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March 4, 2011     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 4, 2011 Page 13 00Babb00nonno It was the end of February, 1949, and radio ads abounded with Washington's birthday sales at car agencies. Dad was in the market for a new car. He had been driving a 1937 Plymouth since 1938. He had bought it from the mailman about the time I was born and it had served him through World War II and for 3 1/2 post war years. By the late winter of 49, it was all beat up. The rear bumper had rusted off, all four fend- ers had been dented, the up- holstery was worn out, the trunk lid didn't lock and when Dad hit a bump, that lid would wave at the vehicle behind. In other words, it was time. Dad dragged Babbononno and me with him to search for something new. He had never purchased a new car in his life. The Plymouth and every other car he ever bought in his life had been previously owned. Music had been good to Dad and he could now afford (within reason) a new car. We ventured to just about every Ford, Plymouth and Chevrolet dealer within the Boston area to hunt. The first stop was on Common- wealth Avenue. Beginning with Fuller's Cadillac/Olds- mobile building, which was diagonally across from BU Bridge (Cottage Farm Bridge back then), both sides of the street were lined with car dealerships. Dad checked the prices of the low priced three, the name that was given to Plymouth, Chevy and Ford back then, but wasn't satisfied with any of them. As we headed to where Com- monwealth Ave. splits to the left and Brighton Ave. begins, there was a showroom with cars in the window that I liked. Dad informed me that it was a Packard agendy and he couldn't afford anything they had to sell. When Babbo- nonno asked the price of cars, Dad quoted him num- bers from high to low, de- pending on the make. Babbo- nonno thought he was crazy. He thought a minute and told Dad that ff he bought a house, the next day it would be worth more than he paid for it, but if he bought a car, the next day it would be worth less. Dad agreed, but told my grandfather that he needed a car for work. Babbononno just shrugged and said under his breath, "Questo genera- zione e pazzo." (This genera- tion is crazy) Not finding anything in downtown Boston, we headed to agencies Dad knew of in by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance llllllll illllll ml other parts of the city. Again, nothing that turned him on price wise, so we headed home. Just as we pulled up in front of the house on Eutaw Street, Dad notices an brand new 1949 black Chevy fast back sitting across the street. Once out of the car, Dad walked across to look at it. I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. He called Babbononno and me over to look at it, and just then, ttie owner came out of the house where the car was parked. His name was Tony Patti. He was the manager of the Savarese Cheese Com- pany and a friendly neighbor. Immediately, Dad started asking him questions about the car and he told us where he bought it and how much he paid for it. When Babbo- nonno heard that the price was over $1000, he mumbled, Un altro pazzo americano." (Another crazy American) Dad looked under the hood, in the trunk, and cheered out the interior of the ear and loved it. Tony had to leave, but gave Dad the name of the agency and the salesman's name. The agency was five minutes away, Reese Chev- rolet in the Day Square neighborhood of East Boston. The three of us climbed back in Dad's '37 Plymouth and headed to Day Square. Once there, we entered the show- room and Dad asked for the salesman whose name was given to him. When the man arrived, Dad introduced him- self and told the man that he had seen his friend Tony's new car and was interested in one for himself. The man had an identical model 'and we all jumped in to road test it. Dad headed back to Eutaw Street and stopped at the house, telling the salesman that he had to fit a bass vio- lin in the car. If it fit, they would talk about price. Dad went in the house and came out with his bass. Now, basses come in sev- eral sizes. Most bass violins made today are what they call 3A size. Dad's was very old and full size, bigger than most. Due to the fast back design of the car, it didn't fit. Dad was upset until the salesman told him that regu- lar 2 or 4 door designs might work as they had more head- room in the back than the fast back. We headed back to Reese Chevrolet and Dad looked at a 2 door coupe that was black, with all the extras, full sized hub caps, white walls, radio, heater and a tan marbleized steering wheel, -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 i plus, the hood ornament was part red plastic and lit up when the lights were turned on. His eyes lit up and the dealer's plate was taken off the fast back, placed on the coupe and off we went back to Eutaw Street. We all got out in front of the house and Dad again went in to get his bass and tried it in the car. This time, it