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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November 2, 2011 - 9:27am Photo: C. H. Holbrow Runners line up for the start of Sunday’s 3rd Annual Superhero Hallowe’en 5K Run/Walk.  Front row, l. to r.: the Teenage Schoolwork Sentinels team, award-winners in the Fantastic Four category – Stephen Reilly 254, Jordan Chabot 255, Scott Kaplan 257, and Tyler Kaufman 256 of Sharon, MA. Next to them are Steve Masterson 9590 of Allston (as Lorenzo, the Ninja Turtle); John Werner 9601, David Knight 9599, and Antonio Tugores 808 (as Zorro), all from Brookline; Calin Peters 9613 of Cambridge (as Underdog); and Steven Schuler 846 of Palo Alto, CA (as Redonk). Tugores, Masterson, Werner, and Schuler finished in the top ten men overall with gun times* ranging from 17:12 to 20:36. Local Superheroes – almost 500 of them – got into their spandex on Sunday morning, October 30, gathered their mighty powers and zoomed over to the Pacific Street Park entrance on Tudor Street to compete in the 3rd Annual Superhero Hallowe’en 5K Run/Walk. Slushy snow and freezing temperatures from Saturday’s freak nor’easter couldn’t stop them. Have2Run (http://have2run.com), the Boston company that puts on the event, had sent out the word:   the race was on. “After all, we’re superheroes... read more
October 28, 2011 - 3:42pm WHAT: Halloween Super Heroes 5K Run/WalkWHERE: Tudor and Sidney streets, Cambridge Central SquareWHEN: 10 a.m., Sunday, October 30 Photo: The ThunderCats were among the runners at last year's Halloween Superhero 5K Run/Walk. Photo by Jonathan Hinkle) It’s time again to get your mighty on! The Third Annual Superhero 5 K Run/Walk, a Have2Run Production, starts at 10 a.m. Sunday, October 30 in Central Square, Cambridge. This charity event benefits On The Rise, Inc., a local nonprofit that provides safety, community, and advocacy to homeless women. Last year, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man made it to the finish line, as did any number of Batmen, Wonder Women, whole families of Super people (men, women, boys, girls and even babies), along with Captain America, The Green Lantern, SpongeBob SquarePants and a slew of The Incredibles. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best costumes; with special consideration for teams. Organizers welcome dynamic duos, comprised of one hero and one villain; Fantastic Four in coordinated costumes; and Magnificent Seven teams. Runners are invited to an after-run party with music and munchies provided by sponsor Asgard. There will be a FREE 50 yard... read more
October 23, 2011 - 11:24am by Mary Holbrow     Photo: A wild turkey preens and stretches his barred wings in Mount Auburn Cemetery near the grave of Harriett Lawrence Hemenway, co-founder of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The big bird owes his comfortable existence in part to state legislation promoted by Mrs. Hemenway’s organization, which backed an 1897 measure that stopped the slaughter of wild birds for their ornamental feathers.   Ornithologist Christopher Leahy shared some good news, some bad news, and some local history about Massachusetts birds and birding in his GreenPort Forum talk at the Cambridgeport Baptist Church on Tuesday evening, October 18. Coordinating the event for GreenPort were Steve Morr-Wineman, Randy Stern, and Sally Watermulder. GreenPort is a Cambridgeport neighborhood group formed in 2006 to promote strategies for sustainable living. Leahy (left) holds the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology. A conservationist for more than thirty years, he served as Director of Mass Audubon’s Center for Biological Conservation. In a fast-paced hour, Leahy discussed highlights of the organization's newly published report, “State... read more
October 17, 2011 - 12:34pm by Mary Holbrow - On Friday evening, October 14, Harvard University staged an outdoor birthday party for students, faculty, friends, alumni, and visiting parents in honor of its 375th anniversary. Despite pouring rain that swamped Harvard Yard, guests crowded under umbrellas or just went with the flow – quite literally – amid colorful, history-linked events, refreshments and displays. Some 15,000 people were there at the peak of the event, according to an estimate from the Office of Public Affairs and Communications. A living-statue version of the university’s iconic John Harvard sculpture greeted visitors under one tent. The bronzed image was flanked by two women representing trees – apparently elms, the traditional trees of this historic enclave; they waved their leafy branches in slow motion about the statue. His right hand lay on an open Bible. From time to time he turned his head a few degrees, gave a reserved smile, and raised the other hand in a wave so slow that it was barely discernable. Authenticity note:  yes, his left foot was shiny – as it is on the real statue of the Puritan clergyman and college benefactor – from the good-luck rubs administered by generations of... read more
