Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 10-31-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 ENTERTAINMENT OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 6, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION fearless. Shopping with my mother as a mere teenager, she embarrassed my mother by not only asking for a sample of candy before buying, but then changing her mind because it was stale. Horrors! My mother would have taken a pound just to be polite, but not her sister. Another of my favorite stories occurred years later when one of the nuns at the local parochial school in Cohoes, N.Y., had roughed up one of her kids. She walked into that school the following morning and marched right down the hall, into the classroom, and in front of God and a roomful of kids, told the offending lady in black exactly what she thought of her behavior. No one was going to hurt one of her kids while she still had breath in her body. This was years after my own mother had forced me to cut off my beautiful long hair for no good reason other than the nuns had declared they wanted it cut. But getting back to the food, we still chuckle at how we were unfail- ingly greeted when we visited Aunt Edna. Knock at her door and her first words were invariably, "Did you eat?" Quickly followed by, "What can I get for you?" Telling her you weren't hungry was like whistling into the wind. Surely there must be something she could get for you. Even once her eight children were grown and living on their own, she delighted in not only feeding them, but sending them home with what they hadn't been able to consume during their visit. Her sauce, how- ever, had become the jewel in her crown of making sure they never went without. Once a week with- out fail she made a vat of spaghetti sauce and then put it up in jars for her kids to take home when they came to visit, a routine that meant as much to her as to them. In fact, as she neared her 83rd birthday, hospitalized and in failing health, after an honest conversa- tion with her doctor she made the conscious decision to stop all treat- ment. Life as she had known it was over. She would no longer be able to drive, to do the things she had loved, and she would no longer be able to make her sauce (yes, she really said that). She was ready to let nature take its course. Family and friends came from near and far for one last visit and to say goodbye. She was just as bright, alert, and chipper as ever as she entertained one and all from her hospital bed. My defining and most telling memory of my beloved Aunt Edna was relayed to me after the fact by family who had been there on the evening before she died, when she asked her younger daughter Jackie if there was food for the visitors. Jackie assured her that cookies were pro- vided in the waiting room, but that just didn't cut it. "You have to feed the people" was the quote I heard. My mother's youngest sister, my Aunt Joan, told me she went home that evening and baked a bread to bring to the hospital the next after- noon. It was never needed. Just a few scant hours later, one of my favorite aunts quietly and peacefully slipped away. This week marks the 10th anniversary of her passing. I miss her still. Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland. RHEA From Page One Mexican holiday, Martínez, who was born in Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas, said not to mistake it for "Mexican Halloween." It's not even really a celebration, she said, but a commemoration, a way to honor and remember one's ancestors through art, food, music, altars, and other activities. Nov. 1 is typically a day to remem- ber children who have died, while Nov. 2 is dedicated more to elders, she said. In recent years, Day of the Dead has become a little commercialized, she said, and while some images related to the holiday show skeletons with sin- ister looks on their faces, that isn't an accurate portrayal. "We don't want people to think it's frightening," she said. As for people wearing Day of the Dead makeup as part of a Halloween costume, Martínez said it does bother her. "It shouldn't be a costume," she said. "It's tradition." When she was growing up, Day of the Dead wasn't recognized much out- side of the Southwest, she said. She's lived in Rhode Island for 30 years, and the first years here, she said there was an active Mexican commu- nity that hosted events. Because these events turned into a museum or spec- tacle, she said she thinks that's why they stopped hosting them. For the past five years, Martínez has hosted a Dia de Los Muertos event at the Southside Cultural Center in Providence, set up a community altar, and had a procession to Grace Church Cemetery, as well as educational opportunities for local students. Her trip this year means Rhode Islanders are left without this event, but Martínez said she plans to contin- ue it next year and hopes to find some inspiration in Mexico to bring back to Rhode Island. She added that she wasn't aware of any public celebrations in R.I., saying it's more of a personal ceremony for families anyway. "In a way I'm glad there's nothing public," she said. For those who are looking for a more public observance, there will be a Dia de los Muertos Parade and Festival on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, 175 William F. McClellan Highway in East Boston, Mass. The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, will host a Day of the Dead Celebración Familiar/Family Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. Martínez said she wants "to encour- age families to talk about their deceased so kids know not just about their ancestors" but also about their living relatives, she said. Many second generation Latino kids that she works with don't know what their parents went through to get to the U.S., she said, adding that they need to sit, talk and learn about each other. The holiday is not necessarily about grieving deceased family members but about remembering them, she said. As part of her observance of Day of the Dead in Mexico, Martínez said, on Nov. 1, she and her family will bake bread, and relatives will come over with food to spend most of the after- noon and into the evening exchanging stories. Family members create and decorate an altar, referred to as an ofrenda, with handmade sugar skulls, as well as pho- tographs, flowers, and food – maybe a favorite dish of the deceased or your favorite dish that you want to share, Martínez said. It's believed that the deceased return to enjoy the offerings, she said. The next day they'll wake up around 4 a.m., she said, and bake bread and make tamales before joining a pro- cession of other people leaving their homes to walk to the cemetery, where they will be all day long, telling more stories about their loved ones who have died. They'll also clean the tombstones on their family grave sites and create altars on the graves, she said. Martínez said she's set up an altar in her house in Rhode Island but it's not the same as in Mexico when almost the whole town participates, she said. "Family members come from all over. It's not unusual for someone like me to come from a far place," Martínez said. "It's festive. I'm excited just talking about it." DAY OF THE DEAD From Page One 'Cradling the Souls,' 'Mass for the Unarmed Child' at Grace Church PROVIDENCE – Collegium Ancora's next concert will take place on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. "Cradling the Souls: Durufle Requiem" and the premiere of "Requiem from Mass for the Unarmed Child" by Dunn/ Bussewitz-Quarm will be performed at Grace Church, 300 Westminster St. There will be a pre-concert talk by Linda Finn of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, followed by Maurice "Durufle's Requiem" for choir and cham- ber orchestra, including strings, harp, trumpets and timpani. Also on the program is the premiere of "Requiem from The Unarmed Child" by Dunn/Bussewitz-Quarm commissioned by Collegium Ancora. This movement is part of a larger work which addresses the tragedy of gun violence and the loss of chil- dren's lives. Tickets are $20 and can be pur- chased by visiting www.brownpaper- tickets.com . Musical instruments for children needed PROVIDENCE – The Instruments for Children Program of the Rhode Island Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society is seeking donations of used or new musical instruments for children who express an interest in their school music programs, and would not be able to participate without help. The group is seeking flutes, trum- pets, saxophones, trombones, clari- nets, string instruments. electronic keyboards, beginner drums, etc. The organization fully restores the donated instruments before they reach the schools. These instruments will be provided to children for whom this activity would otherwise be a financial hardship. According to organizers, the pro- gram has provided more than 300 musical instruments to students in Rhode Island schools. Contact Tom Colantonio at 401- 793-1281 or Tcolantonio@cox.net; or Cleveland Kurtz at 401-461-0012 or clevekurtz@gmail.com. Visit www.bluespreservationsociety. org for more on The Rhode Island Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society. MARTA MARTÍNEZ, the executive director of Rhode Island Latino Arts, stands near an altar she created as part of a Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, cel- ebration last year. Do you know someone celebrating a December Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for DECEMBER will be printed on November 28, 2019. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, November 22, 2019. Send in the name of someone with his or her December birth date and $2 per edition and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2)

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