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February 4, 2011     Post-Gazette
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February 4, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 4, 2011 Page 13 00N'anna 00Babb00onno i I have not seen this much snow since the blizzard of "78." When that storm hit in February of 1978, we got a winter's worth of snow all at once. This winter, we've been getting hit quite fre- quently, a few inches at a time. The problem I have at this point in time is that ev- eryone prevents me from shoveling or plowing out the snow that we get. To keep everyone quiet, I have hired a company headed by Mike Ruggeri, a young man who grew up with my son, Michael. My problem is that we live on a street that is a bus route. The minute one snow flake hits the ground; the plows are out clearing the way for public transpor- tation. This means that if we get a sizable amount of snow, I could have a plowed mountain across my drive- way. Loretta tells me that I'm too old to shovel my way out and maybe she's right. So, I leave the snow removal to the professionals. Snow was the main reason we left East Boston back in the 1960s ... no place to park. When I was a kid, Dad had one of the "few cars that was parked on Eutaw Street. He, A1 Luis, Marie Alexander, Bert Marotta and a couple of other neighbors owned cars; most did not. As a result, there was never any trouble parking. As a matter of fact, Dad never had to secure his shoveled parking spot by placing barriers like old chairs, barrels or saw horses in them. Everyone knew that the spot in front of #74 was my father's and they left it alone. At night, Dad would return home from wherever he was playing, park in his dug-out spot, take his bass violin out of the car and head into the house. But, begin- ning around 1950, things began to change. The neighborhood began to change by mid century. Many of the old timers began to die off, houses were sold and new people began to move to the Eagle Hill sec- tion of East Boston. This was combined with the fact that many of my folks generation began to move to the sub- urbs. When this began to happen, most of the new comers owned cars, and as time went on, parking some- times became a problem. At one point in the 50s, the city passed an ordinance regard- ing parking restrictions. You could only park on the even numbered side of the street on certain days and the odd by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance numbered side on the alter- nate days. If you violated this, you might get a park- ing ticket. This made it more difficult for Dad who came home sometime after mid- night most nights of the week. By the mid to late 1950s, most of my generation that grew up on Eutaw Street owned cars which added to the parking problem. This meant that Dad might have to drop off his bass violin while double parked and then go hunting for a park- ing space somewhere in the neighborhood. When I became a professional mu- sician, I had the same prob- lem, but I was a kid and things like hunting for a parking space didn't bother me like they did my father. Disgruntled during the winter months, Dad began talking about moving to the suburbs. Actually, he had wanted to buy a house in the burbs before this point in time, but my mother wouldn't hear of it. She wanted to be close to Nanna and Babbononno. By the mid 1950s, they were living in an apartment at 199 Lexington Street, near the corner of Putnam. Babb0nonno had sold 70 Eutaw Street to the Pina family. Uncle Paul had moved his family to St. Edwards Road in Orient Heights, Uncle Nick was liv- ing in Brookline going through a divorce and Uncle Gino and his new wife, Ninna, had an apartment on Saratoga Street. We were liv- ing at 74 Eutaw and the big house at #70 became too much for Nanna to handle. Once the house was sold, my grandparents moved to Princeton Street, then later, Lexington Street, both loca- tions within walking dis- tance from where we lived which meant that Mom could take care of her parents whenever it was necessary. In 1957, Nanna developed breast cancer and passed away just before Christmas in 1958. Cancer cures were primitive back then, and she really suffered. After her passing, Babbononno moved in with us which allowed my mother to take care of her father every day. The five room third floor walk-up became a bit crowded, but we managed. Every time Dad mentioned moving to the suburbs, Mom and Babbononno would gang up on him and the subject went nowhere. -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM 781-648-5678 I graduated college in June of 1960 and began teaching drafting in the Boston Schools. Like Dad and my uncles, I was now a profes- sional musician playing sev- eral nights of the week. With so many cars now on Eutaw Street, parking was getting more difficult especially dur- ing the winter months when there was snow on the ground. One night, Dad was playing with