Just before I went to the ACS Conference in Baltimore, we found out that Tom’s youngest brother, Bill had died, which was a major shock to all of us. He’d had Polycystic Kidney Disease and been on dialysis for quite a while. He decided to go for a kidney transplant so he could spend more quality time with his grandchildren.
Tom and I decided I should go to the conference anyway and we’d drive to Boston when that was over.
At noon, I was waiting in the lobby of the hotel and Tom called. My ringtone is Scotland the Brave and the woman waiting near me couldn’t miss the bagpipes. She said her dad had been a pipe major. Small world!
Tom rented a big black SUV and, when he drove up to the hotel to pick me up, he was told he had to stand (park) elsewhere with the other Uber drivers. LOL
It took a little while to get used to this big, different car. The first day, I accidentally called OnStar once and had to convince them that there was no emergency – and they called me on my phone. I guess if it was a really emergency, that would be great but it was a little scary. The OnStar button was very easy to hit – it was directly on the rearview mirror so when we adjusted the mirror, OnStar was called.
We stopped at a Bagel place in Baltimore then headed out to Boston while Michael took the train from NYC. We both turned on our iPhone location services so we could all keep track of who was there.
Lots of memories driving into Boston. One I’ll never forget. It’s a Shaw’s grocery store now but it used to be a hotel in Newton. And it’s built straddling the Mass Pike. And, it used to have many more floors.
When Michael was very young we stayed at this hotel, probably Howard Johnsons, over New Year’s weekend. Tom was out visiting a college buddy and, around midnight, someone had some “fun” setting off the fire alarm. Of course, I couldn’t find Michael’s shoes, so I picked him up and carried him down about 1o or so flights of stairs, into the snow.
Ever after, we have had a “Shoes by the Door” rule, especially in hotels!
Construction began in May of 1969 on Newton which included a Motor Lodge, Red Coach Grill and Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. Plans called for a 12-story lodge with 271 rooms on the third through twelfth floors. Moreover the lobby featured 2-stories with a mezzanine floor for conference rooms. ~ from http://www.highwayhost.org/Massachusetts/Boston/Newton/newton1.html
And today, which brought the flood of memories:
Getting close to Boston, we could see the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.
I was always very proud of my paternal grandmother.
In the early part of the last century she had been living in Scotland with her husband and they had a young son – my father.
My grandfather was in the Black Watch during World War I, and he was killed in Peshawar, India.
My grandmother left her life and family in Scotland and sailed to the United States with my dad when he was only 5. We have pictures of him disembarking in his little kilt!
I cannot imagine having her courage, leaving home with a small child, and starting life anew in a completely foreign country.
Many years later, when I was a freshman in college, my grandmother died the week before Christmas.
I remember sitting in Waterman’s Funeral Home in Kenmore Square, Boston watching the Citgo sign cycle through its neon pattern. No one but our very small family attended her calling hours.
The funeral was a bit better. A few folks took the time to honor this brave woman.
A week later, we celebrated Christmas “because that’s what Nana would have wanted”. Even then, I thought that she probably would have liked to see more caring people around her, while she was alive.
The current beacon on Beacon Street is the giant Citgo Sign. It has been a Boston landmark since 1940. The sign had originally said Cities Service, and was changed to the new logo in 1965 (with nearly 6,000 neon bulbs added). The sign is visible from great distances on both sides of the Charles River, especially as one approaches the city from the west…
Meanwhile, Michael was already in Boston and he took the T (subway) to our AirBnB in Savin Hill and got Chinese food. He saw us arrive and try to park on the narrow, hilly street outside and came out to help us bring in the luggage.
It was an adorable place and I especially loved this reading chair.
The AirBnb was on Grampian Way and we stayed near the Grampian Mountains in Scotland last year. Small world!
Saturday, June 4
Saturday was a busy day. First up were the calling hours, where we saw friends and relatives we hadn’t seen in years. Michael hadn’t seen some of them since he was a young child. The funeral home parking attendant informed me that our SUV wasn’t black, but some exotic shade like granite. Fine.
