Ushering in April

“When April comes, the world so wise and old.
Will half forget that it is worn and grey.
Winter will seem but as a tale long told...
Its bitter winds with all its frost and cold
Will be the by-gone things of yesterday,
When April Comes!”
“When April Comes!”
by Virna Sheard

The snow on Apr. 1 was quite an eye-opener. We were out so early that we had to brush a good amount of snow off our car. That morning, our backyard looked just like it did most of the winter. The snow, however, melted very quickly. The crocuses and daffodils looked so pretty against the white snow. Hubby and I went shopping over the weekend and bought some beautiful pansies; yellow, white, purple, and even peach-colored ones. They just love this cool, rainy weather. I love getting them each spring. Their little “faces” are so pretty every spring. Daughter Sue commented on how lovely they looked, sitting in a tray on the porch, waiting to be potted.

The Pope’s Hill Meeting on Mar. 23 was very interesting. Pres. Phil Carver welcomed us all. He introduced Community Service Officer Dennis Rorie from District C-11. Dennis told us that there would be some differences in the monthly Police–Community Relations meetings. One of the topics to be discussed was “How To Be a Good Witness.” He also announced that the annual Bike Rodeo would be held on Sat., June 11, at the IBEW Hall. He mentioned that there has been a great deal of vandalism. During all the snowstorms, people have been upset when someone parked in a spot already shoveled by another person. Some even went as far as putting peanut butter under the car door handles. Others threw eggs on the “offending” cars. Dennis, once again, urged us not to leave valuable items in our cars. These things invite car thieves. There were some car breaks in the neighborhood. There were also some house breaks. Be vigilant!

Meredith Weenick, associate director of the City’s Office of Administration & Finance, was the next speaker. She told us that 13% of the City’s budget goes for healthcare costs. There are now 36 different reform bills on healthcare costs pending in the legislature.
Pres. Phil then spoke of the successful summer activities at Garvey Park for children: kick-boxing, theater arts (now drama), Legos, Tenacity, and flag football, to name a few. Kristen Peterson then spoke of Girl Scout activities and their 15 camps, including Cedar Hill, for girls K to grade12. Dan Ferrara told us of the South Boston Pop Warner League, which starts in Aug. for those ages 5 to 15. Erin Kelly told us about the Boston Nature Center (500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan) and the Praying Mantis Exhibit; Jarrod Blandino, about the All Dorchester Sports League, which plays at Town Field. Anita Heller, from Camp Fire U.S.A., spoke of the groups’ offerings for those 5 and one-half to 11 years at the Franklin Park Zoo (capacity of 60 children).

Also speaking was Annissa George, from the Stitch House, located near St. Margaret’s Church/Blessed Mother Teresa, who spoke of knitting and crocheting activities during the summer and even during school-vacation week. Kate Hennigan, from the Leahy/Holloran Community Center, spoke of upcoming activities at the center. The center can provide for 150 children during the summer sessions. There will be two sessions during the summer, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $310 per child, offering swimming, field trips, and a science program. Chris Gross, from the Boy Scouts, told us that Troop 28 meets at the Rice Post, 33 Romsey St., 02125, on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., for boys 11 to 16 years.

Pres. Phil then introduced his lovely wife Pam, who is now an assistant in Rep. Marty Walsh’s office. Jack Pelletier, who owns the new Ashmont Cycle Store in Peabody Square, invited the members to the grand opening of his shop on Sat., Apr. 16. Pres. Phil also spoke of a meeting on renovations to McMorrow Park, on Mon., Apr. 11, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Leahy/Holloran Community Center, 1 Worrell St.

On Thurs., March 24, Hubby and I drove to UMass-Boston for the annual Community Breakfast, one of the nicest events that we attend each year. Our friend Pattie Brett, who was manning the registration desk, welcomed us as we stepped off the elevator. As we walked into the Campus Center’s ballroom, we were greeted by Gail Hobin, assistant vice chancellor for community relations at the university.

As we walked down toward our “usual” table, we met our friends and traveling companions Walter and Doris Pienton from Savin Hill. (Our “usual” table has the most beautiful view of Boston.) We first met Walter and Doris on a wonderful Castle Island Association’s trip to Washington DC a few years ago and we have been friends ever since. Also sitting with the Pientons, Hubby, and me, was Melissa Graham, Steve Jr.’s wife and “Trip’s” Mom. Melissa told me of her new position. She is managing director of Boston City Singers, I believe there are about 350 children in the chorus. I know you will do a great job, Melissa.

Also coming over to chat with me was our pal Mary Truong, director of external relations at the Dorchester House. Mary told me that she loves her new job. We were delighted to see pal Loretta Philbrick, who sat with us. So did Atty. Regina Hughes. Rep. Marty Walsh and City Councilor Maureen Feeney came over to greet us. Photographer and Dorchester Historical Society’s Secretary Robert Severy gave Hubby and me two of his newer books: the Guide to Section 7, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester, Mass. and the Guide to Section 5, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester, Mass. He compiled data for the books. He also took several photos of Hubby and me. Also coming over to greet us was Donna Stewartson, who is the associate director of the Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the university. She has sat with us several times at university functions.

Pope’s Hill’s President Phil Carver came over to our table to chat with us. So did former Rep. Jim Brett of the New England Council.
Then we were all invited to partake of the breakfast buffet, which was positively wonderful, as usual. While standing in the buffet line, I saw Fr. George Carrigg from St. Christopher’s Church, along with Sr. Elizabeth Calcagni and Dorothy Harris, from the Notre Dame Montessori School, located in the basement of St. Christopher’s. Ed Merritt, from the Mt. Washington Bank, waved to us. I waved to Claudina Quinn, wife of former Atty. General Bob Quinn. Camilla Duffy came over to greet us.
Then it was time for the formal part of the morning’s program. UMass-Boston’s Chancellor Keith Motley presented the Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Commitment and Service to Clear Channel Outdoor Boston Division’s Stephen Ross. The chancellor then invited former Mass. Atty. General Robert Quinn to join him at the podium. Bob presented Mossik Hacobian, president of Urban Edge, with the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership. Both recipients received standing ovations.

While Chancellor Motley was speaking, he told the audience how he tries to keep the lines of communication open to the community so that we neighbors will be aware of what is going on at the university. He mentioned that he wrote a monthly column in the Dorchester Reporter. He said that he had been complimented on his column by one of the members of the audience that day. He also mentioned that another columnist for the newspaper was in the audience and he gestured toward me. At the end of the breakfast, I went over to thank him, columnist to columnist. The university’s photographer Harry Brett was right there and took a photo of the chancellor and me. In the mail last week, I received a lovely note from the chancellor, along with a terrific photo of us, thanks to Harry Brett. Because the chancellor had mentioned that I was in the room, my G.L.S. classmate, Sarah Ann Shaw, sought me out in the crowd. I was delighted to see her. Hubby and I always agree that the annual Community Breakfast is a delightful way to start a spring day.

My best wishes are sent to Matt Selines and Jacqueline Stahl of Dorchester, who welcomed a son, John Donald Selines, on March 19. The proud grandparents are John and Terry Stahl of Taunton and Jean and Don Sleines of Weymouth.

Here is a wonderful thought, by Virgil A. Kraft, and just perfect for this time of year: “Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”