Friends of Marshall Square Park



2010, February 6 (Saturday)

Members Only
+ their guests

At our four neighborhood…


Hosts Anne and Greg Walters
4:45 to 5:55 PM • Appetizers & Cocktails

The Home of Sue Casso and Bob Rogers
6 to 6:55 PM • Soups

The Home of Glen and David Sweet
7 to 8:00 PM • Main Dish

The Home of Marybeth and Steve Phillips
8:15 to 9 PM • Dessert by Sue Scott, Coffee, and Live Music

By Jean Mayne©, deceased
February 13, 2010

The FMSP Fourth Annual Progressive Dinner began for me with a walk in the park one warm autumn day. As I marveled at the Parks’ beauty, a very kind gentleman stopped to explain the history of its development, the neighborhood’s efforts to raise funds for improvements and the raw human labor it takes to support its beauty and uniqueness. When I related my past involvement in a similar project, he suggested I join the Association …“and by the way, come to our Progressive Dinner in February.”

I chuckled to myself. I’d just moved here the previous month. Imagine inviting a total stranger to what was obviously a private party. After all, an invitation is not a ticket. Little did I know that in February, I would be sharing an incredible feast with my neighbors under the guiding hand of the completely unflappable Linda Scott—who should be appointed director of FEMA.

When the FMSP decides to have their annual celebration, nothing can stand in the way—not even an historic blizzard that left two feet of snow and roared off only four hours before the dinner began.

How incredible. Beginning with coordinating hosts, menus, signage and guest lists, Linda’s job ‘snowballed’ into what could have been a logistical nightmare.

With less than three hours until cocktails, she and her stalwart band had the added task of locating people to clear a path to each home, devising and notifying all of a ‘boots and socks’ plan to preserve the floors of each beautiful home and worrying over the progress of each guest through the two feet of snow gracing our park.

As the group worried about the storm, the hosts did not know whether to ‘cook it or book it’ until two in the afternoon. Julia Childs would have hoisted a bottle to the talents of each. With the decision made to go ahead, Anne and Greg Walters got the celebration off to a roaring start with a clever and tasty assortment of hors doeuvres. The kitchen became a well-stocked bar.

At precisely 5:55, we were ‘gonged’ on to the next stop. After trudging through the snow, we found a roaring fire and the unmistakably sea-air salty tang of fresh clams in a thick chowder. As the perfect accompaniment, Sue Casso and Bob Rogers chose crisp white apples tossed into bowls of a perfectly sauced Waldorf salad.

Gonged again, we were off to the main course. As we struggled out of our boots, Glen and David Sweet pulled huge trays of tangy, cheesy lasagna from the oven. Groups formed and reformed as conversation bubbled over family, friends, borough events and how soon another party could be planned.

As the gong tolled for the last time, we were off to our last stop. Streams of laughing partygoers scoffed at the cold as we struggled through trenches cut into the deep drifts by the hastily recruited snow removal crew.

Mother Nature appropriately provided a scenario reminiscent of the Swiss Alps for Sue Scott’s tables laden with authentic Viennese pastries. As a hint of the pleasure to come, Sue had scattered G clefs hand-crafted from dark chocolate.

This party waltzed into history with a live keyboardist provided by Marybeth and Steve Phillips in their magnificent and acoustically perfect living room. As the music began, Franz Lehar would have applauded the redheaded image of his ‘Merry Widow’ who led off the waltz.

Wandering home that evening, I realized my most lasting memory would be that of holding a mug of the Casso/Rogers’ “crammed-with-clams” chowder while discussing a painting of downtown—for it was then I understood the sincerity and openness I’d encountered; there are no strangers in this lovely and well-loved community.

Jean Mayne©

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