Mary Holbrow

Cambridge MA
I'm a retired journalist, mother of 5, grandmother, birdwatcher, garden lover. I live in Cambridgeport, work as a free-lance editor.
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February 1, 2013 - 2:48pm The 1369 Coffee Houses at Inman Square and Central Square celebrated 20 years in business on January 26 with an all-day open house at both shops and an evening party at the Middle East Restaurant. Party guests included friends, colleagues, neighbors and former employees of the businesses as well as supporters of two local charities, On The Rise and Food For Free. The celebration included a benefit for the two programs, bringing in donations of some $10,000 that will be shared between them, according to 1369 owner/manager Joshua Gerber. read more
January 25, 2013 - 11:23am Local First of Cambridge wrapped up its annual charity drive, Think Local Thank Local (TLTL), with a party this week. Taking part in the benefit presentation at Christopher's in Porter Square were (standing) TLTL Chair Rachael Solem (l) and Local First's Executive Director Jaclyn Sinay (r). Seated in front, l. to r.: Martha Sandler, Executive Director of On The Rise, Inc.; Joshua Gerber and Gerry Wolf of Local First. The event, known as the Wrap Party, took place at Christopher’s Restaurant in Porter Square on Tuesday, January 22. “Here's how it works,” said Rachael Solem, the project’s chair. “Think Local Thank Local happens in November, during the Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas season. About three dozen businesses took part this year. They pledged a percentage of what they took in during that time, and tonight we’re turning that money over to a local charity, On The Rise.” Solem presented an envelope containing the donations. The label read: “On The Rise! $8,000.” “The recipient varies from year to year, but they're all nearby,” Solem said. “This year it's On The Rise; in other years we’ve supported the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund and Food For Free.” Martha Sandler... read more
January 18, 2013 - 11:06pm The mockingbird perched boldly in a small tree at the corner of Putnam and Magazine, eyeing the photographer just a few feet away. In warmer weather mockingbirds look slender, but this one had its feathers fluffed up because of the cold. The time was a few minutes before noon on January 18; temperature was in the 20s. The sexes are similar in appearance; this bird has quite a big white patch on its wing, so it's probably a male. A few decades ago the mockingbird – officially Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) – was a southern resident. Now they’re here year-round, and in summer we hear them even oftener than we see them. The summer song is almost infinitely variable. Usually a theme is repeated several times and then dropped in favor of a new one; sometimes it’s an imitation of another bird’s song. However, at this time of year the call is likely to be just an occasional “chat . . . chat . . .chat.” Their accomplished singing has been a disadvantage to them in the past. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab website, mockingbirds became very scarce in some places during the 19th century because they were trapped and caged as songbirds. read more
December 12, 2012 - 10:07am by Mary Holbrow and Joan Squeri In the Dr. Seuss fable, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the sourpuss Grinch is determined to stop the joyful holiday from coming to the town of Whoville. He dresses up as Santa on Christmas Eve, sneaks into every house, and steals or trashes the presents and goodies. (Photo, above: Poet Populist Toni Bee as the Grinch in the Central Square Library reading) But not to worry – his mean-spirited stunt is a flop. On Christmas morning the Grinch tunes in to Whoville expecting to hear everybody wailing “Boo-hoo!” Instead, they’re all singing! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!       “Maybe Christmas," he thought, “doesn't come from a store.        Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" Local youngsters joined the action with Cambridge's 2011-2013 Poet Populist Toni Bee as she performed a dramatic reading of the classic tale on Saturday, December 8, at the Central Square branch of the Cambridge Public Library. Like two-year-old Cindy Lou Who in the story, this young attendee (left), Julia, was curious about the Grinch. The story offers a counterweight to the commercialism of the holiday season. Toni Bee reinforced the... read more
December 9, 2012 - 8:53pm Photo, above: On December 6 at MIT a panel discussion titled "Occupy the Future" offered a retrospective look at the 2011-12 Occupy movement. Above, left to right:  Moderator Sally Haslanger of MIT;  Debra Satz of Stanford University; local entrepreneur Nadeem Mazen;  author/activist Christopher Hedges;  J. Phillip Thompson of MIT.Photo: C. H. Holbrow “We … are … the ninety-nine percent!” The rhythmic chant was first heard at Occupy Wall Street in New York’s Zucotti Park in September, 2011. Its message was disturbing:  the lion’s share of income and wealth in this country is controlled by 1% of the population, while the other 99% scramble for what’s left. Last Friday the movement was revisited in Cambridge at "Occupy the Future," a panel discussion held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sally Haslanger, Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, introduced the program and speakers on behalf of the Boston Review and the lecture series “Ideas Matter,” which it sponsors jointly with MIT’s Political Science Department. About 75 people attended. Photo, left: Chris Hedges (center, wearing scarf), one of the speakers on the December 6 MIT panel pictured above, was... read more
