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February 19, 2010     Post-Gazette
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February 19, 2010
 

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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 19, 2010 Page 13 . 00'anna 00abb00onno Last week, I left off with a story that wasn't finished due to running out of space. It was the February school vacation and Sal Meli, a fellow I taught with, Tom Aylward, and I headed for Puerto Rico. Back then, I was playing music just about every night of the week, but unless I was playing in a res- taurant or nightclub, things would quiet down during Lent. This was one of those points in time when I was playing with a band that ca- tered to weddings, baptisms and dances. We had little work and the public school February vacation was the perfect time to travel south and warm up. As I mentioned last week, our plane was delayed due to a snow storm. Late in the evening, they announced that it had cleared enough for us to take off and the three of us boarded the East- ern Airline's flight to San Juan. We were heading for San Juan and then after a short hop to Charlotte Amalie and a three day stay on the island of St. Thomas in the American Virgin Is- lands. After the three days, we were to head back to Puerto Rico. We landed in San Juan and switched over to a local airline as the runway at Charlotte Amalie's airport could not accommodate large aircraft back then. The flight from Boston to San Juan was uneventful and we slept most of the way, and once in Puerto Rico, headed for Trans Caribbean Air- ways, an inter-island com- pany that used small planes. The one we were to fly on was a World War II vintage DC3, a cargo transport plane that had been converted to a passenger carrying craft. This would be an experi- ence. The plane was resting on a tail wheel and you had to walk upward at an angle to get to the seats. There were windows that could open by sliding them back- ward. Needless to say, the plane wasn't pressurized and couldn't fly very high. Once we were seated, the pilot boarded the plane. He wore a leather flight jacket, a captain's hat and a white scarf. The only thing I could think of was John Wayne in the 1940s film Flying Tigers. As the plane warmed up before takeoff, it vibrated and sounded like a bucket of bolts. When it took off, the sound of the engines was deafening. But we by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance I I I I made it into the air and flew about 3,000 feet above the water. This was scary. When we were approaching St. Thomas, we flew toward the top of a mountain, climbed over it at the last minute and angled down- ward toward the one runway of the small airport. This was even scarier. Well, we landed without mishap and deplaned. While we were waiting for our luggage, I called the place we were to stay at and was told that they were going to send the hotel bus to pick us up. There was a problem. My suitcases didn't arrive on the plane. Sal's luggage ar- rived as did Tom's, but not mine. ! had a flight bag that contained my toilet articles, but the only clothes I had were the ones on my back. Once at the Granboco Hotel, we checked in, were greeted by the manager and as- signed to a room for three. I had left word at the airport about my missing luggage and told them where we would be staying and then hoped for the best. Neither Sal's nor Tom's clothing would fit me. Sal was a lot shorter than I and heavier. Tom was a lot taller and very thin. I was out of luck. We headed for the beach and I sort of looked out of place. Everyone was in bathing suits and I stripped down to the waist and had gray suit pants on instead of trunks. Later that day, we rented motor cycles and ex- plored the surroundings. It was fascinating, native, but geared for tourism. That night we ate local Caribbean food and then headed for a night club that was recom- mended by the woman who managed the Gramboco Hotel. The next day, we decided to head for the shopping cen- ter so I could at least buy a bathing suit. While in the hotel lobby, we met a couple of guys from Belmont, and in conversation, I mentioned my dilemma. One of the guys said he had an extra bath- ing suit I could borrow and added that I should accept his offer as things were rather expensive in the lo- cal shops. Seeing he was my size, I said ok and we headed for a beach instead. Later in the day, there was a week- end cocktail party held in the hotel. It seems that this was a Saturday ritual and we didn't want to upset their tra- ditions especially since ev- erything was on the house. ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. AYP ST. JUDE AND ST. ANTHONY NOVENA May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and for- ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving protector and wonder worker, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayer will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. Favor received. VF I I I The cocktail party was rather nice. We met several young ladies and asked them out for the evening. They were from New York City and, like us, on a win- ter's vacation. We met sev- eral naval officers at the party. Evidently one of them was dating the hotel's man- ager and all were on leave. They were members of a submarine called the USS Thresher, which later that year sunk with all hands aboard. It would be a major naval tragedy and was in all the American papers for quite a while. Later we headed for an open air night club and danced the evening away. The girls we had met were rather attractive, but there was one problem. They were rather crude and two of them couldn't get a whole sen- tence spoken without swear- ing. This was a turn-off, to me anyway. Once back at the hotel, the cocktail party was still going on and we joined in. The stories the naval officers told us were fascinating and we listened until the wee hours of the morning. The next day was Sunday and we decided to all be good Catholics and go to Mass. The only Catholic church was on the other side of the city and we rode our motorcycles to get there. We were among the few people that weren't native and Mass was a bit different that what I had experienced back home. I really enjoyed it. When we returned to the hotel, we headed up a dirt road to park the bikes in back of the hotel. Tom and Sal were in front of me and they passed another bike zig- zagging down the dirt road. The two riders were Ameri- can marines and were quite drunk. As they approached me, I swerved to avoid a col- lision, hit a soft shoulder and was catapulted off my motor cycle. I actually flew through the air, bounced off the can- vas top of a jeep and landed on the ground. I only had a couple of scratches, but my shirt was just about ripped off of me. I wasn't hurt but didn't know what I was go- ing to wear for a shirt. Once inside, my lost suitcases were near the check-in counter. They had been for- warded to Brazil by mistake. I'm out of space again and will continue next week, so until then, GOD BLESS AMERICA. Remember Your Loved Ones The Post-Gazette accepts memorials throughout the year. Please call 617-227-8929 and ask for Lisa The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Sabine Stezenbach, left, Director of Continuing Education at the New York Botanical Garden, and Cape Cod's own C.L. Fornari, noted author and host of "GardenLine" on WXTK Radio, chaired a very sociable Garden Writers Association Region I luncheon meeting during the recent New England Gxowu!  at the Boston Convention and Visitors Center. (Photo by Hilda M. Morrill) ing independence, dignity and well-being among the eld- erly and disabled through quality, affordable and cultur- ally-appropriate home and community-based care. For more information about Ethos visit www.ethocare,org. "SeniorPalooza" is Ethos' way of honoring the older Americans in their commu- nity and supporting their con- tinued vitality. Seminars, demonstrations, and other educational events held throughout the month of May provide a wealth of opportuni- ties for elders and their loved ones to learn about the many resources available for home- based care. "SeniorPalooza" is not just for seniors. Younger people of any age are welcome to at- tend the events and get to know the seniors in the com- munity or volunteer time and talent. For more information about Senior Palooza visit www.seniorpalooza.com. The Roslindale Arts Alli- ance is a nonprofit artist run organization that supports local artists and connects community with art. Artists may submit art in any medium for consideration that contains the subject matter of Seniors. All work can be for sale at the artist's discretion with a 50/50 split between the artist and Ethos. Artists should send up to three (3) images (jpegs 300 resolution) of work to be considered to janice@artful gift.corrr Deadline for submis- sion is March 15, 2010. For further information visit the Roslindale Arts Alliance Web site at www.roslindale arts.org or call 617-710-3811. Enjoy! {Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, unmv.bostongardens.com. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press releases, PRNewswire services, etc.) One of the most "fashionable" exhibits at the New England Grows! Expo was a life-size Proven Winners mannequin with her beaded top and voluminous flowing "skirt" made up of Proven Winners Alyssum 'Snow Princess' (Lobularia) plants. We think that Boston's "First Lady of Fashion," the lovely Yolanda, would approve! (Photo by Hilda M. Morrill)