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Articles from Linda Thomas, Profile Writer and Family Law Paralegal

A Voice of the Faithful

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Written by fine lady writer

May 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Bill Pope Zullo Gallery

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FACES IN THE CROWD

Linda Thomas/Correspondent

For Faces in the Crowd/the Medfield Press

Bill Pope connects in a way that’s natural only to him.

If you walk up the steps to the second floor of the century-old building in the middle of Medfield, you’ll open

the door to a two-room gallery full of different genres and media – from an abstract piece to a black and white

photograph to a pastel, a serigraph or oil painting.

There, you’re likely to see the salt and pepper bearded youthful face of 56-year-old Pope – meeting and

greeting the many patrons who frequent at Medfield’s own museum of fine arts.

Dressed in a lightweight field jacket and khaki cargo pants, Pope looks more relaxed than one would expect of

the director of a gallery. But he’s quick to run through the gains for Medfield in showing off its art.

The Zullo Gallery Center for the Arts is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization born in 1988 out of a grant

from the Medfield Council on the Arts. But it’s been Pope’s inspiration and hard work that has carried it over

these many years.

He’s had a lifelong passion for the visual arts and a vision to bring art and culture to the town he’s lived in

since moving from Old Greenwich, Connecticut at 12.

Pope joined the Council in 1986.

Then 31 and full of energy and ideas, he went to a meeting that led him and fellow members to explore how

they could come up with an art gallery for Medfield.

After two years of investigating, innovating and negotiating, the Zullo Gallery held its first art exhibit on Oct. 1,

1988.

The gallery’s main function, Pope says, is to provide exhibits featuring the highest quality and greatest diversity

he can find.

“We try to expand the spectrum of art we can find and exhibit,” he said. “The bottom line is it has to be

professionally done.”

Now through Nov. 6, the gallery is showing its 17th annual juried exhibition. To create the exhibit, a “juror”

picked the strongest 60 paintings and works from those entered in a competition over the summer.

“It’s an opportunity for established artists, new artists, and old artists to exhibit their works,” Pope said.

“You certainly find people locally who are creating some great artwork but you also find people in the city that

are doing things people around here aren’t doing, which is much if not more of the drive of the Zullo Gallery.”

For years, in addition to being director of the gallery, Pope was a beloved presence inside and outside the

classroom where he taught kids to appreciate sports and learn to have fun in all kinds of activities.

In June, after 33 years at the Dale Street School, Pope retired from his post as one of the school’s physical

education teachers.

Physical activity and sports came naturally to the father of three. He was captain of the tennis team at Medfield

High School. As a young student, he played basketball, baseball and football – and enjoyed skiing, as he got

older.

“It was an environment I felt extremely comfortable in,” he said. “And I always felt very comfortable working

with young kids – coaching and teaching. It’s always been a very natural extension of who I was to get into this

area as you had to choose a career.”

As a young boy, he was seldom without pen and ink.

“I’ve always had this part of me that thoroughly enjoyed drawing, photographing, videotaping and filming,” he

said, “That always felt very natural and very fulfilling.”

Pope answers to the many names he’s known around town. To his students, he was Mr. Pope. To colleagues

and friends at the gallery, he’s Bill. To those who remember the enthusiastic tennis player who led his high

school team to victory, he’s simply Billy.

“It’s not possible to know Bill without liking him,” said Susan Parker, retired head of the art department of the

Medfield Public schools and trustee of the Zullo Gallery.

“Bill is the man who works tirelessly with everything the gallery offers,” she said. “It was his idea. He is the

person who has been there from the beginning. So much of it is really his achievement.”

That same tireless work and energy came across in his classroom.

“It seems to me that his physical education classes were not focused on being first or winning,” Parker said.

“The impression I got when my children were in his class was that it was more about the joy of the activity.”

Pope said his overriding purpose was to give each child a positive experience, especially those children who

might not feel so comfortable in a physical education class.

“For a child, it’s natural just to enjoy running, climbing, playing games, and so forth,” he said. “But when it

becomes a little more organized and the focus is more on athletics than just playing, it sometimes can be

difficult. My goal was to make them feel comfortable and enjoy moving, playing games, playing sports and

developing their skills.”

During his time at Dale school, Pope also taught a class outside school through the gallery about editing digital

video.

In 1986, he took a year off to pursue his long-time passion for the visual arts and became a filmmaker.

He took a few courses at Mass. College of Art and worked on a 16mm film called “the Christmas Mission,”

which became his art school experience.

He enjoyed this tremendously but he missed the classroom and wanted to find a way to balance teaching and

the arts.

