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Happy Dorchester Day!

“In the leafy month of June”
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The leaves on all our trees and bushes are now out. The rose bushes are full of lush green leaves, with fat buds, ready to burst open when we have a period of warm weather. Back in early June of 1925, the temp reached 100 degrees. Without the good fans and air conditioners of today, I would have been on a boat to Canada that summer until cooler weather prevailed. Check out the pansies outside the Bayside Officer Center on Mount Vernon Street. They are the biggest and most beautiful yellow and purple pansies I have ever seen.

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One of the nicest events of the year is the Mayor’s Coffee Hour, held in various parts of the city at this time of year. Most of the time, Hubby and I attend the Coffee Hour at the Martin Tot Lot at 95 Myrtlebank Ave. This year, the Tot Lot Coffee Hour is on a morning that I am working (Mon., June 16, from 9:30 to 1030 a.m.), so Hubby and I decided that we would attend the Coffee Hour at Mother’s Rest on Washington Street last Friday. There was a large group of people already at Mother’s Rest when we arrived. I grabbed a cup of coffee and found a seat. Hubby began walking around the park. It was beautifully maintained. The view from the park, toward the ocean, is magnificent. (Hubby took some photos.) The mayor had not only provided coffee and donuts but also diced fruit, which most people were enjoying. I spoke with the young woman sitting next to me. Her son, who was eating fruit, was named Kallel. He was so well-behaved. We kept glancing skyward because rain clouds were coming over the area.
While I was sitting, I saw a man wearing a Doyle’s Pub shirt. When he was alone, I said, “I love your shirt.” The man, Charlie Rideout, came over to chat with us. I said that I knew one of his relatives, E.B. Rideout, a weatherman many years ago on Boston radio. He laughed. He knew of E.B. also. I also told him that Hubby grew up very near Doyle’s in J.P. I told Charlie that we didn’t get over there during the holidays this year to get one of Doyle’s terrific calendars. They were all gone when we had time to go. Charlie has a Doyle’s calendar in his office and loves to look at it to see what happened on each day. He told me that Gerry Burke Sr. was still working at Doyle’s. I asked him to say, “Hi” to Gerry for us. Gerry grew up in J.P., just about the same time as Hubby and I did. We knew many of the same people. We always enjoyed speaking with Gerry when we went to lunch at Doyle’s. Charlie, who is a Parks Department superintendent, told us he was in charge of Mother’s Rest. He asked if we knew Chris Cook, the new interim parks commissioner, while noting how much the parks personnel like Cook. “I’ll introduce you to him.” I never thought that the Parks Commissioner would want to meet us. “The commissioner is over there; come on with me.” I mentioned that I had really hoped to have my photo taken with Mayor Marty, our friend for so many years. (I am so proud of him.) Hubby’s relatives and Marty’s relatives are even from the same little town (Rosmuc) in Ireland.

Still, over we went to see Commissioner Cook with Charlie. I was surprised that he knew about and read our paper. He took my e-mail address and said that I could contact him if I ever needed him. Then Charlie took us over to Mayor Marty and, within a minute, I was standing next to His Honor so that Hubby could take our photo. Marty came out terrific; I could stand some work done on my face. It was a thrill to have that photo taken. It was then that I noticed that Charlie Rideout was wearing a baseball cap with the numbers “953” on it. I asked him what the numbers meant. “That was the badge number of slain State Trooper Mark Charbonnier,” he said. I told Charlie that my cousins Carolyn and Rock lived next to Mark’s brother. It was Rock, a master cabinet maker, who was chosen to make a cabinet to house the awards that were bestowed on Trooper Mark after his death. I believe the cabinet is located in the Norwell State Police barracks. We thanked Superintendent Charlie for being so nice to us and we complimented him on taking such good care of Mother’s Rest. We were able to get a plant from the city. I think it is a yellow aster – or a very big marigold.

