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April 8, 2011     Post-Gazette
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April 8, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 8, 2011 Page 13 mln ,, IT i,nl inn INa""a r b . I iv -I y John Christoforo | I oavoononno A Nostalgic Remembrance " Easter is just a few weeks away and I'm looking forward to seeing the family all to- gether. The one thing I've noticed over the past few years is that people don't dress for Easter the way they used to when I was a kid. Heading to and from Easter Mass back then would be considered the Easter pa- rade. Women wore dresses, hats, gloves, stockings with the seam in the back and high heel shoes. If it was cold, they would wear coats that complimented the rest of the ensemble. Men wore suits, white shirts, ties, shined shoes and hats, and ff it was that same cold Sun- day, a top coat. Today many people head to Mass wearing clothes we used to give away or only wore when doing the type of work that would get us dirty. I guess times have changed. I was fourteen and Easter was coming. I had made a few dollars working at the Seville Theater. I was going to head to Raymond's and Filene's Basement to see what I could find in the way of a new suit. The suit 'rage back then was a one button roll collar styled jacket with pants that were pegged at the bottom. I couldn't find what I wanted at either of the , two stores and I tried Jordan Marsh Basement but still had no luck. There was a high style men's store near those department stores on Washington Street; I believe the name was Jerrols. They had the style, but not in the colors I would wear. I then headed to Tremont Street and entered Sumner's Men's Store with an outside sign that read, "Sumner's For Men Who Know Style." They specialized in the latest fashions, but I couldn't afford their prices. At dinner, I la- mented my problem to Dad and Babbononno. Babbononno suggested a couple of stores he shopped at, but I knew the styles they featured were conservative and for an older man. Dad mentioned that one of our neighbors was in the gar- ment business and sug- gested I speak to him. The man's name was Danny Gallo. He and his wife and three kids lived a few doors away from us on Eutaw Street. I figured that I had nothing to lose and the next day I happened to see him in front of his house and ap- proached him. He listened to my wants and told me to wait a day or so and he would bring me a few samples to look at. I assumed that he was going to bring me samples of cloth, but two days later, the doorbell rang after dinner and Danny climbed the three flights of stairs to our apartment car- rying six suits in my size. Babbononno looked at the material they were made of and approved of the quality. Nanna looked at the stitch- ing and approved of the tai- loring. Dad looked at the style and scowled (he was conservative). Mom just made a pot of coffee and put a dish of cookies on the kitchen table. My eyes were immediately drawn to one of the suits Danny had brought. It was a one button roll col- lar styled jacket with pants that tapered to a peg at the bottom and the color was powder blue, the same shade as Dad's '54 Chevy. I tried the jacket and pants on and they fit. The sleeves had to be shortened and the pants cuffed. Other than that, it looked like it was made for me. Everyone examined the fit as I paraded around the kitchen in my choice. Mean- while, Morn poured the cof- fee. I next asked Danny how much the suit would cost. He said that I could have it for the factory price, which was $24.00. This, I could afford. The next day after school, I headed back in town. What I had allotted for the suit was several dollars more than what was quoted, and I fig- ured that I had enough for a new shirt, tie and shoes. I headed for Filene's Men's Store. Upstairs at Filene's, men's clothing cost much more than in the Basement, but I knew what I wanted. I bought a tab collar shirt with French-cuffs. I believe the make was Lion of Troy and the price was $5.95. I found a narrow navy blue velvet neck-tie to go with the shirt and found a pocket handker- chief with navy and powder blue lines. I got on the subway at Milk Street and when I ar- rived at Maverick Station, decided to walk to Central Square where a Thorn McAn Shoe Store was located. The manager, Peter Aiello, was a friend of the family. His son, Larry, and I were class- mates at English High School and I knew that they would have the shoes I wanted. There was a style that was all the rage back in '54, spades. They were pointed toe shoes with the welt pointed a bit on the outside of the sole, also. Mr. Aiello had a pair in my size that was made in navy Suede. They were $7.98, and I bought them. I still had a few dollars left and stopped in at Arkin's Men's Shop on Bennington Street and found a pair of gold colored cuff links that would go well with my new outfit, and the owner, Sam Arkin, gave me a discount. He was an old friend of Dad's, and I appre- ciated the reduced price. The last thing I had to do was take my new suit to a tailor to have the sleeves short- ened and the pants cuffed. There was only one person that I would go to, a paesano of Babbononno who had a tai- lor shop on White Street across from East Boston High School, Billy the Tailor. Billy suggested I have the collar lowered a bit so I would have more shirt collar showing. He said that the suit was a good one and he wanted me to look like it was custom tailored. I knew that he had magic fingers and I took his advice. By the end of the week, I picked up the suit, brought it home and dressed in all my new clothes to show Babbononno. He was