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March 1, 2013

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 1,2013 L'Anno Belle: A Year in Italian Folklore Dear L'Anno Bello Readers: Due to a pesky computer problem, I do not have access to my word processing program. Therefore, there will be no L'Anno Bello column this week. Stay tuned for a new article next week! Thank you for your patience! Lots of love, Ally Di Censo State Republicans in Dire Straits by Sal Giarratani The Massachusetts Re- publican Party is coming off a bad year at the polls. This year started off hopefully with the prospect that if Senator John F. Kerry was confirmed by the US Senate his seat would not be filled until 2014 at a special elec- tion, not unlike the one back in 2010 that propelled Scott Brown into the na- tional limelight. However, with Brown's decision to sit out this upcoming April 30 special election, the Repub- lican hopes seemed dashed. Today On Thursday, Febru- ary 20 th, Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, an- nounced his candidacy for the vacant U.S. Senate seat. He, along with state Rep. Dan Winslow, R-Norfolk, has now entered this April 30 th special primary. Others still being mentioned in- clude former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, who also served previously as a state representative down in Abington. Sean Bielat, who had been defeated by Joseph Kennedy Ill for a U.S. House seat in the 5 th district, has decided after two congres- sional races to give it a rest. While all the real action is going to take place in the hotly contested Democratic primary between dueling congressmen Ed Markey and Steve Lynch, the Republican primary is looking pretty much a yawner to many political spectators. While the Democrats are fighting it out to see which wing owns the party's future, Republicans have started becoming more concerned with the 2014 gubernatorial election when incumbent Governor Deval Patrick is out of the picture. Recently, the Boston Herald floated the idea of both Charlie Baker, the loser to Patrick in 2010, and Scott Brown joining together on one ticket. Many Republicans see it as a Dream Ticket, but I won- der. Who would run for which office? Would Brown play Crash Murray to Charlie Baker or would Baker do likewise for Brown? Both these guys are Alpha Males. Neither could settle for the lieutenant governor spot. It is a dream ticket that is impossible to happen. Before the Republicans can dream of taking back the corner office, they need to be building a real base for the party. A house isn't built from the attic down. The Democrats have always understood this reality and worked to build its base on a constant basis. Going back many years, the best example was the 1982 re- match of former Governor Michael S. Dukakis and incumbent Governor Edward J. King. During Campaign '82, the Republicans looked like they had a great chance of taking back the governor's office as the Democrats were beating up on each other. However, the Republicans had no real base and put up a hapless John W. Sears. However, like Frank Hatch four years previous, Repub- licans couldn't take advan- tage of the political turmoil in the other party. Here we are over 30 years later and the Republicans seemed forced to play catch up over and over again. Republicans need to start electing more folks on Beacon Hill, more mayors, more councilors, aldermen, selectmen and school com- mittee members. Start in the political basement and work upward. Otherwise, nothing will change and the moaning will continue from all those cranky losers out there who must like seeing political history re- peat itself over and over again. Should Downtown Crossing Transit Renaissance Get on Track? I have a great idea for Rosemary Sansone, who runs the Downtown Boston group trying to bring Down- town Crossing back to life. I came upon a great idea while reading the New York Post not long ago. Seems the clang, clang, clang of a streetcar may be the answer in rebuilding Downtown Brooklyn to its past glory. Officials are planning to make the trolleys a major attraction as well as moving by Sal Giarratani shoppers around downtown. Streetcars were so popular that the Brooklyn Dodgers' name was connected to them as folks had to often dodge streetcars while run- ning across the street. Here in Boston, streetcars used to run up and down Washington Street back in the downtown's heyday going back a century. The MBTA still has a couple of old streetcars in mint condition down under Tremont Street at Boylston Street MBTA Green Line station. One is vintage 1950s and the other goes back to the late 1920s. Bring them up to the sun- light. You could lay down new track and take shoppers and tourists alike on a ride into the past and the access to all the new projects planned for Downtown Boston. New shops are coming. New resi- dences are being planned. Streetcars could only add to improving the renaissance of this area of Boston. File this under: Good Time Trolley for all! NEW LOCATION Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building Your For information about advertising in the Post-Gazette, call 617-227;8929. by Sal Giarratani .___--i DYSFUNCTION IN SOCIETY GROWS "Every happy family is the same but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Back in the '70s, when I was still a young college student majoring in both history and political science, one of my favorite Thurs- day evening shows was The Waltons, an iconic Depres- sion-era family living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Two parents, two grandparents and a brew of younglings plus a dog named "Blue." They lived a simple life, struggling to get by. The storyline took us from the Depression into WWII. The main character, whose voice over made the show sound like a video book, was named John-Boy Walton. He was an aspiring journalist al- ways writing in every spare moment available, when he wasn't doing chores or help- ing with family matters. At the time the TV show was running, I was a journalist on my campus newspaper so I identified easily with the John-Boy character. In real life, I never knew a family like the Waltons; they were far too perfect for me. Every episode ended with the lights going out and every member of the family saying good night to each other. Back when I was even younger most of the sitcoms were unreal too. Ozzie & Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, Life of Riley...who lived like those families? They were all homogenized and happy for me or anyone else living in the real world. I grew up for many years in the Orchard Park Projects before they were integrated and watched as people kept apart were frightened of each other over perceived dif- ference. However, I began to realize that families, regard- less of color, were either in- tact or they were troubled. Most of my friends struggled to grow up without getting destroyed. We were the lucky ones. We had some friends that were caught up in vio- lence and some friends who died at too early an age. I remember one friend trying to explain to me that his mother lived with a guy he had to call "uncle." When I asked how he was his uncle, he threw his hands in the air and just said, "My -- Tolstoy mother told me to call him uncle because he was always there bossing every- one around." This picture sounded rather unhappy and dysfunctional to me. Fami- lies shouldn't have strang- ers hanging around or push- ing them around. One of the kids in that family was my friend and I was sad to hear he went to state prison but really not surprised. I saw him as a good kid caught in a mean world and in a fam- ily that offered little support or safety. I knew another kid whose father scared me and never went inside that apartment. I also knew many strong families with loving fathers and mothers, parents who looked out for their children living in a tough urban en- vironment. The good kids understood what family life should be and the kids who came from those dysfunc- tional families -- while still good kids -- lived with two strikes against them from birth. Some of them survived into normal adulthood and others sadly did not. It did seem like Tolstoy stated so many years age, that unhappy families are all so different from each other except for their shared unhappiness. I, like others growing up in strong homes with shared values of right and wrong found ways to survive and overcome obstacles. How- ever, none of us were mem- bers of the perfect Walton family because it's all made for TV. I know The Waltons was based on a real family but I always thought some of it was plain made up. No family could ever be the sugary without becoming diabetic. My friend who went to prison, I haven't seen or heard from in over 40 years. I hope he made it out of prison. I hope he got his life together on his own. I hope he hasn't died in violence. I do have other childhood friends I've known over 60 years. We came from good, loving families in the midst of terrible things around us and survived I believe through the love we received at home growing up. I LETTERS POLICY I The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit ! Letters to the Editor. I Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's I name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not I accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, I The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113