Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Well, maybe it isn’t as easy to be as “happy” these days as it used to be, but I hope everyone is doing their best, as I’m sure we all are, to find joy in as many of the little things as we can as we “wait it out” for the brighter days sure to come to us soon!

Like many others of your who are perhaps as fortunate, I’m working remotely from home.  I haven’t been into the office since mid-March and can honestly say at this point I miss the one hour commute!

With all this time at home, I’ve been thinking about buckling down a bit more on some projects/ideas I have for my next book!  Amazing that “The Last Ride in To Readville” was published/released just over a year ago!  I remain very humbled and grateful at the warm response the book has received, and once things settle a bit more, I’ll resume “physical” marketing efforts (speaking engagements, interviews, etc.).  But for now, I’m working on “virtual marketing” best I can.

Thank you so very much again to all who’ve taken the time to read the book and especially those of you who’ve been so kind as to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.  It truly means a lot!  For those of you who’ve been thinking of doing the same, especially on Amazon, I’d be most grateful!  More reviews on Amazon means more potential readers as the book’s “algorithms” increase so does Amazon’s marketing assist, if you will.

One project in the works is another memoir that captures my Air Force experience and all that it meant to me in creating a new life, away from my family, and away from Readville/Boston for the better part of 30 years!  How getting on that my first flight ever in June of 1975, changed and shaped me in ways I’d have never thought possible.  Off I went into the wild blue yonder, with no more than what might happen next on my mind.  Never mind what 30 years might bring.  Here’s some of my ramblings.

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Basic Training

Eastern Airlines. Well that’s a name I hadn’t seen in decades until just now as I cracked open the dusty orange scrap book that held my earliest memories of my time in the Air Force. Right there on the first page, now permanently stuck beneath the yellowed acetate sheet, was my very first airline tickets that took me on my very first flight away from Boston, my disarrayed family, and my tearful goodbye with my girlfriend as I headed for basic training.

The ticket information was handwritten on a carbon copy dated June 13, 1975, a Friday, and showed Flight 293 departing Boston at 10:25 AM and arriving in Atlanta, Georgia, at 1:15 PM, the first leg of my trip to San Antonio, Texas. I smiled as I could suddenly see and hear the television commercials they’d show on Channel 38 between periods of Bruins’ games back in the 1970’s. A majestic, shiny airliner climbing higher and higher through a blue sky, racing past puffy clouds, then making a sudden, swooping turn to the right as the narrator said in his deepest voice, “Eastern Airlines. The wings of man.”

I also remembered exactly how it felt as the plane first taxied down the runway, then accelerated so fast and powerfully it pinned me back in my seat, prompting me to begin a sudden torrent of silent “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys.” Just as it seemed the plane couldn’t race and I couldn’t pray any faster, the pilot lifted us up into the wild blue yonder in a mere forty-five seconds. Once at cruising altitude, the excitement and fear of what would soon be the reality of basic training began to turn to stomach butterflies.

After finally landing in San Antonio, I made my way to the designated meeting area that was stamped on my orders, and joined up with all of the other young, scared looking men and women who were starting to gather there from flights all around the country. The sign above the door read “Waiting Lounge for Basic Trainees.” It looked and felt more like a group of prisoners awaiting sentencing. We chatted nervously amongst ourselves, most wondering, I’m sure, what in the world were we thinking.

At long last, a very stern, very muscular guy in a crisp tan uniform with four stripes on his sleeve and wearing a broad-brimmed hat, the trademark of the Military Training Instructor or “MTI”, came striding into the room. You could hear a pin drop as he began shouting a barrage of instructions at us, the first of which was to keep our mouths shut. We didn’t yet know what standing at attention truly was, but I could see everyone trying to figure it out as we all went rigid, afraid to even blink.

The MTI, we learned, was Staff Sergeant Stalsby, who in what I felt was an unnecessarily aggressive tone, spent the next five minutes telling us exactly how worthless we were and to line up in two lines, one men, one women, get outside to the curb, and get on the designated “Blue Goose” bus that would take us to Lackland Air Force Base and be our last ride in a motor vehicle for the next six weeks. My motley crew of just the men somehow finally managed to stow our luggage and get seated on the bus. It was near midnight by now, and our heads began to bob as we listened to the MTI scream at us that for the next six weeks he would be our father, our mother, and our girlfriend so we’d better get used to it.

