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January 14, 2011     Post-Gazette
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January 14, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 14, 2011 Page13 e. anni by John Christoforo abb nonno A Nostalgic Remembrance ItwasthemiddleofJanu-might even try skiing, kicked off right from't'h2 ary in the early 1960s. Sal Meli, a fellow East Bostonian that I had grown up with, invited me to a ski club that he belonged to in North Conway, N.H. I had never been to a ski resort, nor on skis at any point in my young life. Sal explained that the club and surrounding resorts were the "in-places" for skiers and most of them were young ladies. That sounded convincing and I decided to take him up on the offer. At that point in time, I was teaching at Hyde Park High School and had made a few friends, especially with the younger single members of the faculty. A young sci- ence teacher named, Tom Aylward, and I had become friends and he was a skier. I mentioned this to Sal, and he told me to extend an in- vitation to Tom for that weekend in the middle of January. I was playing at the Char- ter House on Friday and Sat- urday evenings. This long- gone hotel was located on the Lynnway set back a bit on the right, just over the bridge from Point of Pines. They had a jazz lounge and my trio had been featured there for about a year. I asked my cousin, Ralph Pepe, to fill in for me and he was open. I OKed my ab- sence with the hotel man- ager and I began preparing for my first ski trip. The one thing everyone insisted I bring With me was warm clothing. I either bought or borrowed the necessary out- door clothing and was super- vised by Babbononno while packing. He looked at the things I had planned to fit into my suitcase and asked, "Hey, Jenny, you go ah da Northa Pole?" I told him what I was up to, which was totally foreign to him. He had lived his young life in Foggia (sweater weather in the win- ter), and while in the Italian Marines, never ventured anywhere north of Venice. He had never experienced anything in the way of our kind of weather until he settled in Boston, and pro- ceeded to give me a run down of what I needed, "Jenny, first, you take-a widda you da muntande, longs unda ware. Den, you packs warms soxa foh you feet. Metta due o tre swetta, a cupalini foh da heada anda niza warma glovza a keepa you handza warma." I agreed with him and packed enough warm clothing for two weeks instead of a two day weekend. Dad, being a very practical man, told me that I was crazy giving up two nights pay to play in the snow. Mum said a Rosary, fearing that I would ski right into a tree. Babbononno assured them that he had supervised my packing and told them not to worry about me being cold. When Dad told him that I Babbononno walked away swearing in Italian, adding, gioveni sono pazzi." (The young people are crazy.) That Friday morning, I placed my suitcase in the trunk of my white 58 Thunderbird and headed to school. When it was time" to leave, Tom, who had gotten a ride to school that morn- ing, threw his suitcase in the trunk next to mine and we headed to 128 and Polaroid to pick up Sal, who also had gotten a ride to work. Sal was waiting for us and with his suitcase wedged in the trunk, off we went heading north on 128. When we reached the Portsmouth Circle, we stopped at Howard Johnson's for a quick bite to eat and then proceeded north on Route 16 to North Conway. It was early evening when we arrived at the ski club that Sal belonged to and we were assigned to a dorm room with bunk beds. I don't remember the name of the club, but it was typical of that part of New Hampshire, rustic and geared solely for ski enthusiasts. Sal had made the reservations and breakfast and dinner were included. He introduced us to many of the lodge mem- bers as we sat down to din- ner, and several more as we headed to the main room of summit, pushing myself forward and downward with my ski poles, silently saying to myself, "Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee ..." The slopes were steep and expert skiers whizzed past me as if I was stand- ing still. I was actually drag- ging my poles in the snow so as not to speed up. I, made it down the expert slopes without falling, skied past several people ori the inter- mediate slopes without mis- hap and continued down the mountain until I reached the Bunny Slope. I somehow zigzagged around the falling novice skiers who were practicing at that location and saw the main building of the Cannon ski lodge looming in front of me. I pointed my skis toward each other and snow plowed, a pl;o- cedure I had learned earlier to slow down and stop. I then twisted my body to the right, and turned at a right angle stopping parallel to the side of the lodge, about two feet away from the outside wall of the building. I took off my skis, turned, came to atten- tion, and saluted the moun- tain. Carrying my skis into the building, I returned them to the rental office, headed for the lounge, ordered a hot cocoa with a shot of brandy in it and waited for my com- panions to return. * The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) "The 2011 Boston Flower & Garden Show" takes place from March 16-20 at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. (2010 Show File Photo by Michael