Newspaper Archive of
Post-Gazette
Boston, Massachusetts
Lyft
January 27, 2017     Post-Gazette
PAGE 10     (10 of 12 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 10     (10 of 12 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 27, 2017
 

Newspaper Archive of Post-Gazette produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2017. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




, 'q, ' PAGE 10 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 27, 2017 Babb o nonno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance Last week, I was talking about my family's way of life ... the things I remembered from my childhood. My grandparents (Nanna and Babbononno), my parents, and my uncles all survived the Great Depres- sion of the 1930s. Fortunately, they didn't suffer because they had jobs that, in spite of the economy, didn't disappear. Babbononno was a carpenter/ furniture maker by day and a musician by night. Uncle Paul had learned the printing trade in high school and worked through The Depression. Oh, by tl?e way, he was a musician, too. Uncle Nick became a musician like his older brother and father, and worked through the worst of times. Uncle Gino, the young- est, went to work at the Chelsea Navy Yard after graduating high school and played music at night like his father and brothers. My father graduated from East Bos- ton High School's machine shop program in 1929, and went to work for an iron works company. He too, was a musician at night. Speaking of the iron works, I passed the new Seville Building on Meridian Street a few weeks ago, and remembered that Dad helped put up the super struc- ture of the Seville Theater when it was being Constructed in the late 1920s. Here's a funny one... There is a synagogue on Beacon Street in Brookline that once had a six point star, called the Star of David, on the top of its dome. Dad, at his job with the same iron works, had no fear of heights, and climbed atop the dome of that building and fastened the star at the highest point. It was a hot summer's day and the star burned his hands. This event kept him on the side- lines for a couple of weeks. But years later, his Jewish musi- cian friends called that religious marker, "Johnny Christie's Star of David." Not long after he recu- perated, Dad left the iron works to concentrate strictly on music. As I said, the men in my family did well during the Depression, LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Probate and Family Court Middlesex Division 208 Cambridge Street East Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) 768-5800 Docket No. MI16P5893EA Estate of CHERYL M. ZARELLA Date of Death August 9, 2016 INFORMAL PROBATE PUBLICATION NOTICE To all persons interested in the above captioned estate, by Petition of Petitioner Bonita A. Posnak of Tyngsboro, MA. Bonita A. Posnak of Tyngsboro, MA has been informally appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate to serve without surety on the bond. The estate is being administered under informal procedure by the Personal Represen- tative under the Massachusetts Uniform Pro- bate Code without supervision by the Court. Inventory and accounts are not required to be filed with the Court, but interested parties are entitled to notice regarding the administration from the Personal Representative and can petition the Court in any matter relating to the estate, including distribution of assets and expenses of administration. Interested parties are entitled to petition the Court to institute formal proceedings and to obtain orders ter- minating or restricting the powers of Personal Representatives appointed under informal pro- cedure. A copy of the Petition and Will, if any, can be obtained from the Petitioner. Run date: 1/27/17 but were super cautious about spending just in case. Dad and Uncle Nick went on the road with the big bands, the swing bands of the 1930s, while Bab- bononno, Uncle Paul, and Uncle Gino stayed home and worked at their day jobs and played music at night. Those were the days before DJs, and all social func- tions had live music. Years later, when I observed the members of my family con- ducting .their daily routines, I discovered that they still had what was called a "Depression mentality." As an example, one day when I was about ten, Babbononno sat on a chair with another chair facing him. On the chair was a sheet of wood that was his mini-table. On it, my grandfather was cutting up a rectangular chunk of com- pressed tobacco. It was called a plug and Babbononno, once he cut up the plug into small pieces, intended to smoke them in his pipe. The tobacco was named Edgeworth and could be pur- chased in plug form or ground up for immediate use in a pipe. When I asked Babbononno why he was chopping up the tobacco rather than buying the ready cut pouch of Edgeworth, he replied that the plug was cheaper, and he saved money. Nanna and my mother also hunted for bargains, a carry- over from the dark days of the 1930s. There was a kosher slaughterhouse on Lewis Street near Maveric.k Station. Even though East Boston's Jewish population had all but disap- peared, the establishment still survived. Jewish grandmothers and mothers who wanted their chickens slaughtered kosher- style still came back to Eastie. Italian women had discovered the place, too. Remembering fresh killed