Monday, September 28, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin
Rosie Chirillo has worked as crossing guard for Hingham Public Schools for almost four decades; she's lived in her home on Bonnie Brier for over five. Chirillo is a life-long Hingham resident, a volunteer at the Swap Shop, and an avid gardener who loves tending to her vegetable patch. She's also The Anchor's latest Human of Hingham.
Hingham, meet Rosie!
She's just as passionate about her job as she is about her hometown, Hingham; here's what she said when I called her earlier this month to chat.
Hello, Mrs. Chirillo! Thank you for agreeing to our interview. How are you?
Oh, please, call me Rosie.
Alright, Rosie! Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
“Where do I begin?” She muses. “I was born and brought up in Hingham, and haven’t left! I’m 78 years old and still going strong. My family lived next door to me for the past 18 years, on a piece of family property; they moved to Georgia last June. I miss them, but I love them being there! I had them when they were little; they're all grown up now.”
After a pause, the Hingham native continues: “My hobbies include vegetable gardening, and I like puzzles–but not crosswords, regular puzzles. I do them constantly!”
On her job, she says, “I work as a crossing guard at the middle school–I’ve been through five or six principals, started in ’83, so I’ve been there, what?, 37 years–and then I go to high school, and then I go to East School. I’ve been through eight police chiefs in my career. I’ve never had a problem; I like everybody, so I don’t have any problems! The staff, the students, the parents–they’re all wonderful. I have no complaints! I love my job. It’s a great job. If you don’t like your job, you might as well not even do it.”
So have you always lived in the same part of town?
“I was in West Hingham as a child, but I moved out when I got married. I’ve been in the same house since, for 54 years, on Bonnie Brier. I wouldn’t move out of that part of town for anything. I’ve gotten some new neighbors recently, and they’re lovely. I think I’m the oldest one in the neighborhood now; I’m the queen!” Rosie jokes with a jovial laugh.
What do you love most about the town of Hingham?
“The people!” Rosie says quickly. “My school chums. I still see the girls I went to high school with. We try to meet once every couple of weeks at Hingham Harbor or at my house, where we’ll sit out at the pool–at a distance now, of course.” Sign of the times.
“I just love Hingham!” She says seriously. When I laugh, charmed by her enthusiasm, she laments, “I’m serious! Once you get here, you never wanna leave.”
What's your favorite local spot around town?
“Can I say my own home?” She asks with a chuckle. Yes, you certainly can! Hey, home is where the heart is.
What's your favorite restaurant and go-to meal in Hingham?
“Alma Nove, and anything on the menu!”
Is it true there’s a street named after you here in Hingham, called Rosemary Lane?
“Oh my goodness, yes! I knew you were going to bring that up,” Rosie tells me, suddenly shy. I tell her that personally, if I had a street named after me, I’d be telling everybody about it; not Chirillo, though. She’s thoroughly humble!
She says, “As you go into middle school, it says ‘Rosemary Lane,’ which is actually especially appropriate–and I don’t think they knew this–but ‘Lane’ was my middle name.”
I also heard that you volunteer at the Swap Shop. Is that still true?
“Oh yeah, I do! But it's not open right now. When it is, I love it. I’m there every Saturday morning, nine to noon. Plus, the people that volunteer there are great!”
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
“I don’t know, getting back to work? Getting the uniform on again! Oh, and walking more. Up and down, up and down! Gotta get a move on!”
If you had a different career, what would it be?
“It wouldn’t be. It would never be another career! This is the best career for me. I love it.”
What's one thing people may not know about you?
“Eh, I’m easy-going? Really, though! I’m never mad at anybody,” Rosie shares, and I'm inclined believe her: she's been nothing but sunshine-y throughout our interview.
She thinks for a moment before adding, “You know, this summer I had an overabundance of cucumbers.” Rosie also tells me this was her best peach harvest in the past ten years: “I was loaded with peaches!”
She says she shared them with a local chef and her neighbors: “However, I didn't have that many tomatoes, so I couldn't share those!”