R. Morrill) mentary 2011 Show tickets as part of the winners' prize packages. In addition, the Boston Parks and Recre- ation Department will work with show organizers to highlight the Mayor's Gar- den Contest winners and the work of Parks Department's Horticultural Unit. To purchase Preview Party tickets, learn about sponsorship opportunities, or for more information, call the Parks Department at 617-961-3051 or visit /parks. For general admission tickets or more information, call the Paragon Group at 781-273-5533 or visit www. We're really looking for- ward to the 2011 Boston Flower & Garden Show! ary and February, web visitors/readers who sign up to receive our occasional News- letter or those who 'Like' us on our Facebook page, will be eligible to win free tickets to the Show through random drawings. For further information, visit and click on "Win Free Tickets..." We sincerely thank our good friend Carolyn Weston and the Paragon Group for the complimentary tickets! Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda MorriU's gardening Web site, In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- And, we're excited that leases, PRNewswire services, the lodge where a large fire I have never ever been on during the months of Janu- etc.) place was blazing away an~d a pair of skis since that the bar was in full operation, episode. Beginners luck ' We socialized a bit, but made was hovering over me and Rome, Italy (Continued from Page 3) ii it an early night as ski les- I didn't want to press it sons and ski rentals began any further. Tom and Sal seum in Rome. The Cull- Italian because almost right at sun up. returned within the hour, seum was a stadium where everybody speaks English in Roman gladiators fought to death. What we found inter- esting, in the past there were hundreds of cats on the Coliseum ground. There were none there this time. In Rome there are many trattorias. Trattorias are small restaurants that are family operated; these res- taurants have chairs and tables on the sidewalk. We visited various trattorias. The coffee in Ital is not tasty. The cappuccinos are good and tasty. A cappuccino is a coffee with steamed milk. We sat at a trattoria at Piazza Venezia. A piazza is a square where streets intersect. We sat at this trattoria Mussolini would speak to/he crowds from the balcony. The crowds of people walking were volumi- nous: the lines of people never ended. Gilds speaks fluent Italian. It is not nec- essary to be able to speak Mechanq ] Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 Italy. We met and talked with people from many dif- ferent countries; people from England, Bulgaria, Turkey, Germany, Spain and others. Invariably the people we met like the Americans, but some didn't like the American foreign policy. What was discourag- ing was the fact that the stores and restaurants refuse to accept the Ameri- can dollar. We were required to present the American money with our passports to convert the dollars to euro's. The American dollar is worth only .64 cents. This makes every dollar we spend worth .36 cents less. The economy in Italy is bursting. All in all, Italy is a fabulous place, the people are great and the food is delicious. Well we threw the coins into the fountain ihat means we will return to Rome. "Arriverdici Roma." The next morning, fol- lowing Sal's direction, we headed to Cannon Moun- tain, rented the ski equip- ment we needed for the weekend, tied up with a ski instructor and took a beginner's lesson on how to ski. We gave Tom the money for the ski lift tickets as he didn't need lessons, we surely did. The instruc- tor told us to stay on the Bunny Slopes, the lower part of mountain where the novice skiers could prac- tice and not get hurt. He then instructed us on how to start off, steer and stop. Sal and I tried out his in- structions and finding a bit of success with them, headed for the beginners slopes. You couldn't see the snow through the falling be- ginners at that novice site and I decided to leave Sal and go to the next level of Can- non Mountain, the interme- diate slope. This, too, was so busy that I decided to take the cable car to a 3rd level. an advanced slope, but didn't get out of the cable car fast enough and wound up head- ing for the top of the moun- tain where only expert skiers had the right to go. Being in my early 20s. fearless (or brainless I'm not sure) and innocent regarding what I was doing, I snapped on my skis and both covered with snow and cold. They joined me in the lounge over cocoa and t01d me of their ventures on the slopes for that morn- ing. Sal and I had had it. He didn't want to push his luck either. We left Tom there to endanger his life again and asked as to what time he wanted us to pick him up. Our next venture was to head to North Conway village and check out the shops. Later, back at Sal's ski club lodge, we ate, drank and socialized. The follow- ing weekend, I was kick- ing off the first set with my trio at the jazz lounge at Charter House Hotel. My silent comment was, "Don't temp [ate ever again, this is where I belong." When I told this to Dad and Babbononno, they agreed with me. GOD BLESS AMERICA Here For fnformation about advertising in the Post-Gazette, call 617-227-8929. Fully Insured Lic #017936 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation