Boston History: Mayor Kevin White & My Father

Boston Mayor Kevin White
Left to right: Barbara Christopher (8th grade), Boston Mayor Kevin White, Mrs. Gardner, Dallos Perry (8th grade), Thomas Johnson. (February 4, 1971)

Last week, while looking through photos at my mother’s house, I found this rare gem. A picture from 50 years ago!

Since my father’s passing in 2018, it’s especially nice to find “new to me” old photos of him. And this one is for the history books. He’s with then Boston Mayor Kevin White.

I’m not sure exactly what the occasion was for this photograph, but it must have had something to do with his work as a Boston school teacher. He taught in the Boston Public School system for more than 20 years. Writing found on the back of the picture gives the names and date.

The timing of finding this picture seems especially poignant. Sometimes it feels like overall not much changes in the world. But it does. Step by step.

The week that I found this picture, showing one of Boston’s most influential mayors from last century, Kim Janey made history as the city’s first woman and first Black mayor of Boston. Janey is the 55th mayor and White was the 51st.

And the way it happened was completely unexpected! I remember being so excited when Michelle Wu decided to run for mayor back in September. Then just weeks later, Andrea Campbell put her hat in the mayoral ring. Boston could have a woman of color as mayor!

Then several others decided to run and there’s been speculation about even more. With so many people, it wasn’t as exciting anymore and I was over it. After all, I don’t even live in Boston, so I wouldn’t actually be voting.

But then, out of the blue, President Biden tapped Mayor Walsh for Secretary of Labor. Suddenly, we have a Black woman becoming mayor during Women’s History Month. And the mayoral election had nothing to do with it. Plot twist!

When the time is right, change happens in ways we can never imagine. Like the way the first woman mayor in the United States was elected back in 1887. It was supposed to be a cruel joke — only Susanna Madora Salter won.

My father loved politics and was quite the conversationalist. When a major event happens, I always wonder about conversations we would have had. Which makes me think even more about this picture.

Since the opportunity presented itself, I’m sure my father must have said something to Mayor White. I can only imagine. But on that day back in 1971, Mayor White got the chance to have a conversation with Thomas Johnson. Which is something that I now miss everyday of my life.

When Life Gives You Lemons

I’m about to go off on the lemons to lemonade metaphor, so buckle up.

This is my first post in almost a month and a half. My last post was about the passing of my cousin and trying to come to grips with his being gone. What that meant to me and my family.

Then two weeks later my mother had a stroke. Luckily she survived and is recovering. But talk about shaking up my world. And we’re still in a pandemic! Freaking sour lemons!

When things are bad, they can get worse. Then sink to the depths of what seems to be the absolute worst, then plunge off a bridge. Then plummet straight down to….  Okay. You get it.

I believe that energetically things must balance out eventually. So I’m looking forward to the joyous and carefree times that absolutely positively must be ahead.

Which brings me back to lemons. You know? Lemons get a bad rap. Sure, they’re sour. But they also bring out the taste in so many foods. They aren’t just for lemonade. And it’s not only the juice that we use. Lemon zest adds a different type of flavor than the juice. You can candy the peels. The juice and zest can be used in sweet and savory recipes.

What would food be without lemons? Bland. Because we need the sour to notice the sweet. Without one, we can’t truly appreciate the other.

When I started reaching out to family and friends telling them about my mom, so many have stepped up to help. It feels good knowing people are truly here for me. I actually feel more supported than I have in a long time. Maybe they were always ready to help, but I just didn’t notice.

While scrolling on Instagram a few weeks ago, I noticed that someone had an orange plant grown from seeds. I didn’t have oranges, but I had lemons.

Since they’re both citrus and have seeds, I figured maybe I could grow a lemon plant. I’m plant obsessed and growing from seeds is the cheapest way to get new ones. Plus you get the joy of nurturing the plant from day one. Like a true plant parent!

So I squeezed some lemons. But this time I kept the seeds and planted them. Not all of them sprouted, but I have two very strong looking seedlings.

I kid you not. The day the first one sprouted I had asked the universe to show me some joy. It wasn’t big huge joy. But it was still joy. And showed proof of life. I’ll take it.

A Collection Of Moments: September

A Collection Of Moments, was my year long attempt to actively notice the changes and beauty within each month. This project started last October and has come full circle. A year goes by quicker than we think. At first I wasn’t sure if this project would continue for another year, but I think not. This feels like the end.

Each month has a definite quality to it. There is an ebb and flow that I notice more. Maybe it’s that I’m getting older too. I’ve experienced quite a few seasons. So as my life began in September, I’ll end this project in September. Because each ending is really just a beginning somewhere else.

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SEPTEMBER is …

Pumpkins and apples.

Cider donuts and early eggnog.

My mom’s personal labor day.

Leaves slowly falling.

That last burst of color.

Orange and red.

Jackets and boots.

Losing the light.

Autumn taking hold.

Day 90 ~ #The100DayProject

#the100dayproject

Three months! 90 days! The time has flown by!

When I first learned about #The100DayProject, April was just beginning. It was still cold and raw.

Now it’s July. This week is supposed to be humid and well over 90 degrees each day.

I had a few intentions going into the #100DayProject. To take a big leap and try something different. To heal from my father’s death in March. To pay tribute to him and follow in his footsteps. Toward the end of his life, he did some beautiful paintings and his creativity bloomed. To start the process of bringing more art into my life.

This online project has been wonderful and connected me to some local creative people that I’m looking forward to meeting in person. I’m so glad that I joined in!

Today’s watercolor illustration is a wedding cake inspired by a photo of a pressed flower cake by Lori Stern. It may be the most beautiful cake I have ever seen!

One of the things that I’ve learned from this project is that you never know when inspiration will strike or where it will come from. Many days I thought I would create one thing and it ended up completely different.

Starting the process and being open to an unexpected end result is a common theme with artists. Recently, one of my cousins had his first art exhibit at West Medford Open Studios. I walked around and spoke to a few of the other artists that were there as well. Two of them both mentioned how they really don’t know how a piece will end up. It’s usually a surprise to them. Some things are out of their control and as artists they have learned to accept it. A life lesson to be sure.

In my 20s, I would often read the end of the book first, because I always wanted to know how things ended up, so I would be prepared. Oh, dear Lisa — my younger self. So much of the time there is no preparing for the future, even if we know the end.

I found that when I did that, I was often still shocked by how the story unfolded and got to that end that I already knew. There are no shortcuts. Life is the unfolding. The journey. I will be 54 on my next birthday. I’ve learned a few things in those intervening 30 years. If I’m lucky enough to get 30 more, I cannot even imagine where the journey will take me.