Mayland (Smith) McLaughlin Fields
Mayland Smith McLaughlin Fields
November 12, 1917 - February 4, 2020
What an amazing woman! 102 and 83 days. For almost 90 years, Mayland thought she was born on November 11, 1917, on the East side in Manhattan, New York. (Though in 2013 nurses at Lawrence Memorial hospital had told her they had her down as born on Nov. 12th) To which Mayland replied, in those days you were born in the home and I guess I was born at Midnight! However, we were able to secure official documents stating she was born on the 12th. But no time was given! Her parent s were Lucinda and Robert Smith.
One year after Mayland was born, her mother died in the Flu Epidemic, leaving her father to raise her. He was a Coal Miner in Pennsylvania. During the strike he moved to New York and got work building the Holland Tunnel. It was there that he met with an accident and injured his leg. Later gangrene set in. Her father eventually died from the gangrene.
Before he died however, Mayland’s father had re-married and the family moved to Medford when she was around five. They lived of Jerome St. where she grew up. She attended public schools there. When she finished her schooling Mayland went to work with Dr. Johnson in Arlington, MA. He was a government psychiatrist. Here she learned the value of fish oils. Dr. Johnson told her to take a tablespoon of Cod Liver oil every morning, and she did! She worked for Dr. Johnson for four years and grew to appreciate the value of exercise. She was in great shape. Mayland walked 6 miles round-trip every day and didn’t think anything of it!
After leaving Dr. Johnson, Mayland went to work at the Garland Girl’s School on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. In the summer of 1937, Mayland met her first husband Charles McLaughlin, (affectionately known as Mac) at a small dinner party. He was living at the time, with Wilbur and Ruth Sherwood, Judi’s parents and later would become Judi’s Godparents. Mayland immediately fell in love with Mac, but didn’t see him for several months. Mac called her after a while and invited her to a movie and lunch. They dated for about a year. She later told her friend Ossie that she was going to marry him. Ossie asked her, “How do you know that?” And, Mayland replied, “If God means it to be then He will make it happen.
Soon after this encounter, Mayland was in an automobile accident with some friends where she broke her shoulder and scarred her nose, which required stitches. Her friends told her that Mac wouldn’t marry her now! But, one year later, they did get married. Soon after they married, Mac was drafted into the Army for WWII and was shipped off to London. Mayland went to live with her step sister in Harrisburg, PA where her only daughter Jean was born.
By the time Mac was discharged, Mayland had moved back to Massachusetts where they bought their first home. It was the one she had wished for at 99 Jerome Street. Mayland raised Jean in the Medford Public Schools. While Jean was in school, Mayland worked for three years at Raytheon in Watertown as a Quality Control Inspection Specialist while Mac worked for the MBTA. This was around the time that my family first met Mayland. My parents were from Harrisburg PA. My father, Melvin was offered a job in Boston and was looking for a place to stay. Mayland opened her home to him and later to my late mother Gloria and me. Mayland was a close family friend: sister to my parents, aunt, surrogate mother to me and my siblings for many years. Mayland’s loving embrace was true for many friends moving to West Medford and others she met during her life.
After working at Raytheon, Mayland became somewhat of a Medford Socialite! She was known as being a gracious hostess. She loved entertaining. Mayland was an independent individual. She started travelling to Florida with Mac and friends for summer vacations. Many of you know that she did not like to fly, so most of her travelling was done by bus or train. She also enjoyed taking cruises.
Mayland sold her Jerome street home and moved up to her High Street home in the late 60’s. However, in the early 1970’s Mac was diagnosed with Cancer of the Pancreas and given one year to live. After he passed Mayland sold her house and moved into the newly built Condo’s at 190 High Street where she lived for nearly forty years. She was a widow for about five years when she met Alonzo Fields. She had known of him while growing up in Medford. Lonnie was 18 years her senior, but she said, “It’s never too late for love!”
She referred to Lonnie as her “Celebrity Husband”! He had written a book, My 21 Years in the White House; where he was a butler and then Head Butler at the White House for four presidents. She joined him travelling throughout the country on speaking engagements. Mayland met Lonnie at a Christmas party dinner club. It was a six year blossoming romance. They married in 1980. Mayland enjoyed a happy marriage to Lonnie for almost 15 years. She liked to recall when he travelled alone, he would call her and their conversations always ended with Lonnie saying, “Here’s a kiss on the forehead” and she would respond, “Here’s a kiss on the cheek”!
