Where are the drinking fountains?

I have taken to long rambles around and about JP over the last couple of years, more often than not including sections of the lovely Arboretum that we are so fortunate to have within our compass.  I’d noticed for some time that at least one drinking fountain – the one up across from the Faulkner Hospital –  was disabled with a sign indicating repairs were in the works.  Today, the hottest of the year in the 90’s, the sign had disappeared and yet the fountain was dry.  No matter, I thought, I know the ones at the base of Bussey and by the administration building are always ready to quench the parched throats of walkers.  In fact, when a panting old couple on a bench above the lilacs beseeched me for directions to water, I assured them that they could trot down the hill and there would be relief.  But no!  Like the other one I’d passed, no water!  And by the administration building, no water once again, at a station that was once a friendly stop for dogs and humans alike, with a handy bowl on the ground chained to the fountain.  What gives, I asked a passing Arboretum crew.  “Don’t ask us,” they replied. “That’s the Park Department’s responsibility. Call 311 and tell them.”  So there we have it: divided responsibilities and dehydrated walkers the losers … . Why, we wonder, is this the case?  Can Harvard and Boston’s Park Department not communicate about such a fundamental need, or is there some urban-university dispute going on behind the scenes?  Whatever the cause, can we please have a solution quickly as the spring and summer heat grows and visitors, old and young, from near and far, throng to see the lilacs?

Bob Crabtree

Jamaica Plain resident

On Jim Sweeney’s Passing

… He was a towering figure—apropos’ that he stood 6’5″, and for a time
lived in ‘The Tower’ that adorns the ‘Jamaicaway’, in Jamaica Plain.
…His image, his ambiance, his gentle gaze appears in the glow of the
morning light, and softens the sadness of his sudden departure.
… I remember as a 15 year old,  standing aside my Grandmother’s grave, as
family  members methodically sprinkled  earth upon it, a Jewish ritual, and
hearing the words of a relative murmur “they don’t make them like her
anymore”. My deep-love for Grandma (Betty) encouraged me to ask the
relative what he meant. He went on to enumerate her various qualities,
accomplishments, talents-which did in fact suggest that my Grandmother was
indeed, a remarkable–‘one of a kind’ person.
…And so here we go, on to a similar ‘type’, in Jim Sweeney. Well beyond
‘cliche’, or sound bite, they simply don’t make them like that anymore.
…A true ‘Mensch’, in the Yiddish tradition, ‘Sweeney” (as we all
affectionately called him), combined a towering presence, with a highly
reasoned, rational, legally trained mind.
…Whenever any of us (members of Jamaica Plain-community-family) had a
legal tussle, we would look out and touch that Sweeney presence, and calmly
and lovingly be led towards whatever settlement (emotional-legal) was
required. The passing of money for such services was a non-requisite.
…Whenever any of us wanted to bask in the glow of sports-related
victories or losses, we would turn to ‘Sweeney’ to cheer-dance-ponder-
…Whenever Politics, close relationships, were topical, needed sussing,
discussion, Sweeney was invariably the person on the other end of a phone
call, text, visit, shared pint.
…As the years passed, and he slowed down, my partner Deb and I had the
extreme pleasure of having him as a house-guest for a period of time while
re-settling between disruptive housing experiences.
…That time became the cement, the bond that pushed Deb and I over the
edge. We had a guest who was intimately aware of not wanting to ‘intrude’.
A humble ‘housemate’. Yet (we hope) that he became intimately aware that we
did not want him to leave.
…Our time together, watching Jeopardy, getting ‘high’ eating chicken and
mashed potatoes (his favorite), remain the most precious moments that Deb
and I have had with anyone perhaps in 10 years together.
…We will miss ‘Sweeney’, and in time will be able to appreciate his
passing. For now, a couple weeks removed, it is still too sudden, too
…As the rain drips down upon our second floor deck, and the morning
sounds of sirens whirl in the background, I cast my gaze out and see the
soft glow of our friend Sweeny’s’ face and presence.
…He was the type of man that they just don’t make anymore.

Paul Gurspan

Jamaica Plain resident

Lies upon lies

Unless you’ve led a saintly life, especially as a youth, you no doubt had occasion to lie, then add other lies to cover the first lie. We attributed such moral missteps to youthful indiscretion and probably still feel guilty- I admit, my transgressions were not infrequent.

We are witnessing in our Executive Branch of government a wildly out-of-control chain of lying that’s doing great damage to a once-great Republic. That Rudolf William Louis THE SLIMEBAG Giuliani, one of the great fabricators and false-patriots of all time, is now leading the stampede towards a constitutional crisis, the end is sure to come sooner than later. As someone who voted for Bill Clinton twice, I am embarrassed and still feel he betrayed his supporters, not to mention his nation with inexcusable lying and just plain bad behavior.

The two greatest, un-incarcerated, scammers are back together, trump and Giuliani. May they be sentenced not to a club fed, but to Leavenworth, a harsh, no-nonsense, military prison where they can both experience a form of military life, something they both managed to avoid during the Viet Nam era.

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident

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