Red Hat Review 2013

... another fun filled Red Hat Year

by Shirley Rabb

Here it is January 2013 and the RED HATTERS are on the go again.  

January 3rd and we were off to the Lexington Heritage Museum to see the collection of a hundred years of Grand Canyon Photos. The photos were a magnificent display of the awe inspiring canyon.  Pictures of sunsets over the Colorado River flanked by the multi colors of the surrounding cliffs of the Canyon were on display and done by a variety of photographers. For those of us that been to the Grand Canyon the photos brought back memories of the grandeur of this magical wonder of the world.  Lunch was at Dalya's restaurant in Bedford, where we relaxed and enjoyed the food and a wonderful 1st outing of the year.

January 15 and another museum; this time it was the Peabody–Essex in Salem. Their feature exhibit was called “Hats” and the variety was almost endless. Wildly plumed bonnets, silk turbans and sequined caps were on display. Sarah Jessica Parker’s lime-green fascinator, a Darth Vader helmet and 250 other elegant and outlandish styles made us smile and wonder how they were kept on the heads of so many in the past. We were able to picture ourselves on the computer available and realized that we were on a wall of changing photos almost immediately. 43 Church Street was the restaurant of choice today and we were all pleased with our lunch choices. A couple from California that we had seen at the museum came over to take our picture to send home. They even included themselves in the picture to have for their memory book. What a great day it was.

February 2nd, and another new adventure for us. Today we were off to the New England Puppet Theatre in Brookline. The play was “The squirrel stole my underpants” and it was really cute. Bonnie Duncan was the puppeteer who used hand puppets to amuse a room full of children with parents; plus nine Red Hatters. We got to speak with Bonnie after the show and she is a delightful person.

The Puppet Showplace Theatre was founded in 1974 and has been teaching children, simulating their creativity, and introducing them to the experience of live theatre since then. We would recommend this theatre to any one with young children or grandchildren, or the really young at heart. Our meal was a few blocks away at the Village Smokehouse; another recommended place by this Red Hat Group. Chalk it up as another beginning of the year great day.

February 9 and we were to see the Shen Yun Dancers in Boston, but the snow started on the 8th and we were unable to get to the theatre, more on this later.

February 10, the year of the Snake, and we had lunch at the Tulip Chinese restaurant in Stoneham. Some of the members made choices from the abundant buffet with ice cream for dessert. A few of the members chose from the menu and they are having leftovers tonight. It was a fun time of good eating and great conversation talking about the upcoming performance of the Shen Yun dancers on Tuesday evening and our meeting on Wednesday.

February 12 and we went into Boston to the Opera House to finally see the Shen Yun dancers. Although the dancers were very good I think we were all disappointed. The incorporation with the back drops were outstanding with members of the dance group dropping down behind the stage as a projection of them flying in the air appeared on the screen. The timing was excellent and the colors of the costumes were delightful. It was a good evening out but we expected outstanding.

March 2nd and it was off to see “There’s something about Mau” at the Hasty Pudding Theatricals in Cambridge. The men in the performance are outstanding. Some of the players dressed in full women’s attire with heels, dancing around like young kids. Though only four members went we did encounter another Red Hat Group that was enjoying the show as much as we were. If you have not been to see a Hasty Pudding performance, you should. Our meal was at the S&S restaurant in Cambridge and as always the service and the food was great. A good day it was.

March 17th and we were all Irish as we celebrated lunch was at Waxy O’Connor’s Pub in Wakefield. There was Corned beef and cabbage, Bangers, Shepard’s Pie, and food galore. Laughing and talking and just enjoying our own company and the room full of dressed in green happy people. Our Red Hats made a hit and added color to the already colorful restaurant.

March 25th. And it was Greek Independence Day, so we were off to the Wardhurst restaurant in Peabody. There was lamb everything, feta cheese on salads, Mousaka and a variety of Greek food for our pleasure. The restaurant was busy and we had a bit of a wait for our meals but our Red Hat conversation got us through. We had a great time as we usually do whether it is a holiday or just another happy Red Hat day.

April 17th and it was an ethnic day.  We started by going to the Regent Theatre in Arlington to see “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in therapy! It was a one man show with standup comedian Peter Fogel playing the parts.  

Along with accents and volume he made it very funny. After the theatre we went next door to the Manna HouseKorean & Japanese restaurant. Some members had eaten tempura in the past but some of the combinations were Chicken Bokum, Bento combination plates, rice, miso soup and so much more. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the experience to check out other cultures made it a perfect day.

April 24 and we went to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Stoneham Theatre. This was Senior Matinee day the tickets were only $30.00 each. The show was busy, active and a whole lot of musical fun. We ended the day by going to the Cafe Capri in Reading for a great assortment of Italian food. We talked and drank nonalcoholic drinks and had a wonderful sun shiny spring time.

