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April 27, 2012     Post-Gazette
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April 27, 2012

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'PO1"3AZETTE,,P):IIL-27, 21)12 lag-e--3 m Nanna 00abb00onno Last week, I was talking about family and good food, what else is new ... but I be- gan thinking about my ref- erences during the week and astonishingly, when it came to the social graces, much of it came from Uncle Nick's two wives. My Godfa- ther, Nick Contini, married Ada Georgione in 1934, I be- lieve. They stood up for my folks when they were wed in 1936 and served as my God parents when I was born in '38. Ada was my mother's best friend growing up and they stayed close after both were married. Ada was quite ac- tive in assisting my mother in raising me. She came from immigrant parent stock and with her siblings, grew up in the Jefferies Point section of East Boston. Somewhere along the line, she had learned about how the Boston Brahmin lived and attempted to develop the same level of sophistication that they had inherited or achieved that set them apart from the newcomers in Bos- ton, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews and other minori- ties that happen to wander onto dry land from Boston Harbor. Unfortunately, Aunt Ada and Uncle Nick never had any children. As a result of being the first born male in an Italian family, I was placed on a pedestal, and worshiped by all (only kid- ding). Being childless and Mom's best friend, my aunt had carte blanche in helping my mother raise me. As a result, she took quite an ac- tive part in my up bringing. Neither she nor Mom worked, and during the day, the two were often together shopping, going to the the- ater, libraries, museums, movies, or just heading to downtown Boston to window shop and have lunch. When I first made it out of diapers, I made the group into a trio. She and Mom would take me to all of the places they frequented during the week. Early on, Aunt Ada taught me correct table manners ac- cording to Emily Post, as well as how to conduct myself in public especially in my ad- dress to adults. Mom let her have free reign and I be- came quite the little "Proper Bostonian." Even when it came to my clothing, I ranked with the kids from Beacon Hill. They had me wearing short pants with long stock- ings, a white shirt with a British striped tie, a blazer by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance i iii with a coat of arms on the breast pocket and an Eton cap, just like the kids who attended private schools in London. At restaurants, I read the menus and ordered for my- self and knew which fork, knife or spoon to use with each course that was served. Aunt Ada showed me the proper placement and use of a napkin, and how to get the attention of someone from the wait staff when I wanted something. When I was in- troduced to adults, I would extend my right hand, shake theirs and say, "How do you do Mr./Mrs. or Miss So and so." When parting their com- pany, I would say, "It has been a pleasure making your acquaintance, sir or madame." Looking back, I don't know ff I was really cool or a pint-sized snob ... maybe both. After the war broke out, Uncle Nick joined the navy, knowing that he would be drafted at some point. He auditioned for Andre Kostelanetz, who was con- ducting the orchestra at the Newport Naval Base and made it. As a result, he spent the entire war serenading the navy brass and playing for dances at the base. As the war progressed, the mar- riage between him and my Godmother, Ada, began to" develop problems. The sepa- ration led them in separate directions and every time he came home for a leave, there were arguments be- tween them. If I was present, I would be ushered out of the room by Nanna, Babbononno or Morn, all of whom wanted to give the quarreling couple space to work out their dif- ferences. Well, the differ- ences distanced them from each other more and more. By the end of the war, they had separated. When Uncle Nick was discharged from the Navy, he came home but not to the apartment he and my aunt had shared. He moved in with Nanna and Babbononno. Soon the word was out that he and Aunt Ada were get- ting a divorce. This silenced everyone in the family. Divorce was not allowed by the Catholic Church and no one in the history of either Nanna's or Babbononno's family had ever reached this point in a relationship. Di- vorce wasn't even a maybe. Added to this were the Mas- sachusetts Blue Laws. It took almost five years for the divorce to become final. -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE VISIT WWW.IOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 At about the same time, Dorothea Hanscom-Bolduc divorced Gus Bolduc and she and Uncle Nick began dat- ing. They were married by a justice of the peace in 1950. Most of the family said noth- ing, but the hostilities were there. Uncle Nick, regard- less of what his circum- stances were personally, was marrying someone who wasn't Italian, was divorced, and was a liberated woman working in a "man's" world. This made her a cousin to the devil in an old fashioned blue collar Italian American culture. When Ada, who was still my mother's best friend, heard that Nick and Dorothy had been invited to our house, she gave my mother an ulti- matum: "Either her or me!" My mother refused to play that type of a game and she and Aunt Ada became es- tranged from one another. That was in the early '50s, and I didn't see Ada again until 1972. She and Mom were in contact with one an- other and one day in dune, I came home and there she was in the kitchen having coffee with Mom. All things were forgiven and they were the best of friends again. Not long after