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January 8, 2010     Post-Gazette
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January 8, 2010

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POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 8, 2010 Page 13 00Babb00onno i It's so quiet around here. The holidays are over and son, John, is back in Swit- zerland, and son, Michael is back in New York. While they were here, the house was alive with young people, similar to the way it was when they were in school. Back then, our home was the catch-all for neighbor- hood and school pals. Their friends who dropped by to say Merry Christmas or Happy New Year were the same people, except they are now young adults. I loved the coming and going, but it sort of made me feel old. I remember the way it was when I was in my 20s and the New Year was approach- ing. For me it was a bit dif- ferent. I was a musician. New Year's Eve meant play- ing with a band and making a good piece of change. New Year's Day was family time, just like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Easter or Thanksgiving. Later in the day, many of my musician pals and I would celebrate, either by throwing our own New Year's Night party or by heading to a club or lounge to listen to music and have a drink. By this point in our lives, early to late 20s, most of us were single. Those who had girlfriends or fianc6es, would bring them along. A few years later, these get togethers would come to an end as marriage would change their lives and obligations would over- shadow the desire to just hang out with friends. My sons haven't reached that point yet, although John has been dating the same girl for over a year now and Michael is still playing the field. As a young musician, I didn't mix my private life with my professional. If I was dating a young lady, I couldn't bring her to the private party I was playing, and if I was playing a club, lounge or restaurant, it would be too distracting. So, I kept the two worlds apart. Most of the girls I dated didn't understand my life style and the relationships were just casual. My atti- tude was that I was a musi- cian who day lighted as a teacher. Social life had to work itself around this basis. It became more complex when I began acting. Very few women are accepting of being in second or third place. I see my son Michael going through this now. He is an up and coming actor by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance i I i and doesn't want to get into a serious relationship at this point in his life. As a result, he doesn't have a steady girlfriend. When past relationships have ended, it was due to demands placed on Michael that he didn't want at this point in his life. Been there, done that ... we'll see what happens in the future. When I was the same age as my sons, and the New Year was approaching, I would prepare for that New Year's Eve event that I would play. Following that point in time, I would plan for the next school vacation, a week off which happens in Febru- ary, surrounding the 22 "0 of the month. Being both a musician and teacher, I was able to afford what many other young men couldn't. For the most part, I didn't like ski vacations. I've been on skis once in my life and hate the cold. Boston is bad enough, but to travel north and fight the bitter cold of Vermont or northern New Hampshire, forget it. I usu- ally traveled south. With Sal Meli, another East Bostonian I had grown up with, accom- panying me, or at times leading the way, we traveled to Miami Beach when that was an in place. We also headed for Puerto Rico when Cuba fell to the Castro gang and San Juan tried to pick up the pieces. It actually didn't matter what island it was, as long as it was tropical and warm in the winter. I guess my boys are more rugged than I was at their age. Between Christmas and the New Year, they headed to Vermont and a go at snowboarding. My wife a.nd John's girlfriend went along and described the cold and driving conditions. The kids loved it. I don't think I would consider it fun seeing I have the es- sence of palm trees in my veins. I remember the one time I accepted an invitation to go skiing. A young lady I was teaching with belonged to a ski club near Cannon Moun- tain in New Hampshire. A long weekend was approach- ing and she invited me, another member of the fac- ulty and Sal Meli to be her guests at the club's resort. We accepted. I had never been on skis in my life and took a lesson from the resi- dent ski instructor at the club. The next day, I rented skis and headed up Cannon -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 Mountain's novice slope. People were falling every- where and I decided to go higher up the mountain to avoid them. I somehow wound up at the top of the mountain, snapped on my skis, and followed the ac- tions of the expert skiers that surrounded me. I didn't know what I was doing but followed the leader only slower by dragging my ski poles in the snow. I don't know how, but I made it down Cannon Moun- tain without falling. I was passed by the expert skiers who were almost flying, and as they flew past me, I si- lently said "Buona fortuna," and kept my ski poles from allowing me to speed up. When I reached the novice slope, I somehow maneu- vered around those poor soles who had fallen. As I approached the main build- ing, I pointed my skis at each other and stopped. I looked back at the mountain, made the sign of the cross, took off the skis and have never at- tempted to put on a pair of them again in my life. For the rest of the stay at the ski resort, I remained indoors enjoying the warmth of a large fireplace, the good food and an occasional libation that also brings warmth to the human body. I remember telling Babbo- nonno the story of that cold mountain experience. He liked the warm weather and thought I was crazy attempt- ing to ski on a mountain. His comment in fractured English was, "You crazy m pazzo. Mada nexta timba you go some a wherza, if itza warma, I go widda you, eapisce?" If he had been a younger man, I might have taken him to Puerto Rico or any of the warm winter islands I traveled to, but by that point in his life, Babbononno was too old. I think I must be getting old, because the only places I want to travel now are warm places. I'll leave the skiing to my kids and think only of the tropical sun and palm trees. GOD BLESS AMERICA Remember Your Loved Ones The Post-Gazette accepts memorials throughout the year. Please call dl 7-227-8929 and ask for Lisa The Socially Set {Continued from Page 91 N.E. Patriot Brandon Meriweather, center, recently visited the kids at The Thomas Johnson Community Center in Mission Hill, where he shared his own story with 50 Big and Little Brothers and Sisters from the Big Brother Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay organization. He told the kids how he attributes his success to his own mentor. He then tossed each Little Brother and Sister a signed football. Welcoming Meriweather were the North End's Big Brother Bill Palacino, right, with his Little Brother Aaron Gray, front left. (Photo by Jillian Patterson) Clubs, Inc., the Norwood Evening Garden Club and its members have been provid- ing education and public beautification in Norwood and its surrounding commu- nities for 14 years. The Club, open to novice and expert gardeners, draws its members from Norwood, Walpole, Westwood, Dedham, Canton, Medfield, Randolph and Stoughton. For informa- tion about the Norwood Evening Garden Club, con- tact Susan Pearson at 508- 668-4039 or www.Norwood For information about the Mas- ter Gardener program, please visit www.mass ....... On Tuesday, January 19, the North End's coastal Italian eatery, Mare, will partner with The CleanFish Alliance in hosting a sus- tainable seafood dinner. We are told that the Alliance is a national seafood purveyor committed to promoting great tasting, sustainably produced, authentic artisan seafood. Guests will enjoy a four- course dinner by Executive Chef Greg Jordan, featuring a selection of sustainable seafood from around the world paired with sustain- able and organic wines from the neighborhood wine shop, The Wine Bottega. Also on hand will be CleanFish Alliance repre- sentative, Alisha Lumea, who will share information with the guests regarding the origins of the seafood and the careful steps that are taken -- beginning with the catching and sustainably farming of the seafood, to when it reaches the plate. For reservations or more information about the din- ner, call 617-723-6273. Mare is located at 135 Richmond Street in Boston's North End. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill' s gardening Web site, In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) K3  Fully Insured Lic #017936 Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs @ On Sale Now! THE NORTH END Where It All Began The Way It Was by Fred Langone SALE PRICE $19.95 Plus Shipping & Handling On Site at The Post-Gazette 5 Prince Street, North End, Boston, MA