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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | January 2008 

Friends, Family, Broadway and More The End
email this pageprint this pageemail usPolly G. Vicars - PVNN
go to Part I

Jonnet, Howard, Husband and me

Hubert and Jonnet look pretty cozy

Linda Ellerbee's Cousin Bill, friend Alvin, Husband and me ready for Jonnet and Howards's Mardi Gras Party

Glen, Laurie, Phyllis, Hubert, Dick, Janis, Harry breakfasting at Beacon Hill B & B

Brother Harry speaking for the Cohen Family

Pres. Haynes with the Cohen Family and the replica of the plaque

Cousin Phyllis, Niece Janis and Dick

Laurie, Glenn and Niece Janis
I am now coming to the end of my New York - Boston Tale, and I hope you are hanging in there. I told you about friends Linda, Rolfe and Holly who made our New York stay so spectacular, now I want to tell you about other friends, beginning with Jonnet and Howard Holladay of Boston and Puerto Vallarta.

Jonnet and Howard have wintered in Puerto Vallarta for many years and one of the highlights of the social season has been their fabulous Casa Libra Mardi Gras party up the mountain in Old Town. When Linda Ellerbee's cousin Billy and his friend Alvin were in town, Jonnet, true to her gracious nature, invited them to attend the gala event with us. Decked out in our genuine New Orleans Mardi Gras beads, given to me by my New Orleans brother Harry, we spent a beautiful evening with the Holladays and many of the Puerto Vallarta "A" List.

I will digress here to tell you that the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans two years ago inundated Brother Harry's beautiful and spacious home. He had to be evacuated by helicopter with only the clothes on his back (and luckily his billfold.)

From New Orleans he was bussed to Houston where he joined thousands for a night in the Astrodome. In Houston, the airlines would not sell him a ticket to Puerto Vallarta without a passport (his being under 6 feet of water in his home.) I put him in touch with Houston friends Gigi and Richard Strahan who had befriended Margi Tolton when her Chuck was hospitalized there. I knew these wonderful people would help Harry. And do they did; they picked him up, took him to buy clothes, helped him get the affidavit he needed and drove him to the airport.

Meanwhile, in Vallarta, we called on our former English students, Norma and Emma working at Immigration. They called the airlines in Houston and instructed them to allow Harry to buy a ticket as they would handle his 'no passport' problem down here. Norma arranged everything at the airport so when his plane landed she took me directly to the tarmac to greet him and checked him in personally.

More wonderful friends, Joan and Ed Cannon, who were in Poplar Bluff, Missouri for the summer, generously offered their beautiful Vista del Sol condo for as long as he needed it, which turned out to be about six weeks before he returned to devastated New Orleans.

Back to the Holladays and Boston. When Jonnet heard we were going to Boston for the ceremony to honor Grandfather Cohen, she offered to obtain for us a luxurious, reduced price Condo in their gorgeous Longfellow Place Complex, just a few short blocks from the State House. So we had a beautiful two bedroom apartment for Brother Harry and us, which Jonnet had stocked with coffee, juice, and other essentials including a bottle of very good wine! Niece Janis and Dick had opted for a nearby Holiday Inn.

The Holladay's Vallarta friends will be happy to hear that Howard had a successful knee replacement and is recuperating very well. He was able to go with us for a sumptuous seafood dinner at Boston's famous Anthony's Pier 4. Jonnet, the busiest retired person I know, was dashing from tennis to lectures at museums, to lunch with gal friends to trying to taking care of our needs. They are really missing Vallarta and send greetings to all for the coming year. We hope next season will find them back here in time for another smashing Mardi Gras Party.

Now from "friends" to "relatives." My Mother had one sister and six brothers. We never knew our Aunt Adelaide as she died quite young, but we did meet her daughter Isabel many years ago, but had not been in touch after reaching adulthood. However, Janis's genealogical search found Cousin Isabel now living in Houston, Texas and established new lines of communication. She was unable to attend the Boston Ceremony, but seemed thrilled to re-discover long lost relatives.

Harry and I both remember an Okeechobee, Florida visit many years ago from Mother's youngest brother, Uncle Jerry, his wife Aunt Jeanne and daughter, Phyllis. Janis tried very hard to contact Cousin Phyllis who she found lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. She made many calls, leaving messages, but no returns were forthcoming.

Phyllis later told us that when she played her messages and heard that deep southern accent, she just deleted them without really listening as she said she didn't know anyone who talked like that.

When Janis finally found her at home and explained who she was, both were thrilled. Janis extended the invitation to the unveiling ceremony for Grandfather Cohen on December 5th in Boston. Phyllis, her daughter Laurie and husband Glenn accepted and drove to Boston for the event, meeting us for breakfast at their Beacon Hill Bed and Breakfast.

When we arrived, waiting for us was a striking woman with a big smile and lots of gorgeous jewelry setting off her good looking outfit. She moved directly to me saying I looked just like "Aunt Marion" my mother. She, Laurie and Glenn embraced us all and the conversations went a mile a minute as we all had much catching up to do. Laurie and Glenn live on Long Island and are extremely close to Phyllis. They had to cancel a planned trip to Atlantic City for the same date as the Boston ceremony. Could gambling be in the family genes? My readers know that Las Vegas is a favorite venue for me and for Brother Harry!

At our breakfast table we really connected and the intervening years fell away with reminiscences of the Cohen family whom Phyllis knew much better than did Harry or I. Later that day, we gathered at the Boston State House for the unveiling of the replica of the bronze plaque in honor of our Grandfather Cohen. We hadn't known what to expect, and were amazed at the turnout of Boston political and labor leaders.

We, as the Cohen family, were given front row seats and were warmly welcomed by speaker after speaker who spoke in honor of our Grandfather. Robert J. Haynes, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO was the event emcee and the leading voice in honoring Grandfather "Teddy" Cohen.

Other speakers, Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Secretary of State William Galvin, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Suzanne Bump, Representative Steve Walsh and Senator Steve Tolman, the bill's sponsors, and many other dignitaries added their praise.

Brother Harry concluded the event, speaking on behalf of the Cohen family, and as always did us proud, as he told a little history of the Cohen's, introduced those of us there, and thanked the Bostonians for this great honor to our Grandfather.

The impressive ceremony was followed by an elegant reception in the private rooms of the Speaker of the House. As guests of our newly found cousin, once or twice removed, Glenn, we later dined at Boston's famous Union Oyster House. All of us, Brother Harry, Niece Janis and her partner Dick, Phyllis, Laurie, Glenn, Husband and I spent a delightful evening, many times all talking at once, before we had to say goodbye. The New Yorkers were leaving that night, as Glenn wanted to get back to work the next day. Janis and Dick were driving back to Florida early the next day to try to beat an expected snow storm. So with many hugs, kisses and promises of keeping in touch, we wished each other the best!

The next day I received this email from Laurie. "...we are still reeling from the whole day and evening in Boston. So thrilled to meet all of you and just so happy to have my mother be a part of this. To reunite after so many years with her cousins and to sit in the state house and be a part of honoring grandfather/great grandfather Edward was a memory that we will all treasure." Well said, and I heartily concur!

Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 55 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.

Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.

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