The bus lurched to a halt in front of the “chow hall,” and Staff Sergeant Stalsby, who’d become quiet, resumed shouting, creating a stampede of tired recruits that poured off of the bus and assembled themselves into a crude formation awaiting the next verbal onslaught. All the while screaming at us how worthless we were, the MTI managed to organize us into a single line and marched us into the chow hall where a second MTI took over the yelling, instructing us on the proper procedure to go through the “chow line.”

We were to stare straight ahead, move in a “side step,” from right to left, and when asked by the server what we wanted, to make our request beginning and ending with the word “sir.” Although it was almost one in the morning, the food was leftovers from the earlier meal provided to recruits already in training. Starving, I finally arrived in front of the server who asked me what I’d like.

In my thick Boston accent I said “Sir! I’d like a piece of “pawk,” some “kawn on the kawb,” and some “pahdaydahs, sir!” The server, also a recruit but clearly my superior since he was already a basic trainee, just stared at me.

“What did you say?” he finally asked impatiently.  I repeated what I thought was a perfectly clear request, but again, I got just the blank stare in return.

Sighing he said, “Tell you what Airman, just point at it for me will ya?”

After eating, we were finally brought to our barracks, issued linens to make the beds, then it was lights out after an exhausting day.

Homesickness quickly set in. Especially those first few days when I lied awake in the middle of the night with everything quiet other than the cacophony of snores that echoed through the stifling open bay barracks that housed me and my fellow recruits. I was still very anxious about my family’s well-being back home, and of course I missed my girlfriend. Why hadn’t I just gone to college, I thought in regret, even if it was only to a state school?

My imagination would roam wild about what could be happening back home as I’d sob softly in the dark feeling the isolation. I’d heard some of the other guys as well and I was sure they were feeling as equally insecure and homesick. As dawn approached, my apprehension would build at knowing the inevitable roar of the MTI barging in would come precisely at five-o’clock in the morning to roust fifty young men in t-shirts and “tighty whiteys” from their perfectly aligned rows of bunks into an organized frenzy of quick showers and shaves and another day of marching and shouting in the Texas heat.

In spite of what seemed like endless such days, deep down I knew I really wanted to be there and to face this and whatever challenges lay ahead. As a consolation, I’d think, somewhat gratefully, somewhat disappointedly, that although Air Force basic training was “demanding,” it surely must pale from what I’d heard about the Marine Corps, almost my first choice.

Paging through the old scrapbook now, some forty-two years later, over twelve years since I’d retired, I reflected with pride, amazement, and most of all appreciation at what became a twenty-eight plus year career in the Air Force. One that included tours across Europe and the United States, countless hours in the air, and above all, the privilege of having served side-by-side with hundreds of others, who like me, took that first flight to San Antonio from there “somewhere”, and of whom so many of which, I’ll cherish always.

Hyde Park Homecoming!

Happy Saturday everyone!

It was a busy February marketing my book, “The Last Ride In To Readville,” punctuated by a wonderful opportunity to give a presentation/reading of the book on the 27th of February to the Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Association–courtesy of Mr. Joe Smith of Fairmount Hill!

Fairmount Hill is a neighborhood, like Readville, that makes up a part of the overall neighborhood of Hyde Park, a part of the city of Boston.  The presentation was held at the Boston Police Academy on Williams Avenue, Hyde Park, and just a stone’s throw from Cleary Square, Hyde Park High School, and so many neighborhood places prominent in my high school years and in the book!

There was a wonderful turnout by Hyde Park/Readville residents that comprised a group of 50-60 people.  This was my first public presentation/reading event since the book was published, and it was extra special and enjoyable to do so in front of local residents who could relate so well to many of the settings and stories from the book.

I was also priviliged to have Ms. Mary Ellen Gambon, a reporter for the Boston Bulletin, Hyde Park Bulletin, and a freelance reporter for dozens of other publications.  She is also the Head Writer and Associate Editor at “It’s All About Arts Magazine.  I’d like to thank her for the awesome article she wrote about the presentation that was placed on the front page of the 03/05/20 issue of the Hyde Park Bulletin, and in the Boston Bulletin as well.  thanks to Mary Ellen, people from every neighborhood in Boston will have the opportunity to learn about the book!

