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Happy Mother's Day!

“Youth fades, love drops, the leaves
of friendship fall; a mother’s secret
hopes outlive them all.”
By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Recently, while cleaning, I came across a Mother’s Day card that Daughter Sue had made for me when she was in kindergarten. Made with drawing paper, the card had two crayoned eyes glued on the paper. The text said: “I only have eyes for you. I love you, Mother.” That card did not go into the recycling bin. It’s back in the attic.

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Daughter Sue often checks the internet and recently told me some lovely news. Our friends and former neighbors, Fred and Anne Marie Fortey, just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They decided that a quiet family party would be perfect. On April 24, the family gathered at the Basta Pasta Restaurant on Hancock Street in North Quincy, just over the Neponset Bridge. The oldest of their children, Barbie Blaney, was there with her husband Keith and their children Nicholas, Mark, and Kaitlyn. The Forteys’ younger daughter, Chrissie Joyce, was there with her husband John Jr. and their children Kaleigh, Ryan, and twin sons John and Matt. Their youngest, Paul, was there with his girlfriend, Erin Siske. Also attending the dinner was Anne Marie’s sister, Sue Byrne. I think back to the days when the Forteys lived around the corner from us. Our kids went to St. Ann’s School together. It was such a pleasant time in our lives.

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I was able to get to Frank ”Duke” Thompson’s wake last Tuesday. His daughter Karen immediately came over to speak with me. I told her that I had met her parents through our mutual friend, Nancy Harrington. I didn’t know her father Frank as well as I knew her Mom, Abina “Abby,” who was right from the “Old Country.” Karen is so proud of her parents. Her Dad would take a piece of old furniture, refinish it, and give it to a family that couldn’t afford to buy new furniture. Abby would ask her friends if they had extra household goods, like dinnerware and silverware (I remember Abby asking for dishes). She would then give them to those who couldn’t afford to buy them. I also recall that after Abby passed away, Frank moved from their home on Clover Street to their daughter’s home in Braintree. He remained a member of the Pope’s Hill Association for all these years, at least 13 or 14. By the way, I didn’t know that Frank had taught at the Franklin Institute for 37 years until I read that in his obituary. He was a very nice man.

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I also had a chance to attend the wake of Rosemarie Corcoran. I know Rosemarie’s husband Joe and their son Joe. (The Corcorans own the building in which I work.) I also know Rosemarie’s sisters, Mary Norton and Sheila Fullam, who often come to church with us. The line at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Milton was quite long when Sister Elizabeth and I arrived. Our friend Catherine O’Neill parked her car near ours and came with us into the line. It then started to rain lightly. A man standing in front of us gave Catherine an umbrella for us to use. (God bless him.) Sr. Elizabeth had left her outer coat in our car. Thank goodness, Hubby came to check on us. (He stayed in the car in case he had to move it.) He went back to our car and brought Sr. Elizabeth’s outer coat to her. (God bless him, also.)

Then one of the men from the funeral home asked if we would like to go into the church while we waited. Sr. Elizabeth responded quickly with “positively!” The man took us inside and we took our place in the waiting line. Then a man near us suggested to Catherine that Sr. Elizabeth and I should sit down near the front of the church. We could rejoin the line when Catherine came to where we were sitting.
Catherine urged us to sit down. Sr. Elizabeth felt more comfortable standing with her bad back. I plunked myself down for the entire time, which was about an hour and a half. While we were waiting, Sister even sang a few hymns to me.

As we were down front, we were able to see Rosemarie’s sisters and to tell them how sorry we were for their loss. I waved to Sheila’s husband Bob, who was sitting across from us. I also saw pals Carolyn O’Connor and Peggy Kelly when they came by us. Gail Hobin, with two of her fellow workers from UMass Boston, Dorothy Renaghan and Ellen O’Connor, chatted with us as they passed by. Finally Catherine came to us and let Sister and me back into line. I’m so thankful to Catherine for her kindness and I also wish to thank the people who were behind us for allowing us to rejoin the line. I never would have been able to stand for that long a time. I felt so bad for Catherine as she stood in line for hours while wearing heels. By the way, Catherine told us that she is once again on TV; her program is on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., on Ch. 9 on Boston Comcast Cable. I did happen to see the program last Friday (a repeat of Thursday evening’s program). Her guest was City Councilor Michael Flaherty. It was quite interesting.

