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February 12, 2010     Post-Gazette
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February 12, 2010

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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 12, 2010 Page 13 0/2/20 II iii II iii February school vacation was a couple of weeks away and I had made plans to go on vacation. I was teaching drafting and industrial de- sign at Hyde Park High School and was playing with several bands, performing each night of the week ex- cept Monday. That was un- officially the night off for most musicians, back in the day. I had learned my lesson a month earlier, between Christmas and New Year's Eve. I had accepted an invi- tation at a ski lodge near Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. Let me start by saying, "I hate the cold." As I've gotten older, I hate it even more, but even back then, I hated the cold. This time around, I wanted to vacation in the tropics. More about the plans in a minute, but first let me tell you about that trip to Cannon Mountain: A pretty young teacher on our faculty was an avid skier and in- vited me and another young male teacher from the Hyde Park faculty to the ski lodge she belonged to. We would pay our own way, but as her guests, it was a lot cheaper than if we made reserva- tions at a hotel. I had never been on skis before and didn't have the right clothing nor the equip- ment necessary. When I mentioned my plans to the guys in the bands I was working with, a couple of them offered to lend me the necessary clothing and boots. Sal Meli, an old friend from East Boston could take time off from his job at Polaroid and decided to join in with us, and on Decem- ber 26, Sal, the girl that in- vited us and the other male teacher, a Tom Aylward, and I jumped into my Thunder- bird four-seater and headed north. It was Wednesday morn- ing, the day after Christmas. I picked everyone up, but told my friends that we would have to come home on Sun- day, as I was playing on New Year's Eve, but didn't want to take any chances and would be ready to head home on that Sunday. All agreed and off we went. The resort had all of the amenities, and by late after- noon, we were checked in and raring to go. After din- ner, Sal, Tom and I were introduced to the club mem- bers and we partied until it was time to call it quits. Early the next morning, I was fitted for skis and by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance ii i ii iii II I I I i iii II headed to the novice slope of Cannon Mountain to take a skiing lesson. The instruc- tor took about a half hour, showing us the ins and outs of the sport. To me, the most important aspect of every- thing was how to stop. Once I thought I was ready, I headed to the top of the nov- ice slope, but didn't think I could maneuver around all of the beginners who were falling down. As a result, I decided to head farther up the mountain. When I got to the intermediate level, it was too crowded, so I con- tinued until I found myself at the top of the mountain with the expert skiers. I snapped on my skis, pointed them down the mountain, said a quick Hail Mary, and pushed off. Dragging my ski poles, I slowly descended the moun- tain, swerving to avoid the pros that were flying down the mountain. The swerving also allowed me to miss the trees and boulders that dot- ted the slopes of Cannon Mountain. I was nervous and wished I were back home having a glass of winter wine with Babbononno. Well, I somehow made it down the mountain without falling or hitting anything. When I arrived at the nov- ice slope, I zigzagged my way around all of the falling be- ginners and saw the side wall of public ski lodge com- ing closer I pointed my skis at each other (called snow plowing) and jumped side- ways. I stopped within a couple of feet of the outside wall of the lodge, snapped off my rented skis, looked back at the slopes of the moun- tain, saluted and headed in- side with no broken bones, no scrapes or bruises, only a body full of cold New Hamp- shire mountain air. I had beginner's luck and didn't want to tempt fate. That was the first and last time I ever put on a pair of skis in my life. Once inside, I ordered a hot chocolate and waited for Sal and the rest of my friends to come back and join me. I don't know if I was dressed well enough for the northern New England climate, but it took me a day or two to warm up. I made a promise to myself, if the good Lord would allow me to thaw out; I would never go skiing or try outdoor winter sports ever again. I warmed up and have actually kept my promise. It was a couple of months later, and as I said, the Feb- -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 IlUl ruary school vacation was approaching. Both Sal and my faculty friend, Tom, left vacation plans to me and I decided on Puerto Rico. I knew two things about this island that was an American commonwealth, and it would be warm during February vacation. I called a friend of Uncle Nick and Aunt Dor- othy. He was the vice presi- dent of Colpitts Travel Agency and he knew just what I wanted. As a result, he put a package together that we could afford and we were to leave on the Friday afternoon before the vaca- tion week. Back in the day, you dressed at night in San Juan, so I filled two suit cases with suits, ties, shirts, and whatever I would need for the beach and the pool. Dad, mom and Babbononno drove Sal and me to the East- ern Airlines Terminal and we waited for Tom to show up. When he did, we were raring to go, but there was a problem, it was snowing and our flight was delayed. There was a lounge at the Eastern Terminal that was owned by former Senator LoPresti. I had campaigned for him when he ran for office and he knew me by name. He happened to be at the lounge when we went in and he spotted me. We shook hands and I introduced him to my friends, and then lamented that our flight was delayed. He told the bartender to take care of us, gratis. He whis- pered to me that the drinks were on the house but that we should take care of his bartender and off he went. Well, I'm not much of a drinker and neither was Sal. Tom had a couple but the friend that drove him to the airport put a good dent in a bottle of Jack Daniels and was feeling no pain. After a couple of hours, they rescheduled our flight in spite of the snow and by late that evening we were ready to fly out. Just before boarding the plane, I called home to let everyone know what was going on. Babbononno an- swered and told me that I should have taken him with me to translate. I asked my grandfather if he could speak Spanish and he said, "Noh, ma Italiano, sheeza peedy close to Spanisha." I thanked him anyway and told him to tell Mom and Dad we were ready to leave. I'M OUT OF SPACE AND WILL CONTINUE NEXT WEEK. IN THE MEANTIME, GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Fred Warburg, the brother of Max Warburg, and Katie Cox at "Step Up to the Plate for Courage" event. (Photo by Roger Farrington) Majestic Theatre in Boston. NEC is co-founder and edu- cational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States. ....... There's still time to order daffodils in support of the American Cancer Soci- ety. Friday, March 5 is the deadline. As one of the Society's oldest and most beloved fundraising pro- grams, "Daffodil Days" em- powers everyone from CEOs to school children to make it their business to help save lives by fighting back against cancer and helping to create a world with more birthdays. Although "Daffodil Days" involves offering daffodils to people in appreciation for their contributions, it is about more than just beau- tiful flowers; it is an oppor- tunity to share hope for a world free from cancer. For more information about the Society's "Daffodil Days," contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800- ACS-2345 or visit www. / daffodils. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda MorriU's gardening Web site,, and sign the Guest Book for a chance to win tickets to the 2010 Boston Flower and Gar- den Show, being held March 24 - 28, at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. In ad- dition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" ~ compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) K35 Mechamca] Fully Insured Lic #017936 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 If you want to know about EAST BOSTON your first stop should be * News * Community Calendar Commentary Civic Groups Economic Data History and Much More Visit East Boston's premier public information utility today .... Established 1995