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April 1, 2011     Post-Gazette
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April 1, 2011
 

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POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 1,2011 Page 13 00abb00onno i I was going into my junior year in college and had been a professional musician for about a year. During that first year as an apprentice bass player, I worked with local musicians, mainly from East Boston. As I im- proved my skills, I began to work with bands from in town and the north shore. Unfortunately, someone had to pick me up each time I was working outside of East Boston. It got to a point where I had to bite the bul- let and buy a car. I had saved a little money working at the Seville Theater and playing music. Much of what I made went for college expenses, as I paid my own way through. I looked at a few used cars, but what I could afford only allowed me to look at junk boxes and I really needed something depend- able. When I talked it over with Dad, he told me that he would look into the matter. A couple of days later he told me that he had a friend in Malden who owned a garage. They had a 1954 Chevy there that they had just done over: a motor job, a new coat of "paint, new tires and new seat covers. The cost was $550. I had exactly $550 in my savings account at the East Boston Savings Bank and looked at the car. As had been the case with Dad when buying cars, I had to bring my bass violin along. If it didn't fit, it was the wrong car. The Chevy was a model 150, 2 door sedan, a stripped down edition, with no chrome or interior extras except for a radio and heater. The bass fit in the car and I bought it. I discov- ered that the engine was a Blue Flame 90 horse power version. The smallest en- gine that Chevy produced, back then. That meant that the car probably couldn't "get out of its own way when ac- celerating, but it also meant that it would be economical, a necessity considering my financial circumstance. Well, I bought the car, but to get it home, it had to be registered. Before I couid register it, I needed insur- ance. We checked with the insurance company that Dad used and the basics, according to the agent, were $550. Dad told me to take the money out of my savings account. I told him that all I had was the $550 I used to purchase the car. He in- sisted that I take the money out of my savings account to by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance i register the car. I diln't understand until I looked at my pass book. There was 8550.00 in there. I couldn't understand until Babbo- nonno told me what hap- pened, "Jenny, you Pappa, heeza know datta you gudda no moh money in da banka. So, ezza put in watta you needa wen you no lookin, capisce?" The car was reg- istered the next day. Dad drove me to pick up my new car arid Babbononno came with us. He wanted to see what it looked like even though he couldn't tell one make or model from another. I had gone to the registry on Nashua Street, waited in line for an hour and went home with the necessary license plates in my posses- sion. At the garage, 1 signed all of the necessary paper- work and a mechanic took the plates and secured them to the front and back bumpers. With this, I was ready to head home. Babbo- nonno insisted on returning with me. After all, his first born grandson had just bought his first car and he felt that it was necessary that he take the first ride in it to pass judgment. I got Babbononno situated on the right side of the front seat and closed the door. I would have let him close his own door but I was afraid he would slam it so hard that he might break the window. With the door closed, he grabbed the arm rest with his hand and held on so tight that his hand turned white due to lack of circulation of blood. He was deathly afraid of cars. He was born before they came into exist- ence and didn't understand what cars were. As a result, he rode in them reluctantly. Seeing that his first born grandson was going to drive his own car for the first time, he thought it his duty to accompany him .for that maiden voyage. All went well on the way home, but I swear that I could hear Babbo- nonno saying a few Hail Mary's in Italian under his breath. That night, I called both Paul Ciccarelli and Bob Pesce, my two classmates who also lived in East Bos- ton. I ,told them that I would pick them up for SChool the next morning. I was reliant on them for rides as they both owned cars and now I wanted to reciprocate by driving. I felt like a king driving through the Sumner Tunnel and then working -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 my way along Storrow Drive to Boston State College which was on the corner of Huntington and Longwood Avenues in the Fenway section of Boston. Both Paul and Bob lived in the Orient Heights section of East Boston and when I drove them home, I headed up Bennington Street as slow as I could go to let everyone see me driving my new used car. I'll give you an example of how economical that car was. A few months later, I was playing for the Ken Reeves Orchestra and Mr. Reeves told me that, for that weekend, I would be playing at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod. He also asked ff I would pick up the sax player who would be leading" the job for the weekend. That Friday after- noon, I crossed the Meridian Street Bridge into Chelsea, and took a right at the traf- fic light on to Marginal Street. There was a Quincy Gas Station a few yards up on the right. They had a special: five gallons of regu- lar for