chickens in the old country, they came and picked out their chickens, argued price, and then had them slaughtered. Nanna was one of these Itai- ian women who frequented the Lewis Street slaughterhouse. With me by her side, she LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court The Probate and Family Court Department Middlesex Division Docket No. MI15P3266PO NOTICE To Annie T. Mikutel, an absentee whose last known address was Natick, Massachusetts having property in the County of Middlesex, to the Treasurer and Receiver General of said Commonwealth, to all persons claiming an in- terest in the property hereinafter described and to all whom it may concern. A petition has been presented in the above- captioned matter praying that William John Mikutal Jr. of Bourne in the County of Bamsta- ble or some other suitable person, be appoint- ed receiver of the following described property of said absentee, and a warrant to take posses- sion thereof has issued to an officer who has taken and now holds the same, as follows: a personal property of Annie T. Mikutel formerly located at 26 Walnut Street, Natick, MA. If you desire to object thereto, you or your attorney must file a written appearance in said Court at Middlesex Probate and Family Trial Court, 208 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141, on or before Ten O'clock in the forenoon (lO:OOam) on March 3, 2017. WITNESS, Hon. Edward F. Donnelly, Jr., Esquire, First Justice of said Court at Cambridge Massachusetts, this 6th day of January in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen. Tara E. DeCristofare, Register of Probate Run date: 1/20, 1/27 & 2/3/17 entered the establishment, picked her chickens, argued the price with the salesperson, and then had the birds prepared for her to take home. I now know that she argued the price in Ital- ian, and the salesperson argued in Yiddish. I don't know how they understood each other, but I guess they did. Nanna always got her price, an amount that fit into her budget. My grand- mother couldn't read and write in either Italian or English, but she knew her numbers better than most, and could figure her spending right to the penny. Whether it was food, clothing, anything for the house, there were never a lot of extras, but what they had was always of good quality. Babbononno used to say that good quality lasted longer and, as a result, things were cheaper in the long run, I would discover, years later, that my grandfather was right again. One day during WWII, I watched Nanna as she sat at her Singer sewing machine, pump- ing the foot plate that made the mechanism operate. She was reversing the collar and cuffs of one of Babbononno's white dress shirts. They had become frayed and reversing them would give the shirt new life for a period of time ... money saved. Being the first-born male in an Italian family, I grew up as a young prince, and loved it. At thirteen, I went to work at the Seville Theater, a job I would keep from 1952 through 1962. When I first started, I lied about my age, but they kept me on (a story for another time), but Dad was afraid that my young age and immaturity would cause me to spend every dollar I made. I wanted a new one-button roll collar "zoot suit" that was the style of the day, I also needed a new raincoat. I was going to buy the two garments with the money I saved from my salary at the Seville. Dad, with his De- pression mentality, made sure I bought the raincoat first and the suit later. To him, this was the sensible way of doing things. My grandparents and parents never splurged. Dad needed a car because he was a musician, but always bought something sensible and slightly used. He often said that he was in the low-priced three categories. This meant that he would only buy a Chevy, Ford, or Plymouth a couple of years old, and that is what he did most of his early life. Only later, when disposable income was in abundance, did my father ever buy a new car. I once talked him into buying a used Cadillac. A year later, it was stolen and he told me that it was God's that it disappear due to his trying to show off. Those days seem so long ago, and they are part of the distant past. We've never come close to those troubled times of the '30s that molded the mentality of so many Americans. I don't know if this is good or bad, but Some of us old folks can remember the way our parents and grand- parents thought things out to survive. They must have been right, because we survived, thank God. GOD BLESS AMERICA A Man for All Pigeons (Continued from Page 6) the time, learning the lessons body he runs into. Just take one required for each degree. Again, tablespoon every morning and Sidney was humble. "As you're you will never catch a cold! If he in the organization, you just is any example, it must work; keep moving along." He lived the man never gets sick. Gould in Boston, Brookline, Wayland, says he sometimes adds parsley and Randolph before moving to to counter the garlic odor. Ng the North End, where he lived didn't realize she was only sup- on Commercial Street before posed to take a tablespoon and breaking his hip last summer, drank the whole thing! (Fortunately, he has been able Of course, the pigeon story to recuperate in the North End cropped up again. "You can Nursing Home, where his North never look at a pigeon the same End