The Big Little Things

Faces of Abington: Mary Anne Mattes


Meagan McCadden

On November 6, 2019, crossing guard Ms. Mary Ann Mattes helps students cross the busy intersection of Rt. 18, Lincoln Blvd., and Gliniewicz Way in Abington.

Meagan McCadden, Staff Writer

Whether it is 7:20 a.m. or 2:10 p.m., she is always there in her bright yellow retro-reflective traffic vest and enormous smile. Mary Anne Mattes is the school crossing guard, but she is also an inspiring human being.

Sometimes people take the small things for granted. Ms. Mattes is typically the first person the middle school and elementary school kids see when entering Gliniewicz Way leading to the school. Her warm and humble presence gives off a sense of security and safety for the children, something no traffic light would ever provide. Ms. Mattes can make someone smile at dawn. That is a gift.

When asked about her favorite part of the job, Ms. Mattes responded passionately, “I love the kids. They are so respectful and they really do not cause any trouble. Sometimes when I am in my uniform still and I see them around town they will wave or even give me a hug. I really feel a sense of community here; even the parents will wave or beep when they drive by.”

The best advice I can give you all as a crossing guard is that no matter what you think, don’t ever step into the street, even with a walking light, until you know that the cars can see you and are completely stopped.

— Ms. Mary Ann Mattes

Waving to someone and signaling that you care about their efforts makes their day. It truly is the small things in life that often make the biggest differences.

However, the job is not all rainbows and butterflies. Ms. Mattes said that, “definitely keeping the kids safe” is the most important thing. Being a mother, Ms. Mattes admits to having a motherly instinct to jump out in the street and protect the kids when they are not being cautious. However, “The only thing I can do legally is yell at them and try to warn them.”

She chose to be a crossing guard because her grand-kids live in Abington and she wanted to be close to them. She applied for a few jobs in the Abington Public School system and stumbled upon crossing guard. She is glad she has this job because she said, “It gets me out of the house for some fresh air.” Rain, snow, or shine, she will always be out there smiling and helping people. Ms. Mattes said, “The weather does not bother me.”

A typical workday for Ms. Mattes consists of a morning and afternoon shift. Her morning shift starts at 7:20 and ends at 8:05. However, she typically stays for people who come in late.

In the afternoon, she works from 2:10 to 3:10, but once again, she stays around for the kids that leave late because, “I worry about the little kids especially. I want to make sure they are safe.”

Ms. Mattes grew up in Lower Mills. She then moved to Weymouth where she lived for over 15 years. She finally moved to Abington and has been here for four or five years. Little did she know Abington would change her life.

Being a crossing guard has taught Ms. Mattes to be more aware and knowledgeable about the road, “I see accidents sometimes and wish people would pay closer attention to what they are doing and where they are doing it. There could be kids anywhere near the school building so people should use more caution when driving around there.”

Even if you do not think she is watching, she is. She can see who is driving recklessly around the school. Ms. Mattes urges everyone to slow down and make sure everyone is safe before rushing to their destinations.

When asked to give some fellow AHS students some road tips, she said, “The best advice I can give you all as a crossing guard is that no matter what you think, don’t ever step into the street, even with a walking light, until you know  that the cars can see you and are completely stopped.”

It is definitely in the students’ best intentions to open their ears and listen. Even adults should take this advice, because they too speed and do not always take the most precise caution whilst driving around the Abington Public School vicinity. This is why there is a police officer posted on Gliniewicz Way every morning.

Her advice to students on life goes as follows, “As a parent, and I tell my kids this all of the time, have fun and join everything. Do not miss something because you have so many opportunities at this school. I asked my boss the other day if I could go back to high school because of how beautiful it is.”

What Ms. Mattes does for the Abington Public School and community matters. Not all queens wear crowns, our local one wears snazzy sunglasses and a yellow vest.