Madeline Letitia Selig Grillo '40

Madeline Letitia Selig Grillo
a class of 1940 alumna, celebrated her 95th birthday on March 7 with family and friends at her home of 62 years in Gloucester, Massachusetts. As a special remembrance of Madeline’s days growing up in Gloucester, daughters Paula and Carla Grillo presented her with a framed antique photograph of herself as a three year-old-girl on a pony at a Gloucester-area farm.

With parents who both reached 100 years of age, Madeline views herself as “just reaching middle age.”

Madeline outside of her Emerson
dormitory on Commonwealth Ave. in 1940

Alice Cavanuagh ’40 (left) and Betty Evans ’40 (center)
with Madeline at Emerson College in 1940.

While at Emerson, Madeline served as editor-in-chief of the Emersonian and was a member of Zeta Phi Eta. She graduated with her BA in English. She went on to teach English at her alma mater, Gloucester High School, for 40 years.

In the mid-1940s, Madeline married former Gloucester Mayor, Joseph Grillo, who was also an English teacher at Gloucester High; they were married for 61 years. Both were consummate anglophiles who spent most of their summers traveling throughout the U.K. Madeline documented 28 trips to London, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales in detailed travel logs, which she hopes to publish in a forthcoming blog, The Madeline Chronicles.

Not only did Madeline travel throughout the years but she was also a part of a small Emerson alumni group that gathered every spring for a “mini-reunion” at the Copley Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston. This group of women, including Patricia Archambault Gibney ’40; Alice Cavanugh Daniels ’40; Elizabeth Evans Sullivan ’40; and Elizabeth Pierce True ’40, began this tradition a few years after graduation, and it continued for more than 50 years. Also taking part for many years was their beloved professor, Dr. Dorothy Parkhurst, who taught German and French at Emerson.

The women would travel from different parts of Massachusetts to meet for lunch and would spend hours catching up and reminiscing about their cherished times at Emerson College. At one of the last reunions in 2005, the maître d’ came to their table to ask them to “keep it down” as another table complained about how loud they were being. The maître d’ remembered the women from over the years, however, and was glad they were having such a good time. Although the reunions have since ended, Madeline keeps the memories of these reunions close to her heart.

Alice Cavanaugh ’40 (left), Patty Archambault ’40, Madeline Selig ’40
and Betty Evans ’40 (right) after graduation from Emerson in 1940

The 54th reunion in May 1994 at the Copley Plaza: (l to r) Betty Evans
Sullivan ’40; Alice Cavanaugh Daniels ’40; Patty Archambault Gibney ’40;
Betty Pierce True ’40; Madeline Selig Grillo ’40.

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