FHNA Pic 2

Here’s a link, please check it out!


Many attendees stayed after to share their personal family stories and how the book related in so many ways to so much of their childhood and growing up experiences, and to share memories of growing up in and around Hyde Park and Boston.  I also had the privilege to offer and personalize books to those interested as well!

Next up, I’ll be collaborating with Mary Ellen on an article for the “Its all About Art” magazine, and rescheduling a podcast with Jed Doherty, host of “Jedlies Reading With Your Kids,” nominated for an iHart radio award.


Check it out!

Reading With Your Kids

Lastly, so many thanks, as always to those who’ve purchased and read the book.  Your feedback means so very much, and please consider leaving a review if you can.  It goes so far to inform potential readers and increase exposure.

You can click on the “Leave a Review” tile at the top of the page, or go to Amazon.com and other platforms as well!

See you soon!

Click to access hydepark_bulletin_pages_1_to_16__05march2020.pdf

Click to access hydepark_bulletin_pages_1_to_16__05march2020.pdf

Click to access hydepark_bulletin_pages_1_to_16__05march2020.pdf

Click to access hydepark_bulletin_pages_1_to_16__05march2020.pdf


Happy New Year! February Sale!

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s been a good while since I’ve had the opportunity to post, and great to be back!  Hope the holidays were kind to all!

It’s been an exciting few months promoting “The Last Ride in to Readville,” with many kind comments and reviews, and the great news that the book has been picked up and included in a number of libraries throughout the greater Boston area, including my own town here in Tyngsboro, MA!

Tyngsboro Library

The book was also added the Boston Public Library, with a copy available at the Central Library, and two copies available at the Hyde Park Branch!  The Minuteman Library also picked it up, with a copy available at the Woburn Public Library.  So many thanks, again, to so many for their interest in making that happen.

I’ve also got a couple of interviews/speaking appearances coming up soon as well, and very much looking forward to the opportunity to discuss the genesis and evolution of writing the book!

First, I’ll be appearing on the Reading With Your Kids Podcast – An iHeartRadio Best Kids & Family Podcast Award Nominee!!!  This podcast originates and is broadcast from Readville, MA, making it an even more exciting opportunity.  Check it out at:

Reading With Your Kids Podcast – An iHeartRadio Best Kids & Family Podcast Award Nominee!!!

Although the podcast is essentially about reading with children and aimed at the host’s audience that is primarily parents, teachers and authors, he felt they would enjoy learning about my book and maybe learning a little bit about the beautiful neighborhood of Readville!


Once the podcast is available to check out, I’ll post the link so you can listen in!

Next, I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker at the monthly Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Association (FHNA) meeting usually hosted at the Boston Police Academy on Williams Avenue, Hyde Park, MA, on the fourth Thursday of each month.   I’m coordinating with the Chairman of the FHNA for the precise date, and I’ll advertise that here and via social media once confirmed!

Thank you again to all who’ve taken the time to leave a review either on Amazon, Goodreads, LULU (publisher’s site) or elsewhere, as it is greatly appreciated, and goes a long way towards promoting the book to others.

If you’ve been thinking about leaving a review, please do!  All feedback is gratefully appreciated!

I’ve got a couple of other projects percolating, and will provide an update soonest.

Lastly, for anyone interested in receiving a signed copy of the book, it’s on sale for only $10.00 (plus $5.00) S&H for the month of February!  Just send a check or money order for $15.00 to:

Mike Boudreau, P.O. Box 494, Tyngsboro, MA, 01879.

It’ll be on its way ASAP!

Till next post!  Thanks to all!

Back from Sabbatical!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

After a temporary sabbatical, including a wonderful two-week tour all around Great Britain, it’s great to be back in the blogosphere! Here’s a picture of me and my wife Jody, as we prepare to head out on the first day of our adventure in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland, along with a couple of other representative pictures. It was fourteen days of “on the bus, off the bus,” but worth every stop! So much to see, and even two weeks felt too short!

UK pic 1.jpg
UK pic 2.jpg

UK pic 3.jpg

As always, first many thanks to all of you who’ve read “The Last Ride in to Readville,” and especially to those of you who have so kindly taken the time to recommend it to others and to provide me with excellent and honest feedback either directly or through your reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and at the Kirkus Review website.

