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South Boston Online
  Thursday, March 5, 2015
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Memoir Project Rounds Third Base
By Rick Winterson


      Mary Kane tells about her                        Joseph Saia tells of his long

      about her coming of age in                      marriage, a trip to Palermo,

      South Boston to the assemb-                   and so on, to Michelle

      led memoirists at Castle                          Seaton.


     Beginning on Tuesday morning, July 25, long-time residents of South Boston gathered in the community room of Fort Independence on Castle Island.  Their mission:  to create a set of South Boston memories that are suitable for publishing as a formal set of memoirs.

Four sessions were planned; they have now been completed.

     At the first session, the participants recorded their spoken memories.  This led to putting them on paper and reading them to the other participants.  Many of the neighborhood memories were known to more than one individual, and could be shared.

     In the third session, which is the one pictured, many participated.  There seemed to be no feelings of shyness – the readers and speakers certainly weren’t bashful.  They had written extensively, and there were marvelous South Boston wisdom and insights beginning to develop.

     Mary Doriot read from her memoirs, a project she has been working on for a while.  Joseph Saia shared some wonderful memories of a trip to Italy, where his family brought brass beds and their own food.  Joe returned to Southie in 1925, and he has been married for 65 years.  Mary Kane told of her coming of age, when she encountered death for the first time, and how she was affected by it.

The Memoir Project started in the North End before coming to South Boston.  Its next stop is Roxbury.  The Project originated in the Mayor’s office, and is being administered by Eileen O’Connor and Kaysea Cole.  Michelle Seaton, a professional writer and teacher from the Grub Street Group, serves as the group facilitator. 

     Follow-up interviews with the South Boston memoir writers will be needed to put their writings in the form of a published book, which is a key objective of the Project.  The target date for publication is late in the year, perhaps as far off as the Holiday Season.

     Plans are quite tentative at this time, but the first memoir volume will likely be formally introduced at the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library (Copley Square).  It is hoped that a neighborhood debut, which will be open to the public, can be arranged for the Branch Library on East Broadway.

Stay tuned.

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