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January 28, 2011     Post-Gazette
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January 28, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE,'JANUARY 28, 2011 Page13 A Nostalgic Remembrance We actually escaped Boston's weather for a long weekend. Loretta and I both had time off surrounding the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and we headed for Florida. When we got there, everyone was complaining about the southern Florida climate. The temperature was in the 60s. We laughed and offered our southern friends one way tickets to Boston where it was 30 de- grees with an accompanying 20 something inches of snow. No one took us up on our offer. Loretta's ex boss, who now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, invited us to watch the Patriots' play-off game against the Jets. En route, we stopped at a restaurant I've mentioned before for lunch, Pizza Time. Although the name doesn't sound like anything exotic, the food is authentic Italian. Everyone from the owner to the chefs and waiters are from Italy by way of New York. When we were spotted, everyone came over to say hello, with the owner adding in, "How about a Sunday Italian sit- down dinner at Nonna's house?" We agreed to his idea and as we waited, we told the staff what they were ,missi~ng .in .the,, way of weather by living in the south. Soon, the Sunday din- ner arrived, and I just stared at it. The waiter asked what was the matter, with me re- plying that what I was look- ing at was my Nanna's Sun- day dinner. Rigatoni was the pasta, surrounded by meat- balls, sausages, braciola, spare ribs, veal and eggplant parmagiana and covered by meat sauce. After the first bite, I told the owner that I thought he had stolen my grandmother's recipe. We had intended to take a pizza with us to see the play- off game, but after the Sun- day dinner we had just ex- perienced, we ordered a sec- ond to bring with us. One order, although for one per- son, was actually enough for two people with a little left over. In other words, Italian portions. We stayed with Loretta's ex-boss until the 3~ quarter of the game was over and then headed back to our place. Both Loretta and I were battling colds and the tail end of whatever flu we contracted. The Pats losing didn't help. It was time to relax, and we did. Later in the evening, I was surfing through the TV stations and found one that I stopped at. Tito Francona was being in- terviewed by a news team and it gave me optimism. Spring can't be far behind, I thought. Usually, beginning in the middle of February, the pitchers and catchers report to spring training and begin getting their acts to- gether. Although it was only the middle of January, I de- veloped the illusion that winter might soon be over. To be truthful, I give lip service to football and bas- ketball, and know nothing about hockey. My sport is baseball and it will be back soon, along with the warm weather. Babbononno never thought about, sports. He never played anything ex- cept music and cards. His generation didn't play sports, they just worked. I don't know if my uncles Paul and Nick ever played sports, but I know that Uncle Gino did. When I was a kid, I in- herited his baseball glove. Unfortunately for me, it was a left hander's glove and I'm a rightie. Dad was an ath- lete. He played football for East Boston High School in the mid-20s and baseball for pickup teams during his teen years. He made it all the way to the Cincinnati Reds as a utility catcher but disc0vered he .could make more money playing bass than baseball, so he stayed with music. When he started dating my mother, Babbononno asked him about what he had done in life, and he left out anything that might even hint at sports. As long as he was a musician, he was OK in my grandfather's book. He was a musician, his sons were musicians and he wouldn't mind his daughter marrying a musician. When I came along, Dad passed his love of sports on to me. His passion was foot- ball, but I didn't take to the sport. From the time I was in short pants, for me, it was baseball. After World War II started, Dad left the big bands and settled back in Boston teaching days at East Boston High School, his old alma mater, and playing nights in hotels and night clubs in Boston. From 1942 through 1948, he coached Eastie's football team, a chore that was wedged between the teaching and playing music. I usually accompanied Dad when the team practiced. Even though I was very young, my father silently hoped that I would take to -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 i football. I didn't. Beginning when I was seven or eight, just as soon as the snow dis- appeared, I was out playing baseball. There were several of us who lived in the same neighborhood and put a team together, The East Bos- ton Wildcats. There was no Little League for us back, then, and all of the adults we knew or were related to worked. If they were born in Italy or Ireland, it was even worse. To them, baseball was a waste of time. I remember one game when I was a teenager. It was late afternoon and two parents showed up carrying their lunch pails, apparently on their way home. They both made a detour knowing their sons were wasting time. Both parents walked on the field and escorted their sons off by pulling their ears to guide them to the street. The Italian kid was a decent pitcher, but didn't play much after that point in time. The Irish kid stayed with baseball as a middle infielder. I remember he had a great pair of hands and a lot of talent but we were just kids and I don't know what ever happened to him. When I got to high school, Dad was hoping I would play football. Boston's English High School was noted for its great football teams back then and I tried out when I was a sophomore. Going to school, attempting to prac- tice with the team and work at the Seville Theater was too much, so, I gave up the football. Dad never said any- thing, but I knew he was dis- appointed. The same prob- lem came up when it was baseball season. As a result, I played CYO baseball, and later, American Legion ball. They didn't practice and all games were either on Sat- urday or Sunday mornings. This I was able to fit in with- out any problem. One Sunday when I was playing CYO baseball, Dad brought Babbononno to see me play. My grandfather knew nothing about the game, but his grandson was out there and he was in the stands to cheer him on. When I was in college, I didn't play for the Boston State team but the coach came by to see me play when I played for the CYO or Legion teams. He even got me a tryout with the Cincin- nati Reds AA farm team. ! was a pretty good infielder, but there were three infield- ers in front of me, Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion and Joe Gordon. I might have been good...They were great. Like Dad before me, I thought I could make more money playing bass th~in baseball. I was right and did rather well as a bass and bass guitar player, and now just antici- pate the beginning of each spring when I can hear a man in a funny hat yell out, "Play ball." It's coming soon!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Enjoying a Landscape Design Council meeting held at the Endicott House in Dedham are Sajida Khudairi, left, of Wellesley and Cathy Linsenmayer of Auburndale. (Photo by Frances Y.J. Wheeler) ties have participated, including Rex Trailer (Boomtown), Jess Cain (WHDH), Boston's original Evening Magazine team Robin Young (WBUR) and Barry Nolan, Ron Della Chiesa (WGBH; WPLM), Jor- dan Rich, Gil Santos, Laurie Kirby, Diane Stern, Rod Fritz, Deb Lawler, Norm Nathan (WBZ), NPR's Carl Kasell, Kerry Connolly, Scott Wahle and Josh Binswanger formerly of (WBZ-TV 4), Jonathan Hall (TV7), Charles Laquidara, Ben Parker (WEIM), Jerry Williams (WRKO), and Michele Hughes (WODS). ....... As we've mentioned before, we're really looking forward to the Boston Flower & Garden Show, March 16- 20 at the Seaport World Trade Center! And, we're excited that dur- ing the months of January and February, web visitors/ readers who sign up to receive our occasional Newslet- ter or those who 'Like' us on our Facebook page, will be eligible to win free tickets to the Show through ran- dom drawings. For further information, please 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- leases, PRNewswire services. etc.) K3 ~ Fully Insured kic #017936 Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 Leave the DELIVERY to Us[ With a Gift Subscription to the Post-Gazette, your generosity will be remembered every week of the year. We'll send the recipient an announcement of your gift, Their subscription will begin with the current issue and continue for one year. ~ POST-GAZKT'rB ~ Fill out coupon below and mail with payment to: Post-Gazette, PO Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 I would like to send a one year Gift Subscription of the Boston Post-Gazette to the following person(s). I have enclosed $30 per subscription, Recipient Name Giver Name Address Address City City State Zip State Zip Phone Phone