fastidi- ous about his clothes, and I figured if my appearance pleased him, then I was ready for Easter Sunday. His only comment was that he thought I should wear a hat, a fedora, just like he did. The only problem was my hairdo. Back then a pompa- dour style haircut was in vogue combed to a ducktail in the back. We called them D. A. haircuts; the "A" was an abbreviation that repre- sented the vernacular for the gluteus maximus of a duck. I figured that my appearance would be ruined with my hair being hidden, so the hat was out. Dad gave me an old keychain that he wasn't using. It clipped to the top edge of my pants 'and angled downward and then curved back up with the end in my right pant pocket. With it, I looked like a 1950s Version of a 1940s zoot suiter, but I added it to my new outfit. The only other accoutre- ment I wanted to add was a pinky ring. Dad told me I shouldn't even think of it as it would make me look like a "cafone." I knew what the word meant, but told Dad that the man who inspired me due to his wearing one, was Mr. Ray, the manager of the Seville Theater. I told Dad that he certainly wasn't a "cafone," and beyond that, he wasn't even Italian. Dad just shrugged and let it go. Then it dawned on me, I had a signet ring that Uncle Nick bought for me when I was a child. It had JJC on it but was too small for my almost adult hands. I found the ring in my dresser drawer and tried it on the pinkie finger of my left hand. It fit perfectly, and even Dad said it looked good. I was ready for Easter and for the next week or two, prayed that come Easter Sunday, the weather would be sunny and warm. I fig- ured that if I had to wear a coat over my new outfit, it would ruin everything. The gods of good weather were with me that Easter, and I haven't stopped dressing since. GOD BLESS AMERICA PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN: (never known to fail) O roost beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me here You are my mother. O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech You from the bottom of my heart to secure me in my necessity (make request). There are none who can withstand your power. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee (3 times). Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands (3 times). Say this prayer 3 consecutive days and then publish, and it will be granted to you. R.I.. * The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Urban Wilds Initiative program manager Paul Sutton of Roxbury, center, tours Allandale Woods during a volunteer clean-up with Boston Environmental and Energy Services Chief Jim Hunt and Boston Parks Commissioner Antonia M. Pollak. Congratulations to Sutton, who was recently honored by Boston Cares with their "Outstanding Community Partnership Award." (Courtesy photo) mous attention for her portrayal of Asra Nomani, opposite Angelina Jolie in "A Mighty Heart," the tragic film about the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. For that per- formance, she won The Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival. Ridley Scott, who directed her in the romantic comedy "A Good Year," said of Panjabi that she is "smart and sensitive enough as an actress to make anything fly, comedy or drama; an unusual talent." In addition to her work as an actress, Panjabi has given her time and support to several philanthropic endeavors. In support of women's rights, Panjabi has partnered with Amnesty International to head their Stop Violence Against Women campaign to change the "no recourse to public funds" rule that traps women in a cycle of violence. Born in Edgware, Middle- sex, England, Panjabi spent part of her childhood in Mumbai (Bombay) India and considers herself "part Bombayite, part British." She graduated from Brunel University, England, with a degree in Management Studies. Panjabi currently resides with her husband in New York and London. Congratulations to all! We look forward to hearing more about Angelique O'Neil Enterprises/AOE and its cli- ents. Incidentally, Ms. O'Neil is the daughter of our dear friend, the former social events columnist and PR maven, the lovely Caron Le Brun. ....... Boston S}mphony Orchestra Assistant Princi- pal Oboe Keisuke Wakao will be joined by BSO Assistant Concertmaster Alexander Velinzon, colleagues from the New England Conserva- tory, and additional local musicians to perform a ben- efit concert for the relief efforts in Japan following the devastating events since the May 11 earthquake and tsunami. The concert, featuring works by Handel, Loeffler, and Beethoven, will take place at the Church of the Redeemer, 379 Hammond Street in Chestnut Hill, this coming Sunday, April 10, at 4 p.m. Mr. Wakao arranged the performance as a special extension to the Classical Concert Series be produces for the Church. "I organized this concert with some of my dear friends in Boston to play music in honor of the people in Japan who are going through such tragic and very difficult times and to raise money to help them rebuild," said To- kyo native Keisuke Wakao. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 617- 566-7679 or email office@ Mr. Wakao also organizes the American-Japanese Cultural Concert Series at the Church of the Redeemer, which last year featured Emanuel Ax. He has sched- uled a benefit concert as part of this series for Sun- day, October 16, 2011, at 4 p.m. with additional details to be announced at httl~:J/ americanjapaneseconcert . r r Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, 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.) Fully Insured Lic #017936 Mechani: 1 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211