They enjoyed many delightful years of travelling. During this period Mayland was introduced to the political scene in Washington, DC and enjoyed learning and sharing Lonnie’s history while he served in the White House. She told me that she was very fortunate to have had two wonderful husbands and very happy marriages.
Mayland was philosophical. “To enjoy life, you must laugh and keep going”, she would say. “The joy of a long-life is that everyone gets to know you” – from the people at the CVS in Medford Square, the various Bank Tellers and business operators in stores like Ward’s, the Post office she visited in West Medford, Brooks Pharmacy, later purchased by Rite Aid and now a child care center, and her favorite restaurant in Arlington, Jimmy’s Steer House. She loved talking and sharing with people. Her conversations were always filled with warmth, joy and caring. People just loved to be around her. She said that she led a good life and thanked God for it. It was WONDERFUL! She prayed every day, read her bible and thanked GOD for the friends and help he sent her way. She never wanted for anything.
As mentioned, she loved to entertain and was very active, socially: She volunteered for the Home for Little Wanderers, Mental Health Hospitals, and Joined the Junior Matrons, Medford Woman’s Club, the Urban League of Boston, and the AARP and was on the Board of Directors at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
At the age of 90 in 2007, Mayland received a ceremonial-Key to the City plaque, from the then Mayor, Michael J. McGlynn in recognition of her outstanding contributions as a Medford citizen and for her remarkable example of dedication, love and inspiration to so many.
Mayland said she never got to thank her late, loving daughter Jean, for all the wonderful things she did for her. When Jean died in 2005, it left a deep void in her life. It was the saddest loss she had to endure. But, other close friends, surrogate daughters and their families, tried to provide love and support: Judi Carrington, Helen Ferguson, Adele Travisano, Dorothy Eckstein, Crystal Carter, Isabelle Hamilton, Louise Hill, Clare Sheridan, her late nephew Clinton Fields and his wife Roberta and niece, Loretta Fields. This varied group would take her shopping, to doctor’s appointments, celebrate holidays or other special occasions, take her along on Casino bus trips, which she really loved!
During the early part of her life, she attended the Methodist church, but after she moved to her Condo on High Street, she became a faithful and active member of the Grace Episcopal Church. She really enjoyed Pastor Thom Cook and cherishes all of the church friends and neighbors she has had along the way.
After falling and breaking her hip in July 2013, Mayland resided at Aberjona Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facility. After the initial transition phase, Mayland settled in and met many new friends, caring nurses, nursing aids and other pleasant staff members. She was pleased with the care she was receiving. And would make sure that Judi or I were paying her bills on time!! She enjoyed the various activities – games like Bingo and Horse Racing and short trips some of the residents got to take periodically, weekly musical entertainment and flirting with some of the male residents! She had two or three boyfriends while at Aberjona. (Never wanting to tell her age though!) That is one of her secrets of staying young at heart!
Her close friends and family were able to celebrate six years of birthdays with her. 97, 98 and 99 at Jimmy’s Steak house in Arlington and the last three – 100, 101 and 102 at Aberjona. With each year she would say, “I don’t know why I am still here”? And some one of us would respond – “because it not your time, or God isn’t ready for you yet”!
Well on February 4th of this year, The Good Lord was ready for her and opened His loving arms and carried her home to Him. We all can only hope to have such a long and blessed life. May her soul finally rest in peace.
Mayland wanted to leave you with one happy reminder to “LAUGH IN-BETWEEN THE TOUGH TIMES!”
Mayland's Funeral Service will be celebrated in the Grace Episcopal Church, 160 High Street, Medford on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at 11 AM. Visitation will be held in the church, prior to the service, from 10 to 11 AM. Interment will be held in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mayland's memory may be made to the Aberjona Nursing Center, 184 Swanton Street, Winchester, MA 01890 or to the Grace Episcopal Church, 160 High Street, Medford, MA 02155. For additional information, please visit, www.magliozzifuneralhome.com.