It is a ubiquitous prod during snowstorms in New England: Please help your elderly neighbors. But on River Street in Waltham, no one gets the chance. By the time many residents get home from work, 87-year-old Nellie Tambascia has already shoveled her sidewalk. And theirs, too.
"They're young," she said yesterday. "They have to go to work, so they don't have time for this."
When it snows as it has been snowing this week, Tambascia is out all day. Yesterday, she patiently traversed her driveway and front walk, as well as those of her neighbors, from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., taking breaks only for coffee and lunch.
The retired school crossing guard took on the chore after her husband died in 1994. He, too, had shoveled out the neighbors. Now, she says, she talks to him while she works. Sometimes she asks him to make it stop snowing.
"It's not working," she said yesterday. "Mama mia, did we have snow!"