Diary of an Earth Daughter: Where Niko Began

Niko is home for spring break and we decided to take a daytrip back to the towns where he was born and lived for the first year of life. He hadn't ever seen the area, having spent most of his growing up years here in North Andover. So Steve and I, Niko and Silvana trekked out to Leominster and Athol, Ma. to share the stories of his entry into the world and tour him by a couple of our fonder memory spots. He enjoyed being in the mountains and woods and taking in a change of scenery from his usual urban surroundings at UMass Lowell.  

I hope it filled in the chapter of life with some visuals and now a few memories of his own.

Leominster Hospital (UMass Memorial Health Alliance) -Where the D'Onofrio family began. February 26, 1998, 2:25pm.

Murals, Downtown Gardner- we moved from the Cape to this area due to a job opportunity in this town for Steve.

St. Mary's Monastery in Petersham, a community of Roman Catholic Benedictine monks living a contemplative monastic life. I did a couple of silent retreats here. As a new mom having moved to a region where we knew no one and had to grow a community from scratch, I found the option to overnight here in solitude a welcome respite from the challenges of new motherhood. Sitting in the small chapel (no longer here) listening to the monks perform services largely in Gregorian chant, with time to catch up on rest, read, journal were savored experiences that I am grateful for.

The Benedictine nuns of St. Scholastica Priory with whom they share their property reside here. Guests could take meals privately in a gorgeous dark paneled library while the nuns ate in their dining hall. Prayers and readings drifted through the closed door and added a peace to mealtimes.  

The Country Store in Petersham. Special to us for the bitter February night we ventured out to the store to enjoy an evening of live folk music by the cheerful pot-bellied stove. A gent offered up his rocking chair to a very rotund me. Quirky with lots of down home charm back then. Now the stove is a pellet burner in the back room, menu items include lots of locally grown, vegetarian and vegan options. Delicious.

An updated back room with pellet stove. Cozy as ever.

Petersham center.

Our first home in Athol.

House Number 2.

At Bearsden- conservation land I hiked often while carrying Niko and after he came along.

French King Restaurant, Erving. Long time vegetarian before carrying Niko- but found after a difficult deliberation that my body needed animal protein. This was the place I began that process. Back to my former eating habits these days.

It was a sweet family outing. So happy it came together and we were able to share this time together. 


Blessings of the Green & Wild

Deborah Fay