We all drove to the Funeral at St. Anthony’s Church in Everett. It was a very touching, emotional service for everyone. When we left, the funeral home disbursed bottle of water to everyone…and left. There was no procession to a cemetery or anywhere.
We got maps to the Casa Lucia restaurant West Revere and a whole line of people followed behind us. Luckily, we didn’t get lost! The hall was upstairs, though, and my knee gave me a bit of trouble 🙁
After a very nice Italian buffet, one of Bill’s doctors (who had been sitting at our table) got up front and told us about how Bill had worked with medical students at Harvard for over 20 years, telling the patient side of Polycystic Kidney Disease. He had slides prepared and was very helpful with the hundreds of students he’d reached.
Michael said that he had to get back to New York to finish up some work so we left the restaurant and headed back to the AirBnb for his stuff, then to North Station for Amtrak.
On the way back, we stopped at the beach near South Boston. It was a chilly day but lots of folks were out enjoying the sun. Lots of memories there, too!
Off to the Stop and Shop to get something for dinner and snacks for the road then…nap finally.
Sunday, June 5
When we were leaving, there were lots of police around and they were closing off streets. Turns out it was the Dorchester Day Parade. Who knew there was such a day? Apparently, many people. This was the 112th parade, 53rd Continuous Parade since 1963.
I can’t find a video (yet) for 2016 but this is from last year.
On the way home there was pouring rain in New Jersey so we got home very late.
Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Competition Noon-5:00 PM
Awards and Massed Piping Performance 6:00 PM
SCOPE PLAZA, NORFOLK
No other event in the United States will feature this many top-level pipe bands.
The Virginia International Tattoo will host the first annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship on Scope Plaza in Norfolk, Virginia. The competition, which coincides with the Tattoo performance weekend, will feature Grade 1 and Grade 2 pipe bands from around the world.
Bands will compete from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Scope Plaza, and awards will be presented at 6:00 PM followed by a massed piping performance.
Vendors will be on- site for all of your food and drink needs.
GRADE 1—Top Grade
Virginia International Tattoo Hullabaloo
April 23, 2016, 4:30 – 7:30
Scope Plaza, Norfolk
April 23, 2016, 5:00 PM
Scope Plaza, Norfolk
DrumLine Battle is back! A favorite event of the 2015 Hullabaloo, DrumLine Battle showcases marching percussion ensembles of any instrumentation and any skill level year-round, spotlighting their unique talents and creativity in a high energy face-to-face competition. You might see a Canadian pipe band versus a German military band or a Swiss drum corps versus an American fife and drum band!
The 20th Annual Virginia International Tattoo
A Time to Celebrate- 20 years of Spectacular Performances
A Time to Remember- 20 years of Service and Sacrifice
Saturday, April 23, 7:30pm
The 2016 Virginia International Tattoo will celebrate the past 20 years with an extraordinary, once in a lifetime cast of performers and a recorded video tribute by General Colin Powell with script by legendary war correspondent Joe Galloway.
Included are the Swiss drum corps Top Secret, a Dutch Band on Bicycles, world champion pipers from the Highlands of Scotland, a massed choir of EPIC proportions, and the very finest performers the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have to offer.
The heartbeat of the Virginia International Tattoo is always its extraordinary international cast. Every year, the Tattoo includes military bands, drill teams, bagpipers, drummers, celtic dancers, choirs and more from around the globe to create a spectacular performance.
Each year the cast is different but the spirit of the cast remains the same. We invite groups from the U.S. and our key allies who epitomize talent, discipline, hard work and pride. Whether they are young civilian dancers from Canada or military pipers with combat experience from Scotland or our local Navy Band nicknamed “The Finest of the Fleet”, these performers and their passion for the traditions and cultures that they represent will inspire you.