Just as we started to walk toward our car, Ryan Woods, director of external affairs for the Parks Department, called me over to his table. “Barbara,” he said, “would you like the names of the performers and the dates for the Wednesday evening concerts on City Hall Plaza this summer?” “Of course I would,” I said. “I would be delighted.” I’ve known Ryan for a few years. His lovely wife Lauren served as the city’s liaison to the Dorchester community for several years. Ryan wrote down the names and dates for me. “You’re the first to have them,” said he. They are listed in the “Notes” section of this paper.
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Last week I wrote about the Parade of Seniors luncheon that was held at Florian Hall as part of the Dorchester Day activities. Carol Chaisson, who, with her husband Joe, was in charge of the luncheon for years, sent me a list of the volunteers who made this year’s event so successful: Connie Sullivan, Alison Hanrahan, Joe Costa, Eileen Boyle (we worked well together), Peter Sasso, Jill Baker, pal Loretta Philbrick, Ed Geary Jr., Gloria Vieira. Lauren Smith-Woods, Marty and Christine Hogan, and Hubby and I. Paul Nutting and Millie Rooney did a great job learning the ropes of the job of taking over the responsibilities of the luncheon. Our thanks are also sent to the wait staff of Florian Hall. I still smile when I think of the luncheon. It was great.

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For those of you who attended State Teachers’ College at Boston or Boston State College: I was sorry to read, in the Boston Herald, that our English teacher, Richard “Dick” Tyrell, had passed away on May 10. Mr. T was a brand new teacher when he had our class in the mid- 50’s. Over the years, we kept in touch with him and his lovely wife Genevieve. We thought so much of him that we invited Mr. T and his wife to our 50th college reunion at Pier Four. They came and enjoyed themselves as much as we did having them. I’m sure that I send the sympathy of all the members of our Class of 1956 to his wife and children. … I was also sorry to hear of the death of Bertha “Peggy” (Matulaitis) Senuta of South Boston on May 16. Sister Elizabeth had called me to tell us about Peggy’s death. Peggy is the mother-in-law of our friend from church, Maureen Senuta. I knew that Maureen loved her mother-in-law a great deal. Even Maureen’s mother, Maura Naughton, who lives in Ireland, had a special bond with Peggy. From the photos around Casper’s Funeral Home, I could see that Peggy was a fun person. (She loved to polka.) My sympathy is sent to Peggy’s children: Bob and his wife Maureen, William, Kimberly, Susan Dorval and her husband Richard, Thomas and his wife Beatrice, and Alan. I can tell she will be sorely missed.

Speaking of Sister Elizabeth, please remember the there is an Irish fundraiser for her school, the Notre Dame Montessori School, at Florian Hall, on Sat. June 7, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you just sit in the school hall and hear and see these 25 little children, you can tell how much they are learning from the Montessori School’s training. Please come to the fundraiser. Sister Elizabeth would especially like to thank Catherine O’Neill for mentioning the fundraiser on her TV program on Boston Cable’s Ch. 9 the other evening. I believe that Sister Elizabeth is going to be honored that evening. It should be a wonderful time. Remember that John Connors and the Irish Express will play for us and the Peggy Woods’ School of Irish Dance will have some of its dancers performing that evening. In the Silent Auction portion of the fundraiser, if you are the highest bidder in the Dennis Lehane segment, your name will be used as a character in one of Dennis’s future books.

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A random thought: I love hearing the voice of Chancellor Keith Motley doing commercials for UMass Boston on WBZ Radio. Bravo, Chancellor!
I do remember the Bellflower Street fire that happened on May 22, 1964. I had put son Paul, almost three years old, and daughter Sue, almost two, into their double stroller and walked down to one of my favorite stores, Bradlee’s, on Morrissey Boulevard. As I began to push the stroller home, I could see the smoke from the fire. I listened to WBZ Radio when we arrived home. Then I turned on the TV and saw the frightening scene where so many buildings were involved. We watched the story all afternoon. Thank goodness no one was killed that day.
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Dorchester is celebrating its 384th birthday this weekend. Enjoy the festivities!