As I was reading blogs dedicated to Fathers yesterday I was wracking my brain to think of a charming story about my own Daddy, but nothing really came to me that made him sound like all these other Fathers. He was uniquely him! As is my habit, no picture I could upload would do it and the weekend came to a close with not an idea in sight. This morning at six o’clock sharp my eyes popped open and there was the perfect tale, as usual a day late and a dollar short. I think that you may like this one, and learn something from it because I did. One of Boston’s great institutions are the Swan Boats. I thought they were one of a kind but I never really knew the history, now I do and so will you. Continue reading
Last year on this date, my grand daughter’s first birthday, I wrote an ode to my daughter-in-law. It has to this day remained my most read blog. Testimony to my brilliant writing or perhaps a keen interest in the functioning of the brain of a Mother-in-Law. Whatever the reason I am happy to see a spike in readership. Since I can’t hope to do any better and I have to save my energy for today’s party, here is “DAUGHTER-IN-LAW……………A LOVE LETTER” Enjoy!!!!
On this the first birthday of my one and only Granddaughter, I want to write a love letter to her Mother, my Daughter-in-Law! Having been told by my wonderful blogging coach, that the first word of your title should be something attention-getting, I thought this would be the most universal, blockbuster choice! But, for those of you who are hoping to get a Dr. Phil type list of complaints, STOP READING NOW!
On the contrary, my Daughter-in-Law is possibly the most loving and wonderful Mother I have ever seen in action, and that would include me. She and my son are one of those great couples, everyone loves, both very successful at their chosen careers, waiting for just the right time to have a baby. However, as we all know now, getting pregnant can then become a career. There has been enough talked about in articles and on television that I don’t need to say anything else on that part of the story.
One year ago they became the parents of what is, of course, the most beautiful, most charming, smartest and most loving baby on the planet!!! I can use these words because, A) I endured hearing them from at least 100,000 of my closest friends and B) as her Grand Mother my principal job in life, is to act as this wonderful child’s PR agent!
About six years ago, as I was leaving my house, at the same time as my very, very attractive neighbor, who I had only spoken with in passing, was also leaving her house with her gorgeous dog. This dog Lavender, is even prettier than her Mommy if that is possible.
Because my neighbor was so attractive, I screwed up all my courage and dredged up the nerve to ask her what she did for a living. Why, you would ask, did that take courage? It appeared to me that very good-looking men, and okay some women too, were going in and out of her house at all hours of the day and night, hopefully you can see why I was afraid to ask. She laughed and explained that she was an actress and a drama coach, thus explaining all those great looking visitors! Continue reading
Another holiday has passed, and I realize yet again of how difficult Christmas is, because of our high expectations, built-in from childhood. As I was speaking to my brother on Christmas Day, he verbalized what I have thought for years, his words, “Christmas will never be what it was in 1955″!
I was planning a whole different blog for today and indeed you will see it in the next few days, but I received this e-mail from an old friend this morning and while it took me back to the Boston of my youth, I am hoping it will remind you all to journey back to your hometown and be reminded of things you have not thought of in years.
Dear Santa, This year all I want for Christmas is for you to take me back in time about 45 years so I can once again experience the thrill of the sights, sounds, gaiety, and hustle and bustle of downtown Boston as it was in the 1950′s and 1960s. I don’t need any money, I just need for you to re-wind time so I can run into S.S. Pierce to buy a few jellies or jams, walk through R.H. Stearn’s or was it R.H. White’s? and have a moment to stop to buy flowers from the vendor outside of the subway stop on Winter Street. I always meant to do that, but never did.
I’d also like to go to the original Windsor Button Shop on Chauncey Street to find a replacement button for my favorite coat and resist the urge to buy a new one at either Raymond’s or Conrad & Chandler’s instead. Also, having the opportunity to buy something at the Jordan Marsh basement store on “Dollar Day,” or to once again see my aunt standing behind her counter selling Van Raalte lingerie would mean so much.
Please, Santa, if only for a moment it would be fun to return to the afternoon I met my girlfriends, where else but under the clock at Filene’s on the corner of Washington and Summer Streets, and once again laugh with them as heartily as we did when we invaded I.J. Fox to try on fur coats none of us could afford to buy. At the time we barely had enough money to go to the lunch counter at Kresge’s, Neisner’s or Woolworth’s for a hot dog, let alone to buy a mink. If we could do it again, I wonder if any one of us could or would want to purchase one of those now politically incorrect fur coats.
It would be nice, too, if before Christmas Day, instead of standing outside to meet someone, I could walk into Filene’s, get on the escalator and as the scent of the perfumes on the street floor fade away, have one more chance to look down at the breathtaking view below. The twinkling white lights wrapped around shimmering garland hanging in perfect loops from the tin ceiling and the decorated Christmas trees at every counter were more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen before or since. You were there, Santa. Do you remember that sight?