51 ACU Swan Regiment Drums and Pipes
In 2002, the 51 Army Cadet Unit was formed when the 2/28th Battalion and the 24th Anti-Tank Company Association members donated funds for the purchase of 21 drums and 21 Australian National Flags. Each flag was a representation of the 100 former members killed in action in World War II. When bagpipes were added to the mix in 2011, the Drum Corps transformed into the Drums and Pipes, as seen today.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band
The Presbyterian Ladies’ College was founded in 1915 in Perth, Western Australia, with a strong Scottish heritage. In 1934, the Black Watch tartan uniform was introduced. The Presbyterian Ladies’ College Pipe Band was formed in 1980 and today these two icons have become tangible reminders of the heritage.
OzScot Australia Highland Dancers
First established in 2000, the OzScot Australia Highland Dancers is a team of 24, ranging in ages 15-25. What is so interesting about this team is that the first time they work together is upon arrival at the international event they are performing. These dancers all have held or are currently holding titles and all hale from various parts of Australia, representing the Celtic community of Australia and promoting the country, highland dancing and friendship.
8 Wing Trenton Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums
The Canadian Forces Base 8 Wing Trenton Pipes and Drums represents the Canadian Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Canadian Air Force and is comprised of both current serving members, some being veterans of the Bosnia conflict and the war in Afghanistan, and civilian volunteers. The band carries with it all calibers of players from beginners to those who compete professionally and at the World Pipeband Championships in Grade 1.
Heeresmusikkorps Kassel, German Army Band Kassel
The Heeresmusikkorps Kassel was formed in 1956 and is the only military band of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces of Germany) in the state of Hesse. This Army orchestra plays all over the globe, performing in both modern and traditional styles while “presenting musical culture in its most beautiful form.”
Jordanian Armed Forces Bagpipe Band
The Jordanian Armed Forces Band was established in 1921 with a core of 10 musicians. In the decades to come, the full band, seven musical groups including an orchestra, was formed includes more than 500 musicians today. Forty members of the Bagpipe Band are participating in this Tattoo.
Band of the Netherlands Mounted Arms Regiment
The Band of the Netherlands Mounted Regiment is one of the two professional orchestras within the Royal Netherlands Army and the only full-time professional military fanfare orchestra in the world. The band continues the traditions of the Bicycle Music Corps, sporting uniforms issued in 1914, playing on the period-correct bent instruments and even performing while riding bicycles.
Top Secret Drum Corps
Formed in 1990 by a group of enthusiastic, talented young drummers from the Swiss city of Basel, Top Secret’s energetic and unpredictable drumming performances incorporate the traditions of Basel, Scottish and American styles. Top Secret’s members are highly dedicated drummers with diverse backgrounds.
Inveraray and District Pipe Band
Stuart Liddell, one of the world’s top solo players, began coaching 5 younger pipers in 2003, calling itself the Inveraray Piping Project. The Inveraray and District Pipe Band were officially formed in 2005. Their first performance took 13th of 17 spots in the Novice Juvenile Division at Cowal Games with borrowed drums and its young members in uniforms of various colors. Fast forward to 2015 and the Inveraray and District Pipe Band has become a leading competitor in Grade 1 Division competitions.
Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band
The Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band is a Grade 1 pipe band from Fife, Scotland, and was established in September 2007. The band’s first competition at the Dunbar Highland Games in May 2008 saw them awarded first prize in Grade 1. In August of the same year the band made their first appearance at the World Pipe Band Championships and gained entry into the Grade 1 final, having achieved second place among fourteen bands in the morning qualifying round. Consistently a top 12 competitor, Police Scotland Fife is a band to watch in the 2016 competition season!
Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums
The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums are musical ambassadors for Colonial Williamsburg and perform there nearly 500 times a year. The Fifes and Drums are composed of boys and girls from the local community aged 14–18. They represent the Virginia State Garrison Regiment of 1778, whose field musicians were vital to commanders for marching the regiment in proper cadence and for beating daily ceremonies—Reveille, the Assembly, the Retreat, and the Tattoo.
Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
Established in 1972, Granby High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the largest NJROTC units in the Hampton Roads Area. They were recognized with The Navy League’s 2011-2012 Most Outstanding NJROTC unit in Area 5 and the #2 NJROTC in the nation and awarded the Naval Service Training Command Distinguished Unit award with academic honors.