When we finally reached the Corcoran family, Rosemarie’s husband Joe told me that he reads my column whenever he sees the paper. How he could even think of that in all his sorrow surprised me. His son Joe, standing next to him, laughed when he heard his Dad say that. We also had a chance to express our sympathy to the rest of the family. Hubby was still awake, sitting in the car when we went outside. We said “goodbye” and “thanks again” to Catherine. We took Sr. Elizabeth back to Southie (very quickly, with no traffic) and we were home by 9:15 p.m.

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Hubby usually picks up the Council on Aging monthly bulletins whenever he is in another city or town. This week he picked up the Quincy Senior Bulletin. I loved this part of Quincy’s bulletin: Multiply 111,111,111 by 111,111,111. The answer will be
12,345,678,987,654,321. Try it; it is correct. Another part of the Senior Bulletin stated that Walt Disney was afraid of mice!
Last Wednesday was the next-to-last meeting of the Pope’s Hill Association for the 2013/2014 year. The new Community Service Officer from District C-11, Lenny Lilly, came a little early to the meeting so a few of us had a chance to speak with him. I told him that I had known his Mom Helen for years. He told us that he has lived in Dorchester all his life.

Lennie told us about quite a few incidents that happened in our neighborhood. A car at 475 Ashmont St. had been “keyed” all around the frame. There seemed to be no reason. A car on Houghton Street had one window smashed and a cell phone was taken. In a local school, someone’s wallet was taken. Members of the ATF had searched a home near Train Street but no guns were found. A kid was caught selling heroin on King Street. Another phone was taken from a car on Salina Road. Lenny stressed that we should leave nothing of value in a car. He also spoke about a man who was residing in Garvey Park. Someone in a large white SUV was seen selling drugs in the neighborhood. (I don’t know how many were in the SUV.) Two kids were causing problems in the Fields Corner area and were arrested. Lenny did very well in his second meeting with the Pope’s Hill Association. He undoubtedly knows he has big shoes to fill now that former Community Service Officer Dennis Rorie has been assigned to Mayor Walsh.

The next speaker at our PHNA meeting was Tom Taranto, who explained the OLLI Program at UMass Boston. The OLLI Program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) is for those aged 50 and older. The program provides stimulating opportunities to enrich the intellectual, social, and cultural lives of members, regardless of educational backgrounds. Full members, who pay $175 per person, or $325 for two living in the same household, meet for two hours during the day, once a week. They even receive a UMass student ID card, which allows them free admission to museums and the JFK Library. They may go on trips and may use the swimming pool, computer labs, and may eat (tax-free) at the cafeteria. Associate members ($50pp) may have the opportunity to attend social activities and go on trips. They are not eligible for UMass student IDs. For further info, call the OLLI Program at 617-287-7312. Quite a few people seemed to be interested in this program.

PHNA President Phil Carver then announced that the Bostonian would have a cookout for all those who took part in the Boston Shines Clean-Up of our area. Phil thanked Steve Jeffery and the staff of the Bostonian for hosting the cookout. Carla Tankle urged those present to come to the Estuary Yard Sale down in Port Norfolk on Sat., May 31. If you bring your own table to sell items, there will be no charge. If you use a supplied table, there will be a slight charge. Contact Carla at 617-905-7384 for further info. We were delighted to meet Darryl and Patti Elliott, who have opened Elliott Physical Therapy at the Market Place on Morrissey Blvd. Darryl told us that there will be free injury screenings. Their aim is to get people back in action.

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With Mother’s Day this weekend, I wish all mothers, grandmothers, and even aunts and godmothers a very happy Mother’s Day!