Shortly after returning to teaching he joined the Medfield Arts Council, whose main charge was giving out

grant money from the state lottery.

But Pope wanted more.

“We were in our 30s with a lot of energy and a vision,” he said. “And the idea of an art gallery came up at a

meeting and we were all excited about that.”

“All of us on the arts council loved going out seeing artists, be it in open studios, exhibits or museums and so

forth that didn’t exist in Medfield,” he said. “Certainly there was a need for it. And we know how important it

is to have art in your community.”

Fellow arts council member Tim Ryan, whose father was fire chief for many years, knew the town’s buildings

well and suggested they look into space above Bella Pizza.

In February 1988, Pope and fellow members met with Mrs. Zullo in her kitchen to work out details. For

nominal rent, she allowed them to use the space.

They did some painting, took down old walls and installed the gallery lighting.

Coming off his film experience, Pope was the most thoroughly involved in finding the artists, getting the

volunteers and keeping the place going.

After a year or so, people got interested in other things but Pope maintained his interest and became the

director de facto with help from a few volunteers and donors.

“If the project was going to continue,” he said, “somebody had to keep it going and that just became me.”

Over time, he became the director.

“People were really happy the gallery was here and they would let you know sincerely how much they enjoyed

seeing the shows,” he said.

Retirement now gives Pope more time to dedicate to the gallery. Renovations have been made, including a

rooftop deck, and there’s more to come to boost the gallery’s presence downtown.

Martha Moon, secretary to the principal of the Dale Street School and a Zullo Gallery trustee, said Pope is

known for his big heart and kind and gentle manner.

“Cooperation and trust were encouraged in gym activities,” she said. “He quickly understood his students.”

She remembers how at the end of each school year he took the extra time to videotape (with music) the entire

school – students, faculty and staff – from the principal to the custodian. And he would go into the gym classes

to give students an opportunity to say goodbye.

Pope often welcomed fellow faculty and school staff members at the gallery for holiday gatherings.

As for the art gallery, “Bill Pope has never wavered from his vision to make the Zullo Gallery a true center for

arts in the community,” Moon said. “The success of the art shows, live music and art education says it all.

“He has always been an artist at heart.”

Visual arts and teaching physical education came naturally to Pope.

“I’ve never been able to separate them; I don’t think I necessarily should,” he said. “They’re just who I am.”

Linda Thomas writes ‘Faces in the Crowd’ for the Medfield Press. Contact her with comments and suggestions at

lindasfaces@gmail.com

Printed, the Medfield Press, October 20, 2011

Written by fine lady writer

October 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Basketball’s Mr. Fuzz

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FACES IN THE CROWD

Linda Thomas/Correspondent

For Faces in the Crowd/the Westwood Press

Kerry Coleman Meadows trembled as she walked on the court, worried no one would pass her the ball.

Worried she’d never get a chance to make a basket.

But the shy teen soon learned the sport was less about winning than about teamwork and old-fashioned hard work, values she learned from Ken Foscaldo.

More than 20 years later, Meadows, now 36 and coach of the Longwood University Equestrian Team in Farmville, VA, remembers playing basketball for St. Margaret Mary’s parish when Foscaldo was her coach.

“There were kids on the team who were ‘cool’, some were not and everything in between, but each one of us mattered to Mr. Fuzz,” she said. “No one player was ever the star of the team. We learned that we played the best with teamwork and leadership, not to mention careful, hard work.”

For Foscaldo – “Mr. Fuzz” – the program he’d been a part of for more than 40 years was about the kids and making sure they were taught to play to their full potential.

Foscaldo, 64, is athletic director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball program throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

“It’s not all about winning and getting better and playing the sport 12 months out of the year,” Foscaldo said.

“It’s learning about the other values that come from sports, which 99.9 percent of the kids are going to take away with them.

“Sure there’s going to be disappointment to the team that loses, but it isn’t the end of the world.”

His duties as director include providing a schedule, administering the rules, making sure referees are assigned, settling disputes between coaches and the teams and developing more town parishes to participate in the CYO basketball program.

At the end of each season, Foscaldo encourages coaches to check with each player on their teams to see if they’d improved their skills, gained a better knowledge of the game and had fun playing.

If each player acknowledged they’ve realized all three, then the journey was worthwhile.

Foscaldo grew up in West Roxbury. Kids in the neighborhood often gathered at his house to shoot hoops.

Even after he moved away, some of the kids still came to his parents’ house to throw the basketball around – kids like Mike Daley, who played on the CYO and Boston Neighborhood Basketball League.

While Foscaldo didn’t play basketball himself, the Catholic Memorial School alum hardly missed a game, watched every move, every play and hungered for every basket. He learned the game by watching and eventually became a coach.