Always eager for more of your thoughts! So, for those of you who’ve perhaps been considering leaving a review, it’d be most greatly appreciated! Either click on “Leave a Review” here on the page, or you may do so by clicking any of these links:



Kirkus Reviews:

Thanks again!

In a bit of further good news, I’m working with the Boston Public Library to have the book placed among their collection at branches throughout the city! Hoping to start with the Hyde Park Branch since its most closely associated with Readville, of course! More to follow, hopefully soon.

Thought I’d pick up with posting photos that bring some imagery to thoughts, events, or people described in the books pages. Next book (no hints yet lol) will include many, hopefully!

In Chapter 3, I describe my mother’s obsessive tracking of her daily medications and glucose levels:

“She was on over ten medications ranging from baby aspirin to a psychotropic that in theory helped her manage her anxiety attacks. Her go to strategy, really her only strategy, throughout her life was to become “anxious” when faced with any situation that displeased her or to explain away what to all of us kids was her inexplicable and mind-numbing helplessness or her apathy when it came to our nurturing, well-being, and chiefly our vulnerability to Georgie’s threats and terror tactics.

Save for the Clozapine which was to be taken four times a day, all of the other medications were to be ingested once daily, say all at once in the morning. Easy. But oh no, not for Trudy, who turned what should have been a simple regimen for most people into a complex scheduling system that featured spacing out each of the medicines in bizarre intervals and tracking, to the minute, the time between each gulp of orange juice that she’d use to wash the medication down in exaggerated fashion. She kept dozens of clocks all over the house, any of which would bong or clang at the top or bottom of every hour signaling her that it was time. If she happened to be on the toilet and heard one of them go off, she’d clamor to her feet, pull up her diaper, and race to her pill cases and bottle of orange juice.

After swallowing the pill with an audible gulp, she’d dutifully write down the date and time in her chicken scratch into one of dozens of small, colorful spiral notebooks that littered the end table and the coffee table, and that were strewn on the floor all around her chair. There must have been at least five years’ worth of her useless scribbling. It was the same with the incessant and needless checking of her blood glucose levels. Each result was catalogued by date and time.

Whenever anyone took her to her monthly doctor’s appointment, she’d be sure to bring along a couple of her latest log books to show the doctor with the pride of a three year old who’d drawn a picture all by herself. He’d always say to her without looking up as he made his notes, “That’s wonderful Gertrude, my, aren’t you organized?”

Here’s a page from one of her notebooks.

Mom Log.jpg

Looking back, it was truly tragic in many ways that this, along with so many other chronic and neurotic behaviors had come to dominate the very last years of her life, in spite of so much encouragement against it.

Again, great to be back!

Very best to all, and look for more frequent posts soon!

Now in New Hampshire and More Pictures Tell the Story!

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Been a bit since I’ve been able to post, so thought I’d give a quick update on a new venue I was privileged enough to place the book for sale, and share with you a few representative photos of people and places described in Chapter 9.

First, I’m excited to announce that “The Last Ride in to Readville,” is now available at a great new consignment store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire, called “Hand Made in….”  The proprietors, Mindy and Steve, have a similar store in Wilton, New Hampshire, and will be opening up a third location in Portland, Maine, very soon.  The stores are full of incredibly unique arts, crafts, products, books, etc., all produced by local artists.  Go check them out if you can!  Here’s a pic of the cool book display they put together for me, and the store itself.



The events in Chapter 9 occur during our short but impactful time living in the Mission Hill Projects in Roxbury, MA, in the late 1960’s.  In one scene in the narrative, I take a ride with my father as he heads out to take care of some errands or, rather, conduct some “Georgie business” as we used to describe it.

“Wanna take a ride when you’re done?” Georgie said to me one Saturday morning.
It was April 1968, and I was just finishing up a bowl of soggy puffed wheat. Puffed wheat was always in abundance, courtesy of the United States government as part of that regular pallet of surplus food they’d provide to us each month or so. It came in giant clear plastic bags and was pretty ghastly stuff. It looked more like packing material than something as edible as cereal. We’d put off eating it as the very last option when the pantry became bare of what we used to call “real food.” That was our euphemism for anything name-brand and not identified by generic bold black letters on a plain white label with words such as “flour,” “cornmeal,” or “raisins.” The puffed wheat was made even more off-putting by the watered-down powdered milk we poured over it that was sponged up so completely it was like balancing a spoonful of cotton balls when you tried to eat it.

