In The Neighborhood: Emily Lisker
This piece is from my old friend Emily Lisker, who lives in, and loves, Woonsocket, RI. Her blog and website are in my links. Go check out The Urban Mermaid, and read her pieces about cooking!
Around the Block, Around the World
Yesterday was a magical day. Father Dennis Reardon from All Saints Church came down the street to meet Father Onisie Maror of Saint John the Baptist Romanian church at this weekend’s outdoor church picnic. I have been telling them about each other and how I wanted them to meet to help the neighborhood. It was a great moment to see. They hugged and talked. They both care about the neighborhood and they are both mesmerizing story-tellers. They laugh when I tell them that my family religion was psychiatry.
We need to continue to heal the ‘hood through good connections to improve the lives of the residents. We need to educate the landlords. We have had a lot of incidents requiring emergency assistance from the police force and the fire department, most of which could’ve been prevented had there been some adult supervision.
Our library is the living room to the City for so many residents. It is summer camp and daily free lunch for the kids and an oasis for the seniors. It is a place to get warm and have community in the winter as well. The librarians are all helpful and kind and passionate about their work. Books are salvation. My wish is that we could expand the library further, expand what works well in our city. My fantasy is that we could add a community pool where kids can learn to swim for free, and learn to lifeguard too. We could add a community kitchen where we can teach cooking of all nations. Maybe we could even have the animal rescue adoptions building here too. If I was a philanthropist I would work to make this happen.
At dusk I gave a copy of Sol A Sol to the owner of the Dominican Mini Mart across the street from my house. She was sitting out front with the other mothers and the gang of five-year-olds. She does not speak much English and I can’t speak Spanish but she read the poems aloud in Spanish and the titles in English. I feel like I should learn Spanish as a gift to the neighborhood.
Today I met Tom Thipphavong in the parking lot of the Elks Club when I walked by with Lily. People were dressed up carrying bowls and baskets of food and flowers into the hall. Monks were dressed in orange. He and his friends invited me to join the festivities at noon. They are Lao-Americans and their Buddhist temple is on Railroad Street. Today’s celebration was special, Boun Khao Phansa so they had rented the Elks hall. I told him about Fathers Dennis and Onisie meeting at the festival yesterday. I ran home to get Bill, and we went to the hall in time to have a delicious lunch and meet a lot of new people. They blessed us with chrysanthemums dipped in holy water.
Sunday afternoon we returned to Onisie’s church picnic festival. We met Laurentiu Rotaru, a Romanian opera singer whose wife is from the same little town in Transylvania as Fr. Onisie. He’s performing La Bohème in a few weeks. We met Father Anthony Perkins from St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox onion-domed church on Harris Ave. They are still rebuilding from the fire.
Then my lovely niece Rose and I walked down Edgewater Drive to Harris Pond so Lily could swim. After delicious Romanian picnic leftovers Bill and I watched Bored to Death and laughed until we cried.
A great day. And an amazing weekend.