April 29 and off to the Commonwealth Museum in Boston. The museum is located in the State Archives Building next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Original treasures like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, Massachusetts Constitution and the original Boston Massacre copper plate engraved by Paul Revere are inspiring pieces of history to view. There are hands on activities for the kids, (Which we enjoyed also). There is a wonderful introduction film in a new format which brought us through the history of Massachusetts from Colonial times to the present. It is a great free place to go in a wonderful spot on the water with a view of Boston. If you have and children and want to teach them about the history of our state this is the place to take them and both of you can really enjoy time spent here. Our lunch was at the Longhorn Steak House in Reading and we all agreed that this was good also. We do find the places that keep us at a cultural level and a culinary place in our Red Hat lives.

May 8 and we were going to celebrate Cinco D’ Mayo a few days late. But with only a small member group today three members decided to take a ride to Peabody and sample the food at Capone”s restaurant. We got there early and sat in the
car and talked about possible activities for June. When we got into the restaurant and had our meals we all agreed it was a good choice. If we decide to celebrate Cinco D’ Mayo in June we can do that too because we are Red Hatters and we celebrate every day.

May 25th and we drove to North Andover to explore the Printing Museum. Our guide Frank Romano took us back through the history of printing which has changed dramatically during the last 200 years. The tour starts back about 500 years ago
and follows through the transition from hand-setting type to mechanized hot-metal typesetting and the Linotype. The equipment in the museum dates back to the 1800’s and some of the machines are still being used by the museum. It was an educational tour with Frank being a part of the changes himself. We went to the Loft for lunch and all in all this rainy Saturday turned out to be real sunny.

May 31st and it was 92 degrees. We had planned on going to Fall River and walk around Battle Ship Cove; we are seniors but not stupid so we cancelled this trip. Four hardy members donned their purple outfits and Red Hats and went to Bobby C’s restaurant in Melrose. We enjoyed the comfort of the air conditioning, four good meals and wonderful Red Hat conversation. For a hot day it was really cool.

June 7 and it is raining. We are getting the fringes of the hurricane Andrea that rushed through Florida and up the east coast. No big deal for us Red Hatters so we drove to Arlington Ma to the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum. Our guide James (Jimmy) McGough is a master on the subject of Cyrus Dallin,who was a celebrated American sculptor that lived and worked in Arlington Ma for over forty years. He died in 1944 but not before he left a legacy of beautiful works around the world. For those of us in the Boston area we have known of the statue of the” Appeal to the Great Spirit” that stands in front of the Museum of Fine Arts but never knew the artist. His statue of Paul Revere and his many sculptures of Native American Indians are magnificent works by a virtually unknown artist. The tour was an hour of experience with over sixty of Dallin’s works ranging from noted historical figures to personal portrayals of Native Americans and family members. Out in the rain and off to Not Your Average Joe’s for lunch and one more day to show the world that the Red Hatters really don’t let any weather divert us from our appointed plans.


June 23rd and we were off to “Chicago”. That is we were off to the Reagle layers in Waltham to see the most exciting play “Chicago”. It was cool inside and the play was outstanding. Our dinner was at the Chateau in Waltham and it is always good service, good food and great conversations.

July 7 and The Wee Forest Folk factory was our destination.If you have ever seen miniature mice in remarkable scenes and beautiful colors you have seen one of the Wee Forest Folk.

We drove to Carlisle to a small red house packed with happy employees and happier owners. The factory was started and continues to be run by Annette Petersen. Her son Willy and daughter Donna  oversee the business as Annette is 94 years old.  We met all the members of the family and the employees, some that have been there for 30 years. The figures of these mice are all hand crafted in this workshop. The work is outstanding, intricate and whimsy. The pieces are hand sculptured in clay by one of the three sculptors in the family. They are then cast and brought to life by carefully seleced artists who meticulously paint each one by hand. The work space is crowded with pieces of lumps of clay cast into white-ware and ready for the removing of blemishes, airbrushed, packed in egg cartons,to get ready for painting. Much of the work is done by outside
artists and returned to the shop for final presentation. It was a wonderful experience to see the employees enjoying their work and at the end of the tour being warmly greated by Annette, her son Willy and daughter Donna. Really a wonderful and warm experience. Lunch was at the Colonial Inn in Concord and although the food was very good we could not stop talking about the Wee Forest

July 10th was our regular meeting day and we started an hour later than usual. The meeting went well as we discussed many new adventures. A few of our upcoming list includes a baseball game in Lynn, a trip to the Middlesex Canal, going to see "Remembering the 40's" and other good "stuff". We had lunch at our old hangout Brothers in Wakefield before some of the members headed for the Stoneham theatre. The Marvelous Wonderettes was the show and every one agreed it was marvelous. Past the half way mark for this year and still planning and going the Red Hat way.

