2011, February 5 (Saturday)

Members Only
+ their guests

At the four neighborhood homes of our…


Lisa and Jeff Kitchen
4:45 to 5:55 PM • Appetizers

Barbara Voltz with daughters Audrey and Bridget
6 to 6:50 PM • Soups or Salads

Heather and Mike Pastino
7 to 8:00 PM • Casserole/Main Dish

Holly and John Naughton
8:10 to 9:15 PM • Dessert, Coffee


Click for Slideshow by Jim Salvas
Narrative by Phyllis Dunn

The 5th Annual FMSP Progressive Dinner is a wonderful way to conduct a fundraising event. Attending for the first time last year, my husband and I were convinced it could not be topped. But in true Friends of Marshall Square Park fashion, for us, this year seemed even better.

We can’t put our finger on the specific reason, but we all know the friendliness of people attending an event can set the tone for the evening. This party certainly had all the right ring tones. Knowing more people this year—who also seemed to remember us—created a feeling akin to putting on a warm, favorite party sweater—very comfortable indeed.

BUT one thing we do know; the always-iffy weather doesn’t make this annual celebration a success… or does it? Could our fear of cancellation make our souls jubilant when we finally don our coats and head out for good fun and food? That jubilant behavior doesn’t fade as the evening wears on; it’s as though each entered doorway gives a “winter transfusion” of joy! How else do you explain the cheerful faces in February, pockets of laughter and outstretched hands greeting you? …all night long!

The Homes, The Food and The Gong

The sold-out crowd hurried down the street, some sporting umbrellas to ward off the heavy mist, to be warmly greeted by Lisa and Jeff Kitchen. Their beautiful, warm home near N. High and E. Virginia was our first stop for appetizers and drinks. As delicious appetizers—more variety than you can imagine—swirled thru the crowd, attendees also swirled into groups for conversation and good cheer. But alas good times had to end with the Gong sounding promptly at 5:55PM… time to move along.

Slipping back into our boots, we crossed the street to the home of Barbara Voltz and a stunning display of shrimp salads served in long-stem glassware elegantly arrayed upon the longest granite kitchen island I’ve ever seen. The sunken dining room served as the wine and beverage room artistically laid out among the small twinkling white lights. Then, before we knew it, THE GONG again. 6:50PM and off we went.

As we bustled down the street, watching for small icy spots, we headed north on N. Walnut to the home of Mike and Heather Pastino and into their dining room for our main course—a real crowd pleaser and the king of comfort food—Stuffed Shells. The small high tables in the den proved a welcome place to meet up with friends and enjoy the good food in total comfort. Glasses of poured wine beckoned from the kitchen. Sounds of laughter and conversation reverberated through the house and then… something else started to reverberate… THE GONG. At 8:00PM, we were off to our last stop.

With the temptation of dessert and coffee before us, the short stroll up the steep driveway and into Holly and John Naughton’s home on N. Walnut was easy. Their dining room was a sight to behold… mouth-watering desserts everywhere, a real sweet tooth’s delight. Then, all at once, it seemed to dawn on everyone; ’twas our last chance to find friends with whom we hadn’t yet talked. The conversations and laughter got louder, and it seemed to me to be more fun—or was it all that wine?

But what is this, it can’t be, yes it is, THE GONG! Linda Scott stepped forward and announced it was time to draw the winner of the John Suplee print “The Swiss Cottage.” (Whew, I thought the night was over and I was not ready for this to end.) To everyone’s delight, the winner was… Shelagh Purnell. This seemed so appropriate since she was the Borough’s Recreation Director for over 13 years!

The Naughton’s family room seemed to be the perfect place to end the evening. The comfort of a huge blazing fireplace, friends and neighbors grouped in conversation, memories of past years and the anticipation of next year’s fabulous annual event; if ever you decide to join us, reserve immediately—11 people remained on this year’s wait list.

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