In Her Words
Candid profiles of strength told by the women of Northbridge
Throughout the month of March we have collaborated to celebrate Women’s History Month and the rich history of the amazing women living in our communities. Their candid stories are brimming over with love, happiness, passion, family values and the markings of individuals who have truly lived well and loved life.
Mercene’s Story (Resident of Stonebridge at Burlington)
Mercene (Cene), was born to George and Angeline Bart as well as two brothers George and Costantine, and two sisters, Mary and Evanthia. She was born in August 1935 in Concord, NH. Her name was given to her by her Godmother rather than her parents during the christening ceremony. She chose “Mercene” after her father’s sister instead of the contender, “Aphrodite” i.e. Goddess of Love. According to Greek tradition, her mother stayed at home during the christening to prepare food for the following feast. Unimaginable today, she did not know her daughter’s name until they returned home!
As a child, Cene enjoyed all the pleasures of bike riding, hopscotch, marbles, jump rope, croquet and softball with her many friends. Sundays were spent visiting with family and friends. During the summer months, Sundays were spent on Lake Winnipesaukee swimming and chatting with good family friends who owned cottages on the water.
Cene excelled at school and went on to study at Pierce College and Bentley School of Finance for accounting. She also took a course in Medical Terminology at Middlesex Community College. She enjoyed her teens and young adult years never losing touch with her Greek heritage and community. It was on a skiing trip that she met her husband, Basil or as they say in Greek, Vasilious. They married in Waltham, MA and had three children, two boys and a girl. They resided in Lexington, Tyngsboro, and Chatham. Cene watched her family grow and as you can imagine, attended many sporting events throughout the years. Most importantly, she never stopped educating herself. She developed a curiosity for all the modes of new technology that rolled in throughout the years. She mastered them and doesn’t understand why others would not.
Cene also has a passion for cooking. One of her favorite holiday traditions is the Greek Easter feast for family and friends. The first meal of the day is eaten after the midnight church service. It symbolizes the end of the forty day Lenten fast which leads to the most joyous of celebrations. Tsoureki, a sweet Easter dessert bread is served. On Holy Thursday tsoureki is baked and the inlaid eggs are dyed red. The red eggs symbolize the blood of Christ and the person who has the egg that has not been cracked on both ends through baking, will have good luck for the rest of the year! On Holy Friday, the epitaphio is decorated with flowers; it is the symbolic bier of Christ) It is the day for lamentation which mourns the death of Christ. After midnight on Saturday, the Byzantine chant, “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen) can be heard with the response,”Alithos Anesti”, (Truly He has risen) sung in response. On Sunday aside from the delectable lamb seasoned with oregano NOT rosemary, there are roasted potatoes and of course spanakopita, spinach feta pie.
Cene enjoys watching documentaries and the Patriots, reading non-fiction, politics, and pondering extraterrestrial Life.
She wishes for her children happy marriages, good health, successful careers and happiness in general.