When Daley’s team needed a coach, Foscaldo was first choice.

“Kenny was always a very passionate athletic person who basically could put a team together and coach kids to maximize their potential,” Daley said. “He’s the real deal – a competent and selfless person who’s had a tremendous impact on a lot of kids’ lives.”

Foscaldo and his wife Lois have lived in Westwood since 1969. They raised two children and have eight grandchildren. Both his children played basketball in school, and son Craig will coach a CYO for the first time this year.

Westwood Town Clerk Dottie Powers said Foscaldo stands out not only for being a wonderful person but also for the opportunities he’s provided to the many youths who benefited from his dedication to the CYO

program.

“Ken has been a coach and coordinator of a program that has provided thousands of youths an opportunity to

participate on a team resulting in their acquiring life skills and positive memories that last a lifetime,” she said.

Meadows continues to carry positive memories she’s gained from Foscaldo.

“High scorers had someone pass them the ball,” she recalled. “Every hot shot on the free throw line had

someone rebounding for them in practice.

“Mr. Fuzz always passed out praise when we stepped up and did our level best, and reliably passed out a suicide

run for every minute we were late for practice. We played to win, but we played for each other. We played for Mr. Fuzz.”

Part of their success, she said, was due to organized practices, clever plays and talent of the team.

“But the real success were things we learned from Mr. Fuzz,” said Meadows, who remains grateful to her former coach for helping her learn how to succeed and be proud of herself and believe in something bigger than any one person.

“I try hard to make a difference in young people’s lives through my coaching jobs,” she said.

“I hope the kids I teach believe in themselves, in the sport, and in others the way Mr. Fuzz believed in me.”

Linda Thomas writes ‘Faces in the Crowd’ for the Westwood Press. Contact her with comments and suggestions at lindasfaces@gmail.com.

Printed, the Medfield Press, October 20, 2011

Written by fine lady writer

October 29, 2011 at 3:20 am

Posted in Linda's Faces

Who Needs a Makeover Contest

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Sandy Thomas was born to give.

From the time her daughter was five, she made sure her little girl was dressed like a princess — from head to toe.

Now, decades later, Sandy enjoys shopping with her daughter getting more of a thrill seeing her “little girl” wear beautiful dresses, getting her hair done and looking like a million bucks.

For all of her life, Sandy has attended to the wants and needs of not only her daughter but her son, husband, family members, friends and acquaintances – putting them first, never dreaming of doing for herself.

She has been and continues to be an integral and vibrant part of family and community, without whom their lives would be less joyful, less complete.

When her children were teenagers, she worked full time, only to arrive home to cook dinner for her family – often including her father-in-law, her brothers and brothers-in-law.

She has worked tirelessly, with determination, without complaint and without any thought of recognition.  She never wavered nor abandoned.

Now at 90, her youthful and positive attitude still radiates from her unlined face – which only wrinkles when she smiles.

She has an infinite capacity to bounce back.  No one would accuse her of slowing down.  She inhales life in big, energetic drafts.

Part of her inward beauty is keeping her mind active.  She reads a book a day, plays poker every week, cooks dinner every night – and knows all the names in the news — she doesn’t miss a beat.  She even knows every play and every player on every baseball and football team.

In many ways she is the quintessential young old woman.

Let’s put her first.  Make her day.  She’ll  love it.  And you’ll love having her!

How do I know these things?   Because she’s my mom.

by:  Linda Thomas

 

Written by fine lady writer

October 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

Posted in Linda

Booker T. Frog

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FACES IN THE CROWD

Linda Thomas/Correspondent

For Faces in the Crowd/the Medfield Press

Most green four-legged things might scare you away. Not Booker T. Frog.

The mascot of Park Street Books greets you at the door and invites you to explore the world Jim

James has created inside.

“Books are important to me because they carry ideas and inspire creativity,” James said.

For four years, the children’s bookstore has captivated the attention of those who value printed words between covers they can hold in their hands.

No electronic widgets, gadgets or gismos – so much a part of today’s world – just lots of cubbies with “real” books that set you back in time.

The little store is filled with more than half a million books from “Humphrey the Hamster” to “The Secret Garden” to classic Aesop’s fables.

“It just keeps going, going, and going,” he said. “It’s for those who have time to browse and love the whole serendipity of finding something and discovering.”

James says he still gets goose bumps every time he turns the pages of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” This and other childhood favorites – “Bread and Jam for Frances,” and the “Mr. Men and Little Miss” books – have a place on the shelves.