the visit, I headed to Italy for the summer and bought my Godmother a gift when I went to the Vatican. While I was gone, the same scenario replayed itself with Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy visiting my mother. Another ultimatum was given and again, Morn refused to play into it. Ada again distanced herself and never came back. It's 40 years later, and I still have that gift in my jewelry box, blessed by the Pope. Ada is long gone as is just about everyone else from that generation. Dorothy had a very strong personality and seemed to intimidate most of the men in our family. Everyone backed off and she and Uncle Nick could sense the strain. I stayed close to my uncle and actually worked with him off and on, playing bass in his bands. In the early '70s, Aunt Dor- othy retired and she and my uncle bought a place in Pom- pano Beach in Florida, He headed there about a week- end per month from then on until he left office. He, for about 25 years had been the vice president of the musi- cians' uniion and then called it quits just after Loretta and I were married in 1977. dust about then, Aunt Dorothy sold the place in Pompano and bought another condo in Delray Beach, a few miles north. Uncle Nick had made contacts with local society band leaders and a few ex- Bostonians who played in the Palm Beach area. In late 77, I helped him paek, sell everything in his Brookline apartment and he headed to Florida permanently. I'll pick it up here next week ... GOD J3IASS AMERICA .......... Editorial (Continued from By 2022, Medicare spend- ing is projected to reach $1 trillion. The program will likely become insolvent by 2024 -- five years earlier than the Medicare Trustees predicted in 2010. Obamacare claims to at- tack this problem head on. The health law purports to rein in costs by slashing Medicare payments to pro- viders by about $575 billion. But instead of using that money to shore up Medi- care's finances, Obamacare is set to expand Medicaid enrollment and subsidize insurance for low- and middle-income Americans. And those planned cuts in Medicare may not ever come to pass. Congress has rou- tinely postponed cuts in reimbursement rates for providers that treat Medi- care patients. Even the Con- gressional Budget Office is skeptical, saying in its 2011 Long-Term Budget Out- look that it "assumes that several policies designed to restrain federal spending on health care will not be continued." Phantom cuts won't save Medicare -- and neither will anti-fraud initiatives that don't prevent fraud. Instead, Medicare needs a funda- mental overhaul. The first step? Reserving Medicare for only those who need it. President Obama is fond of pointing out that Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. But the president doesn't men- tion Buffett also receives the same government health benefits as his sec- retary -- benefits which he certainly could afford to pay for himself. Some 10 percent of Medi- care beneficiaries make north of $60,000 a year, and 6 percent pull in more than $80,000 annually. It makes little sense for average tax- payers to pay for the care of seniors with incomes Page 3) greater than the national median. These compara- tively wealthy individuals should pay for more of their care -- particularly when Medicare is facing imminent bankruptcy. But means-testing will only partially solve Medi- care's fiscal problems. Fed- eral officials must also rein in Medicare's costs. But rather than doing so through centrally planned fiat, our leaders should leverage the power of competition to em- power patients to spend Medicare dollars efficiently and effectively. And the way to do so is through vouchers. Armed with vouchers, low- income seniors will have the freedom to shop around for the coverage that meets their particular needs. Both insurers and providers will be forced to compete for seniors' business -- and will thus have to work to provide the best possible care at the lowest price. Some lawmakers are al- ready trying to move Medi- care in this market-friendly direction. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Rori Wyden (D-OR) have put forth a bipartisan plan that offers seniors premium support -- a fixed payment with which they can purchase their own insurance. The Medicare reform proposal offered up by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) in- corporates both premium support and means-testing. To avert the coming Medi- care crisis, Congress and the White House must ad- dress the program's struc- tural problems head on. Four-figure fraud savings won't cut it. Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle and Replace Obamacare (Regnery 2012). Mrs. Murphy (Continued they enter the church. Is this the way to treat people? According to Catholic beliefs that I grew up with, I'd say no! ... Mayor Tom Menino was on hand to celebrate Logan Airport's Terminal C grand opening of a new line of stores. The Mayor was proud to cut the ribbon be- fore a large crowd of invited guests ... a groundbreaking ceremony was also held on Bremen Street for the new East Boston branch library. Over two hundred well wishers attended from Page 7) Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina's fundraiser held at one of Eastie's most desir- able restaurant's Ecco on Porter Street. LaMattina, hands on Councilor is appre- ciative of the full support he receives from his many, many constituents, friends and family ... Central Square Park will look beautiful after the upgrade. We need to turn East Boston into a replica of South Boston where the trendsetters visit frequently ... Till next time! K 3 Me h F':',;ylnsured Lic #017936 anical Heating & Air Conditioning Seles, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211