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March 27, 2015

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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 27, 2015 Page 13 San.a Babb lnonno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance My mother, God rest her soul, used to like to tell stories. I think she got the talent from Babbononno. Many of my weekly columns over the years were the result of what my mother remembered from when she was young and living under the roof of Mike and Giovan- nina Contini, with two older brothers and one younger. It was around the early 1920s and Babbononno bought the house at 70 Eutaw Street in East Boston. When he was single, he lived in the North End. After he and Nanna were mar- ried, they moved to East Boston and joined with Nanna's older brother and Babbononno's best friend, Zi'Antonio Ceruolo. When the flat on Orleans Street became too crowded, my grandparents headed to the Eagle Hill section and moved in. In those days, there were very few Italians that re- sided in that section of Eastie. There were a few Irish, but by and large, most of the residence were Yan- kees, many being descen- dents of the people who worked at the Donald McKay Shipyard which had been lo- cated on Border Street, not too far from where my fam- ily took up residence. The house, had many rooms and a big back yard, big enough for the Contini kids to play in with room left over for a garden. Accord- ing to my mother, when her youngest brother, Uncle Gino, was a child, Babbo- nonno bought a live lamb and decided to fatten it up for the forthcoming Easter. It was his intention to have a fresh killed lamb dinner that Easter Sunday, a tradi- tional holiday main course from the part of Italy where he had originated. Now, I'm not sure if he built a hut in the backyard to house the lamb during the tail-end of the winter and early spring months. He may have con- structed some sort of a pen in the cellar to house the animal. As I said, I'm not too sure at this point. Whichever was the case, he had a lamb to fatten for the forthcoming Easter din- ner. There was one problem, though. Although most of the Contini children awaited the growth of the animal and the eventual feast that it would provide, there was one who made the lamb his per- sonal pet, Uncle Gino, the youngest of my mother's brothers. From all accounts, Uncle Gino would head in the lamb's direction and play with it every chance he had, and came to love the crea- ture the same way we might develop attachments toward a dog or cat. Winter became spring and when Ash Wednesday rolled around, Babbononno made a concerted effort to make plans for a feast 40 days in the future. He continued to fatten the lamb and when Easter week arrived, he and Nanna planned the Easter dinner menu. Nanna's usual menu for Sunday or holiday dinners included antipasto, escarole soup with little meatballs, homemade ravioli that would be covered with a meat laden gravy that had been simmering for hours, gravy meats that included sausages, meatballs, chunks of pork, or pork ribs, pieces of lamb and maybe, some chicken. This would be fol- lowed by vegetables that included stuffed mush- rooms, stuffed artichokes, string beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil and a garden salad seasoned with oil and lemon. That Easter, there would be one addition, a young roasted lamb that would grace the center of the dining room table for all to enjoy. Of course, a couple bottles of Zi' Antonio's fa- mous homemade red wine would be placed on the table for the adults to enjoy dur- ing the meal, The only prob- lem was that no one ever told Uncle Gino that his new found pet was destined to be digested on one of-the holi- est days of the year. As Easter approached, the Contini kids were brought to clothing stores and new Easter outfits were pur- chased. Nanna most likely 1st Generation Italian-American Vita Orlando Sinopoli Shares with us a delightful recollection of her memories as a child growing up in Boston's "Little Italy'" and a collection of Italian family recipes from the homeland. WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM Greai as Gifts FPOM ~ " P~,4Z~Rv ~'.~'~; ~tvailable on AMAZON.COM ".,,'! i;~ /v:'S i)ookstores -- ask for /i~,rd c,,wc ;'//-4( /0-9805-3 ISBN Soft Cover #1-40i0-9804-5 ISBN filed her brood into Golden- berg's Department Store in East Boston's Central Square and had each one fitted for a new outfit. They would then head to a shoe store to com- plete their outfits. This was a tradition that was typically American, but one that the Contini's had adjusted to, living in America. After Easter Sunday Mass, the Contini children headed to the homes of relatives to wish their uncles, aunts and cousins a Buona Pasqua. When they returned home, Uncle Gino headed to. the backyard to play with his pet lamb. