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May 5, 2017     Post-Gazette
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May 5, 2017

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POST-GAZETTE, MAY 5, 2017 PAGE i3 by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance /'alZFta abb onno Today, May 5th, is my son restaurant. Throughout their John's 36th birthday. It seems lives, especially after WWII, Dad like just yesterday that we were worked days and played music celebrating his birthday with just about every night of the balloons, finger food, ice cream, week. Dinners at restaurants a cake, and a clown running were treats for them, and begin- around. This all happened at the ning when I was in my teens, it Ground Round, a burger restau- was dinner reservations at some rant that existed in the Fresh restaurant on whatever night Pond area of Cambridge. The Dad was free. Thinking back, kids who were birthday guests Dad liked the quieter dinners, were all a foot smaller than me but Morn liked the bigger parties, back then. Now, they are a foot so I tried to satisfy both, depend- taller. When did I get old??? ing on whose birthday it was. I have always loved birthday Once out of my teens, Sal parties. I have always loved par- Meli, my best friend back then, ties in general. The first big faro- and whatever young lady I was fly party that I remember taking enamored with, would combine place was a 25th anniversary efforts and throw me a birth- shindig that I threw for my folks, day party. There were only two Uncle Nick spoke to Stanley birthdays that scared me, when Blinstrub, and plans were made I turned 25 and again when I for a surprise get-together. I told turned 30. Twenty-five was bad my folks that I was receiving becauselwasaquarterofacen- an award and the ceremony tury old, and thirty was worse, was being held at Blinstrub's in because I considered myself South Boston. When I brought an old man after hitting that my folks in, there was the rest mark. of the family and their closest The wildest party held for me friends waiting for them. The was when I turned 24. Sal and table reserved for us was in my lady friend at that time put front of the stage and could ac- together a surprise party at the commodate about 25 people, young lady's home. Her folks The entertainment that night were away and a large group of was Sammy Davis Jr., and he my friends were invited, includ- made a big deal out of my folks ing my ex-girlfriend. Sal and my celebrating their 25th. current interest had a birthday The most memorable birthday cake made with blue and white party was the one the family icing covering chocolate cake. threw for Nanna in 1958. Around the circular edge of the My grandmother was being top of the cake were blue flowers, treated for breast cancer and and in the middle were my name not responding to treatment as and the words happy birthday in well as the doctors expected. Italian. All seemed to be going Babbononno, my mother, and well, but there were subliminal her brothers tried to keep stiff strains of emotion just below the upper lips through the party surface due to current and past and kept smiling, but Nanna girlfriends being in each other's was weak, in pain, and needing company. rest. Just before Christmas that After the candles were lit and year, she closed her eyes for the blown out, and an off-key chorus last time. From that point on of"Happy Birthday" was sung to in his life, Babbononno wore a me, the ex-girlfriend, staring at black necktie whenever he had the cake said, "Ooh, what beau- to dress up. He would celebrate tiful blue flowers." The current Christmas and Easter, but not girlfriend offered her a couple of birthday parties or non-religious them, sweeping a few ofthem off holidays. It was his way. the cake with her right hand and For their birthdays, my folks slapping her frosting covered preferred quiet dinners at a palm across the face of the ex. -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 135, Boston, MA 02113 The ex then did exactly the same thing and smeared frosting over the face of my latest love. Sal Meli went into hysterics laugh- ing with uncontrolled abandon. The next thing I observed was a joint effort by the former and current girlfriends. They hit Sai with frosting and chunks of the cake, covering his face with pieces of the now dismantled cake. The next thing I knew, a food fight was underway. The only way I can describe the scene would be to tell you to look for an old Three Stooges episode where they pummel each other with constant barrages of pies. When things finally calmed down, all of the guests showed signs of having been part of the battle. We did help clean the house and I admitted to my guests as they left that I had never experienced a party like that at any time in my life. Loretta is not one for big par- ties. When her birthday arrives each December, I make it a point to have a dinner party with just family and her closest friends. We usually occupy the back room at La Summa's on Fleet Street in Boston's North End. Barbara Summa, the owner, supervises everything in ad- vance, and Loretta is always happy with the results. I, on the other hand, love big parties. Knowing this, my wile went overboard when I turned 70. She called Barbara Summa, reserved the entire restaurant, and invited everyone in my life to a surprise birthday party. When we entered La Summa's, I couldn't believe what I saw: rela- tives, old friends, new friends, business associates, musician friends, and even my doctor and dentist. She went overboard, as I said, but I loved it. My sons are now adults. Michael is, more often than not, away from home when his birthday arrives. He is an actor living in New York City, and his schedule dictates when his so- cial activities can be addressed. John, my oldest, is married and the father of a six-month-old child, our first grandchild, Lina. It is now his wife's responsibility when it comes to helping him celebrate his birthday, not ours any longer. Why am I mentioning all of this??? Today is son John's birthday. He was born on May the 54 in 1981. If he happens to read this week's column, then, to you my son, "Felice Compleanno." We are so proud of you because of your accom- plishments in life and for being the man you've become. Oh by the way, I am looking forward to coming back home. I miss my friends even though we talk at least every other day. In reality, I can't take the win- ters in Boston any longer and I think it is a lot healthier walldng around in shorts and a sport shirt during the winter months, rather than wearing a heavy overcoat, a pair of gloves, and storm boots. If you don't mind, when the weather turns cold late next fall and there is a pos- sibility of snow, I will head back to southern Florida and don my shorts and a T-shirt that says something stupid on the front. GOD BLESS AMERICA Automotive Cor Core Series Ladies, start your engines and get ready to learn the basics of your automobile! The Larz Anderson Auto Mu- seum presents the Fearless Females Automotive Car Care Series, our first car maintenance series hosted by women, for women. From basics to learning how to change a tire, this series of four classes will focus on every aspect of your car that you need to know. Statistics show that women are the number One customer in the automotive industry. As the majority force behind the auto industry, it is time we become more comfortable with our cars! Women buy more than half of all new cars and influence up to 80% of car purchases. 67% of auto service and maintenance work is requested by women, and women hold more drivers' licenses,' yet less than 2% of mechanics are women. We invite you to spend your Saturday morning learning about your car with mechanic Sally, owner of Foxy Auto. Sally began working in her father's auto repair shop in her early teenage years; she spent years learning the trade and becoming familiar with the business. Now, she is the owner of one of the few female-owned and operated auto repair shops in the country. She has been featured on the Today Show and more recently in the March 2017 issue of Motor Magazine. Come and join us as we learn from a pro who has your vested interests at heart[ Bring your friends and family to this free community event[ Saturday, May 13, 2017 at I0:00 am Class I CarBasics: Knowledge is power-- owning your owner's manual and keeping your car clean, or why the car wash is money well spent. Saturday, June 3, 2017 at I0:00 am Class 2 Car Basics: The only thing between you and the road ... tires. Plus, how to handle a vehicle emergency. Saturday, June 10, 2017 at I0:00 am Class 3 Intermediate: Shake, rattle, and roll -- is your vehicle trying to tell you something? Saturday, June 24, 2017 at I0:00 am Class 4 Adganced: What's under the hood? Simple mainte- nance, plus jump starting a car and changing a tire. Register Now! Classes are a free community event, although donations are suggested. Open to all ages. The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is located at 15 Newton Street, Brookline, MA 02445. For more information, visit Happ l irf, da l{ Baon O.omo/eanno{ Id 13reitl a Bona[ 4 and many, many more!!! Your Friends at the Post-Gazette