July 21st and  it was "Fiddler on the Roof" performed at the Reagle Music Theatre in Waltham. The Regal Players did a wonderful job of this remarkably poignant play. We have yet to see a bad play here but this one was up to the top of the great list. Our dinner was at the Naked Fish in Woburn with great food and conversations of past and future outings.

July 25th and it was a visit to the MIddlesex Canal Museum in North Billerica. Our guides, artist Tom Dahill and board members Deb Fox and Traci Jenson let us through the history of the canal. In 1795 digging started in Billerica, going toward Lowell. Work went on and finally in 1803 the canal was completed and opened. The labor intensive work finally brought lumber, foodstuffs and granite from Concord,N.H. to Boston. Boats were pulled by horses along the canal and through the locks for many years. The textile center of Lowell's development was made possible by the canal. The Golden Age of the canal was short-lived because the Boston and Lowell Railroad was built in 1853. This was a great history lesson with photos and slides of a remarkable time in the growth of the country. Lunch was at the Newtown Grill in Billerica and two lobster rolls for $15.99 was an excellent buy and a wonderful treat for all of us.

August 4th and it was the North Shore Navigators of Lynn against the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide. The score was two to one,in favor of the Navigators. It was the bottom of the third and the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down.
Our seats right behind the Navigators dugout were the best in the house but we ran for cover like everyone else. We had our hot dogs and drinks served by a waitress and we had fun. The field became a swamp in the infield and it was impossible to continue the game even when the sun did come out. Perhaps another time, but it really was fun.

August 10th and it was Les Miserables at the Reagle Music Theatre. Words come hard to explain how wonderful this performance was. The voices of the actors filled the room and all our heads with the history of Toulon in 1815 to Paris in
1832. Most of us had seen the movie and other stage performances of this show but today was OUTSTANDNG. Dinner was at the Portland Pie Co. in Reading and the food was good as we all recapped the play and yet another glorious Red Hat day.

August 31st and it was off to Gloucester to see the Dueling Divas cabaret. One of our favorite performers, Kathy St. George,along with Kerry Dowling and Daniel Robert Sullivan put on a musical, leisurely two hours of enjoyment. The theatre in Gloucester is small and cozy. Our third row seats were near enough to the stage to see the smiles and hear the laughter of the entertainers up close. It was a wonderful uplifting performance. Gloucester House was our choice for dinner and we all enjoyed the food, the view and the day.

September 8th and five of our members drove to the New Rep theatre in Watertown to see "The Elephant Man". Going on the 2nd day of the play the cost was only $10.00 and well worth the price. (even if we had paid the full $35.00). The story is both poignant and uplifting. Considering the time was Victorian Britain and health care was an issue. The entire cast created a heart warming plight of perseverance on the part of the main character. Dinner was at the Chateau in Waltham where the food is always good and the cannolis made a great dessert for a sweet day.

September 12 and we headed for the WBZ radio and TV station in Brighton. Our tour guides Mike Nosel and Ann Scalcione spent a full one and a half hours going through the studios, explaining the in's and out's of what goes on in this almost all computorized business. Robotic cameras zoom in and out as David Wade and Tod Gutner put on the noon news broadcast. Cameras and computers everywhere. With the push of a button the news is in from all over the world. Lights,cameras and Red Hatters; what a show! We ate at the stations cafeteria and enjoyed pastrami sandwiches and veggie rollups as we chatted with one of the set designers. We will all watch TV a bit differently now after getting all this up to date information. This was a good day for us.

October 1st and some of the members that missed the Dalin Museum in June decided to see what we were talking about back then. James McGough was our guide, as before. He has a wealth of knowledge about Cyrus Dallin and Arlington. His understanding of the Paul Revere sculpture, the Julia Ward Howe sculpture, the beautiful one of Sacajawea with her baby and the magnificent piece of the Great Spirit left us with some of the little known facts about Dallin's works. After visiting the museum James took part of our group to see some Dallin sculptures in the area of Arlington. (A few of the members chose not to do the walk). We got to see the "Indian Hunter" displayed by a small water fall in the Robbins Memorial Garden. James also pointed out the "American Agriculture" piece sitting atop the flagpole outside of the town hall. We went inside to see the wonderful
painted ceiling done in a three D style. We walked through one of the oldest cemetary in Arlington and then headed for Not Your Average Joe's, where we met our two companions and had a great lunch. The second time around was as good as the first only more so.