friends can easily visit.) way," joked Gould. She men- Speaking of Sidney's North tioned that whenever you went End friends, there are too many to dinner with Sidney, he would to mention in one article. But ask for the extra bread to feed I did chat with a few from his the pigeons. =He had bread for Modern Pastry coffee klatch, the pigeons and dog biscuits for In fact, I met with Karen Gould the dogs." Added Ng, "He would and Bik-Fung Ng over a cuppa have the treats in his pocket and in the very spot. Ng met Sidney when he sees the dog, he gives at the Haymarket one weekend, one; so the dogs love him!" And where he plied one of his "retire- not to forget his human friends, ment jobs." Gould told me how he would carry lollipops, too. If he would take a large magic you had a sore throat, he would marker and go down to the hand you one and say, "Suck market early Fridays to help the the lollipop!" vendors make signs for selling Another "Modern family" their produce. Many of the yen- member, Cliff Myrtil first met dors are immigrants and have a Sidney five or six years ago bit of difficultywith English.. But when he opened the door for Sidney to the rescuel (In fact, him coming into the shop one he not only made the signs, he morning. Sidney thanked him would jump behind a counter and they struck up a conver- and help sell the veggies and sation. "We just clicked," said fruit, too!) Apparently, Sidney Myrtil. And he enjoyed hearing knows a few words of Chinese Sidney's war stories and what he and greeted Ng in her native lan- appreciates about life, his kids, guage one day. Later, when she and grandldds. Like everyone I dropped into Modem and spied spoke to, Myrtil brought up the him, she said, "Hi Grandpa, pigeon story. I think not just you the one at the Haymarket!" because it's amusing, but also After that, she would frequently because it says a lot about the stop by Modem to have coffee man and his values. Myrtil also with him on her way to work at mentioned visiting Sidney at City Hall. When she was run- the nursing home on Veterans' ning late, she'd poke her head Day to pay his respects. He ap- in and say, "Grandpa, I'm late," preciates the man's service and and conl~ue on to work. But no his modesty. "Real heroes don't worries. By this time, Sidney had show off," he said. a circle of regulars meeting him Although very modest when for coffee. Ng observed, =We just asked about his service, Sidney talk and talk, and our group just was nevertheless very proud to grow and grow. This (Modem) be a "WWII Flyboy." You will become our meeting place every notice his cap in almost every morning. So we like family every photo and any time you see " morning." him-- he never goes out without Gould was not sure when she it. (He may even wear it to bed.) became a member of Sidney's When he told Myrtil that he "Modern family," but she is had been trying to find another a neighbor of Sidney's in the cap to no avail, Myrtil went North End--so it was not pos- searching. He finally succeeded sible not to run into him walldng and present Sidney with a at some point. They struck up new cap on his birthday one a friendship, and she started year. "He was so happyV said Ng. accompanying him to Modem There were several other for coffee some mornings. After friends of Sidney's I was told I she mentioned his Haymarket simply had to talk to, but there gig, she spoke about his other just wasn't time. He was a regu- "job," that of personal shopper, lar at the Sail Loft and Anthony's Like those squeegee-wielding as well as Modem Pastry and window washers that ambush the Haymarket, and even the your car in NYC, he didn't ask delivery truck drivers would people whether they wanted call out to him as he walked the something. But unlike them, he neighborhood streets. If I put out never asked for payment, either, a call, there would probably be "He was always in retail," Gould a line at the Post-Gazette door remarked, and "he would go to stretching all the way down to T.J. Maxx and buy blouses that City Hall! When she contacted women might wear, anybody he me about doing this article, saw ... " Here Ng piped up and Karen Gould said, "You have said he bought clothes for her quite a gem to write about -- I sometimes. "He had good judg- guarantee he will have a pro- ment, too. He looks at you and found impact upon you." He knows what size you wear!" A did. And clearly on many, many thought_fial and generous man, others as well. he was "forever using his credit Sidney turned 99 years young card and sending gifts to people" on November 30th. When son- according to Gould. in-law Jim asked him if was Another benefit of Sidney's going to stick around for 100, friendship is his sincere concern he started listing all the things for your health. He has his rou- he had to look forward to this tines, which he recommends to year, especially his grandson others, like doing 100 leg lifts in Zachary's wedding in June. So, bed in the moming if you wake yes, that's the plan! As Ng told up with a sore back. And he me right up front, "He's a fighter, has his "remedy." This would Ever since I know him!" And the be a blender concoction of fresh many who love this man look tomatoes and garlic, which he forward to having him around mixes up and pours into small another year -- including the containers to hand out to every- pigeons!