Hampton Roads Police Color Guard
With a mission to protect and serve, members of the Chesapeake and Norfolk Police Departments proudly represent their cities in a display of integrity and honor.
Quantico Marine Corps Band
Established in 1918, the Quantico Marine Corps Band is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. With an authorized strength of one officer and 50 enlisted Marines, the band has performed at many recognized civilian events; including the Super Bowl XLI Pregame Show, the 9/11 Memorials at Carnegie Hall and the Town Arts Theatre, Times Square, the Macy’s Thanksgiving and Columbus Day Parades in New York City, numerous appearances at The Virginia International Tattoo, and the Opening Ceremony for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The band’s mission is to provide musical support that will encourage community relations, enhance troop morale, and promote the Marine Corps recruiting program through its demanding performance schedule. As well as musical support, the members of the band also fulfill their duties as Marine Riflemen. In support of the War in Iraq, 17 members of the band were attached to Task Force National Capitol Region and deployed conducting combat operations. These Marines returned to the band in June 2008.
Rhythm Project All Stars
The Rhythm Project is a world percussion ensemble dedicated to the nurturing of self-esteem through individual and cooperative achievement. Founded in 1996 by the Virginia Arts Festival, the Rhythm Project consists of four elementary and middle school groups along with the premiere high school ensemble, the All Stars, who will be performing at this year’s Tattoo.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band
The TRADOC Marching Band supports larger reviews and parades for Headquarters TRADOC and Fort Eustis. The TRADOC Band’s mission is to provide music for Headquarters, TRADOC’s areas of interest by fostering Soldier and family morale, ‘Telling the Army Story’ to the civilian community, and supporting the strategic messages of the Commanding General, TRADOC. The Marching Band is featured at the Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk, Virginia every other year, where it performs for over 30,000 in the largest military tattoo in North America. The Marching Band can also be seen at many area Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day Parades.
U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team
Members of the Drill Team have double duties in the Honor Guard where their duties include Firing Party, Body Bearing Team and Colors. When not involved with their Honor Guard duties, the Drill Team is on the road, representing the Coast Guard in a wide variety of parades, competitions and celebrations.
Coast Guardsman who apply for a position on the Drill Team work closely with members of the present Drill Team to prepare for their first performance. Once a prospect has advanced in his or her initial training they are placed in an actual Drill Team performance. If the member successfully completes the performance with no flaws they are then accepted on the Drill Team where they continue to hone their skills.
In order for the team to become one cohesive unit they practice five days a week for a minimum of two hours each day.
U.S. Fleet Forces Band
Known as “The Finest of the Fleet”, the band is the musical representative for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. The band provides musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries and community events throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley areas of the U.S. and also regularly deploys to Central and South America.
U.S. Marine Corps FAST Co.
These highly trained Marines provide limited duration expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces in support of designated component and geographic combatant commanders in order to protect vital naval and national assets. Conduct other limited duration contingency operations as directed by the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command. Their Mission Essential Tasks are to provide forward deployed, expeditionary antiterrorism and security forces to support designated commanders, protect vital national assets, establish or augment security and to maintain permanent forces to provide security for strategic weapons at designated facilities. At the Tattoo, FAST Co. will provide a military skills demonstration that illustrates the fitness of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus
800 singers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Virginia International Tattoo. The Virginia International Tattoo All-American Chorus is the largest gathering of voices ever to be in the Tattoo! Dr. Craig D. Jessop, Professor of Music and founding Dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University and former music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will conduct the chorus in performing a premiere piece created just for this event. Participating choruses include: Booker T. Washington High School Chorus, Churchland High School Chorus, Granby High School Chorus, Kempsville High School Chorus, Lake Taylor High School Chorus, Landstown High School Chorus, Maury High School Chorale, Norview High School Chorus, Old Dominion University Concert Choir, Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Salem High School, Virginia Children’s Chorus, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Wake & District Pipe Band
Based in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, the Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (Wake & District) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to improve piping and drumming quality, culture and tradition in the region. Established in 2006, the program honors those who sacrifice their lives while serving others, standing for the motto “FOR OUR FALLEN”