This was back at that bleak apartment in the Mission Hill projects at 33 Plant Court. All in the Family and the Eddie Jones show were my parents’ and the nation’s prime-time favorites, and James Brown and the Beatles dominated the AM radio. As I sat eating at the table in the cramped roach-infested kitchen, I could hear a familiar voice coming from the black-and-white television in the living room bellowing “I have a dream!” It had been a few days since his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words were being replayed all over the television and radio stations. At eleven years old, I found myself both incredibly sad and now fearful following that tragedy.
We’d lived in that apartment in Roxbury since our most recent eviction from the first floor of a triple-decker on Poplar Street in Roslindale. I had especially loved that place because it was just down the street from the new library in Roslindale Square, from where I borrowed books like Johnny Tremain and The Red Badge of Courage and spent countless hours reading on my top bunk at night with a flashlight or listening to the Bruins play hockey through the earphone of my old nine-volt transistor radio that was hidden under my pillow when I was supposed to be sleeping. I continued that practice once we’d moved to the projects in Roxbury….”

Here’s me at the time of the infamous ride at about 10 or 11 years old…

Mike Projects

…Dad eased the Chevy out of the parking lot and onto the side road leading to Huntington Avenue. Even though he was only forty years old, he drove like a nervous old man and always used the old-fashioned hand signals to indicate his turns, sticking his arm straight out to indicate a left turn or positioning his arm at a ninety-degree angle to indicate a right. He took a right just opposite Spar’s Drugstore, spinning the steering wheel smartly in that direction while bracing the heel of his right hand, fingers spread, against the center top of the wheel, then let it go, causing the steering wheel to spin back on its own to the left and the wheels to straighten. It was one of his patented moves. We were headed north up Huntington Street toward Copley Square, so I knew he wasn’t going to check the mail, since the post office was in the opposite direction.

Here’s a picture of Spars Drug Store, much as it looked in 1968 when we took this ride.

Spars Drug Store

In an upbeat mood that night, Georgie stacked up the “Victrola” with a thick pile of scratchy 33 RPM albums by the likes of Dean Martin, Theresa Brewer, Eddy Arnold, and my mother’s favorite, Tammy Wynette, and we made Jiffy Pop popcorn on the stove and drank real Coke that my father stopped and bought on the way home, and we all sat around the living room listening as my father crooned along from his recliner.

He had a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder with a small microphone, and we’d take turns theatrically performing into it, then play it back to listen to ourselves, giggling with hysterics as we ridiculed each other. As much as my mother tried to model herself after Tammy Wynette, my father seemed to do the same with Dean Martin. He even worked on combing his hair to look as much as he could like the famous Italian singer, although he denied it when Ma would tease him. Actually, he didn’t sound too bad when he didn’t try too hard to sound exactly the same as the original. Maybe a martini would have helped.”

Here are my parents, looking very much the part in their role as Tammy Wynette and Dean Martin (notice the cigarette), respectively, as I describe them…  Enjoy!

Ma Tammy WynettetDad Dean Martin

People Picture and Some Good News!

Happy Friday everyone!

Got a request from some readers to share some more “people pictures” particularly any showing “us kids” as we were growing up in and around the Boston area as described in the book.  I’m doing some digging, and putting together a “gallery” that I’ll be posting soon so stay tuned!  Meanwhile, here’s one that goes way back to about 1958!

Boudreau Kids 1958

At this point in time, only the four oldest of us were born, with David, Eddie, and Susan to come along later.  Right to left, the picture starts with me, then my sister Judy, second oldest, and Diane, the oldest, holding Loretta.  Note the snazzy, if not very busy clashing of the wallpaper, draperies, and the couch!   Again, more photos to follow soon.

As for the good news!

As of this week, my book is now available at two of the finest independent bookstores in the Massachusetts, the first, The Andover Bookstore in Andover Massachusetts. It is one of four stores managed by Hugobooks.

