My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tribute to my Childhood Best Friend

I recently found out that my former best friend passed away. Her brother was kind enough to write and give me the details as well as other bits of information about the family. I am posting this in case anybody in cyberspace happens to google her name. I would like them to find this blog post and read about Mary Bea.

There aren't enough adjectives to describe the wonderful qualities of my former best friend. Smart, very pretty, talented, fun, nice and loyal. She and I were like glue soon after I moved 2 houses away from her in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1954. There were no other children our age, so we shared our early days together on the weekend and after school. We often took the bus to Boston, joined a very active Girl Scout troop (in my blog post about My Life as a Girl Scout, I wrote her name hoping she'd see it one day), and did what we could together because our stay-at-home mothers didn't work nor drive. She went to a private catholic school for several years, but we went to the same high school. There, she took college courses, went to college, became a teacher (at the same school my mother taught), left teaching, took more college courses and had a few different jobs, her last was about 30 years of working in several departments at Northeastern University, one as the Director of Personnel and her last position was Executive Assistant to the Provost.

During our almost 60 years, we often kept in contact the best we could, but hadn't spoken to each other in maybe 10 years. Years after college, she bought a house with her then boyfriend in Arlington, and invited me for a weekend visit. I then moved to Virginia and lived there for 20 years, but saw her a few times on my return...always meeting up in Lexington. During one lunch, she spent a good deal of time talking about her very good friend, Candy, who had just passed away. I am doing the same for her, although more publicly. Mary came to my mother's funeral, I called after I heard her mother passed. Soon, our Christmas cards stopped being sent, her post cards from afar, birthday as well. Later, I always knew how busy she was at Northeastern, and didn't want to bother her....I wish I had.

On November 22, 2015 I gathered a stack of Boston Globe newspapers to dispose of. I hadn't read any, but on a whim, something told me to flip through the obits (I never do that, as a matter of fact, especially this time as I could hardly see, never mind read anything because I was 3 weeks away from my first eye surgery for cataract removal). Right there, on the very last bottom of one of the 4 or more full pages of obituaries was Mary's name, age and date of death. I read it clearly. A short gasp, and tears formed when I read it over and over.

April 1967 in front of her apartment in Boston or Cambridge. Mary on the right, me on the left.


Pam Beveridge said...

Wonder if a Northeastern Publication might have had an obituary or tribute? Have come across those in my research, though maybe it isn't done as much in this day and age. Wonderful tribute to your friend; hope you hear from her folks, friends or coworkers.

Linda Stufflebean said...

She had a Facebook page where her brother announced her passing. There is an email contact if you haven't been in touch with her family. What a sad surprise it must have been reading that paper.

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you to you both for leaving comments. Pam, I'm not sure what Northeastern does regarding past employees who died. I do have an google alert for her name, but regarding a publication, I'll think about it, because Linda Stufflebean (who wrote five minutes after you gave me a very big clue. Linda, I checked and saw Paul's message. I know I've checked her site and knew she hardly wrote anything, it wasn't really active, other than writing her sister. Anyway, I'll write her younger brother Paul. Thank you for sending along this great clue! I'll write tomorrow.

Kat said...

Barbara I found her mother's obituary on and see that she had a sister in Topsfield Catherine Szymanski. Do you know if her sister is married to a doctor? That is my former doctor's name and he lives in Topsfield. I could try to get a contact for you.
Kathy Sullivan Saugus

Barbara Poole said...

Kathy, what a small world! I can't believe how many people are trying to help me. I knew about Mary's mother's obituary, I didn't go to the funeral, but had called her shortly thereafter. Please don't try to get a contact for me in Topsfield, because on facebook, a friend checked facebook to see if Mary had an account (something I had done in the past, but probably before the death). She had one and there was a message from her brother, with his email stating her death. I wrote him. So, if I hear anything, I'll add it to this post, and probably change some of this post. Thank you so much for your help.

John D. Tew said...

Barbara -- As I have come to believe, immortality lies in being remembered by family and friends. Your tribute to your friend Mary has contributed to her memory and therefore her immortality.

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks for the comment, John. I was thinking of taking this post down because I felt I was intruding into her family's life.