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"Garden Memories"

“Seeing the flowers growing now,
All spread in bright array,
Takes me back to summers
Of a long-forgotten day.”
“Garden Memories” by Deborah Sell

When I was a child, we had flowers called “Japanese Lanterns” in our yard. They were a pretty orange color and were shaped like tiny lanterns. We also had flowers called “Bleeding Hearts.” They were delicate. My favorite flowers in those years were balsams. We grew them from seeds that my Grandpa saved from year to year. We waited till the end of the growing and took seed pods off the stems. Inside were the tiny seeds, which we put in empty baby food jars to save for the next year’s growing season. Balsams came in delicate shades of lovely colors.

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I enjoyed hearing Dan Rea on WBZ Radio speaking about Fourth of July festivities when he was a kid in Hyde Park. His biggest treat was receiving a Hoodsie. When I was a kid, I lived in Jamaica Plain, near Egleston Square. The closest school was the Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, on School Street. On the Fourth, we would go to that school and watch “Three Stooges” short films. Then we would receive our Hoodsies. In my era, the inside covers of the Hoodsies had photos of movies stars on them. I loved Jon Hall. I would trade five lids of other stars for just one of Jon Hall. I loved him when he played opposite Maria Montez in movies. He also played Ramar of the Jungle. Dan Rea never mentioned about the movie star photos on the lids. Perhaps the Hood Company didn’t use the photos in later years.

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On Sat., June 28, daughter Sue and I made our way to the Common Market Restaurant for the baby shower for Rita Huff and Shane Gillespie. The shower was to be hosted by Shane’s grandmother, Ann Pearce. When we drove into the parking area, we could see another pregnant woman who was being honored by her friends at the restaurant. We found our friends on the second floor. Shane’s Mom Julie welcomed us with open arms. On our heels came pal Mary Vinciguerra, Grandma Ann’s cousin, whom I have known for quite a few years. (Can she dance!) Shane’s brothers were there also: Conor, Brendan, and Patrick. We met two new gals, friends of Grandma Ann’s, sisters Winnie Miller and Bea Cox, and were delighted to sit with them. That was only a few minutes before we learned that they were from the same area of Jamaica Plain from which I came. We had a ball speaking about all the mutual friends we had back in those years. We all agreed that we loved Father Joe Maguire, now a retired bishop. He was our parish priest at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hyde Square when we were kids. We spoke about the places to get ice cream and candy, which were very important items to us way back then. I told Winnie and Bea that I had attended the final Mass at Blessed Sacrament when it closed in August 2004. I mentioned to them that Bishop Maguire had attended that Mass. It was so good to see him after so many years. I also saw our dear traveling companions Mary and Kay Hayes of Roslindale at that Mass. It was sad to see the church close.

Then it was time to go up to the buffet. We were fortunate to be called up with the head-table guests. We have eaten at the Common Market often enough so that we knew how good the food is. It didn’t disappoint us. There were rolls, a great salad, green beans, ziti marinara, baked fish, and chicken with mushrooms. Everything was wonderful. The good-sized cake was beautiful and very tasty.

Then it was time to open all the presents. The one that had everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing was a crocheted blanket. It was magnificent. I hope that the woman who created it makes Irish-knit sweaters. They would be positively beautiful because of the lovely work she does. The other gift that caught our eyes was a Simba, the Lion King, lamp that was adorable. There were lots of clothes, all different sizes, to the delight of Mom and Dad-to-be. There was a lovely play yard, which some of the men, foolingly, called a “cage.” There was a cute “bouncy” chair. How the family was able to get all these gifts home, I’ll never know. I must praise grandma-to-be Julie for taking such good care of all the presents. She had them displayed beautifully on one of the tables and along the floor. It was a wonderful shower, held at a great place.

