Every week, Helen Joyal eats lunch with her daughter, Michelle, at McDonald’s in Northgate. Her favorite item to order on the menu is a hamburger Happy Meal (she gives the toys to Michelle as prizes for her fourth-grade students).
On March 23, Helen celebrated her 92nd birthday at her beloved McDonald’s with family, and her sister, Ethel Nazarian, whose 90th birthday was the week before. Helen and Ethel – who had their hair done together especially for the festivities – wished for long lives, and to always have their own teeth as they blew out the candles on their chocolate Ronald McDonald cake.
“There were eight of us growing up. We never drank, we never smoked. We never did drugs,” said Ethel, who worked at McDonald’s on Squire Road for 30 years. “I like shopping at Northgate for fun.”
The sisters grew up in Roxbury, loved to dance, and raised their families in Revere, many of whom also worked at the same McDonald’s.
“I took the bus and made a lot of friends,” remembered Helen, who never learned to drive a car and enjoys watching Family Feud. “They were nice people.”