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found. He frantically ran from one end of the backyard to the other and through the cellar of the house looking for the ani- mal, but with no luck. When he arrived in the kitchen to enlist the aid of his father in a search for his lost pet, one of the things he saw was an Easter main course be- ing removed from the oven of Nanna's big black iron stove. It was the remains of the lamb. From all accounts, my uncle yelled, screamed and cried due to the disposition of his pet. Nanna, Babbo- nonno and the rest of his sib- lings tried to console him with explanations as to why the lamb was originally pur- chased. He would have none of it and ran to his room, jumped on his bed and con- tinued to cry his eyes out. Within a short period of time, Easter Sunday dinner was on the dining room table and the Contini children along with a few other rela- tives were called to the dinner table. Uncle Gino re- fused to eat and had to be threatened to ingest portions of what was placed in front of him. He flatly refused to touch any part of the crea- ture he had befriended and come to love during that Lenten season. My mother insisted that from that day on, her young- est brother has never eaten lamb, a fact that may be cor- roborated by Aunt Ninna, Uncle Gino's wife. I'm afraid to ask as I don't want to open old wounds or conjure up any sad memories from the past. TMs year, Eas.ter is on Sunday, April 5a~. Normally, I combine my family with the family of my cousin Ralph Pepe. This year, maybe, Loretta and I will be in Florida for Easter. It will depend on where my boys are for the holiday. We'll see. GOD BLESS AMERICA Get For more information call 617-227-8929 * News Brief (Continued from Page I) Local 107 which read: "HOW TO BUILD A BRAND." This billboard message is spon- sored by something called Getoutfrontmedia. I won- dered what brand they were talking about. As new com- pany? As new startup? As a new idea? Then, I thought maybe, just maybe, it is about branding a politician's brand. Remember the "New Nixon" in 1968? He was horse ma- nure in 1962 after losing a race for governor in Califor- nia. The media thought he was Finished and so did he. However, he bounced back when his campaign for presi- dent in 1968 repackaged him into the "New Nixon," not to be confused with the old Nixon, a loser. His handlers sold him like a new breakfast cereal. Dressed his image up and created a newer, better presi- dential cereal. Today, the same thing con- tinues as our presidential candidates are sold like new cars, vacations or whatever. Look at Hillary Clinton, she's losing ground before she even starts out on the campaign trail over her email stuff. She's floating on thin ice and if she looks back she can start seeing folks like former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Mary- land eyeing the race and don't forget our own U.S. Sen. Lizzy Warren. This isn't 1992 anyone and she ain't Bubba. Watch the rebranding begin in ear- nest and I am not talking about Josh Ernest. Obama Spinning at Iranians Just when you thought President Obama couldn't get more wrong, he does. It looks like now he is compar- ing Republicans in the U.S. Senate to Iran's Radical Is- lamists. A president ad- dressing the people of an enemy as Iran surely is not unheard of. Nixon did it in China back in 1972. President Obama started off wishing the Iranian people a "Nowruz Mubarak," Persian for "Happy New Year." Then he said the White House celebrates their own Haft Seen, the tra- ditional meal to celebrate this holiday. In speaking "directly to the people and leaders of Iran" he must have been joking because the people of Iran and their dictators in power have no common ground. Irani- ans are powerless. Many Iranians have been killed over the last six plus years when they stand up to their Islamofascist leaders. He ended his conversation with the Iranian people by wishing them "Noroozetan Pirooz," wishing for a new day for all. However, what Obama re- ally seems to want most likely is any deal including a bad nuclear deal with the mullahs sooner rather than later. Investor's Business Daily newspaper put it best, "All the Happy New Year love letters in the world to the oppressed Iranian people will not change that the U.S. is dealing with terrorist con men on the other side of the negotiation table." Hillary -- the Fun Candidate? Last week, there was Hillary Clinton still on the paid lecture circuit speak- ing before the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey's Tri-State CAMP conference. She probably picked up a quick $200,000 or better for suggesting adults may be in need of fun camps. She added America has "a fun deficit." When I think of camps for adults, I don't think finger painting, I think re-education camps. Perhaps a camp that shows all how to be completely sat- isfied with letting govern- ment think for us so we can have more fun without wor- rying about our necessary role in our democratic re- public. I am sure that liber- als would love to have mind- less drones as voters. I am not ready for either Hillary or Hillary's camp. Michael Brown and "Walk Away Renee" Songwriter and keyboard player for The Left Banke recently passed away at age 65. He co-wrote the 1966 hit "Walk Away Renee," the band's biggest hit rising to Number 14 on the Billboard charts. In the early seventies, the Temptations brought the song back to the charts doing "Walk Away Renee" as a soul hit." Rarely does a hit song get remade into a hit song again. In the case of "Renee" I actually believe the soul version of the song was bet- ter than the original version. Obamacrats Out to Lunch I still don't get it. How come there are so many 0bama fans out there who think he can do no wrong. The coun- try is leaderless. We were better off before he got elected. We are being dragged down with no end in sight and Obamacrats still think this guy walks on water. I am thinking you could probably sell oceanfront prop- erty to this mindless crowd. Especially, if you threw in the Golden Gate Bridge free as a bonus. The POST-GAZE'rTE newspaper is a paper of general circulation. We are qualified to accept legal notices from any court in each town that we serve. For information on placing a Legal Notice in the POST-GAZETTE, please call (617) 227-8929; or mail notice to: POST-GAZETrE, P.O. BOX 135, BOSTON, MA 02113 Attn: Legal Notices "..,.,