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March 15, 2013     Post-Gazette
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March 15, 2013

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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 15, 2013 Page13 00N00anna , 00abb00onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance Socially Scene (Continued from Page 9) The past couple of weeks "I wrote about pets in the family. I think that this is a universal trend as people all over the world have animals that live with them. For the most part they are dogs and cats, but traveling around the world, I've seen a few exotic pets that might sur- prise you, but that's a story for another day. Another aspect of everyday life is hobbies. We as Ital- ians in America have inter- ests in things that bring us pleasure with no financial rewards. I don't know if you would call this a hobby, but both of my grandfathers were winemakers. Babbononno had stopped by the time I was a child and just bought homemade wine from his brother-in-law, Zi'Antonio Ceruolo, Nanna's oldest brother. Babbononno consid- ered him the best wine- maker he knew. From what I remember about the taste of my great uncle's home- made red, Babbononno was right on target. I learned how to make wine from Dad's father. Grandpa was still making wine when I was of age to help and he showed me the tricks (as he called them) to making good wine. Grandpa made strong red wine. Even his white wine was strong. I think he made sti'ong wine because he had burned out his taste buds. He loved to cook and was a good cook, but everything he made was hot. I swore that my pater- nal grandfather was Mexi- can because everything on his table contained hot pepper. The first time I helped make wine was on a Satur- day in the fall when I was about I0 or 11. At about 6:00 am, there was a knock at the kitchen door. When Dad opened the door, there was Grandpa standing there holding a sprig of about 3 or 4 red grapes. Without saying anything, we knew the signal. It was time to make the wine. Grandpa, like Zi'Antonio, prided him- self on his wine. As I said, it was strong, but it was good. Thinking back to those days, I wonder if it was a hobby or just part of a lifestyle they learned in the old country. The first generation born here (Morn and Dad) were more Americanized and most didn't do the same things as did their parents. Trying to fit into the Ameri- can life style, they stopped making wine and most of the women stopped preserving tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Dad took up golf When he was in his 40s. He had .played music at dozens of country clubs and decided to try the sport as a hobby. Uncle Paul and Uncle Nick joined in with him, and all three became quite good at it. Uncle Paul, before he moved to Florida, became a golf instructor and a starter at the Colonial Country Club My 1966 Thunderbird. Golf Course. Dad also col- lected some old American paper money as a hobby but I think it was more nostal- gia than anything else. Babbononno was a furni- ture maker during the day and still dabbled with wood after he retired. I remember one summer when Morn and I were on the road with Dad as he played the county fairs throughout the northeast with Chet Nelson's Band or his own band. When the fairs were over, we headed for the cottage in Maine. Upon returning home after Labor Day, we discovered that the floors had all been refin- ished as well as the wooden kitchen set. Babbononno wanted to make sure that he didn't lose his touch. Beyond these things, there was no time for hob- bies. It was time with the family that was important. When the three generations were all together for a holi- day feast, at some point, Babbononno would sit back in his chair with a glass of wine on the table next to him and a stogie in a nearby ashtray. He would sit there with his arms folded over- seeing his kingdom. I would never have thought about that image, but one evening we were at Sal DiDomenico Sr.'s. Four generations of his family were there for a get together. I think it was right after his son, Sal Junior, became a state senator. Big Sal sat in the corner of the dining room with his arms folded overseeing the family. I knew at that point that there was no time for hob- bies, it was family, family and family. I didn't really pick up a hobby until I was in my 50s. I had tried tennis and was OK at it, nothing to write home about. I even tried golf but didn't like it that much. It, to me, was a nice long walk interrupted by a little white ball. Racquetball next grabbed my interest but that too was just a passing fad that reminded me of the handball matches at Shay's Beach in East Boston when I was a kid. Then, I really found a hobby that was an outgrowth of a boyhood love, cars. I was always aware of the style of cars, how they ran and which were expensive and which ones were not. My love for cars found me learning how to drive when I was about 13 or 14. By the time I was 16, I didn't have to take driving lessons to get a license, I just had to memo- rize the book. I first decided to take up old