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Easter Round-Up

“Spring drew on… and a greenness grew over the brown garden beds which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left, each morning, brighter traces of her steps.” By Charlotte Bronte

I read, in the Ledger, that people will have spent $1.2 billion for Easter flowers this year. Hubby already succumbed to some beautiful pansies and bought two six-packs of flats of pansies. If it is somewhat warm this weekend, I will transplant all of them into a big flower pot. Louie, our outdoor cat, sits with me when I do any gardening work on the front porch. He is happy when I put down my trowel and pat him every so often.

I also read that each person will have spent $28.11 on Easter candy this year. Easter accounts for 20 percent of the total candy sales for the year. Candy companies produced 90 million chocolate bunnies for this season. I did buy several bunnies last Sunday for our Easter basket. Hubby and I have been on a quest to find black jelly beans for him, daughter Sue, and niece Terri. I finally found some in a bag of assorted jelly beans in the Hilltop Butcher Shop in Weymouth. Then Hubby found some in one of the Market Basket Stores. Hubby and son Paul both like dark chocolate but I was not able to find any dark chocolate bunnies in the stores I was in over the weekend. Hubby found a bag of dark chocolate in a bag of Dove pieces, so those will go to Paul and Hubby.

We do have an Easter flag that we have put out for years but we put out our American flag last weekend because it was the anniversary of the Marathon bombings. It is difficult to watch TV and not be moved by the stories that have been on about the bombings. Hubby keeps offering me tissues.

Hubby and I tried to go to the Cameron wake at O’Connor’s and then to the rally last Tuesday evening but there wasn’t a parking spot anywhere near Garvey Park or Adams Corner so we went home and watched the event on Ch. 6, New England Cable News. By the way, as Hubby and I drove through the Cedar Grove and the Pope’s Hill areas last Saturday morning, we were surprised to see so many front door wreaths made from blue and yellow bows and flowers, blue and yellow being the colors of the Boston Marathon. I am so proud to be a Bostonian.
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When we received an invitation to the annual Community Breakfast at UMass Boston, Hubby and I were delighted that there would be a tribute to Robert Quinn, who passed away on Jan. 13. As we read further, we were even more delighted that our friend Lou Pasquale was to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Community Commitment and Service. I couldn’t have been more proud. God bless the person or group that nominated him. I know how many people Lou had helped during his 50 plus years at Phillips. Asst. Vice Chancellor for Community Relations Gail Hobin welcomed us to the breakfast. So did our friend Phil Carver, Director of Community Relations at the university.

I sought out Lou before the breakfast. Thank goodness he was standing near his lovely wife Terry. She and I have met several times over the years. She is my kind of people, just like her husband. I am sorry that I didn’t have more time to chat with both Lou and Terry but it was time for the program to begin.
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I did get a chance to see State Reps. Dan Hunt and Dan Cullinane. We saw Sheriff Steve Tompkins also. Robert Severy came over and gave me photos of both Hubby and me from previous years. He also gave me a copy of his most recent book about Cedar Grove Cemetery, “Guide to the Walnut Plat Section 20.” I laughed when I saw the book. On the cover were two tombstones. One was for a Hannah Short, my maiden surname, but no relation. Hannah lived in Lower Mills and died on Easter morning at age 46.

The first part of the program at the Community Breakfast was a tribute to Bob Quinn. I was delighted that his wife Claudina was there to see this beautiful honor for her husband. I had a chance to see her before the breakfast ended and told how I thought he was such a gentleman. At the end, we gave the tribute a standing ovation.

Chancellor J. Keith Motley then came to the microphone and called Sophia Haynes-Cardwell to the stage to receive the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership. Sophia is the founder and executive director of Stanjez Cultural Arts Center in Randolph. She is also the founding director of the Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club’s Performing Arts Program. Throughout her speech, she continually praised her mother’s encouragement. I certainly hope that her Mom was at the breakfast. She must have been so proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.

Then it was Chancellor Motley’s turn to ask Lou Pasquale to come to the stage. I was so proud as I saw Lou on the big screen. Over the years, I have heard how he has kept teens “on the straight and narrow” by taking them to sports events. I know how he encouraged the seniors of our neighborhood to get out and join programs like the Senior Bowling Group at Boston Bowl. I have a vivid memory of a photo of my dear former neighbor, the late Mary Parodi, as Lou gave her tips while bowling at Boston Bowl.

I am going to share with you part of Lou’s write-up from the program, given out at the Community Breakfast: “Wounded in combat on Okinawa during Word War II, Lou made a promise to himself. If he survived and got home, he would try to help someone every day for the rest of his life. He has kept that promise, having spent much of his life giving to others. He is perhaps best known for using ten-pin bowling to promote positive growth and character development for the youth of Greater Boston. He has also helped senior citizens, the handicapped, and the blind enjoy the sport. An employee at Phillips Family Properties for (an amazing) 57 years, Lou has received numerous awards for his work with children, the homeless, and veterans.”

As an aside, while reading the obituary for a Dorchester man in the Boston Globe, I happened to notice that the obituary asked that donations be made to the Lou Pasquale Van Fund, State House, Room 546, Boston, MA 02133. I wasn’t surprised that funding for a van in Lou’s name was being requested. I was so happy that his wife Terry was there. Also at their table were men, who, years ago, had played in the Junior League, thanks to Lou. Sadly, the Pasquale children and grandchildren were unable to attend the breakfast because of the terrible weather that morning. (Hubby still has a permanent indentation in his arm where I held it so tightly as we walked from the car through the sleet and snow to the Student Center.) Lou gave a short but sincere thank-you for this well-deserved award. Our friend Gail Hobin gave him a taped copy of the breakfast, and Lou and Terry showed it to the entire family on Easter Sunday. I am so proud to call Lou a friend! Would you believe that he works five days a week at the wonderful age of 87. (He joined the Phillips Company in 1957.) I understand that he was working on last Saturday (Holy Saturday) to help with the crowds of customers at the Candy House. What a guy!
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On Mon, Mar. 24, Hubby and I were at the Adams Street Library to hear a talk by Thomas Mickey, a graduate of the Landscape Institute of the Boston Architectural College. The topic of his talk was “America’s Romance with the English Garden.” Unfortunately, his computer would not work even though librarian Elisa tried three different connections to get it to work. Tom, who taught at Bridgewater State College for 26 years, is called a “Master Gardener.” He made us laugh when he said that the kitchen garden, in England, was always put in behind the house so that the aristocratic family would never see it. Nor would the family see the gardeners at work. We were delighted to see our friend and former neighbor Ellie Spring at the talk. We remember how she loved to plant things in her yard. Tom did not get much of a chance to speak that cold evening. We did buy a copy of his book, “American’s Romance with the English Garden.” He praised the English for using phlox and rhododendrons, which Americans copied. Americans imported apple and pear trees from England. I wish that Tom’s computer had been working so we could see everything in more detail. By the way, he writes a column regularly in the Patriot Ledger.

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I loved this saying, which came from a magazine supplement: “The wise think big but start small.”