I don’t want to appear greedy, but most of all I’d love to relive the evening I met up with my steady boyfriend, now husband, on the corner of Temple Place and Washington Street.
On that night in December 1965, we went down to Filene’s Basement and bought toys for our nieces and nephews. After we loaded up his car, which was parked on Temple Place in front of the branch of the First National Bank where he worked, we went up to Tremont Street and walked through the lighted Boston Common trying to decide where to have dinner. I’m a little fuzzy as to where we went, but I’m pretty sure it was either Dini’s on Tremont Street, or Cafe Marliave on Bromfield Street.
I know for certain that we didn’t go to Locke-Ober’s because, as you must remember, Santa, in those days unless Harvard won a home game against Yale, women were excluded from the main dining room. However, where we had dinner doesn’t matter because even though it was cold and snowy, we ended our evening at Bailey’s to devour ice cream and hot fudge from not only an overflowing sundae cup, but from the silver tray underneath it as well.
If you can pull any of this off, I promise I won’t leave the past without bringing home either a blueberry muffin from Jordan Marsh or a couple of the famous almond macaroon cookies baked on-site at Gilchrist’s. Further, while I’m back in time I swear to you that when I drop a coin into the slot to release the latch holding the shopping bags at the entrances to most of the stores, I’ll be nice and not naughty. As tempting as it still may be, this time around I’ll make sure my sticky fingers take only one.
Work your magic, Santa, because although I know I can go to Jordan’s Furniture to see the Enchanted Village, I’d rather take my grandchildren to its birthplace; the Jordan Marsh department store in downtown Boston.
Realistically, if I’m asking for too much, perhaps the next time I see you at a mall you could give me a wink and a nod just to confirm that you got my letter and that you too believe it was a wonderful life!
Merry Christmas and thank you .
Joanna Alfano is a regular columnist for the Melrose Free Press. We hope that Santa grants the wishes she has so eloquently described and requested here.
Copyright 2010 Melrose Free Press. Some rights reserved
Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, we all have memories of Decembers’ past. No matter where you come of age, each city had its own special feeling or stamp, however you choose to think of it. If you travel at all, by now you realize that all the world is one big mall, and although it may be comforting to look up in some distant world capital and see a Gap sign it can also make you a little sad.
Of course as you spend more time exploring any new city or country, you discover all the treasures that make that destination unique but just for a minute I would like to remember a place that had no branch stores. You had to go into a major city to “SHOP” and it was a treat to have that special time with your Mother or Father or BFF in high school, on a first solo trip to the city.
This column reminded me of all that and more! Now that I have shared it with you all, take a minute for yourself in this hectic season and let all those old memories warm your heart.
Is it just me or does turkey have some magical powers? I never eat leftover anything, under any circumstances. I also pretty much never eat desert at home. Okay, some cookies, maybe a little ice cream but never a real dessert, no pie or cake. Except for Thanksgiving, no pumpkin pie, no peace!
So why is it that Thanksgiving is not like any other day? Is it the tradition? The memories? Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, being from New England this is my favorite holiday and my busiest!! I thought you all might like the quote that showed up in my e-mail yesterday, I could not say it any better myself!
As my husband and I were walking home from dinner, he asked if I smelled the honeysuckle? I said no and going through my mind was “can honeysuckle bloom in late September, even if it is still 100 degrees here in Los Angeles”, but I stopped myself from suggesting he was wrong. Making a mental note to Google “Honeysuckle” later, I waited to see what he would say next. Shocker, my very unsentimental husband started to reminisce about Honeysuckle and fireflies, in the summers of his youth. For anyone else this is nothing unusual but my for my husband, who never talks about his childhood, for me to get any information about his past, I’ve had to water board him. Continue reading
California had a thrilling day yesterday. Amid all the politics and the financial woes of this once Golden State, the Space Shuttle Endeavour came home. Born here twenty odd years ago, in a once flourishing Rockwell International aerospace factory in Palmdale, she will make her permanent home in the California Science Center in Los Angeles, having come full circle. Continue reading
I just returned from having a belated birthday dinner with one of my favorite people in the world, my delightful friend Orna. We always celebrate birthdays at a special restaurant here in Beverly Hills, Crustacean, we always have the same meal and we always have a wonderful time.
She is one of those few people you meet and just hit it off from the first minute. Even though she is the same age as my daughter, we spoke tonight about whether our friendship is one of a mother and daughter, without baggage. We decided that is not the case, when we are together we are just us. Continue reading