his band and went an hour overtime. When he left the function hall, there were several inches of snow on the ground and he carefully drove home. He stopped in front of the house, brought his bass inside and then drove around the neighborhood for a half hour before finding a place to park. He walked home with just his shoes on, swearing all the way. When he got in, he poured himself a drink (he was a tea totaler) and complained about the park- ing situation, waking every- one up in the process. The next day, he began to look at houses in the sub- urbs. Uncle Gino and Aunt Ninna had moved to Belmont and Dad liked the town. When he mentioned it to my mother, she would have none of it. She was an East Bostonian and would not move. Babbononno sided in with her. By the winter of 1961, Dad found a house in Belmont. When he discussed it with friends and relatives, they told him he was crazy because of the price, "You can buy the same house in Medford for $I0,000 less or Saugus for $8,000 less. His reply was always, "But, I want Belmont." When he intens- ified his desire verbally, Mom refused to go. He then told her that he would pay for the apartment and she and Babbononno could stay there, but he was moving to Belmont. I agreed with him. Morn panicked and told Babbononno that her place was with her husband and if he wanted to buy a house in the suburbs, then her place was with her husband. Babbononno grumbled, but had no say in the matter. So, in the spring of 1961, we moved to Belmont. That first night, I couldn't sleep. There were no planes flying over- head. There were no sirens blasting away. There was no traffic noise. The quiet kept me awake. Dad was happy and Mom made new friends in the neighborhood. Al- though they weren't Italian, my mother fit in and became a Belmontonian. Babbo- nonno was never happy there, and in his old age, moved back to East Boston. My folks remained in that same Belmont house for the rest of their lives and loved parking problems. If this weather continues, I may consider moving, too. Del Ray Beach or Boca Raton, Florida sounds good to me. what do you think??? GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 7) Robert Earl and Heather Gregg Earl at the Friends of the Public Garden Gala. 14. Bangkok Cafe has been a strong supporter of local art for many years. The Boston area artists selected used various ways to express the theme of love. Participating artists are: Kasey Davis Apple- man: mixed media; Gert Condon: photography: Kath- ryn Deputat: digital print; Amy Joyce: silkscreen print; Bill Mahan: acrylic; Jeff Margulies: stained glass; Chris Roberts: pastel; Alicia Shems: fiber and beads; Glenn Williams: acrylic; and Janice Williams: digital design. There will be a *free and open to the public" reception with the artists on Thursday, February 17 from 6-8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, courtesy of the Bangkok Care. For more information, please visit www. ros lindalearts, org. ....... City Spotlights, a year-long initiative of the Citi Performing Arts Center Arts Education program, is accepting registration forms for "City Spotlights Work- shops Session II" for partici- (Photo by Roger Farrington) pants ages 11 to adult. The free workshops will take place in four featured Boston neighborhoods (Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan). Participants need not be residents of the featured neighborhoods. Participants will create an original performance based on an examination of indi- vidual and community iden- tities, and perform during final showcases at select Boston Centers for Youth and Families Community Centers. This program is suitable for all levels, including beginners, and does not require any previous train- ing. Workshop dates and locations are listed at / news. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web .site, In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) The Real State of the Union (Continued from Page 1) pends on his definition of "grow". I call a 2.6 percent increase in GDP anemic, especially when most of it was generated by a produc- tivity blitz by U.S. busi- nesses and not by economic policies. A year ago, Congress raised the statutory debt ceiling, and now they are talking about the need to raise it again. The current national debt, which amounts to $45,000 for ev- ery man woman and child in national debt ($14 trillion total) is not enough for this administration. If it is left unchecked, there appears to be no end in sight. And we are supposed to feel good about the state of the union. Like the appliance repair man, we will continue to have some restless nights because of broken promises and failed policies by the ad- ministration. The House is starting to see the light, but this president isn't even aware of the heat. Maybe he will become aware in 2012 when he joins the ranks of the unem- ployed. Reprinted with permission by North Star National "qk