cars as a hobby when the kids were small and we were in Florida visiting Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy one summer. We were staying on the beach and I was head- ing over an intracoastal bridge to meet Uncle Nick somewhere on Route 1, Fed- eral Highway. I had just crossed over the bridge and was passing a boat yard on the left which had a sign over the entrance, "Under New Management." Next to the entrance I saw two or three muscle cars from the '60s and a pink 1959 Caddy Eldorado convertible, all with for sale signs on them. My car took an automatic left turn into the parking lot and I went in to speak to whom-ever owned the cars. , It turned out to be the new owner who had just pur- chased the boatyard, and as a result, was cash poor. I looked at the Cadillac and fell in love with it. It had been done over and looked new. We bargained for about 20 minutes and his lowest price was $15,000. Later, when I returned to the beach, I told Loretta about the car. She thought I was crazy, stating I had my newly widowed mother to help out and two kids in private parochial school. Her comment was, "We can't afford a toy like that." Before we came home, I returned to the boatyard and told the new owner I couldn't buy the Caddy, and thanked him anyway. Once back home, I began subscribing to old car magazines. Every time there was an ad for a '59 Caddy, I showed it to Loretta as the price seemed to multiply for an Eldorado of that vintage. That next spring, after my Little League team won a squeaker from the top team in the town, I brought them to an ice cream shop for a treat. There was a car show in the parking lot and I fell in love with a 1966 Thunderbird with a for sale sign on it. Loretta felt guilty about depriving me of the Eldorado and asked me to find out the price. The car needed some work but the price was within my reach and within a few weeks bought the car. TO BE CONTINUED ... GOD BLESS AMERICA Demetri Martin will be taking stage with his unique standup comedy at the Wilbur Theatre this month. (Photo by and the magical score make this full-length story ballet an enjoyable experience for the whole family. This timeless fairy tale classic that features lavish scenery, costumes and a brilliant score by Boston Bal- let Orchestra will debut on March 22 "d through April 2 nd. All performances of The Sleeping Beauty takes place at The Boston Opera House and for a full listing of shows and times you can visit For ticket information contact the Boston Ballet box office at 617-695-6955. Demetri Martin Takes Over The Wilbur ... On Fri- day, March 22 nd for back to back shows Martin will bring his hilarious stand up to the Wilbur Theatre Boston. Demetri Martin rose to relative obscurity when he started doing stand-up comedy in New York City at the end of the 20 th Century. Later he became a writer at Late Night with Conan O'Brien and then a regular performer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2003, Demetri won the Perrier Award at the International Fringe Festi- val for his first one-man show, If I. He released a com- edy album called These Are Jokes and then created and starred in his own tele- vision series called Important Things with Demetri Martin. Demetri Martin Person is considered by many to be his longest and only hour- long stand-up comedy spe- cial. Martin has appeared in movies as an actor, most recently in Steven Soder- bergh's Contagion and most lengthily in Ang Lee's Tak- ing Woodstock His first book, This Is a Book by Demetri Martin is a New York Times Bestseller. Demetri has brown hair and he is allergic to peanuts. You can find him at, or at demetrimartin, on Twitter @demetrimartin and in vari- ous places in the actual physical world. Demetri Martin brings his one of a kind comedy to the Wilbur Theatre Boston on March 22 "d with a 7:30 pm show running until 9:30 pm and an encore from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am. The Wilbur Theatre is located at 246 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02116. For tickets you can contact the box office at 1-800-745-3000. The North End to Host r'" Easter Party ... On $tar- day, March 30 th NEAD will be holding its annual Easter Party at the Nazzaro center from 10:00 am-12:00 pm. The event is once again sponsored by NEAD board member Michael Giannasoli in memory of Florence Giannasoli. There will be Easter egg coloring and photos with the Easter Bunny from I0:00 am to 11:00 am. City Councilor Sal LaMattina is once again sponsoring the puppet show that will begin at i I:00 am. There will be free goodie bags for all the kids. NEAD asks that you "Please come and enjoy the day with US"[ PRAYER TO ST. JUDE May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and pre- served throughout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayers will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered. S.A.D. PRAYER TO ST. JUDE May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and pre- served throughout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayers will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered, lJ.S. _ )