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March 2, 2012

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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 2, 201 2 Page 13 . __ . .. 00Babb'00onno For the past few weeks, I told the story of a summer spent in Italy with Sal Meli, whom I had grown up with and Jose and Franny Encal- ada, who were celebrating their fifth wedding anniver- sary. For the next few months, we had many sto- Nes to tell about the land of our ancestors and the won- ders that we encountered in our travels. Things have changed over the years. Sal is living in a retirement community in East Boston, Jose and Franny still work, but spend most of their spare time playing the role of grandparents. I teach at a couple of colleges and type away at my computer writing stories for this be- loved paper. Things had changed enough from the time Babbo- nonno and Nanna left Italy to the time I visited for Bab- bononno not to identify with many of the stories I brought home. I remember one story I told about when we visited Foggia, Babbononno's birth place. He listened and then became aggravated with the description of things, and fi- nally blurted out, "You went the wrong way. You went in Spain, not Italy. That's not what Foggia looks like." I vis- ited in 1972. He had left in 1896, hence the difference. Just this past Thanksgiv- ing, we had company from Italy stay with us for that holiday. Manuela is from Milan, has traveled all over Europe and speaks English almost without an accent. I compared notes with her about what I remembered from my travels through Italy and she told me what the areas I visited were like to- day. I could have mimicked Babbononno in terms of lack of identification over a 40 year span. I guess it's all relative. It seems that many cities and towns in Italy, like most other European countries, have signs and ads in their own language and in English. When I mentioned to Man- uela that my friends and I became homesick for Amer- ican food and were directed to an American restaurant in Naples, back in '72, she added in, "Well, today in Naples, you can find McDon- alds, Burger King,: KFC and by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance I I "Most of them are gone or watered down. The majority of young Italians are well educated, today, and English is the mandatory second language. The only ones that don't speak it are the old folks from remote regions, but once they are gone, everyone will be conversa- tional in English." When she finished, I knew how Babbononno must have felt when I described his hometown after his 76 year absence. Well, getting back to my return home ... I had several gifts I picked up for every- one. One important gift was a set of silver Rosary beads I bought for my mother at the Vatican. She used them constantly from then on, and when she passed away, she was laid out with her hands folded and those same beads wrapped around them. The one thing I was a bit upset about was the story about my Godmother. Uncle Nick's first wife and he were my Godparents. Now, as you know, we Italians are as close to our Godparents as we are to our parents. I don't know if any other ethnic group holds as much rever- ence for Godparents as do Italiang, and as a kid, I was always close to mine. Uncle Nick and Ada Giorgeone were childhood sweethearts. She was also Mom's best friend growing up and she and my mother's middle brother were married around 1934 or '35. They stood up for my folks when they were married in '36 and christened me in '38. World War II separated them, and when Uncle Nick was dis- charged from the Navy, the marriage was over. He and Aunt Dorothy Hanscom be- gan a relationship and were married in 1950. When Aunt Ada found out that Mom and Dad were still close with Uncle Nick and had be- friended his new wife, she .gave Mom an ultimatum .. them or me. Mom didn't want to play her game; and as a result, Ada pulled away from my mother. A recon- ciliation of friends took place about 20 years later, and I came home one day and found Aunt Ada having tea with Mom. I was an adult by this time and renewed a even a Pizza Hut, believe it relationship with my God- or not. It's pretty much the mother,after that long 'ab- same in most of the other sence. As.a result, when I big cities." When I told her was at the Vatican, I picked about the dialects we en- out a couple of gifts for her, countered in our travels from too. What I didn't know Sicily to Venice, she added, until I returned home was -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 I I that that same scenario repeated itself. Ada found out that Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy had been at my folks' house for dinner and gave my mother the same alternative. Again, when my mother didn't play into her hands, Ada ended the rela- tionship. I never saw her again. Years later, when Loretta and I were a newly married couple, I brought her to Florida where Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy had re-es- tablished themselves. They couldn't have children and we became the kids they never had. When John and Michael came along, they became surrogate grand- children, and until Nick and Dorothy passed away, my kids spent just about every vacation with us in Florida hanging out with Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy. Not having children, my aunt and uncle had the op- portunity to travel exten- sively. They loved to take cruises and had seen much of the world. When my kids were young and were with us in Florida, quite often, they