November 19, 2012 - 12:10am Holiday programs by the Cambridge Community Chorus this year will bring the audience into the action at two special events in December. The first is the annual Winter Concert on Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m., when the chorus and Music Director Jamie Kirsch hail the season with works by Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, and Jonathan Dove at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The Britten work, Saint Nicolas (see calendar item), includes hymns sung by the concert audience. A week later, on December 16 at 3 p.m., chorus and audience team up again in a free sing-along of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah (see calendar item) at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Harvard Street. Britten’s Saint Nicolas (1948), a cantata for soloist, orchestra, chorus, and children’s chorus, is a highlight of the December 9 concert. The work was composed for the centennial celebration of Lancing College in Sussex, England. The libretto by Eric Crozier recounts legends from the life of Saint Nicolas, fourth-century Bishop of Myra and the forerunner of our Santa Claus. Featured performers are Lawrence Jones (tenor), as Saint Nicolas, and the South Hadley Children’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Catharine Melhorn... read more
November 2, 2012 - 9:24pm Photo, above: Aaron Ladd #151 and Cullen Roberts #7519 came in first and second, with Brian Klein #7505 (photo, left, in orange suit) close behind them in the October 28 Superhero 5K Run/Walk in Cambridge. The three are already ahead; they have gone around Central Square and are headed back along Massachusetts Avenue to Pacific Park. Runners in the background above are going the opposite way because they haven't circled downtown yet. The event is organized by Have2Run Productions of Boston. Everybody involved felt super lucky to miss the onset of Hurricane Sandy, which was already shutting down the city for the following day. The three fastest runners in Cambridge’s 4th Annual Superhero 5K race on Sunday, October 28 were: - Aaron Ladd of Lexington, with a total time of 16:49.9 (pace 5:24 per mile) - Cullen Roberts of Boston, with a time of 16:57.2 (pace 5:27/M) - Brian Klein of Cambridge, with a time of 17:07.2 (pace 5:30/M) The three top finishers for women were: - Natalia Gaerlan of Cambridge, with a time of 18:57.7 (pace 6:06/per mile) - Amanda Watters of Medford, 19:47.2 (pace 6:22/M) - Emma Payne of Cambridge, 19:48.7 (pace 6:22/M) Start of the Superhero 5K Race, filmed... read more
October 20, 2012 - 3:26pm Photo: Mural Artist Geobany Rodriguez (wearing cap) oversaw work on a Community Art Center logo at the Oct. 18 celebration of the upcoming CAC mural project at Novartis's Massachusetts Avenue construction site. ------------ “Now I’m famous!” The youthful artist – one of a crowd of youngsters – was clearly thrilled to see one of her works on display in a real art show. But she didn’t have a lot of time to spend in front of her own piece; the kids with her were calling her to come and look at theirs. The occasion was a reception and exhibit October 18 to mark the start-up of an art project in this unconventional setting:  the pedestrian walkway at the Novartis construction site on Massachusetts Avenue between Albany and Windsor Street. Painting of a four-stage mural is scheduled to begin here next week. The project is funded by Novartis. For the project, artists and youth participants in Cambridge's Community Art Center program will turn the walls of the walkway into a mural with four interconnected panels, CAC Executive Director Eryn Johnson (photo, left) told guests at the reception. “This part of Cambridge – Area 4 – is one of the most diverse parts of the city; it’s like a lot... read more
October 3, 2012 - 4:06pm Photo, above: Co-founder and President Vicky I of Community Cooks welcomed guests at the September 30 dinner. "Celebrate Community Cooks:  Food and Music Under a Full Moon" took place Sunday evening at the Cambridge Boat Club on Gerry’s Landing Road just off Memorial Drive. The dinner event hailed the organization’s volunteer cooks, led by Vicky I of Somerville. They have been providing home-cooked meals for neighbors in need for more than 20 years. The cooks prepared and served the celebratory feast, loading tables with bite-sized treats from artichokes to ziti and circulating with trays of sausage, stuffed mushrooms, “chicken things,” cookies, tarts, and more.Photo, left: As promised in the event's title, the moon came up over the Charles on cue. Program coordinator Mary Todd (left) and volunteer Sarah Lee enjoyed the scene from the deck. Community Cooks began in Somerville, but it has expanded to include the Cambridge-Somerville area and other nearby cities, providing meals on a regular schedule at area homeless shelters and programs for women, families, youths, and people with disabilities. The cooks make the dishes;  other team members plan menus and organize distribution... read more
September 21, 2012 - 5:23pm Photo, above: Josh Gerber at the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square. Joshua Gerber, owner and operator of Cambridge’s 1369 Coffee Houses, will be among the table hosts September 27 at the 15th Annual Prepare For Winter Dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel (details below). The event will benefit On The Rise, Inc, a local day program of assistance for homeless women in Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston; members of its Board of Directors are hosts at the dinner. Gerber joined the board recently. A resident of Somerville, he succeeds his uncle, Gerry Wolf, both on the board and as proprietor of the 1369s. “It’s sobering to see how many of the people right around us are in need or very close to it,” Gerber said in a recent interview. The original 1369 coffee house (left) is at 1369 Cambridge Street in Inman Square; its sibling is at 757 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. On The Rise sits midway between them, at 341 Broadway. “In the coffee houses and in the neighborhood, we see a cross section of street life,” Gerber said. “Some things you can’t do anything about, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care. I try to balance what I do as a business owner with what’s needed... read more