October 5 and the Stoneham theatre was our objective. We went to see and hear the Teatro concert. Four handsome,fun loving men who were singing favorite Broadway hit songs. This group has performed all over the world, even singing for Queen Elizabeth the second. The songs brought back memories of many of the plays we had seen. "Music of the night", "I dreamed a dream", "Over the rainbow" and a handfull of other great tunes. It was a very good relaxing time as we headed for Bacci's restaurant in Stoneham. The food was good and we hummed along with the memories of the evening.

October 6th and another concert, but this time to hear the Regal Players in Waltham doing songs of the 40's. Songs from the war years, "This is the Army" and "I'll be seeing you". Songs from the U.S.O and Broadway hits of the 40's "South Pacific" and "Oklahoma". There was the humor of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Jimmy Durante. All in all it was a show well done that brought back memories of our youth when we did the jitter bug and listened to The Hit Parade. We ate at Bertucci's in Reading for the end of a great rainy Fall day.

October 16 and it was a walk in the corn maze at the Connors Farm in Danvers. We were four members and we laughed and walked and wondered if we would ever get out; but we did. It was so much fun to walk and go thrugh the maze trying to figure out the clues along the way. In this modern world the clues could be accessed by texting or using a smart phone to scan the codes. Since we left our cell phones in the car we muddled our way through in happy spirits. After escaping from the maze we took a hay ride and enjoyed the colors and animals all around the farm. It really was fun! Our lunch was at the Four66 restaurant in Danvers and it is a good spot with good food. Another great Red Hat day for four seniors acting like kids again.

October 30th and it was time to indulge ourselves. We were off to the Vocational School in Wakefield for a beauty treatment. Facial, manacure, hair wash and blow dry all for $10.00. It could not be beat and it was wonderful to just relax
and be pampered by the seniors of the class. For more relaxtion we ate at the restaurant in the school. Today they had a buffet on the menu consisting of roast beef, sausages, bacon, eggs, fish, fruit salad, potatoes, cole slaw and chicken wings. Check out this price at only %5.75 for eat all you want, and we did. What a way to end October -- the Red Hat way!

November 4 and we were face to face with Jeykll & Hyde at the Stoneham theatre. It was senior Wednesday and,"bring a friend" so tickets were only $15.00 each. The play was different and it kept us paying attention as the drama unfolded. An interesting show and a change from our normal musicals. We ate at Bickfords in Stoneham and there were some great lobster dishes all around. Dark at 4:30 now and we don't like it.

November 24th and Watertown was our destination to see Camelot. The Charles Mosesian theater is near to the Arsenal Mall and the garage parking is free. The show was going to be wonderful but tickets were sold out when we got there. We are Red Hatters so we improvised by calling the other two cars on the way. In agreement we headed to the Miller Ale House for lunch instead of dinner. Thirteen Red Hatters asking for individual checks and the waitress was accommodating. The food and service was excellent, and even with about a dozen TVs -- we had a wonderful time. Another great Red Hat Day.

December 1st and a musical review was our pleasure for today. Six members met at the United Methodist Church in Saugus to listen to the Theatre Company of Saugus perform "A look at the past,a light to the future." There were songs from some of our favorite musical plays. Kiss Me Kate,Fiddler on the roof,Pirates of Penzance, Guys and Dolls and so many more. The group performed well and we enjoyed the two hours just listening. Of course we were out to eat and today it was to Spuds in Saugus. Another good feast and another memorable Red Hat Day.

December 4th and Miracle on 34th street at the Stoneham Theatre. The play is always a good way to get into the spirit of the season and we did. One of the members of the cast was was Tayla Hambert, a Melrose third grader, which made the performance more enjoyable knowing that one of our own was on stage. After the theatre the choice for our meal was the Capri restaurant in Reading. Great food and lots of holiday spirit to move us along into the season.

December 11th was the date for our annual holiday party at the home of one of our members. There was the tree decorated and welcoming the season. We had pot luck with food to excite everyone's pallet and a Yankee Swap of recycled gifts.

A grand day for all of us to be enjoying each other in an atmosphere of friendship and warmth.

Some of the food stash was brought to Bear Hill recuperating center so the author could partake in the holiday spirit as well.

December 14th.and it was to be an exciting day at the championship Roller Derby played at the Shriner's Hall in Willmington. Due to the terrible weather our contact person Anna-Ellen Lenart (AKA "Slam Chowdah") was disappointed but she will keep in touch so we can check out the next Derby in our area in 2014.

As we close this year of 2013 and welcome the New Year of 2014 we wish all our readers a year of joy and fun and love. May your year be as exciting as we plan ours to be, and may the New Year bring you good health and happiness...every day.

January 3, 2014                  

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