Neighbors: Interesting hobbies keep neighbors busy

Hello neighbor.

I’m getting great responses to my request for people to tell me about their hobbies.

Janet Carroll of Greenfield does the drop-pull (batik) method of decorating eggs called Pysanky.

When she was a young girl, she watched her mother create pretty, delicate designs on small chicken eggs.

Janet said her mother has long since passed on, but not before she passed on the tradition that comes into its own especially during Easter season.

Janet said she uses an electric hot plate to melt wax, and a common pin secured in a pencil eraser to decorate, and mix dyes.

“I usually only decorate the eggs at this special time of year, and share them with friends and acquaintances.”

Janet left one of the beautiful eggs on my desk.

Thank you.

Sixty-six-year-old Cathy Barnard of Greenfield said she started collecting pen pals 50 years ago and is currently writing to 27 people throughout the world.

Cathy said over the years she has had as few as three and as many as 50 at one time, and some have lived as far away as Australia. She’s met some of her pals. She said it can lead to lifelong friendships.

“It’s been an interesting journey,” she told me.

Sterling E. Clark of Montague Center said he enjoys genealogy.

Sterling said he began exploring his family ancestry in January 2006, after finding a small box tucked away in his home. It was full of index cards with names, dates of birth, places, children, dates of death, and other information written on each one.

“This was all done in my mother’s handwriting,” he said.

Sterling said he wanted people to know how much work his mom had put into tracing his family’s heritage, so he continued for her.

He has joined, which costs $299 a year, and uses Find A Grave, a free resource for finding cemetery records.

“I have found relatives that I never knew, and the sharing of stories and data just makes the entire time spent doing the hobby more enjoyable,” he said.

Please keep telling me about your hobbies.

MY GRANDSON JUSTIN AND I went to the benefit dinner for the Deso family at Our Lady of Peace Church in Turners Falls Saturday night as promised. I was so happy to see just how many people came out in support of Ally, her twin sister Katie, and their parents. There must have been at least 300 people.

The benefit raised $4,200 for the family, which will help with medical expenses. Before she was born, 8-year-old Ally was diagnosed with several serious medical conditions, and since her birth, she has had close to 20 surgeries.

I will tell you more about all of the children who helped organize, run, and clean up after the dinner later in the week.

I WAS TOLD ABOUT ANOTHER good deed last week.

Becca King of Greenfield had full knee replacement surgery recently and prior to her surgery, a small group of people got together to plan her recovery.

About 40 people ran errands, cooked, walked her dog, picked up her medications, drove her to appointments, and simply visited her.

“Neighbors are lifelines,” she told me. “Consider all friends and acquaintances your neighbors, because you never know when it will be your turn. Start giving to your neighbors now!”

NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON students recently held an “outreach concert” and raised $801 for Franklin County Home Care’s Meals on Wheels program.

THE CENTER FOR SELF-RELIANCE on Osgood Street in Greenfield is looking for donations of functioning, clean crockpots to give to participants of the local food pantry, a program of Community Action.

A committee of volunteers, along with Greenfield Community College intern Jenni Ladew-Duncan, is providing recipes and tastings using ingredients available at the center. They want to emphasize crockpot cooking as a way to encourage healthy, easy meals.

To donate a crockpot for this good cause, call the center at 413-773-5029 or Mary Siano at 413-773-3485.

SMITTY’S PUB ON CHAPMAN STREET, along with former Town Council President and owner of Farrell Insurance Co. Tim Farrell, Greenfield firefighter Matt Parody, and local activist Penny Ricketts, will hold a fundraiser Saturday at the pub from 6 p.m. to closing to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research.

All tips and proceeds from raffles they will hold that night will go to the foundation.

Anyone interested in donating to St. Baldrick’s may visit:

I will let you know more about the shave-athon when I have more information.

FIRST PARISH UNITARIAN and the Northfield Cultural Council will co-host an evening of food and romantic music on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. at the church.

Lenny Zarcone will croon at 5 p.m. in the Webster Room. There will be appetizers and people may bring beer or wine.

At 6 p.m., First Parish will serve homemade spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salads, and strawberry shortcake.

People are asked to contribute what they can afford for the event.

For more information, contact Ruth Potee at 413-498-0212.

SHELBURNE FALLS AREA WOMEN’S CLUB will present a discussion featuring a panel of current and retired teachers at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls on March 13 at 7 p.m.

The educators will talk about the changes they’ve seen in education, including changing technologies.

For more information, visit:

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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