Everyone's favorite aunt, Aunt Mary turns 90 on April 28th, 2015.
The last baby in the family born at home (until Marcus), she was born in a railroad flat in Manhattan while the then-three-year-old Aunt Grace and their father hovered in the apartment building hallway. She grew up when ice cream cones were a nickel and--in the famous family story--ice cream sodas a dime. Hard work; devotion to her family, community, and church; and an easy-going character and smile for all have long described her, and family and friends were overjoyed to have the chance to come together to celebrate her ninety wonderful years.
Friday, April 24th
By plane and by train, they arrived. From the Bay Area, Rie, Steve, Maria, Dave, and Davey came out to celebrate. From Los Angeles, Sal, Sue, Jenna, Maria, Annie, Gracie, Winnie, L.E., Larry, Chris, Jeff, Alex, and Alex's parents joined us as well. From New York, Aunt Pauline, Helene, Dom, Thomas, Charlotte, Carol, and Don made their way north.
We had pizza, calzones, salads, dips and cheeses and veggies and crackers, sparkling wine, soft drinks, fruit, and a world of desserts--Aunt Pauline's baklava, See's Candies from California, Kane's Donuts, Mike's Pastry cannoli--for our first night together. The apartment Aunt Mary shares with Harry and Connie filled with people, food, noise, and laughter. The kids played together so nicely, and we had a lovely evening.
Saturday, April 25th
We walked over to the Prudential Mall to meet Aunt Pauline, Helene, Dom, and Thomas around 11:00. Tom and Marcus played video games in the Microsoft store for a bit, and we took a detour to the Christian Science Plaza to admire the fountains and reflecting pool, and then cruised through Barnes and Noble.
Everyone gathered at the Stockyard Restaurant at 1:00 on Saturday, April 25th for a buffet lunch in a private room. We had a bulletin board that people could use to pin up photos of or with Mary, and heart-shaped papers and colored pens to write notes in lieu of a guestbook, so we can make a scrapbook of the photos and notes after the event. There was plenty of food, some lovely tart lemonade, and a beautiful chocolate cake with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting from Sugar Bakery in West Roxbury.
After the party, most of the California cousins came back to our place to check out the view from our deck and sit around and chat some more.
It was great to visit with the cousins we'd seen so regularly when we lived in Los Angeles.
Sunday, April 26th
On Sunday, Rie and Steve went to church with Aunt Mary, Connie, and Harry, and I took the chance to visit with the cousins and play tour guide a bit. Helene and Dom met us at the Boston Common at 9:00 in the morning, and while the kids played in the playground, they went across the street to get some coffee.
Eventually the fourteen "California Cousins" arrived: Sal, Sue, Jenna, Maria, and Annie; Winnie, Grace, and L.E.; Larry and Chris; and Jeff, Alex, Virginia, and Gus. We set out on the Freedom Trail, seeing the first public park in the US, the first integrated church in the US, the first public school in the US, the site of the Boston Massacre, the grave of John Hancock, the grave of the Revere family, the site of the first singing of "My Country 'tis of Thee" (Samantha calls that the "My Father's [sic] Died" song, which makes Robert cringe, but she and Gracie sang it cheerfully and loudly together today), the site of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, Old South Church, Old North Church, and the Paul Revere house ("Was that Paul Revere's bed?" demanded Marcus. "Well, no," said the guide, "but it's from 1784." "Then who slept in it?" Marcus asked. "Um, we don't know. Probably not Paul Revere," answered the guide. "Probably not Paul Revere? But if you don't know who slept in it then it's possible Paul Revere did sleep in it?" insisted Marcus. The guide conceded the point).
Helene and Dom left us after the Granary Burial Ground to rejoin Thomas and Aunt Pauline, but everyone else kept going for about four miles, or five hours. Along the way there were stops at at least two 7-11s for drinks and chips, at Sweet for cupcakes, at a score of souvenir shops and tee-shirt stands, at the Cheers replica bar for a photo op, at a half dozen bathrooms, at Mike's for cannoli for tonight's dinner, and at Quincy Market for lobster rolls and chowder and quahogs (plus some meat for the non-seafood-inclined. . .). Around 1:00, Sal and Sue took Gracie, Winnie, and L.E. to the airport to make their plane, as they needed to be back at work tomorrow, and at 2:15 the rest of us parted ways, the kids and I to the subway and the rest back to their cars, regrouping at Harry and Connie and Mary's apartment for supper and games later.
Monday, April 27th
Helene and Dom and crew took the train out this morning, and Jeff and Alex and crew flew out this afternoon, so by dinner we were down to an almost sensible number of people (fifteen including the kids). I had to work, and the kids were in school, but the rest of the California Cousins did the JFK Library, the Mayan show at the Museum of Science, Sam LaGrasse's sandwiches, and Fenway Park during the day, and then we all met up for dinner and a cutthroat game of "Apples to Apples Jr." again at Harry and Connie's house.
Tuesday, April 28th
Happy actual birthday, Aunt Mary! We love you. Our lives are blessed by having you in them.
A Look Back. . .
For Aunt Mary's birthday, we gathered together some older photographs and thought we would archive them here for the cousins.
Alone, and with Aunt Grace
With Connie (ca. 1942)
Newtown High School Yearbook, 1943
With brother Salvatore at Connie's wedding (1960)
With their father
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Created: 4/28/15. Last Modified: 4/28/15.