“We will be okay,” two signs of hope in troubled times

We Will Be OkayBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City paper 11/2017

“We will be okay.”

It’s Sunday; I’m driving around Foxboro Common and I pass the Universalist Church and these four words on their little announcement sign jump out at me. “We will be okay.”

As I’m inspired. I really am. That’s my next column, I say to myself. There is hope. I happen to notice another sign across the street, which I will get to in a moment.

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Your kind words can make a difference — and maybe even save a life

05 Ogunquit Beach - Umbrella and Two Aderondack Chairs by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 8/2017

Checking into FaceBook on my lunch break and I see that a few friends are going through rough times and some, just by the tone of their posts, are hurting…

And I get to thinking: Our words matter and we can make a difference.

True story, a month or so ago, a Facebook friend posted a video and explained she was actually contemplating suicide the night before — thankfully for all of us and for her, she made the calls, talked to people, reached out, realized she was not alone, got the help she needed — thank God — she is still with us and feeling better.

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2016: Embracing the spirit of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and finding the key to the childhood joy

My desk all decorated for Christmas, 1981

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 12/2016

It’s early December and I am wondering in a store or two, looking at the rows of decorations, wrap, candy and Christmas merchandise lining the shelves. I find myself lost in nostalgia this evening, recalling a time, as a kid, when I would race to the stores and just window shop for hours, looking at all the Christmas decorations and then excitedly continue preparation for Christmas at home.

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Taking time to appreciate the American Flag and reflect on its promise

American Flags on Foxboro Commonby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 5/2016

It’s Saturday morning, and like so many others around town I am running errands. Driving on Mechanic Street I spot them – the American flags all along the sidewalk, encircling the common, and also running down parts of Mechanic and Central Street.

The flag’s “magical” appearance several times a year – Memorial Day, founders day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day and when needed – don’t happen by magic – the flags are carefully and respectfully placed by a nameless benefactor or benefactors* – one of the many people who do something for this town behind the scenes.

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Finding hope through the darkness of shootings — National Night Out (Rescheduled due to Thunderstorms)

03-Christmas-Still-Life---CandlesBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reorter 7/2015

Last week, for the first time in many years, I wrote a full column for this space, and then proceeded to, as they say in the newspaper business, “kill it.” – The reason? It was so dark, and so sad, that it was – uncharacteristically for me – completely bereft of hope.

The impetus for the column came when I was asked to add the announcement of the candlelight vigil — for the four Marines and one sailor who were murdered — to be held the following Sunday on Foxboro Common — to several Facebook pages.

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We All Want To Be Remembered

This card is sent to all BC High alumni each October to list the names of our beloved deceased and returned to the Loyola Chapel and the names are remembered at each mass in November
This card is sent to all BC High alumni each October to list the names of our beloved deceased and returned to the Loyola Chapel and the names are remembered at each mass in November

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 11/2014

The month of November means many things: the beginning of the Christmas season (at precisely one second past Halloween), elections every two years, Thanksgiving, and Veterans Day, just to name a few.

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Cherishing the people around us – NOW

Lilacsby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 7/2014

A fair warning friends, this one isn’t summer fluff.

Every now and then, I look up a name from the past – sometimes it’s to see how someone is doing – perhaps connect with them on Facebook – or just see who’s working where, who’s living there, who got married, or find out “the rest of the story” of people from my past.

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The Water Heals

Spectacular Wave Crashingby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 3/2013

The water heals.

I’m a little kid, enjoying one of an uncountable number of childhood trips to Savin Hill Beach, experiencing the taste and smells of clean seawater and the joyous feeling of swimming and playing in the hot summer sun with all the laughing and crying children. I can feel the warm sun and taste the delicious boloney and cheese sandwiches Mom made, and the Kool-Aid and potato chips.

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Take ten seconds…

Bartlett---Bear-Notch-Road-Fall-Foliageby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 9/2012

“I need to tell you that you’re going to remember this night for the rest of your lives. It’s going to be a long night and we need you to work fast and we need you to work well. But once in a while, take three seconds — you can’t spare more than that — take three seconds to notice where you are and what you’re doing.” — Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), “The Newsroom,” HBO

Greetings Foxboro!

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Taking the time to cherish the NOW

Wells Beach Rainbowby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper 6/2012

In the past year, four people I know very well, including two childhood friends, have lost their mothers. A young woman I adore has lost her 25 year old brother. My nephew relayed a story of a 15 year old who committed suicide. My friend Sean lost his best friend to cancer – at 17. And this past week at church, Father Steve Madden, who recently lost his own mother, relayed that sad news that Father Brian, our new priest at Saint Mary’s Foxboro who has been welcomed and embraced, is in the hospital.

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‘Tis the season to be generous

Christmas Still Life - Salvation ArmyBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 12/2011

“I have always thought of Christmas time, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

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A different look at, “There but for the grace of God go I”

Grace of Godby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper, 12/2010

In my years working in Boston, I’ve seen many homeless people and people very down on their luck, and of course the scammers who pretend to be in need (such as the unforgettable woman in the weird hat who told me the same “Lost my purse and can’t go to the police” story twice in three months.

Scammers aside, homelessness and need are readily apparent in Boston (and also Foxboro), and I try to help when I can.

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Flat tire leads to a little miracle

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 10/2009

So there I am, working at the home computer on a yet another late night software promotion, and Sue calls around 8 — she’s got a flat, but no worries, she’s already called AAA. I asked her where she is; she’s a few miles away in a nearby town, so I tell her I’m on my way. Then I hear, “Gotta go, there’s a dog wandering in the street.”

I get to the scene of the aforementioned flat and there’s a large golden dog in the back seat of the car.

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Statue of Liberty Visit Inspires Hope

Statue of Liberty - GillisPhotos.comBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper May, 2008

It’s a perfect, 60 degree Saturday, and Sue and I, along with her cousin Angela headed to the Apple for a New York adventure.

Our first stop was the Staten Island Ferry at Battery Park. Neither of the girls has ever been to the Statue of Liberty, and today we arrived early and took it all in — the guys dressed up as the Statue of Liberty (complete with green makeup) posing for pictures with tourists.

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Chance encounter on Foxboro Common

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 11/2007 and updated here 7/11/2008

A few weeks ago, I completed work at the haunted house and left the Orpheum a little after midnight. The night was unseasonably warm, and I had my camera with me, so I decided to try some experimental night photography on the Common: the flag, the lit signs and lanterns, and the monuments. I’m still getting the hang of my first SLR camera, and being a male, have never read the instruction manual.

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