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January 23, 2015     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZE'B'E, JANUARY 23, 2015 Page 13 abb onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance Lots of changes began tak- ing place after WWII. Dad was subbing for the bass player in Guy Lombardo's Orchestra and he and my mother headed for New York. When they returned, they brought a new invention home, something called a ballpoint pen. Before this point in time, everyone wrote with a fountain pen. Fountain pens had replaced the quill pens in the 1800s and now ball point pens were going to challenge the arrow head tipped bladder filled with ink pens of the first half of the 20th century. Dad bought two pens, paying $15.00 for one pen and $8.00 for the other. Back then, that was a lot of money, but he had to have the new in- vention. Years later, when ballpoint pens became com- monplace, I inherited the ones that were bought in New York. I know I have one of them stored someplace in the cellar. Of course, the old-timers didn't buy into the new in- vention. Babbononno stayed with his trusty fountain pen to v~rite with. Grandpa Christoforo would dress to go out and always put his trusty fat orange Montblanc foun- tain pen in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. Many of the old-timers did the same thing to show the world that they could write ... Grandpa couldn't. When Mom and Dad re- turned from New York, Dad talked about another inven- tion that was the rage in New York City, something called television. I guess the year was 1947, because that's the year that TV came out there. People ran out to buy sets to watch the few live programs that were broad- cast on the two networks that were there at the begin- ning, NBC and Dumont. There were a couple of manufacturers that were into supplying the public with radios and ventured into the unknown as a gamble. They began manu- facturing TV sets. Philco was one of the first companies to come out with a TV set for the general pub- lic. Dumont was another, then General Electric, Ad- miral and RCA. They were followed by several new com- parties that started up due to the new invention. Dad raved about the TV he had seen. It was about two feet square with a nine-inch screen and all kinds of knobs to control the picture: verti- cal, horizontal, brightness,. contrast, channel selection and off-on with volume con- trol. He claimed that once the sets were turned on and the tubes warmed up, a pic- ture showed up and you could actually watch the news, a baseball ga.me or people performing in front of the cameras at a studio. He was hooked. By this point in time, we lived at 74 Eutaw Street, on the top floor, or the pent house, the term used by my folks in reference to the five- room fiat. The three-decker was owned by Ralph and Grace Manfredonia. The three-decker had belonged to Grace's parents, but they were gone and she and Ralph were the landlords. Ralph and Grace weren't just landlords, Dad had grown up with Ralph and Mom with Grace. They had known each other from the old neighborhoods that they all came from many years ear- lier. As a result, we spent a lot of time with them at their house on Monmouth Street, which was parallel to Eutaw. We even had a hole in the fence that divided the two backyards to shorten the time needed to get from one house to another. They had three kids roughly my age and it was like an extended family. On many occasions, Dad and Ralph talked about the new invention that Dad had seen in New York. In 1948, TV hit Boston and Ralph Manfredonia was one of the first people in the neighborhood to buy a TV set. As a result, we were at their house a couple of nights per week watching whatever was broadcasted. During the late afternoon, we kids watched shows for the young folks, Kukla, Fran and O///e, or Lucky Pup. Both were puppet shows designed for kids our age. The suc- cess of these shows led to the most famous and long-lived of the afternoon kid's shows, Howdy Doody. On Thursday evenings, we kids were glued to the nine- inch screen watching Don Winslow in the Navy, a spin- off from radio. Dad worked most evenings, especially weekend nights. Mom and I would head to the Manfredonia house. She and Grace would have coffee and chat while Ralph and we kids would watch the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports featur- ing Friday Night Fights from -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 New York. This routine lasted for a year. In 1949, Dad came home with a TV set one afternoon. He and his brother-in-law, my uncle, Jim Dello Russo, mounted the three flights of stairs carrying a big heavy box. They opened it in the living room and placed