one dollar. I splurged and put in two dollars worth and headed to Arlington to pick up the sax player, Don Ellis. I drove to the Cape, used the car all weekend, drove Don home on Sunday evening, drove back to East Boston and had enough gas to pick up Paul and Bob on that Monday morning and drive them home after classes had ended. Now, that's economical! I kept that car for several years. My first day job after college was teaching drafting at Tewksbury High School. Paul Ciccarelli got the job as the woodworking teacher. I and my old Chevy were now part of a car pool with a third teacher from Winthrop, named Joe Crotty. The teachers at the high school called us the East Bos- ton Express. One morning, as Paul tried to exit from the back seat, he wound up standing on the rear muffler of the car. I pulled back the floor mat and there was no floor. The car literally had rotted away. It was time for another car, but that's a story for another day. Before I close, I would like to respond to my readers in Ft. Lauderdale who asked about my favorite Italian restaurant in Florida, Pizza Time. It is located at 1001 SW 2 "d Avenue, #7000, Boca Raton. (561-391-9240). Head north on Federal Highway (Rte. I). When you reach Boca Raton, take a left at the traffic light at Camino Real. Continue to the next light and look for a small plaza or strip mall on the left. Pizza Time is in the middle. Once inside, ask for Bobby, the owner. Tell him that John, from the Italian news- paper gave you the direc- tions and let me know how you like the food. Until then, MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA. Two Endangered Art Forms by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari In life things tend to slip away, often imperceptibly; it could be your health, friends, or life itself, one day we look around and discover that what once was there is no longer there and as often is the case, the realization of loss saddens us. Personal loss is almost always sad but then there are losses that can be inconvenient and even amusing. This article is about the gradual loss of two forms of communication that are often compared to art forms, the loss of formal letter writing and the loss of verbal conversation. This article is written not as a lament to the possible ex- tinction of these two art forms but as an acknowl- edgement of their transfor- mation into what someday might be considered art forms in themselves. In this era of Email, and text messaging, receiving a formal hand written letter is becoming a rare event. You forget the feeling of intimacy that hand Writing conveys, the personal connection it creates between sender and recipient. When a letter ar- rived last week from a friend who is traveling in the Far East it was greeted as an event to be savored, from the look of the exotic stamps that seemed to decorate the envelope rather than mark it as official mail to the fa- miliar hand writing of an old friend, the experience of re- ceiving a written letter is exciting and pleasantly evocative of the sender. As in electronic mail the words of the letter convey its mes- sage, but then there is the handwriting, whether neat or sloppy, pinched or gener- ously proportioned, the sender seems more present as you read the words it con- veys. The arrangement of the words on the page, the structure of the letter, whether formally or infor- mally written all add to the art form, but as 'in Japanese or Chinese calligraphy, the hand writing, whether poor or beautiful breathes life into the letter making it worthy of being called an art form. Two weeks ago we were in a lobby caf6 in one of the large office buildings down- town, around us was a sea of people, many of them on their laptops or smartphones. Across from our table were two men who were obviously having lunch together, yet they were not talking or com- municating with each other; each seemed to be thor- oughly absorbed with his smartphone, texting, receiv- ing Emails and checking for incoming Emails. It was as if for each of them, the other did not exist, that there was no attempt to communicate with one another even though they were sitting face to face. A day later, we were at a friend's house, there were six of us at the table but it might just as well have been four, for our friends two chil- dren were absorbed with their cell phones, they were actually texting each other at one point. It got so bad that their parents asked them to put their phones away, cit- ing how rude they were acting. The technologies of today are amazing, we have ac- cess via the internet to a host of services and accu- mulated knowledge that is mind boggling, we seem compelled to move at an ever increasing pace to keep up with the advances in tech- nology that have allowed us to communicate with each other instantly and in ways never dreamed possible. Hopefully we will not be so dazzled by it all that we for- get to take time to pull up a chair, and with pen and pa- per quietly write a letter to a friend nor should we for- get the simple joy of a thoughtful conversation with a neighbor. New art forms have grown and will con- tinue to develop as a result of today's technology, still it is good to retain and per- petuate what has served us well in the past for in the fi- nal analysis, it is about people, young people, middle age people and old people, all have a place, all have some- thing to contribute to what for us all is the art of living. RESHRREC-J-jON CantataMusic Drama by Bryan Jeffery Leech SAINT LEONARD PARISH SACRED HEART CHURCH Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM Admission: FREE