October 7, 2011 - 11:29am by Mary Holbrow -   Andrew Diebold (above left) and Frank O’Leary (right) of the Riverside Boat Club looked on as an eager youngster tried out a rowing machine at the Third Annual Cambridgeport History Day in Dana Park. “Once that handle goes ahead, it takes a lot of strength to pull it back,” he observed. His mother identified him for the photo. “Call him Jedi Knight – that’s the name he likes best,” she said. The rowing machine was one of the activities sampled by area residents at the Third Annual Cambridgeport History Day celebration at Dana Park on Sunday, October 2. The event was sponsored by the Cambridgeport History Project and co-chaired by Vice-Mayor Henrietta Davis and Michael Kenney. Originally scheduled for the previous day, it was moved to Sunday because of rain. The Riverside Boat Club, situated on the Charles River at 769 Memorial Drive, was established in 1869. Rowing was becoming popular then, but most rowing clubs were exclusive and had stiff fees. Riverside welcomed workingmen and immigrants. A special feature of this year’s History Day celebration was the Pop-Up History Performances series, in which passers-by became on-the-spot observers of reenacted local... read more
September 1, 2011 - 10:55pm Labor Day weekend is Campfire weekend at Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Harvard Square. About 100 folk musicians from all over the U.S. -- and some from abroad -- will appear informally in the historic basement folk-music venue September 2-5 to share tunes and stories. Randall Kromm will be onstage on Saturday, September 3 from 12:45 to 2:05 p.m. with Susan Cattaneo, Tom Smith, and Addie Brownlee. read more
September 1, 2011 - 9:13pm by Mary Holbrow    Singer/songwriter Randall Kromm of Winchester has two very different kinds of shows in Cambridge this month. Labor Day weekend is Campfire weekend at Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Harvard Square; Kromm is one of about 100 folk musicians from all over the U.S. -- and some from abroad -- appearing informally in the historic basement folk-music venue September 2-5 to share tunes and stories. He was onstage on Saturday, September 3 from 12:45 to 2:05 p.m. with Susan Cattaneo, Tom Smith, and Addie Brownlee. http://tickets.passim.org/default.asp . Later in the month he’ll be onstage in Cambridge again -- this time as the sole musician in the spotlight. As a gesture of support, he will perform his own song, titled “On the Rise,” at the Prepare For Winter Dinner given by On The Rise, Inc., a Cambridge-based assistance program for homeless women. The annual fund-raising event is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Edwin Land Boulevard. Martha Sandler is director of the non-profit women's program, located at 341 Broadway in Cambridge. Earlier this year she learned that there was a song with the same name. “My sister heard Randall sing 'On... read more
August 28, 2011 - 11:49am On The Rise, Inc., the daytime safe haven in Cambridge for homeless women, will host its 14th Annual Prepare for Winter Dinner and silent auction at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge. The non-profit organization, located at 341 Broadway (left) serves more than 350 women every year. On The Rise’s unique programs help homeless women find and retain housing, while the organization’s professional advocates build relationships with the women and offer them support and friendship as they navigate a fragmented social service system. “We all prepare for winter in different ways,” said On The Rise Board President Carol Goss, a development and communications consultant based in Cambridge. “I get out the warm sweaters, my mailbox fills with catalogues, I buy salt to prepare for the ice and snow. But how do you prepare for winter when you are homeless, spending your days or even your nights outside?” At On The Rise, staff and volunteers are the ones who prepare for the coming cold months. They stock the pantry with nutritious foods and the closet with donations of warm clothing and foul weather gear. And they raise funds through the annual... read more
