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Readying for Summer

“The word May is a perfumed word…
It means youth, love, song,
And all that is beautiful in life.”
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thanks to my friend Anne from Florida, I learned that Sarah “Sally” Hajenlian had passed away on May 6, in Hollywood, FL. Sally and her Mom Agnes did live on Houghton St. Then Agnes opened a variety store, Aggie’s Store, on Southwick St, across from Salina Road. They then lived behind the store. How our kids loved to stop at Aggie’s store for penny candy on their way home from St. Ann’s School. I even think my older cousins stopped there also. Sally’s sister Anne owned a hair salon on Neponset Ave. She then moved the salon to her new home on Victory Road in later years. Our neighborhood sends its sympathy to Sally’s sister, Anne, and to Anne’s children. Just speaking about Aggie’s store brought back so many fond memories to those who grew up in Neponset.

I did get a chance to chat with City Councilor Frank Baker outside St. Ann’s church a few weeks ago. Frank mentioned that he and his wife left the finish line of the Boston Marathon just three minutes before the first bomb went off. What a scare! I also learned that our Rep. Marty Walsh grew up with Frank in Savin Hill. Earlier in the month, at a gathering for Frank at the Old Colony Yacht Club, I even met Frank’s Dad Jack. Who was also at the gathering but my friend Larry Di Cara. I was so happy to see him in person. My friend Paul Nutting was there as was Roger Croke. Also joining us were Council President Steve Murphy and Councilors John Connolly and Felix Arroyo. Maureen Keady sang beautifully during the evening. John O’Toole, Frank Doyle, Richard Livingston, and Marion Haddad were at the yacht club also. Lieut. Col. George Rollins, who is a consultant at the Pentagon, was at the announcement party. I understand that George came home to Boston this past Christmas and was given a standing ovation when he attended Mass at St. Brendan’s.

At the party, the centerpiece on each table at the yacht club was a Mason jam filled with beautiful yellow tulips. Frank’s aide Jill Baker told us that we could take them at the end of the evening. The tulips lasted almost two weeks. They were beautiful. The food at the party was delicious although Hubby and I had already eaten and didn’t partake too much. We did check out the food a little so we could see how good it was.

This past Sunday, Hubby and I drove to Blue Hill Ave., in Roxbury, to attend the 20th annual concert by Boston’s Black Catholic Choir. Because parking is at a premium near St. Katharine Drexel Church (the old St. John’s/St. Hugh’s), we went early. When we entered church, we sat halfway down the center aisle. We were there because my Cousin Kathy is one of the members of the choir. (She is the one with red hair.) Kathy’s husband Jim was on the opposite side of the aisle, taking photos and taping the proceedings. Kathy saw me from the altar and came over to greet us. Jim looked over and then joined us. Kathy had to run back to organize her music but Jim stayed and chatted with us for a few more minutes. I told Jim I was sorry to read about the death of his Mom Shirley. Oddly enough, I knew Shirley because we were in the same primary grades at the Ellis Mendell School in Jamaica Plain. She recognized me at a family party after all these years. (It is, indeed, a small world.)

After Kathy went back to the altar area, I saw Ruth Villard waving at me. Then I saw Barbra Trybe coming in so I knew three singers in the choir. We were early enough so we saw part of the rehearsal. Meyer Chambers, once again, was the wonderful leader. We recognized him immediately. It was fun listening to the choir as they practiced a few rough spots. My Cousin Kathy is an alto and I was surprised that the altos had solos in several of the songs. Meyer spoke about how the choir began 20 years ago. He spoke about the places where they were invited to sing, both in the US and even in places like Ireland. (They had a grand time in Ireland.) Soon they will appear in concerts at St. Patrick’s Church in Roxbury and at a church in Swampscott.

Members of the choir came down the main aisle of the church, singing “Come, Now is the Time to Worship,” with soprano Georgia Grace. They then sang “The Lord Is Blessing Me Right Now,” “The Angels Keep A –Watching,” “All My Help Comes From the Lord,” “I Will Call Upon the Lord,” “He’s Blessing Me,” “We Fall Down,” with soprano Lorna DesRoses, “Lord Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace,” “This Is My Song,” “Stand,” “By Name I Called You,” and finally “He Came Down.” I knew some of “Lord, Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace” and was able to sing along very quietly with the choir. “He Came Down” was a rousing song to wind up a terrific concert.

After the concert had finished, we all went downstairs to eat. The choir members had not eaten so we let them eat first. Cousins Kathy and Jim joined us and we chatted for close to an hour. We found out about their new granddaughter and their grandchild-to-come. They are looking forward to enjoying the grandkids. Jim was telling us that he is in the middle of restoring his old boat. (It is a great deal of work.) A lady came over and asked Hubby where he worked, maybe in a drug store? She remembered him but couldn’t remember from where. Hubby told her that he had worked for Purity-Supreme Market in Fields Corner, part-time, for many years. “That’s where I know you from,” said she! They had a great conversation. (Hubby meets people all the time who know him from Purity-Supreme Market, where he worked weekends for 34 years.)

I was sorry to read that Rita Bankowski passed away on May 18. Rita, her husband Paul, and their children lived on South Munroe Ter., for many years before moving to Marshfield. Many of you probably remember when Paul was Captain at District 11 in Fields Corner. I send my sympathy to Paul and their children: Leslie Cocciardi, Peter, Paul Jr., Lisa Call, and Carolyn Bankowski. I remember that Rita was a registered nurse and that she worked at the Bostonian Nursing Home for a long time. The photo of Rita in her obituary in Monday’s Boston Globe was very pretty.

Saturday evening, after church, Hubby and I tackled the job of planting our two whiskey barrels. One now has red geraniums in the center of the barrel, with white impatiens around the edge. The second barrel has lavender geraniums in the center, with lavender impatiens all around the edge,. They will look great in about a month when the flowers grow a little taller.

I loved the thought stated in this proverb: “Flowers leave some fragrance in the hand that bestows them.”