are now joined by two orange kalanchoes, which will look positively beautiful when fall comes. (I had never seen an orange one until this year.)

I was so sorry to read of the death of Lorraine (Penney) Slattery on July 30 at age 84. Lorraine, her husband Jim, and their children lived across the street from us when we first moved to our little street 50 years ago. Lorraine’s parents, Arthur “Pa” and Bertha “Ma” Penney, lived on the second floor of Lorraine’s house. My aunt and uncle, Ethel and “Tip”/Jim Horgan, lived next door to the Slatterys and Penneys. We all got along so well, with everyone watching out for each other. When Lorraine delivered her last child, Tim, he was very ill. This was in September of 1965. (I still have vivid memories of the day she went into the hospital to deliver.) This was just three months after I had delivered our younger daughter Jeanne, who was also very ill because she was an RH baby. She needed five blood exchanges before she even cried. It was a horrendous summer for almost everyone on our small street. When things finally calmed down, Lorraine and I said to each other, “Do you think that Blue Cross would like to cancel services to the residents of our street because of the expenses incurred by the births of our babies?”

The last time I saw Lorraine was at the wake of her mom, “Ma” Penney. How I loved her also. When my kids were at St. Ann’s, she would call me up after lunch when they went back to school and invite me over for a cup of tea. “And while you’re here, Barbara, would you help me figure out my latest Blue Cross letter?” I have such fond memories of the Penneys and the Slatterys and I am very sorry to read of Lorraine’s death. The sympathy of all our family is sent to her husband Jim, their sons, Jim Jr. and Timmy, and their daughters, Karen, Trisha, Cathy, and Maryann. We also send our sympathy to Lorraine’s brother John and her sister Jeannie. The Slatterys and Penneys made our lives so pleasant when we first moved to Neponset.

On Wed., July 31, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke and I waited outside St. Brendan Church for the school bus to take us into the Mayor’s Wednesday Evening Concert on City Hall Plaza. Pal Eileen Collins had arranged with the City of Boston’s Elderly Commission to have us picked up in front of the church and taken into town. The bus had already made one stop in Lower Mills and would pick up more seniors at the Keystone Apartments. That night was Disco Night, with the Stardust Band. (I love disco music!)

Traffic was much lighter than the week before when the Stylistics were the featured attraction. We were quite early getting in town. We were delighted that one of the Elderly Commission’s staff who met our bus was our longtime friend Jane Boyer. We chatted with her for a few minutes. Then we saw our friend Eileen O’Connor, the Elderly Commission’s ace photographer. I was so happy to hear that she is feeling much better. We walked slowly up the brick ramp to where the folding chairs were already set up for us. It was a gorgeous evening, with temps in the high 70s. The sky was beautiful as we sat looking up at the tall buildings that surround the Plaza. We heard some of the performers rehearsing their songs as we sat near the back of the plaza. Hubby and I like to sit in the rear of the audience. When we are sitting down, he is quite tall and I am quite wide. We want the little ladies up front to be able to see the stage without our blocking their view. Poor pal Eileen! She is fairly short sitting down with us so she does not have an easy time seeing the stage.

It was then announced that the following Wednesday evening’s concert, on Aug. 7, would be a “Tribute to Sinatra.” The Aug. 21 concert will be Charlie Thomas and the Drifters. The final event, on Aug. 28, is a blockbuster, Roberta Flack.

Then it was time for the music, by the Starlight Band. I didn’t have daughter Sue with me that night so I wasn’t able to get the correct titles of all the songs that were played. There were songs, such as “YMCA,” Gloria Gaynor’s’s wonderful hit “I Will Survive,” “Get Down Tonight,” “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” “the Bee Gees’ great hit, “How Deep Is Your Love,”” Dancing Queen,” and “Night Life.” Cecilia Collucci, from Canton, sang “Wishing on a Star.” Before we left the plaza, we were so happy to see our good friends Tom, Barbara, and Kathy Cheney. Everyone on our bus going home from the Disco concert thought that the music was wonderful. It was a delightful evening – and Hubby came very close to winning one of the door prizes that are given out each week.

I was so sorry when Eileen Collins told us, on the bus ride into town to the concert, that she had lost her brother John on July 30, at age 77. (John was actually only 19 because he was a “Leap Year” baby.) He was the husband of Joan (Minichiello) and the father of Lisa, John, Linda, and James. A US Postal employee, he was also the brother of our friend Mary Sullivan. Pal Eileen, by the way, is planning a trip to Twin River Casino on Wed., Sept. 26. If you are interested in going, call her at 617-929-1176.

On Sunday, Aug. 4, Hubby and I attended the annual barbecue and celebration for the birthday of Father George Carrigg, administrator of St. Christopher Parish, in Harbor (Columbia) Point. I will write more about the terrific birthday party in next week’s paper. I will, however, tell you of one nice thing that I was told at the party. Sister Elizabeth, who runs the Notre Dame Montessori School in the basement of St. Christopher’s Church, told me that the date of the “Seeds Planted; Harvest Begun” fundraiser for her little school is Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Florian Hall. Sister proudly told me that Dr. H. Jack Geiger, founder of the Columbia Point Community Health Center, the first community health center in the US, would be honored at the event. The center is now called the Geiger-Gibson Health Center. How wonderful. Hubby and I will definitely be at Florian Hall.

Here is a very true “Thought to Remember:” “The person who never makes mistakes loses a great many chances to learn something!”