The Andover store is the second oldest continually operating bookstore in America! Founded in 1809, and celebrated its 200th birthday in October 2009. Here’s a picture and address! It’s an awesome store with a wonderful staff–go check it out if you’re in the area!

Andover Book Store.jpg

74 Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts 01810Tel: 978-475-0143
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am-7:00pm Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm

The book is also available at the “Book Rack,” an amazing store opened in beautiful Newburyport, Massachusetts, back in 1972! Again, an incredible, knowledgeable, and friendly staff await your visit! Check it out.

If you live in New England and haven’t yet been to Andover or Newburyport, they’re  beautiful and quaint.  Newburypot is a seaside community with LOTS of history, great architecture, shops, and restaurants. Here’s a pic and the info!

Book Nook Newburyport MA.jpg

58 State Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
Tel: 978-462-8615

Spring/Summer/Fall Hours (April thru December): Mon–Thur 10:00am-6:00pm · Friday-Saturday 9:00am–9:00pm · Sunday 9:00am–6:00pm

Winter Hours (January thru March): Mon–Fri 10:00am-6:00pm · Sat 10:00am–8:00pm · Sunday 10:00am–6:00pm

Thanks to all!

Kirkus Indie Review!

Happy Friday to all!

Received my Kirkus Review yesterday! An important one I wanted to share, and very pleased with the result :)..Would love to see your reviews as well if you’d like to leave one on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Ingram Books etc.!    Here’s the text!  Thank you and happy reading!

by Michael Boudreau

“In his debut memoir, a writer takes readers on a trip through his family’s troubled past, determined to find closure and forgive his dysfunctional parents for the hurt inflicted on him and his siblings.

Boudreau was born in 1956 in Boston, the third of eight kids, all of whom still bear psychological scars from a poverty-stricken, abusive childhood. He begins his story near the end. He and his wife were buying food and supplies for his 81-year old, twice widowed mother, Gert. By this time, only Boudreau and two of his siblings would have anything to do with “Ma.” He entered Gert’s house in Readville (a neighborhood in Boston) and painful, angry memories of a childhood marked by instability and neglect came flooding back: “By the time I reached my eighteenth birthday and enlisted in the air force, we’d easily moved more than seventy-five times,” always leaving in their wake a stack of unpaid bills. The visit serves as a fulcrum for Boudreau’s narrative, which vacillates between past and present as he reviews his life and family relationships. According to the author, his father, George, was “unpredictable, violent, and abusive” while his mother always assumed a posture of helplessness, standing by passively while her husband inflicted his beatings on one child or another. She attempted “to infect us all with her neuroses,” the author recalls. At 15, after a verbal and physical confrontation with his father, Boudreau permanently left home, moving into a Boston commune to live with his older sister, Diane. Plenty of justifiable rage flows from these pages, although it is packaged in articulate prose and wrapped in psychological theory. Some passages describing the author’s parents are very personal and a bit uncomfortable to read. Of his father, he writes: “He always took his full upper and lower dentures out the minute he came home…. He’d wrap them in the snot-filled handkerchief he always kept stuffed in his back pocket.” In this candid and moving book, readers will feel the constant battle between Boudreau’s training in community social psychology and his ever-present baggage of having been raised by emotionally damaged parents.

A brutally honest, engaging account that’s revealing, disturbing, and quite poignant.”

If you’d like to review in on-line as well, Just go to https://www.kirkusreviews.com/ or cut and past this link in your browser:


Thank you and see you soon!



Me, a Citizenship Award?

Happy Hump Day to All!

Again, I’d like to begin this post as I always do, by thanking everyone who’s supported my book/blog for their interest, support, and kind feedback!

A special thanks to those of you who’ve purchased the book and taken the time to write a review on Amazon, B&N, Lulu.com, etc. It means a great deal, and all honest reviews, thoughts and comments are most welcome and truly appreciated! I’ve added a new menu tile to make access to sites, such as Amazon, etc., just a click away.

In today’s post I continue on with sharing photos that provide some background/backstory on how they relate to the story and/or setting in the book.  In Chapter 10, I describe how when in the fourth grade I was attending the John D. Philbrick School in Roslindale (a Boston neighborhood), and was sent home with a sealed envelope addressed to my parents.  Here’s the school:

John D. Philbrick School

I couldn’t imagine the contents, but trudged home full of dread at what it could possibly contain.  What had I done wrong?  Here’s an excerpt:

“You do a good job,” she said. “I trust you with everything, you know that. You were always a good boy. I remember the time you won that award in fourth grade for being a polite citizen.”