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Thanks to info from my friend Eileen Collins, I was made aware of a party to be held on Sat., June 28, in honor of Father Richard Putnam’s 25th anniversary of ordination. Father Rich had recently discovered the Great Chow Restaurant in North Quincy. The organizers of the party, pal Marty Allen and Linda Freeman, decided to have the party there. I contacted Marty and, thankfully, there was room for Hubby and me. We have known Father Rich for many years. He practice-taught in Hubby’s class room when he was studying to be a teacher. He also worked part-time with Hubby at the Supreme Market in Fields Corner. They built up a nice friendship over the years. In recent years, we have seen him celebrating Mass at the Keystone Apartment Building, where his mom Ruth had lived before she passed away. We have also seen Father Rich out at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, filling in for Irish chaplain Father John McCarthy at the monthly Mass for the Irish Pastoral Centre.

Hubby and I were able to find a parking spot on Beale Street, almost across from Great Chow. We were delighted to see so many friends at the party. Others, like Eileen Collins, Norma Conley, Evie Dunn, and Phyllis Hartford, would be there as soon as they came from Saturday evening Mass at Keystone. We were honored to be sitting at Father Rich’s table for the party. Sitting with us were Linda Freeman and Ellen Leary, retired principal of St. Brendan’s School. Ellen had taught with Hubby years ago. Also sitting with us was Margaret Lydon. Everyone knows Margaret because she has worked in Gerard’s Store in Adams Corner for quite a few years. It was such a nice group of people there to honor Father Rich.

Sitting at the next table was Marty Allen. I discovered that he had had several huge signs made at Staples in honor of the 25th anniversary. (They were positively beautiful.) Marty and Linda had all the supplies necessary for our wonderful evening. Marty was sitting with my pals Jack and Jan Ryan, and also John and Kathy Poles. At another table sat my friends Irene Duff and Ann Marshall, along with Norman Steward and Tena Wilson. Sitting on the other side of our table were pals Chris and Sis Holmes, Bonita Morin, Anne Esterhill, Virginia Neeley, and Mary O’Rourke. At another table were Joan Walsh, Betty and Joan DeLorey, and Kathleen Poles.

The food was all Chinese and I had never eaten any of the different selections. It didn’t matter. They were all delicious. (I worked at the public library on Tyler Street in Chinatown one summer while I was in high school and never varied from buying chicken chow mein on payday.) There was so much food that our waitress boxed the remaining food in Styrofoam containers. One of the partygoers, Kathleen, offered to freeze the remaining food at her home and to bring the food from the freezer on another day. The cake, made by Stop & Shop, was scrumptious. There was such a nice group of people there to honor Father Rich. We could tell that he never expected this lovely party and was most appreciative of it. I was so glad that Hubby and I learned of the party from Eileen Collins and that Marty Allen and Linda Freeman included us in the festivities.

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Thanks to a call from my friend Regina, I learned that Elaine Sheehan, the late Nancy Harrington’s sister, had passed away on June 27. I often met Elaine with Nancy years ago. I know that Elaine was a loving aunt to all of Nancy’s children and to others. She was the wife of the late Thomas Sheehan. I saw in the obit that she was a retired manager at the New England Telephone Company. I send my sympathy to the Sheehans, the Harringtons, and the Hughes families.

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Hubby has been checking out the old D’Angelo’s Restaurant, next to Dunkin’ Donuts, on Morrissey Boulevard. A note on the work order says that the new business will be a sandwich shop. We miss the old D’Angelo’s and hope that the new business will be just as good.

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I was sorry to read of the death on June 7 of Mary O’Connor, cousin of Harry Brett, Peggy McCobb, Mary McCarthy, and Bill and Jim Brett, and sister of Bishop John Boles. Mary was a chaplain at South Shore Hospital and was very involved with St. Mary of the Nativity Church in Scituate Harbor. I send my sympathy to her family, especially to Bishop Boles and to all the Bretts.

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Here is a perfect thought from Henry Ward Beecher, just a little late for the Fourth of July: “A thoughtful mind sees not only the flag but the nation itself.”