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POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 21,2011 Page13 m m i,,lnlnnr nnn 00abb00onno II II It was January, a cold snowy January in 1956. Dad had gotten a call from a friend in Augusta, Maine. It seems that there was a major snowstorm that hit Maine's capitol and our cottage was in the nearby town of Winthrop. Winthrop, Maine had, at one point, a Ford plant and a couple of factories, but by the mid 50s, they were ready to close. As a result, the only real economy the town has was during the summer when the seasonal residence were back. The town was situated on the south side of Lake Maranacook. The road we lived on, Memorial Drive, had mostly summer cottages on the lake side of the road and local residents on the other side. When Emil Andy called, it was to say that he swung by the lake to check on three places, ours, Mike Barca's place and Emil's brother-in-law's place. Mike was Dad's best friend from his days working for the Bos- ton Schools. He and Mike were two of the four pioneers in the Department of Audio/ Visual Education. As two men with Italian last names, they gravitated toward each other at a point in time when they were in the minority. Mike had married a woman from Maine and they buiR  a ' cottage on Lake Maran- acook back in the 40s. Due to the friendship that devel- oped between Mike and Dad, the families came to know each other and we were invited to their summer cot- tage several times, a main reason for us buying a sum- mer cottage a few doors away, right on the lake. Next to Mike's place was Emil's brother-in-law's place. Lionel Lemeux was a writer for the Lewiston Sun, a local daily newspaper in that part of Maine. Emil and Lionel, or Lal, as everyone called him, headed to the lake to check out the cottages after a ma- jor January snowstorm. Emil told Dad that when they got to our place, they couldn't find it. It was cov- ered with snow drifts, and the snow from the roof in back of the cottage slanted right out toward the middle of the frozen lake. As a re- sult, Dad decided that we should head to Maine to see if there was any damage to the place. The same storm had hit Boston, but northern New England had gotten a real "Nor'Eastah," and they were snow bound. Emil also said that the roads were by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance clear and easy to travel on but we had to be cautious. He advised Dad to pull the antenna of the car all the way up and attach a red ban- ner to the top. If we stopped at an intersection, the snow might be so high that the only way a driver in a vehicle coming from the right or left might know we were there behind a snow mound was to look for the flag. We packed our warmest clothes and Dad, Mom, Nanna, Babbo- nonno and I climbed into Dad's 54 Chevy and headed north. Of course, part of Babbo- nonno's things included a gallon of Zi'Antonio's best homemade red wine. He had become friendly with one of the locals, a man called "Old Vic" by the locals. Vic Gor- don was around Babbo- nonno's age and the two had hit it off a couple of summers earlier. Vic had a thick Maine accent and Babbo- nonno spoke fractured En- glish. The wine would allow them to understand each other without a problem. We headed north picking up the Maine Turnpike just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and continued toward Augusta. A mile or so out before the Lewiston-Au- burn sign was the sign for Winthopand we headed on the local roads arriving at Mike Barca's cottage within a half hour of when we planned to be there. When we arrived, the house was filled with several families, Mike, his wife, Nara, her parents Ed and Ma Mascal, Emil Andy, his wife, Irene, their three children, Lionel Lemeux, his sons, and the Gordon family from across the street. They were all waiting for us. After coffee, tea and a couple of drinks, we headed to our place, called Frosty's Point. When Dad bought the place the original owner gave Dad a discount on the price if he would keep the same name it had had for a couple of generations. Seeing most of the summer homes had names, Dad kept the tradi- tion going which was part of the acceptance of the Christoforo family as part of the local summer scenery. We bundled up again and walked to our place which was about 100 yards from Mike's cottage. Dad, Mike, Emil and I began shoveling a path from the road, and then the snow away from the front door. It took a long time as the snow was several feet -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 high. The door was frozen shut and Emil and Mom began cleaning snow away from a kitchen window that was just to the left of the door. The window wasn't locked and Mom climbed inside followed by her favorite son (me). With us pushing from the inside and Dad pulling from the outside, we finally opened the door. Mike had brought a wagon filled with dry firewood with him and he and Dad stuffed the pot belly stove with whatever would fit and then lit the fire. Emil had brought a ladder from Mike's place, set it up, climbed on the roof, cleared snow from around in the chimney and we closed up and headed back to Mike's place, planning to return within an hour or so when the cottage had warmed up. We walked back to Mike's where Nara, her mother and Nanna had prepared dinner for everyone. Babbononno and Old Vic had put a good dent in the gallon of wine and were singing two differ- ent songs, Vic's in English and Babbononno's in Italian. When we returned to our place a