MEET MEMBER MARTHA BERARDINO: STITCHING IN TIME

MARTHA BERARDINO:  STITCHING IN TIME

In June of 2014, Martha saw an advertisement for BOLLI’s “Scholar for a Day” in the Newton Tab.  Having recently retired, she was intrigued with the idea of taking classes and signed up for the program.  When she arrived, she found herself in a current events class that she did not think she would enjoy, “but I was so impressed with the SGL who gave us a map and spoke so knowledgeably about ISIS that I even talked during the session.”  She says the Lunch & Learn program that day was also excellent, and, consequently, she signed up for the 2014 fall term.

“Since then, I have enjoyed all the classes I have taken–with only one exception.  And since I have taken 17 courses so far, that strikes me as a great ‘batting’ average. I enjoy listening to the SGLs and my fellow classmates—everyone has so much to offer on the many subjects.  I have been especially impressed with the great selection of speakers at Lunch & Learn, and I also love the seminars during the winter and summer terms.”

In addition to her course load at BOLLI, Martha has become a “part-time” member of the Photo Club, attending some of the group’s meetings as well as their outings which she has found particularly fun to do.  She has also been taking part in the Book Group.  “The books chosen have broadened my reading selections, and the discussions are very interesting,” she says.

One of Martha’s interests outside BOLLI is doing cross-stitch samplers, a tradition in which, for centuries, stitchers have created pieces to demonstrate their skills and commemorate significant events.  “In 1976, I wanted to make something for my first child,” she says.  “I first tried crewel and then needlepoint but then realized that I liked counted cross-stitch the best.  It takes concentration, but I also find it relaxing.”  She has enjoyed making birth samplers for the babies in her life which she says some receive shortly after birth while others come along later.  “I just recently finished a birth sampler for my great niece who lives in Pennsylvania—she’ll be four in April!  And now, I am working on one for my honorary great-niece who arrived twelve days early on March 5th.”

Martha majored in chemistry in college, and after she graduated as an analytical chemist, she worked in three different arenas.  After two years in the chemistry lab at Mass General, she spent eighteen years in a Boston City Hospital research lab which then moved to Beth Israel Hospital.  Her last job was a twenty-two year stint at Biogen, the well-known biotech company.  “Working in biotech is fascinating and very rewarding,” she says. With a note of pride, she adds that “during my time at Biogen, we had seven drugs approved by the FDA.”

Martha is married to Bob, a retired high school guidance director, and the couple have two children.  Son Michael is working on his Ph.D. in public policy at UMass Boston where he concentrates on English language learners.  Daughter Jennifer, who works as a corporate recruiter, is married to Watertown Chef Mike Fucci who was recently the winner on an episode of Cuttroat Kitchen on the Food Network!

Apparently, Martha Berardino’s friends have dubbed her their “Culture Meister” because of her talent for organizing trips to drama, dance, and music performances.  At the moment, she recommends the play Topdog/Underdog at the Huntington Theatre, the Matisse exhibit at the MFA, and Charlotte’s Web at Wheelock Family Theatre.  “Right now, I am planning a five-day trip to the Berkshires in July which will include performances at Tanglewood, Williamstown Theatre, and Jacob’s Pillow as well as art museums and, of course, good eating at area restaurants.”

Martha certainly samples it all!