would sit on the floor after dinner and listen to Aunt Dorothy tell stories about foreign countries she and Uncle Nick had visited in their travels. I don't know whether she was the pied piper or the reincarnation of Auntie Mame, but my kids were mesmerized. Aunt Dorothy was a Bos- ton Brahmin, from an old Yankee family. As a matter of fact, my kids once asked her how far back her ances- try went in America and she replied, "The Revolution, both sides." The truth of the matter was that her family members were loyalists. When the war was over, they had to flee or be tarred and feathered, or worse. They couldn't afford to go back to England and fled to Canada. When they returned a gen- eration or two later, they had another problem, they had converted to Catholicism, a no-no in Protestant Boston. Aunt Dorothy was the last in the line, and when she passed away only the name was left. Hanscom Airbase was named after one of her cousins, Lawrence Hans- com, but, that's it. When my Godmother passed away, Mom told me she had attended her wake and funeral. When I told Uncle Nick, he and Aunt Dor- othy made plans to have their civil marriage repeated, only this time by a priest in a Catholic church. Loretta and I stood up for them, but I'm out of space and that's a story for another day. GOD BLESS AMERICA I DIAMONDS 1 ROLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 John Nucci (Continued from Page 21 Boston City Councilor saw firsthand government's role in our public school system. Kudos to Mayor Menino for clearly understanding the importance of restoring cred- ibility from public school par- ents in the Boston Public School system. The mayor understands that public education means a better future for all of Boston. We can only hope that the 23-member advisory com- mittee is free from any political pressure in devising a school system that works for our children and gives school-age parents options that clearly do not exist today. On this ihsue, Boston must remain pro-active. The sooner we end the excessive spending on school transportation, the more revenue available to be thrown into our city's classrooms. Hopefully, Nucci and this advisory board can begin to re-prioritize educa- tional funds where they are most suited. Free Friday Films (Continued from Page 7) to understand the origins and evolution of tornadoes in Tornado Alley -- all from the comfort of the Museum's Mugar Omni Theater. "As a partner of the Mu- seum for more than two decades, we share a com- mon goal to promote science education beyond just the classroom," said Kevin Lorenc, corporate communi- cations, MathWorks. "This year's Free Film Fridays se- ries captures the excite- ment of scientific and engi- neering discovery in our world today. And, combined with the unique experience provided by the Museum's Omni Theater, museum visitors will enjoy an engag- ing, immersive and fun edu- cational visit." "The Museum's Omni pre- sentations transport audi- ences to some of the world's most wondrous places, while also delivering high-quality science content. Where else can visitors swim with dol- phins in Patagonia or expe- rience what it's like to be inside a tornado's funnel -- all without leaving New En- gland?" said Paul Fontaine, Musetim vice president of education. "We're grateful for the support from MathWorks, which enables the Museum to offer these incredible experiences to our visitors free of charge." This marks the fifth Free Film Friday series spon- sored by MathWorks. A Mu- seum supporter since 1991, MathWorks is a generous supporter of giant-screen films in the Mugar Omni Theater. Through its part- nership with the Museum and sponsorship of programs like Free Film Fridays, MathWorks is helping to bring exciting educational experiences to all members of the community. The Museum will show Africa: The Serengeti, Alaska: Spifit of the Wild, Dolphins, Greece: Secrets of the Past, Tornado Alley, and Yellow- stone during Free Film Fri- days. Visitors can pick up free tickets at the Museum box office on the day of the show only, first come, first served. Limit two shows per guest. For more information, the public can call 617-723- 2500, 617-589-0417 (TRY) or visit the Museum's web site at Hoops & Hockey (Continued from Page 16) "I'm super excited," said Rolston concerning his re- turn to Cuseway Street. It shouldn't take me long to adjust to the way the Bruins like to play. I was super happy obviously to go from a team that's kind of battling to get to a Stanley Cup con- tender. We play this game to win the Stanley Cup and to get an Opportunity like this is great: You don't get many more kicks at the can, es- pecially at my age (39)." And Mottau feels the same way: "To be able to go to a contender and have a chance at a Stanley Cup is quite a thrill. I'll do Whatever it takes to add value to the team. I think I'm more pre- pared to do it now -- and hopefully I can fit in seamlessly." For Zanon, the possibility of playing in June also is sig- nificant.."I'm very excited to be a part of the Boston Bru- ins. You know what they have ahead for themselves this year, where they're sit- ting for the playoffs and hopefully making another run at the Cup. I'll just try to come in and be myself, try to move the puck as quick as I can, do whatever I can to Prevent the puck from go- ing in Our net -- and maybe once in a while chipping in on the other end." On Sale Now! THE NORTH END Where It All Began The Way It Was by Fred Langone SALE PRICE $19.95 Plus Shipping & Handling On Site at The Post-Gazette 5 Prince Street, North End, Boston, MA