He was inspired to open a bookstore as far back as when he was living in Liverpool, just one of the many places he lived growing up an “army brat,” turning the pages of one adventure after another.

Whenever he went to a library or a bookstore, he’d get all tingly inside. Even now, at 47, he still does.

“I always wanted to read every book that existed,” he said. “I love books. I love stories. And I love teaching children in creating their own stories.”

So, he grew up, earned a degree in early childhood education and spent 12 years teaching preschool - 10 of them at the former Exploration in Medfield, a nurturing and open-ended environment for preschoolers. Students illustrated their stories while James took down their words.

The day he opened the store, he was excited because it was something new to work on and make special – and nervous because he didn’t know whether it would work.

“You never know when you start a business,” he said. “You just jump in with faith and hope.”

James is hardly in the store these days. Instead, he’s buying remainder books anywhere from Pittsburgh to Atlanta or North Carolina and as far away as Canada and England. When James isn’t there, a mom or high schooler is there to help out.

Meredith Sloan has been working for James every Saturday for the past year and a half.

“Mr. James is a great role model,” said the Medfield high sophomore. “He teaches me kindness gets you very far in life. He also teaches me to ‘never judge a book by its cover’ because you never truly know where someone comes from.”

James has a wealth of knowledge of books and children’s likes and dislikes, said Karin Hauptman, who has been working part-time for 2 1/2 years.

“If they have interests,” she said, “he will know a book in a heartbeat – titles, authors, everything.”

James’ contributions don’t stop at his bookstore.

He donates books to kids at Children’s Hospital – a way to bring literacy to some families that might not have the means to buy books, said fellow Medfield resident Laurie Nealon, who helps deliver them.

“That’s Jim,” she said. “Anything that has to do with good service, goodwill, Jim is right there to make a donation, to be a part of it – and encourage it.”

For James, the latest thing in publishing – e-books – are a distant second to a bound volume. A “real” book has a life. It makes a circle,” he said. “It goes around and sits on your shelf as a reminder, ‘Hey I can go read that’.”

So if you want to know more about Park Street Books, visit the website. Booker T. Frog will tell all you need to know on his blog.

And until he renames the store “Frog Song Books,” James says, the store’s mascot will remain “happy,

happy, happy.”

Linda Thomas writes ‘Faces in the Crowd’ for the Medfield Press. Contact her with

comments and suggestions at lindasfaces@gmail.com

Printed, Medfield Press, 10/28/2011

Written by fine lady writer

October 29, 2011 at 3:02 am

Posted in Linda's Faces

Howard Messing New Chairman, Science Museum

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By Linda Thomas

for the Westwood Press

He was a 14-year-old New York City kid who rarely missed a Saturday absorbed in another world literally discovering other worlds.

Howard Messing was smitten with science.  Eager for those Saturdays to come, he spent them delving inside the American Museum of Natural History pursuing an interest that would later direct the course of his life.

Now, 43 years later, Messing, a leader in one of the largest privately-held technology companies in the world based right here in Westwood, wants to ensure that others can uncover the same wonder and the same sense of delight he did.

He has been put in the perfect position to accomplish that goal as the newly elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Science in Boston.

“I realized that my early love of science enabled me to not only to stay intellectually satisfied, but ended up in a career that let me both support a family and make a worthwhile contribution to society,” he said.

“I really want to make sure that everyone understands the importance of science and engineering as a way to help solve some of society’s ills.”

As he got older, he said he understood that being intellectually challenged and passionate was not enough, that one must give back to society more than one gains.

Messing brings to the Museum his commitment to science and technology and his 36 years of experience with Meditech, a leading software vendor in the health care industry providing integrated software needs of health care organizations around the world.  He first joined the company in 1974 as a programmer and for the past seven years has served as its president and more recently CEO.

“Howard is a proven leader who will inspire the entire Museum community,” said Malcolm Sherman, current chairman of the Museum’s nominating committee and longtime trustee and former Museum chairman.

“He understands that the basic concept of the Museum is to advance the interests and opportunities for education in science and technology. I believe he will lead the Museum into the development of new and exciting exhibits, increase our national presence in science education and help to make the Museum a more interesting and exciting environment.”

As a young boy, Messing was inspired by the 1957 launching of the Russian satellite Sputnik.  His interest in science led him to build a model boat that featured a compass.  He explained how the compass worked, and he won his first science fair ribbon.

At 14, he became president of the Junior Astronomy Club at the American Museum of Natural History.  Two years later, he was programming computers for New York University business professors.

He attended MIT and graduated in 1973 with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science.  While a student at MIT, he visited the Museum of Science, particularly the planetarium, which he said, reignited the feelings he had as a young child in New York City.

