A young library patron dedicates a valentine to his late “Great-Grammie”
By Mark E. Vogler
Anthony Sazo made two Valentine’s Day hearts out of red and white construction paper as he sat in the children’s section of the Saugus Public Library early Tuesday night. He took one heart home and had the other one stapled on the bulletin board that was already decorated with cardboard doves of all colors to celebrate this year’s library theme of “Love, Peace and Joy.”
“This is for my Great-Grammie,” the six-year-old Lynnfield boy said as he held up the small red heart dedicated to his 96-year-old great-grandmother, Rose DiMinico, who passed away in September 2016.
“I love Great-Grammie,” Anthony said, repeating the words he scribbled in crayon on the heart he signed.
“I feel like she’s in the clouds – in the side of the clouds and in the middle of the clouds. My Great-Grammie is in heaven. I feel like she’s there, up in the sky somewhere,” Anthony said during an interview.
Anthony’s handmade valentine came straight from the heart, according to his mother – Saugus native Tammy Sazo, a 1991 Saugus High School graduate and a second grade teacher at the Veterans Memorial Elementary School who has been teaching in her hometown school system for 19 years. She graduated in 1995 with cum laude honors from Lesley University in Cambridge, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education while specializing in mathematics. She received her master’s in education degree from Lesley in 1998.
While working on her master’s degree, Sazo taught at St. Anthony’s School in Everett. She later worked as a substitute teacher in Andover. She began her career in Saugus Public Schools in the fall of 1999 as a third-grade teacher at the Belmonte Middle School while the Veterans School was being rebuilt.
Sazo’s husband is Lynn native Walter Sazo, the service manager of a Danvers car dealership. They got married in 1998 and lived in Lynn briefly before moving to Lynnfield the following year.
“He talks about her all the time”
Anthony, a first-grader at the Huckleberry Hill Elementary School in Lynnfield, is the youngest of three sons. His older brothers are Robert, 16, and Christopher, 14.
Anthony is a frequent visitor to the Saugus Public Library. He comes to read with his mom after school.
“My grandmother really made a special impression on Anthony, because she’s been gone a while and he still remembers her,” Sazo told The Saugus Advocate.
“He talks about her all the time. And he was very good to her because he liked to visit her a lot,” she said.
“My grandmother really loved little babies. And when I was pregnant with Anthony, she told me that it gave her purpose – something to live for. And she had taken care of other grandchildren,” she said.
“Anthony did mention that he enjoyed when his great-grandmother watched him swim at his Grampy’s house, Robert DiMinico (Sazo’s dad). He also enjoyed playing Pokeno with his Great-Grammie. She left a loving impression on him and he still speaks fondly about her,” she said.
Anthony recalled one of the fondest memories he had with her was tossing coins into a water fountain at the Stoneham nursing home where she spent the final months of her life. He also remembers her being a big part of his birthday parties.
A child’s love never dies
Rose DiMinico lived for more than three decades at Heritage Heights in Saugus. She was a retired town employee who worked as a manager in the school cafeteria. She had been married 13 years to her husband, Joseph DiMinico, before he passed away, leaving her with a 12-year-old son, Robert DiMinico, who still lives in Saugus with his wife, Rachel.
“I had lived here in Saugus all of my life until I got married,” said Sazo, who was born in the old Saugus Hospital.
“Even though I moved away, my heart is still in Saugus, where I grew up. And I still teach here. And Anthony likes to come to the library. It’s a nice library. He can … find books he likes to read and participate in some of the programs,” she said.
On Tuesday, Anthony was in the mood to sit down at the round table with the bowl of crayons, scissors, colored construction paper and paste – to express his lasting love for his great-grandmother and send a Valentine’s Day message to heaven. Instead of cutting out and coloring a dove, he preferred to be the first one to place a heart on the bulletin board.
Valentine’s Day – which is Wednesday (Feb. 14) – and the days leading up to it are always fun and creative days for the children who visit the library. There is plenty of room on the bulletin board to pin up some love doves and hearts. “Indeed, kids are welcome to stop by to make Valentines to share with friends and family or to place on our Peace display,” said Amy Melton, the children’s librarian.