November 23, 2017

Art & Helen Cabral - Remembered

Legacy of a Dad and Mom

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Summertime is generally conducive to family reunions and other significant gatherings as residents enjoy the slowdown of these lazy, hazy days before winter returns. One such get-together was recently held at the home of Anne and Richard Wilson in Riverside. At the end of July well over 70 immediate and extended family members of the Cabral family attended a reunion to honor their now deceased family matriarch and patriarch. Arthur and Helen Cabral had eight children. The "kids" now range in age from 63 to 80. Arthur and Helen both died at young ages, 58 and 62 respectively. "We don't know how long we will all be around so we thought we better get together and celebrate," said son Bob Cabral of Lee, New Hampshire. "We wanted to honor our parents, our family and remember all that they meant to so many," Cabral added.

The eight Cabral siblings are; Beverly Ferreira, Eleanor Foeri, Arthur "Butch" Cabral, Robert Cabral, Anne Wison, Patricia Cabral, Helen Anderson and Nancy Calvert. The Cabral siblings are spread across the country living in Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Barrington and Riverside, RI.

The Cabrals were all raised in East Providence and attended local schools. "We're basically Townies," said Anne Wilson. "We've attended Sacred Heart, St, Brendan, Bay View and EP high school," she added. "It has been 25 years since we last got together as a family and it was time to reunite." For Arthur "Butch" Cabral who lives in Nevada, it was his first flight ever. "We're all getting on in age and I thought I'd better get out here," said Butch Cabral.

Arthur and Helen Cabral grew up in Fox Point, Providence and like many Fox Point natives, they eventually moved to neighboring East Providence. Arthur was well known as a butcher at the former A&P supermarket and a former president of the Holy Ghost Beneficial Brotherhood (HGBB) in EP. He was also a popular auctioneer at various summer Portuguese festivals throughout the city. In June of 1958, two Portuguese frigates, "Nuno Tristão" and "Diogo Gomes" steamed into the Port of Providence. Their arrival kicked off a series of events that were, at the time, unprecedented in Rhode Island's Portuguese-American Community. Then Rhode Island Governor Dennis J. Roberts proclaimed June 14th, 1958 as Rhode Island's first "Portuguese Day". On the night of June 12th, the Portuguese Navy arrived at Phillips Street Hall, or HGBB and were treated to a reception, supper and dance, mostly arranged and catered in part by Arthur Cabral. "My parents were so proud of their involvement with that event," remembers Bob Cabral a 1961 EPHS graduate. "My dad was superb at running clambakes and also cooked for many of the other East Providence social clubs. I remember my dad being helped by HGBB members John Rebello and John Ferreira and others as they often arranged to feed soldiers at the various clubs."

"Our mom was a very busy homemaker back then. She raised the eight of us, made sure we knew the value of education and helped my dad at many of the social events he organized throughout East Providence," said daughter Patricia Cabral, now living in Needham, Massachusetts. They both passed on much too young. But we remember them today and always."

The Riverside home of Anne and Richard Wilson was festooned with large tents in the yard, balloons and decorations and custom made family tee shirts for all attendees. The swimming pool was crystal clear and ready for Cabral grandchildren and other relatives. A cloudy morning with a prediction of possible showers gave way to a sudden bright sunshine-filled afternoon. Dozens of Cabral partygoers reminisced about Arthur and Helen and then gathered for a family photo. After the crowd of 70 or so posed for the photo, Bob Cabral asked his family to listen to a few words. He talked of love and family respect and gratefulness that they were all able to join together. Although he didn't say it directly, there was a feeling that this could possibly be one of the last times 'we're all together in one place.' "We are here to remember Mom and Dad and to memorialize them today. This is a fitting tribute to our parents and to all that they did for all of us," said Cabral. The eldest of Art and Helen's kids, Beverly Ferreira, was turning 80 on the day after the gathering. "We're all here and our parents are smiling down on us, I'm sure," she said.

The sun now shined brightly and the kids went back to the pool, adult reminiscing continued and the party was building in intensity and crowd size. Neighbors in this quiet Riverside culvert walked by and waved and many joined in the fun. All eyes soon opened wide as the buffet caterer arrived. In addition to all the many home-made appetizers brought by guests, the "main deal" arrived. A caterer was providing a classic New England Style Buffet. Tables full of all the types of foods that Art was famous for cooking up at those Portuguese clubs in the 50's were once again pleasing the Cabral pallets. Young people were making their own cotton candy and pop corn to pass around, the appetizers and buffet were ready to be washed down with cold beverages, music was in the background and everywhere one looked was the obvious loving legacy left behind by Art and Helen Cabral.

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