August 19, 2011 - 5:25pm “The city plants about 300 to 600 trees each year, which helps lower the carbon dioxide concentration that we have from heavy traffic and urban activities. The trees have to be watered and taken care of, but that doesn’t always have to involve big trucks,” Sidia Escobar said. As she spoke she was weeding around a flourishing ginkgo tree planted in a sidewalk well at the corner of Putnam and River Streets. Her bike was hitched to a two-wheeled cart with Cambridge’s "The Works" logo on it. The cart held a long hose and assorted tools. Ms. Escobar is part of an innovative city program that sends workers out with bike-drawn carts to water and maintain the urban forest. The hose in Ms. Escobar’s wagon was long enough to reach the fire hydrant at the corner, and she uses it to water the trees. On this particular morning the ground was damp from recent rains; she didn’t think the ginkgo needed water, but it did need weeding. “This is a good place to do the work with a bicycle cart – there’s a lot of traffic at this intersection, and the street isn’t very wide. Parking a truck to work on this tree would really be a problem,” she said. Ms. Escobar handed out a brochure, “Working... read more
August 3, 2011 - 11:50am Wesley McNair, recently named Poet Laureate of Maine, has authored nine collections of poetry, most recently Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems. Franz Wright's collections of poetry include Wheeling Motel, Earlier Poems, God's Silence, and Walking to Martha's Vineyard for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. Reading, book sales and signing. The event is part of Summer Festival 2011: Music, Poetry and History for All Ages, a series of free outdoor programs on the east lawn of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge. Seating is limited, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Only handicapped parking is available on the site. Programs are wheelchair accessible. To receive program notices electronically email roberto_velella@nps.gov. Subject: Mailing List. read more
July 30, 2011 - 4:36pm by Mary Holbrow    On Sunday afternoon, July 31, a free outdoor concert titled “Arias and Songs from the 18th Century” will be presented on the side lawn of the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historical Site in Cambridge from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The event is part of the Summer Festival series on the grounds of the noted landmark at 105 Brattle Street. Singers who will perform at the event are sopranos Beth Grzegorzewski and Stephanie Mann; mezzo-sopranos Angeliki Theoharis and Jacque Eileen Wilson;  and bass-baritones Thomas Dawkins and Bülent Güneralp. Their accompanist will be James Hay. The program features selections from two operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. Music by Georg Friedrich Händel will also be presented. General George Washington was quartered in the handsome Georgian-style building for several months early in the American Revolution, during the Siege of Boston, July 1775 to April 1776. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived there from 1837 until his death in 1882. http://www.nps.gov/long/index.htm Concert attendees can bring blankets and lawn chairs to relax on as they enjoy the outdoor ambience of... read more
July 30, 2011 - 4:12pm by Mary Holbrow    On Sunday afternoon, July 31, a free outdoor concert titled “Arias and Songs from the 18th Century” will be presented on the side lawn of the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historical Site in Cambridge from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The event is part of the Summer Festival series on the grounds of the noted landmark at 105 Brattle Street. Singers who will perform at the event are, below, left to right, sopranos Beth Grzegorzewski and Stephanie Mann; mezzo-sopranos Angeliki Theoharis and Jacque Eileen Wilson;  and bass-baritones Thomas Dawkins and Bülent Güneralp. Their accompanist will be James Hay. The program features selections from two operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. Music by Georg Friedrich Händel will also be presented. For information see http://calendar.boston.com/cambridge-ma/events/show/188390605-arias-and-songs-from-the-18th-century The Longfellow-Washington site is the perfect spot for listening to music from that era. The 18th-century Georgian-style building dates from 1759, so its construction spans the period from the end of Händel’s life (1685 – 1759) through the early years of Mozart’s... read more
July 22, 2011 - 2:48pm Photo, above: Worker bee collects nectar from a lavender blossom in the community garden at Elmer and Banks. She may be from a local hive -- Cambridge has at least 15 beekeepers. Jeff Murray’s bees share his home on Pearl Street. They occupy a special indoor observation hive (photo, below left) that keeps humans out of their way and vice versa. They bustle in and out through a special tube entrance that Murray built for them in the house’s outer wall. “They aren’t hard to live with,” he says. Murray and another Cambridgeport beekeeper, Ben Lynch, described their experiences to a couple of dozen bee tour attendees during a GreenPort Forum event on July 19. The tour was sponsored by Greenport, a local group seeking to raise public awareness of the climate emergency and to encourage sustainable living. As he spoke to tour participants in his back yard, Jeff Murray handed around a sample observation hive. It was a shallow box about the size of a big serving tray, with transparent sides set in a narrow wooden frame. Observation hives can be attached to each other without barriers in between, like the set-up in his house, with a single entry/exit tube to the outside. Murray has... read more
July 12, 2011 - 8:39am Happy Birthday to Cambridge Local First! Now We Are Six! This Bastille Day, July 14th, we will be celebrating our 6th anniversary of when CLF was founded. Join us as we gather together to toast your hard work in becoming over 300 members strong and building our local economy. Please note our monthly Local Thirst Event will be in conjunction with the CLF 6th Birthday party for July. When: Thursday, July 14th, 7-9 pm Where: 10 Hilliard Street (Harvard Square), Cambridge, MA (map) What to Bring: Potluck Who: All Cambridge Local First friends, businesses, community partners, and supports are invited! read more
July 11, 2011 - 5:06pm by Mary Holbrow    Last week I asked Gerry Wolf – founder of Cambridge’s two 1369 Coffee Houses – what kinds of businesses join Cambridge Local First. His answer: “All the cool ones.” Wolf was one of the first area business people to join Cambridge Local First, which started up here in 2005. The mission:  to underline the importance of locally owned, independent businesses in the area economy. This week the organization marks its sixth anniversary on Thursday, July 14. Everybody with an interest in local enterprise is invited to the potluck celebration at 19 Hilliard Street, Harvard Square from 7 to 9 p.m. The city now has about 300 Local First businesses. http://cambridgelocalfirst.org/ In 1993 Wolf opened the first 1369 Coffee House at 1369 Cambridge Street, home of the former 1369 Jazz Club on Inman Square. The next year he started a second 1369 Coffee House on Central Square, at 757 Mass Avenue (photo, above). It’s a family business as well as a local one – Wolf’s nephew Josh Gerber has since become the owner of both places, and he serves with Wolf on the Local First Steering Committee. As I talked with Wolf, we surveyed the busy scene in the Central Square shop. It was... read more
June 18, 2011 - 10:43pm The dramatic bamboo installation behind Ruth Crocker (photo, above) leads into the World Association of Flower Arrangers (WAFA) international show at the Seaport World Trade Center. Crocker, a Cambridge resident, is WAFA's president. The setting was designed by Gail Emmons, Scott Job and Michael Emmons. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people from all over the world to mingle and share their interest in flower arrangement and design,” Ruth Crocker says. This Glorious Earth is the theme of the show, which opened June 15 and runs through Sunday, June 19. For details see www.wafausa.org. “It’s so exciting to be part of it,” Crocker said. “Our organization was founded thirty years ago, and the U.S. has been a member for ten years. This is the first time we have been the host country.” Saturday morning’s featured presentation was titled “America’s Firsts." For this event, floral demonstrations illustrating American inventions were given by U.S. designers Lee La Pointe, Julia Clevett, Jane Godshalk, and Massachusetts floral designers Natasha Tobin, Julie Lapham and Tony Todesco. Photo, left: Tony Todesco of Stow, Massachusetts created a floral interpretation of the Panama Canal... read more
June 12, 2011 - 9:55am Photo: Chinara Elder and Beza Wondwossen flap their wings as they practice for Afterworks' annual Talent Show/Open House June 17th. On Friday, June 17, 6-8pm, Afterworks will hold its annual Talent Show, Potluck Dinner and Open House at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Central Square, Cambridge. At 6pm students will sing, drum, dance and do theater. At 7pm there will be a potluck dinner with food from all over the world. All are welcome. Photo, left: Alex Nolan and Michael Dispasquale practice for the show. Afterworks is an afterschool program that offers a stimulating, safe and caring environment each afternoon for children in kindergarten through seventh grade. Teachers provide daily homework help and enrichment activities, including drumming, art and dance. The staff and students come from all over the world, including Sri Lanka, Russia, Ethiopia, China, Korea, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Uganda. For further information about this event or about Afterworks, go to www.afterworks.info or contact Director Vyonni de Mel at 617-661-8831 or at afterworks@aol.com Photos by Cathie Zusy read more
May 30, 2011 - 4:45pm The oil painting shown above -- Officers at Camp Benton, Maryland, 1861, by Winslow Homer -- is part of the current Civil War exhibit at the Boston Public Library. Two of the officers are identified as Lt. Col. Francis Winthrop Palfrey and Captain William Francis Bartlett of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment, commonly called the Harvard Regiment. (*Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library) A major exhibit titled “Torn in Two: The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War” is currently on display at the Boston Public Library. In that war American states, politicians, families and friends took up arms against each other over issues that included slavery, states' rights, and conflicts between agrarian and industrial societies. Here in Cambridge some of the controversy underlying the Civil War lives on. It centers around Harvard’s Memorial Hall, which was built to honor students and graduates of Harvard who died for the Union cause. The names of the Harvard men -- 136 of them -- appear on a series of white marble tablets lining the hushed, shadowy interior. Memorial Hall (photo below), located at 45 Quincy Street, was built between 1870 and 1877. It is a striking reminder of the... read more
May 19, 2011 - 8:00pm Photo: Dr. Heinrich Gugerli discussed the 2000-Watt Society* with guests at a Climate Change Week* event at the Cambridge Main Library on Tuesday, May 17. The 2000-Watt Society is an initiative developed by the city of Zürich to encourage sustainable energy use worldwide. “I met Heinrich Gugerli last year at an international energy conference in Leipzig,” Vice-Mayor Henrietta Davis said at the May 17 presentation titled “Smarter Living: The 2000-Watt Society” at the Cambridge Main Library. “I thought the 2000-watt plan he described was a great idea, and I invited him to come to Cambridge and share it with us.” This week Dr. Gugerli and his team came from Zürich, Switzerland as ambassadors for the 2000-Watt Society, which invites people with concerns about global warming to join in protecting the planet by cutting back on energy use and carbon emissions. The event at the library was sponsored by swissnex Boston*, the agency that represents Swiss education, research, innovation, art and design programs internationally. During the program Gugerli spoke briefly about the 2000-watt project to about 100 guests in the auditorium. Later, during the reception, he led a tour of an... read more
May 9, 2011 - 9:07pm CAMBRIDGE COMMUNITY CHORUS TO SING VAUGHAN WILLIAMS AND POULENC MAY 27 AT MIT On Friday, May 27 at 8 pm, more than 100 singers and a full orchestra will take the stage at MIT's Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, for the Cambridge Community Chorus’s annual Spring Concert. Led by Music Director Jamie Kirsch and accompanied by a full orchestra, the Chorus will perform two monumental 20th-century choral works: Ralph Vaughan Williams’s moving Dona Nobis Pacem (1936) and Francis Poulenc’s lively sacred work Gloria (1959). Soloists include soprano Deborah Selig and baritone David McFerrin. The Dona Nobis Pacem is a meditation on the pity and horror of war. The title's message is interwoven with Walt Whitman poetry and biblical passages. By contrast, Poulenc’s Gloria mingles jazz and popular music elements with references to older musical forms such as plainchant. This year the nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of its Civil War, whose tragedy and heroism inspired the Whitman poems. Vaughan Williams set them to music as storm clouds gathered once again between the two World Wars. "It's appropriate that this Spring Concert coincides with Memorial... read more

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