Meet Melrose! Art class holds 'Bah, Humbug' party

... "This is just for Bill, because he is such a lovable character"

by Don Norris with Bill Kadlec

CLASS OF 2001: That's a "Bah, Humbug!" cake being cut by class instructor Bill Kadlec during a recent celebration-of-pretty-much-nothing, according to his student painters. The scene is at the Milano Center in Melrose on a Tuesday morning -- which is the morning Melrose seniors gather to exercise their painterly skills. From the left are Sarah Lasovick, Gail Wright, Vivian Norton, John Spadaro, the teacher, Bill Kadlec; Anthony Accettullo, Fran Akell and Ruth Jefts.

Anything for a party. That seems to be the outlook of the Melrose Seniors Painting Class, which has been meeting weekly for better than twenty years. This recent party occurred during the holiday season, but it wasn't a Christmas party, not a Channukah party, and certainly not a New Years Party.

This was a Bah, Humbug! party put on for no other reason than to pull the leg of the class instructor, Bill Kadlec, a Melrosian now living in the nearby community of North Reading.

Just as Bill was about to cut the cake, I asked Gail Wright if this was his birthday, and she started laughing and made the point that "This is just for Bill, a Bah, Humbug Party, just because he's such a lovable character," she said. "In fact, our favorite name for Bill is 'The Grunch'" she added with a sparkle in her eye.

Bill has been teaching the class back into the eighties, taking over from Melrosian Clair Markham, who took over from another local painter, Don Norris -- this writer. He (Bill) retired from S.S. Pierce in 1986, had always been an artist, and decided to move in when Clair finished her three years. The job is for the most part volunteer, although students throw in a couple of dollars weekly.

Bill recently won a blue ribbon in a show produced by the Lynnfield Art Association. He belongs to the Lynnfield group as well as the popular Reading Art Association.

There is one member of the class -- absent that day -- who was a member of Don's class back in the early eighties: That is Charlie O'Leary, a person who lives for volunteering, and who does more good for the general welfare than any ten others. And while Charlie is such a good fellow, he still hasn't graduated and remains a Tuesday painter. That's either longevity, loyalty, or love of the sport.

Other members of the class include Rita Pesaturo, Phyllis Ayward, Max Berkman, Arlene Stanton, Lucretia Gisone and Margaret Cheney.

One member of the class, Anthony Accettullo, will have a month-long show of his work at the adjacent Beebe Estate in January. A watercolorist, Tony is a one of a growing number of graduates of this group who have gone on to a higher level.

Photo by Don Norris

January 5, 2001

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