“I never got tired of seeing that show, as the lights dimmed and the night sky came out. I wanted everyone to see that and be inspired by it as I had been,” he said.

Messing said that same passion fuels his determination as he journeys into his role as chairman of the Museum of Science with a goal to maintain the Museum’s stature as a world-class institution of informal education.   The core of the Museum’s mission, he said, is to make sure that children and adults can gain a better understanding of basic scientific principles.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m a little bit concerned because I want to make sure I do a good job.  I hope I do,” Messing said.

Messing and wife Colleen moved to Westwood with their two children almost 20 years ago.  Like many couples and young families, they became members of the Museum of Science spending many weekends and vacation days exploring and discovering some of the wonders of the world.

Messing’s involvement with the Museum spanned more than a decade growing from serving as overseer, trustee and now chairman.

When first given the news of his election as chairman several weeks ago, Messing told the other trustees “this is kind of a two for one – you get my wife as well as me.”

Colleen Messing has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Museum, serving on committees and interested in encouraging patrons in a number of areas, particularly art and science.  She attends galas and activities – and as her husband said, “just talking up the Museum,” a big part of a chairman’s role.

Messing considers his responsibility as a private citizen to be equally as important as his professional status.  He served both as a member and chair of Westwood’s Finance Commission and the Economic Development Advisory Board and served on the town’s Information Systems and Advisory Board.

“Howard is an extremely intelligent and insightful man,” said Nancy Hyde, Chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen in Westwood.  “In the various town’s boards he has served on, he has contributed guidance to the operations of the town drawing on his professional skills in the area of technology, management and finance.”

Hyde recalls while Messing served on the Finance Commission he led a 15-person board through the annual town meeting process requiring the Finance Commission to make recommendations on every warrant article going before town meeting.  She also commented that, as chair on the Economic Development Advisory Board, he led the group in responding to the business development needs of the town.

One of his major priorities as chairman is to make educators aware of what other countries are doing in the area of science education.

“As we look at what’s going on in the world today, we look at particularly some of the Asian countries and the emphasis they are placing on science and technology and engineering for their use – and we are not doing that here,” he said.

“I worry about what that means for the future of this country, and I think we need to get that message out and to continue to let people know that is a problem.”

“That’s where I would like to see the Museum go – without losing the emphasis on our original and very important mission of being a traditional science center.”

Walking around the Museum of Science, particularly when it is filled with children, has made Messing realize that kids and adults want to learn and be inspired, but they need to be exposed to science and engineering in a positive, informal environment.

Remembering sitting under the planetarium dome, seeing the thousands and thousands of stars and galaxies was for Messing awe inspiring

“To me nothing man made can compete with the beauty and mystery of the night sky.

“When I found out that when we looked at the stars we were actually looking back billions and billions of years towards the beginning of everything, I was absolutely hooked.  I wanted to know as much as I could about the universe – and I still do.”

For more information about the Museum of Science, visit: http://www.mos.org.

printed in the Westwood Press, July 8, 2010

Written by fine lady writer

July 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Posted in Linda's Faces

Who Needs a Makeover Contest

with 2 comments

Sandy Thomas was born to give.

From the time her daughter was five, she made sure her little girl was dressed like a princess — from head to toe.

Now, decades later, Sandy enjoys shopping with her daughter getting more of a thrill seeing her “little girl” wear beautiful dresses, getting her hair done and looking like a million bucks.

For all of her life, Sandy has attended to the wants and needs of not only her daughter but her son, husband, family members, friends and acquaintances – putting them first, never dreaming of doing for herself.

She has been and continues to be an integral and vibrant part of family and community, without whom their lives would be less joyful, less complete.

When her children were teenagers, she worked full time, only to arrive home to cook dinner for her family – often including her father-in-law, her brothers and brothers-in-law.

She has worked tirelessly, with determination, without complaint and without any thought of recognition.  She never wavered nor abandoned.

Now at 90, her youthful and positive attitude still radiates from her unlined face – which only wrinkles when she smiles.

She has an infinite capacity to bounce back.  No one would accuse her of slowing down.  She inhales life in big, energetic drafts.

Part of her inward beauty is keeping her mind active.  She reads a book a day, plays poker every week, cooks dinner every night – and knows all the names in the news — she doesn’t miss a beat.  She even knows every play and every player on every baseball and football team.

In many ways she is the quintessential young old woman.

Let’s put her first.  Make her day.  She’ll  love it.  And you’ll love having her!

How do I know these things?   Because she’s my mom.

by:  Linda Thomas

Written by fine lady writer

February 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Posted in Linda

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