couple of hours later, the heat from the stove had melted a lot of the snow from the sides and roof of the cot- tage, enough so that we could see the windows and the back porch. When we entered, the place was quite warm. Mom and Nanna made up the beds and we slept there over night. One of the Gordon kids, Old Vic's granddaughter, knocked on the front door early the next morning and told us that Mike and Nara expected all of us for break- fast within the hour. We could smell the bacon cook- ing fifty yards from their front door. As we walked in, Nara yelled that we were having fried eggs with bacon and ham. She had also make buckwheat pancakes from scratch and drowned them in local maple syrup. If you add in the homemade bread, fresh from the dairy butter and a few other Maine deli- cacies, you had a lumber- jack's breakfast. Nanna had two pots of coffee waiting, one American and one Italian. It was a feast. We decided to wait for a while and then head back to Boston. Dad, Emil, Mom and I headed back to our cottage which now was completely visible due to the heat from the stove melting the snow. Mom packed up the bed linens and the rest of the clothes and things we had brought from Boston. We headed back to Mike and Nara's place for a thank you and to say goodbye, which took about a half hour. It was quite an experience for all of us and we talked about the folks all the way home, referring to them as if they were family. Maybe, in a sense, they were, back fifty- five years ago. GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Ms. Williams which ran in "The Socially Set" on Febru- ary 19, 1993. That was even before we began writing this column on a regular basis. We had interviewed her after a lecture she had given on planting ornamental con- tainers along with Roger Swain, the popular former host of WGBH-TV's "Victory Garden." Williams was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame, awarded the Giants of Design award by House Beautiful, placed on the A list by Elle Decor, and was the recipient of the Timeless Design award by the Royal Oak Society. She was hon- ored with the Living Land- marks Award by the New York Landmarks Conser- vancy in November 2010. For more info, be sure to visit www. bunnywilliamsinc.corn. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, www,bostongardens.com. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnis "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press releases, PRNewswire services, etc.) State of the City Address job growth and the economy, Mayor Menino announced a $I00 million "stimulus" to green city buildings and other assets. The work could be financed through energy savings and would generate approximately 1,000 new jobs in construction and other sectors. The Mayor also pledged to ease the complex permitting process for small businesses by cutting red tape and reviewing permit requirements. Education Reform Highlighting education reform as one of the major successes of 2010, Mayor Menino pledged to continue aggressive transformation efforts so that educational opportunity is shared across the city. Having in the past year secured landmark edu- cation reform at the State House, the City began mak- ing use of the new authority to create in-district charters and put the best educators in struggling buildings. The Mayor called for dou- bling the number of early education seats in the Circle of Promise and invited non- profit institutions and pri- vate sector partners to help meet that challenge. He noted that full day kinder- garten for four-year olds has been successful, and that increasing early education seats in the Circle of Prom- ise would help young chil- dren who live there and cre- ate capacity across the city. Access to Quality Healthcare The Mayor announced NeighborCare a proposal to increase access to afford- able, quality health care. The initiative is designed to (Continued from Page I} increase the use of commu- nity health centers by pro- viding more hours and more services in the neighbor- hoods. New Public Safety Tools After a year marked by an increase in homicides, in- eluding several high-profile cases, Mayor Menino pledged resources to public safety, including a second police academy class in addition to the one already in the acad- emy now and a new Anti- Gun Task Force with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Mayor Menino also called for better coordination of re-entry programs with the state prison system. Budget Savings Another item atop Mayor Menino's agenda for the New Year is reform to the design of municipal health care plans. Boston taxpayers currently cover approxi- mately 82-percent of health care costs totaling nearly $300 million. The State, on the other hand, pays only 67 percent of healthcare costs for new employees. Mayor Menino noted his proposal for a Boston Group Insurance Commission, which -- following the state version -- would produce savings of more than $I mil- lion a month and approxi- mately $17 million a year. The event program in- cluded a moment of silence for the victims of the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as performances by the Boston Arts Academy and Boston City Singers and an invocation by Fr. David I. Convertino of St. Anthony's Shrine and Ministry Center. K 3 Me h Fullylnsured Lic #017936 an'ical Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs @ aol.com Remember Your Loved Ones The Post-Gazette accepts memorials throughout the year. Please call 61 7-227-8929 and ask for Lisa