Posted tagged ‘Stoneham’

“Do you see that out there? The strange, unfamiliar light? It’s called the sun. Let’s go get us a little.”

May 16, 2017

When I opened the front door this morning, the sunshine flooded my living room, and I could feel its warmth through the storm door. Gracie and I went outside to a wonderful morning, to bird songs, to a warmer day, and a temperature of 63˚. The sky is a vibrant, deep blue. The sun touched my mood, and I felt alive, energized. It’s a day to make me smile.

My papers were never delivered today. I feel adrift. I know I can read them on-line, but I don’t find doing that satisfying. I went to TV and MSNBC. I was horrified by the lead story of Trump giving classified information to the Russians because he can, “I have the absolute right.”

Gracie is being Gracie. She is a happy dog of late. The one problem was she peed in her sleep yesterday afternoon but has been dry for 4 nights. I feel like a proud mother who is potty training her toddler.

I remember a bit of South Boston where we lived until I was almost five. I remember the brick nursery school across the street from our apartment building. My mother brought me there a couple of times, and I walked out and went home both times. My mother was surprised to see me at the door. She then wisely decided not to bring me back. I remember my broken wrist from jumping off the fence backward and how proud I was of my cast. I remember the front steps and the hallway.

I remember the first place we lived in when we moved to Stoneham. The apartment was small and had only two bedrooms. My brother and I shared. My favorite spot was a small landing on the steps. I’d grab a pillow and my book and get comfy on the landing. It was my private place though it was also the way to the bathroom. I’d move my legs to give access to the stairs. I was never bothered by the interruption. I’d just keep reading.

We moved to a bigger apartment down the road in the same complex, one with three bedrooms. We lived there the longest of anywhere. Most of my growing up memories were made there. I went to first grade and stayed the whole day and then kept going from there. I learned to ride a bike. I wandered the fields and woods. I went from childhood to adolescence. All my dreams were mostly born there.

I hated the cape when we first moved here. I had no friends. Nothing was within walking distance. I’d get home from school and go to my bedroom and emerge only at dinner time. Weekends I’d take the bus to Boston and stay with my friends. Gradually, though, I got involved in school and made friends. The trips to Boston were far fewer and then stopped. My parents moved back to Stoneham when I was in Ghana. I never moved with them. The cape had become my home. My mother commented that when we first moved to the cape I went to Stoneham all the time, and now that they were in Stoneham, I chose to live on the cape.

My paper has arrived. It’s in the driveway. Now I can really start my morning.

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The day is sunny and beautiful though still chilly. I was out on the deck watching Gracie. She ran with wild abandonment through the backyard. I could hear the crunch of the dead leaves and small branches as she ran. I got cold and went back inside. She stayed out a bit longer. It must have been exhausting as she and Maddie are taking their early afternoon naps.

St. Patrick has always been my favorite saint. I went to St. Patrick’s grammar school, belonged to St. Patrick’s parish, and when I was 10, I started marching in St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, a drill team. I was in the juniors and only had practice Saturday mornings at the armory just beyond Stoneham Square. The armory was a wonderful old brick building. On the first floor were military banners and flags and, in one room, a pool table. Upstairs was a large open room where we practiced. It was smaller than the fields for the summer competitions so we learned our maneuver in pieces which were put together once we got outside on the field. We practiced twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays and, once the season started, some Sunday mornings before we left for the competitions. We also marched in parades, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston. We were naturals as we had a shamrock in the middle of our uniform blouses and between the skirt and blouse was a sash with one bit of yellow, a shamrock. Our colors were green and white. The crowds watching the parade were huge. We got lots of applause.

My parents always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Some years they’d have a party, and the house would be filled with people. There was always lots of singing at every one of my parents’ parties especially on St. Patrick’s Day. The kitchen was the party hub. I can still picture my dad and my uncle Jack standing together by the table with an arm on each other’s shoulders as they sang When Irish Eyes are smiling. Their voices were filled with such joy and exuberance. That memory from so long ago is one of my favorites.

“And when something awful happens, the goodness stands out even more …”

August 27, 2016

All my life I have believed in good. Bad sometimes prevails, but I have always figured if I hold on long enough bad will fail in the end. Lately, it has gotten more and more difficult to hold on to the good. Sister Paula Merrill was murdered on Thursday. She was a nurse practitioner who dedicated her life to providing health care to people in the poorest county in Mississippi. I knew Paula Merrill. We went to St. Pat’s in Stoneham together for eight years. We went to Fenway Park to watch the Sox. She went to one high school while I went to another, but when my family was moving to the Cape, Paula offered a room in her house so I could finish high school where I started, but we lost track of each other sometime after high school. I didn’t even know she had become a nun. When I visit my sister, I go by Paula’s family house, and I think Paula Merrill lived there. I go by another house and think Dennis McCarthy lived there. Paula Tague lived in another house I pass. Marilyn Rich lived on that street and David Coleman on another. Patty Hurley still lives up the street from my sister. They were my classmates for eight years and are part of my history. When I drive by their houses, I remember each of them, but they are frozen in time. Paula Merrill isn’t any longer. I mourn her death despite the years since we’ve seen each other. I firmly believe, though, that despite all, Paula would remind me to hold fast to the good for all I’m worth.

May 4, 2013

Mass Memories Road Show at Umass Boston

“Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.”

May 4, 2013

I always think May is the sweetest month. The gardens have come to life, the days are warm and the air smells of flowers and of grass mowed for the first time. I can hear neighbors working outside on their yards. Winter hibernation is finally over.

Saturday was the best day, a whole day to be outside, to ride my bike or just walk around town to explore. We’d walk the tracks to the old depot. The depot is red brick, has granite window sills on the outside and a neat overhanging roof. It was never open, but we used to peek into the windows. The depot was built in 1895 and was part of the Boston and Maine Railroad. In front of it were a series of tracks which went across the road and down a bit further where they ended. I used to figure that’s where the trains would turn around to begin their journeys back. Across from the depot were a couple of cars just sitting on the outside track. We’d climb the stairs to try to find a way inside but we never did.

Until I was around 8 or 9, there was a freight six days a week and two passenger trains to Boston. A couple of factories were right beside the tracks. The one I can still remember was a tall wooden building painted grey. Around the top painted in black was the name: E.L.Patch. It was a company which made chemicals and pharmaceuticals. I also remember when the trains would cross the road near my grandparents’ house not far from E.L. Patch. I’d hear the bells and run to the front door to see the train pass. There were no gates, just the signal which flashed red, sounded the bells and had a warning waving back and forth. The sound of those bells is one of my favorite train memories.

Years later the depot became a gift shop, and I finally got inside. It had a ticket window with bars like the ones in the movies. I wished I could buy a ticket and board a train to Boston right outside. Now the depot is a credit union, designated a historic building. The tracks are long gone, replaced by a road. I’m thankful for my memories of walking the tracks, of jumping to the side when the train went by and of hoping it would flatten my penny.