Thursday, December 18, 2014

One Last Birthday...

Lynnfield-MA

Today Marie Alice (Devine) Nutile would have been 88 years old. My plan was to take her to Davio's Lynnfield to lunch then hangout with her and talk about my trip to Ireland.
Unfortunately, she died on December 4 around 11 a.m., a mere two weeks ago.

She grew up in Everett and Wakefield, worked at a bank on Newbury Street in Boston and moved to Lynnfield when she married my Dad, Vincent D. Nutile. They built a house on Pine Hill Rd with these crazy half circle stairs leading to the front door. I met someone later in my life who had been friends with folks on the street and what he remembered about the house were these stairs.

Vinnie and Marie, as most people knew them by, had three children: me, my brother Paul and my sister Christina. We all attended the schools in Lynnfield and my mother always pushed us to learn as much as we could no matter the subject. She always said "Keep learning, any education is knowledge you'll keep for life."

I guess I got my curiosity about EVERYTHING from her and I believe it's made me a better person. She taught me to appreciate music from classical to punk. She could listen to Pavarotti one minute and The Eagles the next.

She taught me to read and to love books. We would spend hours on the phone discussing books we had just read or favorite authors we were waiting for to publish their next books. I still to this day do not read while eating and always wash my hands before opening a book-more quirky things I learned from her.

She loved to teach. I learned to write cursive before I even got into 1st grade (and even a little shorthand from her bank days!) She carried this love of teaching beyond her children. Once Chrissie was out the door to school she started teaching at Tower Day School in Lynnfield. I can't even image how many children's lives she touched there but I ran into one of her students when I was covering an event for The Vermont Standard (a weekly newspaper I freelance for) at The Calvin Coolidge Homestead. The woman said she was from Massachusetts and we started talk about where we grew up and sure enough, she grew up in Lynnfield and attended Tower Day AND was in my mother's class.

Vinnie and Marie were together until 1997 when he died. She spent these last 17 years watching her grandchildren grow up: Eric and Celeste are Chrissie's children and Brittany is Paul's daughter. My children have had four legs and lots of fur but she still would call on their birthdays and wish Happy Birthday to her Grand-Doggies.

I cannot thank my sister enough, she was with both my parents when they died. I was not. I was in Bonaire diving when I got news of my Dad's passing and I was in Ireland when I heard that my Mom had taken a turn for the worse. Chrissie's been a real trooper these last two weeks so understandably she wanted my mom's service private. We all gathered at McDonald's Funeral Home in Wakefield for a brief service on Saturday December 13 (12-13-14 Marie would have loved this!) then made our way to one of my mom's favorite restaurants-Mandarin Reading-for lunch and memories. My sister also requested that no obituary be published.

But being the BIG sister who sometimes doesn't follow family rules, I decided to write this up to let folks know, my Mom, Marie Nutile is no longer with us. So if you know folks who were touched by her please let them know she's off on her next adventure.

Marie’s brother, John (we all knew him as Uncle Jackie) is now the only surviving member of the original Devine family. He fondly remembers that Marie often provided the majority of his early education by teaching him "reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic" when he was just a toddler. He also credits her with giving him his abiding love of good music (she was an ardent fan of the Boston Pops) and that provided him with the foundation that led him to be one of Boston’s favorite classical music DJs in the mid-60s. She will always be remembered as a relentless optimist and possessed of a terrific sense of humor. (Thanks Uncle Jackie for adding this!)

If you would like to honor her for touching your life or you know someone she touched-please feel free to share this and, please make a donation to "My Brother's Table" in Lynn MA (one of her favorite charities!)

Happy Birthday Mom, I miss you.