the largest TV I ever saw on an end table. The set was a Philco with a curved top and had a gigantic 12-inch pic- ture tube. Once the TV was plugged in, Uncle Jim set up a ladder, opened up a skylight door that led to the roof and climbed out with something that looked like a bunch of metal poles. He assembled the poles with one vertical and two or three in horizontal positions. The contraption, which they called an antenna, was fas- tened to a tall chimney and had wires connected to the vertical pole that Jim ran down the side of the house to one of the living room win- dows. When the end of the main wire was brought inside and connected to the back of the TV set, Dad adjusted the picture, and yelled up to his brother-in- law, who was now joined by Ralph Manfredonia. Each command from my father caused the two men to turn the contraption, rotating it until Dad had a clear pic- ture. When this was accom- plished, they fastened the antenna to the chimney so it wouldn't move, and we were ready to watch our new giant TV. Dad brought out a bottle of Seagram's VO and poured drinks for Uncle Jim and Ralph. For the next hour, the three men marveled over the new TV, the great recep- tion and how our family was only the second in the neigh- borhood to have a TV. Our house now became the catch-all for neighborhood kids in the afternoon and for the adults during the evenings. A couple of years later, the family bought a set for Nanna and Babbononno for an anniversary present. Nanna always thought the people on the screen could see her and nothing anyone would say could change her mind. That's the way it was at the beginning of the post WWII invention craze and we haven't stopped since. GOD BLESS AMERICA For information about advertising in the Post-Gazette, call 617-227~8929~ Editorial (Continued from Obama is tearing up the Constitution in front of our eyesl So says Conservative America Now. Our president recently legalized 5 million illegal immigrants, and proved that he has no respect for the Rule of Law. He has proved he is willing to do anything to pass his radical agenda, including tearing up our Constitution. These terrible actions show Obama's dis- respect for all Americans. The American people can't allow Obama to continue to destroy the nation. Jeb Bush, please take note, Obama's executive am- nesty is both unconstitu- tional and dangerous. Consider a Muslim group called "Muslims against the Crusades" launched a cam- paign to turn twelve British cities -including what is called "Londonistan" -- into Islamic Emirates would func- tion as automatons enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence ... The Islamic Emirates Project names the British cities of Birmingham, Brad- ford, Derby Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule. Considering Obama just released another 6 terrorists from Gitmo only adds to the Page 3) already 32 percent that have been released to carry on their acts of terror the world over ... You have to ask your- self why the mastermind of 9/11 and Major Hassan still lingering at Gitmo and Fort Hood respectfully haven't been sent to Allah to be blessed with their 72 virgins waiting for them? In conclusion, I quote from Byron York's editorial in The Washington Examiner: Obama opens fraud-ridden benefits programs to illegal immigrants: "President Obama's unilat- eral executive action on immigration will make hun- dreds of thousands, per- haps more than a million, illegal immigrants eligible for federal transfer pay- ments. That will be done pri- marily through two widely used programs -- the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC." Fox News indicates our National Debt exceeds $18T, sparking renewed criticism of spending under Obama. The national debt passed $18 trillion, sparking criti- cism from Republicans and other fiscal conservatives over the soaring trajectory of government spending under President Obama. This is a sad milestone that requires impeachment, but with the spineless Republicans in the Senate, impeachment is only a patriots dream! Moff6o Gollo Appraisals Sales & Rentals Real Estate 376 North Street * Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530 Fronl MYBakery Perch j~ \rr:~ ()~U.ANt),, 5[NOPOH 1st Generation Italian-American Vita Orlando Sinopoli Shares with us a delightful recollection of her memories as a child growing up in Boston's "Little Italy" and a collection of Italian family recipes from the homeland. Great as Gifts FROM MY BAKERY PERCH available on AMAZON.COM and in local bookstores -- ask for Hard cover #1-4010-9805-3 ISBN Soft Cover #1-4010-9804-5 1SBN Ii Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent Call 1-877-FTC-HELP (!-877-382-4357) orlog to www.ft.gov.