It was surprising that she remembered that, yet alone brought it up. “It was a citizenship award, Ma,” I said. “Yeah, I remember. I got it when I was in the fourth grade at the Philbrick School in Roslindale.”……….

“Oh, yes, that’s right. It was a special award for being the politest boy in the whole school!” she said.
It was toward the end of the school year, and my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. McMillan, had asked me to stay after class, where she handed me a sealed envelope that had my mother’s name handwritten on it in Mrs. McMillan’s flowing penmanship.

“Now you take this straight home and give it to your mother, okay?” instructed Mrs. McMillan. “And don’t you open it,” she added.

I couldn’t imagine anything I’d done wrong to deserve a note home to my parents, but I only said, “Yes, Mrs. McMillan.” I walked, somber, over the two blocks back to the apartment, full of wonder and dread at what could be in that envelope and confused that I couldn’t figure it out. Ma was in the kitchen drinking tea at the table and smoking a cigarette. WRKO was on the radio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary were singing “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

I handed Ma the mysterious envelope and just stood there waiting for whatever shoe was about to fall. Ma tore it open, read it, smiled, and then put it on the table before bending down to give me a quick hug.

“You’re the best boy in the whole school!” she exclaimed.

I could only manage a soft, “What?”

“It says right here: ‘Michael David Boudreau has been selected as the citizenship award recipient for the John D. Philbrick Elementary School for school year 1966, signed, James R. Lernigan, principal’!”…..

“And do you remember Dad bought you a bike for winning?” Ma was now saying.

“Wow, I’d forgotten about that,” I said, although I hadn’t.

It was a couple of nights later, and my parents had gone out. I found myself once again staring out of the living room window in the dark, straining for any sign of their return. They were later than usual this time, and my heart was racing with a growing fear that this was going to be the night they really wouldn’t be coming back. When they finally pulled up, I raced out to the kitchen and back to my abandoned homework, pretending I’d been doing it all along. Now I was able to concentrate, and my anxiety was starting to slip away.

Ma came through the apartment front door, passed through the living room, and then walked down the hall to the kitchen. “Hey you,” she said, in a cheerier-than-usual voice. “Your father needs you downstairs to help him carry something.”

All I could think was maybe he’d hit his numbers again and was bringing Ma home a new television or something for their bedroom. I pushed away from my geography homework and ran down the two flights of stairs to the front of the house, where my father was waiting on the porch, grinning about something.

“Whaddya think, pal?” Dad asked, pleased with himself. Still in his work clothes, he was steadying a shiny new Columbia Flyer bicycle by the handlebars as my eyes swept over it in disbelief.
“Is that for me?” I said in hopeful expectation, afraid to get excited and wondering what in the world was happening and why. Was it the citizenship award? It must be!

“Yup, ain’t it a fuckin beauty? Take it for a spin!” Dad said, carrying it down to the sidewalk. It was a beauty all right. It was candy-apple red with white pinstripes, and it had huge chrome fenders that reflected the brilliant light shining down from the streetlamp. The handlebars were just as shiny, with long red and white tassels streaming down from the white rubber grips. It really was a new bike, and it really was mine.

I couldn’t find a surviving photo of that bike, but this cool ad from around that time in the 1960’s gives a great idea of my prize!

Columbia Flyer Ad (1)

As I was looking for any photos relative to my time at the John D. Philbrick, I stumbled upon this oldie but goodie–it shows me, in unnecessarily short trousers, participating in the 1966 or so school’s May Day dance in the schoolyard.

May Day Dance

Thanks to all for reading, and please “like” this blog if you’re so inclined!  That way, you’ll get e-mail notifications each time there is a new post!

Thanks to all for reading, and hope to see you back here soon!

Significant Emotional Events

Boudreau First Communion (2)Happy Weekend to All!

Again, I’d like to begin this post as I always do, by thanking everyone who’s supported my book/blog for their interest, support, and kind feedback!