fit, with room to spare. Back in the house with the bass ... back in the car for a return trip to the agency, and at that point Dad and the salesman began talking money. The two men bargained lack and forth with no one agreeing on a price. Dad thanked the salesman for his time and we began to exit the agency. We were half way out the door and were called back. Dad's last offer would be accepted and we went back in for Dad to sigh the paper- work. Part of the deal was that they didn't want Dad's car in trade. The salesman told him that it was just this side of junk (which it was) and they couldn't get rid of it unless they called a junk- yard. We drove home in the old Plymouth with Dad now owning two cars. The next day, I went with him as a neighbor drove him to pick up the new Chevy. Talk about luck ... once we were back on Eutaw Street and out of the new car, a young man walking by asked Dad if he knew who owned the Ply- mouth with-out any plates on it. Dad told him that he did. The young man told him that he was a professional racer and was interested in the car for a demolition derby. That's the type of event where par- ticipants drive old beat up cars and bang them into each other. The last on running is the winner. Dad and the young man talked for a few minutes and Dad sold the Plymouth for $75.00. He then asked me to clean out anything of value from the old car and put it in the trunk of the new Chevy and handed the keys to the young man. The next day, the Plymouth was gone. At din- ner that night, Babbononno asked Dad how much he paid for the new car and Dad told him it was $1200.00. Babbo- nonno shook his head and mumbled something again about crazy Americans. Morn tried to tell him about the price of cars but she couldn't change his mind about crazy people. That car lasted us until 1954, a point in time that Dad fell in love with the new Chevy line and bought a four The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Neighborhood House Charter School Board Chairman, Frederic Wittmann, left, and John Fowler. (Photo by Roger Farrlngton) the "i4 th Annual Public Forum" featuring Diane yon Furstenberg, a business leader and an American fashion icon. Furstenberg, who arrived in the fashion world in 1972 with her iconic "wrap dress" and is currently the presi- dent of the Council of Fash- ion Designers of America, will be the keynote speaker. Also attending will be Teresa Scanlan, "Miss America 2011 ." Dr. David Herzog, Director of the Harris Center, is a Harvard Medical School En- dowed Professor of Psychia- try and an internationally renowned expert in the field of Eating Disorders. He is credited with more than 250 publications. The forum takes place in the Burden Auditorium, Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field Road, Boston, from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but advance online registration is required. The forum serves to edu- cate and promote dialogue concerning a variety of topics related to eating disorders such as fashion, self-image and self-esteem. After the presentation, the forum will open up to receive questions from the audience. Prior to the forum, there will be a Private Reception from 4:30 p.m.-6 p,m. in Spangler Hall for sponsors and ticket purchasers. At- tendees at the reception will include Ms. Furstenberg, Dr. Herzog, and industry leaders from New York. Re- door powder blue and white Bel Aire. I think this was the point in time when I fell in love with cars, a feeling I still have today. An acquain- tance has several old cars. Among them are a '49 and a '54 Chevy. Every time I see them I think back to those Ken Shallow cars of old and all the fun we had with them. GOD BLESS 617.593.6211 _,, ,... : ,, ..... ception sponsor and ticket information is available at www. harriscentermgh, org. For the past thirteen years, nearly six thousand attend- ees have heard diverse pro- grams presented by impres- sive speakers like Anna Wintour, Michael Kors, Natalie Portman, Geri Halliwell, and many others. On-site free parking avail- able. For more information about the free public forum, or to purchase tickets for the private reception, call 617-724-8786 or visit www. harriscentermgh.org. ....... The Celebrity Series of Boston, is pleased to an- nounce the appointment of Gary Dunning as President and Executive Director. Mr. Dunning has been a senior executive in the per- forming arts for more than 30 years, having served as executive director of the Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and most recently the Big Apple Cir- cus, Ltd. in New York City. Mr. Dunning's appointment is effective July 1, 2011. For more information on the Celebrity Seriesf .Bos- ton, call 617-482-2595 or visit www.celebrityseries.org. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, www.bostongardens.com. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) K j  Fully Insured Lic #017936 - Mec:hani cal Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation ". L . kenskjs@aol.com I i