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!

 

 

 

Pictures Tell A Story Too

Good morning!

As always, 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 taken the time to write a review on Amazon, B&N, Lulu.com, etc.  It means a great deal, and all thoughts and comments are most welcome!  Same goes for this blog, so please “like” or “comment” and share any experiences or thoughts.

Some readers have asked if I could post a few photos of some of the people and places described in the book, and I thought that’d be a great idea!  I’ll post more in the future, but here’s one to start.

First one is a photo of the church that was so important to me growing up, and especially at one of the most difficult periods of my life during my family’s stint living in the Mission Hill Projects, Roxbury, Massachusetts.  It was at this church that I sought solace and refuge from the chaos of my family and life in the projects that stood in the church’s shadow, and where I began to develop a deeper sense of understanding about the world, myself, and my faith.  It’s official title is the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but its best known simply as the Mission Hill Church.  As I mention in the book, we’d infuriate the nuns who taught us at the Catholic School when they’d overhear us call it “Our Lady of Perpetual Motion.”

Growing up, my aunts, uncles, and Grandmother on my mother’s side lived just blocks away, high atop the Mission Hill neighborhood in “triple-deckahs,” as we called them, most within shouting distance of each other.

Mission_Church_Boston_MA_USA

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Locus of Control…What is that again?

Boudreau Book Cover ALC

Good day to all!

If you’re new to this blog, welcome!

Once again, I’m extremely thankful to so many out there who’ve supported my book and all of the kind comments and feedback provided thus far!  It’s been a bit over a month, and I’m humbled and grateful to all!  Book is now available from the publisher at:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=michael+boudreau&type=

And also Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, Ingram Books, and many other platforms.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-ride-in-to-readville-michael-boudreau/1131093564?ean=9781483498881

Just google my name :)..

If you do read the book, your on-line review would be also greatly appreciated!

I’ve had many interesting questions and comments from readers relating to how it is so many children growing up in the same household can have so many different outcomes as adults.  Of the many reasons why this might be so, one psychological principle I mention in the book is called “locus of control,” where we have either an internal or external belief surrounding our ability to control our own destiny, as it were.

Here’s a great article from Psychology Today that gives a brief, but solid overview of this idea.  Enjoy!

tomertu/Shutterstock

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/moments-matter/201708/locus-control

 

Many Thanks!

Boudreau Book Cover ALCGood morning!

Well it’s been about a month since the book launch, and I’m so grateful and humbled by your response thus far–thank you!

LOTS of people have written or remarked saying how cathartic the experience of writing and releasing such a story must have been.  Although in the preface I do add a disclaimer of a sort that catharsis was not a primary goal in telling the tale, I have to admit, now that I’m taking a breath, that sharing the story with others did let some residual air out of my psychological balloon that I didn’t realize was still there.  Childhood memory is powerful stuff!

People are also asking me, so what’s the next story?

Got a few ideas churning, both memoir and fiction, that surround territory I’m most familiar with–family dynamics, social psychology, personal growth through experience and relationships, good and bad, etc.  As usually happens with me and writing, one “aha” moment will arise, and off I go!  Will keep all posted.  I’m also open to any ideas anyone out there might have through a personal experience that may have been deep and impactful.  Not sharing the details, of course, but more the general story–perhaps one that you feel may be relatable or resonate with the rest of us.

I’m so grateful for all the feedback I’ve received so far, much of it by people who DO emphasize, somewhat sadly, how relatable the story is to their own saying things like “I could have written that book.”

As for the story, I’d love for readers to comment here on the blog on any part of the book that may have touched you in a certain way, or to simply get clarity or context about a particular passage.

It would also be greatly and humbly appreciated if any readers are inclined to leave an honest review of the book on any of the platforms where the book is available:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=michael+boudreau&type=

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-ride-in-to-readville-michael-boudreau/1131093564?ean=9781483498881

And of course if you recommend the book to friends or family, it may also be purchased at those sites as well!

Going forward, I’ll be posting excerpts/passages from the book, and talk about some of the back stories to the stories in the book.  Some of that will be based on questions I’ve already been asked, and from things I’d like to further offer readers.

Again, many thanks to all, and please comment away!