A special thanks to those of you who’ve purchased the book and taken the time to write a review on Amazon, B&N, Lulu.com, etc. It means a great deal, and all honest reviews, thoughts and comments are most welcome and truly appreciated!  I’ve added a new menu tile to make access to sites, such as Amazon, etc., just a click away.

Thought I’d continue on with sharing photos that provide some background/backstory on how they relate to the story and/or setting in the book, and the photos today relate to what psychologists (or anyone) might call some significant emotional events, described in the book.

The first photo above is the one seen on the back cover of the book with me in my Holy First Communion suit, taken just hours after making my First Communion at our Lady of Lourdes Church, in Jamaica Plain, MA, and described in Chapter 3.  This was and is a significant emotional event for most Catholics as we progress across our sacramental journey, and moreover, as I mention in the book, it came with some perks too like money and candy from friends and relatives!  Here’s a picture of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Jamaica Plain.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church

As I tell you in the book, the joy of the day was quickly extinguished when my parents made it clear they expected me to wear my shiny new “Pat Boone” suit to public school on Monday, the next day following the festivities.  I of course, was horrified, because as proud as I had been on fulfilling the sacrament of my First Holy Communion, I did not want to face the bullying I was sure to encounter from my public school cohorts for wearing it.

In spite of my protests, my mother shoved me out the door to make the slow walk to school, full of dread, that would take me up and over intersection of Washington and Green Street, Jamaica Plan, via the elevator train stations’ span of thickly painted green stairs over to the other side of the street.  Boston’s elevator train system has long been dismantled, but here’s a photo of what it pretty much looked like that day in the early 1960’s.  This was Dover Station, almost a common mirror image found long the train’s route.

I’d crossed over to the other side, just 50 yards from the school, when I decided I’d just play hooky!  My first “sin” committed so soon after my recently obtained sanctification lol.  I went back to the apartment and to my mother’s extreme displeasure, and things got even more dicey when Dad got home that evening!

Green Street El Train

I hope you enjoy the photos, and I’ll continue the “photographic tour” of some parts of the book in the days ahead!

Thanks to all, have a wonderful weekend, and hope to see you back here soon!

Another Picture Sets the Stage

Happy Weekend to All!

Again, I’d like to begin by thanking everyone who’s supported my book/blog for their interest, support, and kind feedback!

A special thanks to those of you who’ve purchased the book and taken the time to write a review on Amazon, B&N, Lulu.com, etc. It means a great deal, and all honest reviews, thoughts and comments are most welcome and truly appreciated!

Same goes for this blog, so please “like” or “comment” and share any experiences or thoughts.

Thought I’d continue sharing photos, and provide some background/backstory on how they relate to the story and/or setting in the book.

Sandford Street

Today’s picture is of my mother’s house on Sanford Street in Readville, Massachusetts–the central location where the story is set.  The house itself served as part of the inspiration to write the book, and helped define the story-telling “device” that I decided to use.

As the opening scene in the book describes, I found myself begrudgingly in the Hanscom AFB commissary (along with my wife) doing our bi-monthly shopping for my mother, that we’d dutifully “schlepp” to her in Readville, and endure our typically very short visit, say 15-20 minutes.

It was after one of these trips to Readville, when it dawned on me that my relationship to my mother had been reduced to just those 15 minute visits, every two weeks, and just how pitiable that was.   And I spent more and more time thinking about just how “sideways” my family still was after so many years, and how’d it get, and stay, that way?

The idea for the book sprang from that, and after exploring the possibilities on how to ‘structure” the story, I hit on the idea:

“Why not tell the story moving back and forth in time over the course of just a 15 minute to Sanford Street.”

From that point I found I was able to take a typical visit to my mother’s house and turn it into a series of “snapshots” that brings the reader in and out of time to see glimpses of “how it got that way” with my family.

The photo shows the blue house on Sanford Street, and the cracked and broken curb on which I’d pull up to in either my truck or Jody’ BMW, two passenger side tires perched up on an angle.  Somehow that cracked and broken curb seemed most appropriate to the story.

The window on the right is the one in which my mother would wait, furtively, behind the sheer curtain as she watched us unload her groceries, etc., and waddle up the walk as described in Chapter 1 in the book.

It was in this house that my mother died.

My prayers for her, and my family, are constant–and the stories continue.

Many thanks again and see you back here soon I hope!