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May 6, 2011

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Page6 POST-GAZETTE, MAY 6, 2011 Simple ., by Girard A. Plante This Mother's Day issue is appropriate for me to begin writing my biweekly column after a five-month hiatus. While my writing for publi- cation continued with free- lance projects, I needed to regroup to regularly write for this venerable newspaper that has published my col- umn nearly nine years. So, I'll start fresh by shar- ing the following poignant story with you. Anthony "Toto" Eaniello's friendship began the end of the summer I entered 7m grade in 1972. I became 'as- sistant equipment manager for the varsity football team of one of three of my hometown's public high schools. Growing up in the shadows of the high school a block from my childhood home helped as every Au- gust since the fourth grade I raced to the practice fields to see the coaches wearing whistles around their necks; clutching clipboards with the lists of names of boys eagerly competing for a spot on the school's Junior Varsity and Varsity football squads. Many memories originated from the football games that kicked off on autumn Satur- days at 1 p.m. in the early 1970s. Excitement hung in the crisp air and cars filled the neighborhood streets on game day. Toto's joking and infec- tious laugh were two of his many redeeming qualities that drew me to him. We younger boys looked up to the high school athletes as we knew one day we'd be pulling on the maroon and gold jerseys to proudly repre- sent our high school that we couldn't wait to attend. During the unusually warm summer of 1982, Torn made one of the most pro- found comments I'd ever heard. He often spoke philo- sophically of life and the spirituality culled from his Catholic beliefs. Listening to him talk deeply of life's quirky events that could not be easily explained away was never dull. One of his insights, "When you lose your mother, you lose the world," confused as much as startled me. No matter. That's typically Toto, I told myself. Toto and I remained close friends despite moving along our unique paths to college, career, and community in- volvement. Occasionally, I'd see his morn or sister at the market and chat briefly, al- ways parting with a 'Say hello to Toto for me.' Fortunately, I came from a neighborhood that in- cludes three generations residing in the same single- family homes and two- family walkups for decades. So seeing most of our long- time friends we grew up next door to or down the street occurred regularly and virtu- ally every Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. But I'd not seen Torn in a few years and by late sum- mer 1995 I decided to seek him out. Calling his morn revealed little more than "he's still working with his uncle's trucking firm and I see him daily." A few days later I learned from one of my four sisters that Toto had been diagnosed with throat cancer after a months-long persistent cough. An urgent call to his mother brought more specif- ics. Her youngest daughter answered. "How's Toto," I asked. "Tony is very ill. He has only four months to live," she tearfully told me. Shortly after hearing the dreadful news that one of my dearest friends had the rarest and deadliest form of throat can- cer, and his life would end too soon, I learned that I needed surgery to my right leg that required bed rest for weeks. Sadness of Toto's prog- nosis and agitation in not seeing him before his death overwhelmed me. The quickest way to let him know I was praying for a miracu- lous recovery and how much his two-plus decade friend- ship meant to me would be through letter. I placed a brown scapular of the Sacred Heart inside the letter's envelope and mailed it to the hospital where Torn languished. Too weak to raise his once-strong arms, Toto's youngest sister read my let- ter to him and placed the brown scapular around his neck. She later told me he laughed as he listened to my hilarious recollections that we partook in years ago. Knowing he heard my loving words and wore the scapular upon his neck as he peace- ably passed into eternal rest comforted my aching emo- tional pain. I didn't allow that emptiness to stop me from swinging into action. Doctor's orders set aside, I quickly wrote a tribute that I read at Toto's funeral Mass three days later. Sitting next to his coffin, I looked out across the packed church and familiar faces filled with tears. Young men sobbed. His mother and sis- ters and brothers wept. I re- mained composed as I prayed to'Torn for strength to speal~ without faltering. I needed to tell his love-filled story that spread to many people over his 37 years of living. On January 24th of this year, I received a phone call at 7:00 a.m. from my young- est sister struggling through sobs to tell me that our won- derful 90-year-old morn passed on peacefully to her eternal rest. Immediately, I wept for a grand woman whom I loved more than any other. I knew the call would arrive and for months I wrote my tribute that I would read at her Memorial Mass. .... ~"~ ~~~* ~~O~" .... ~~ "I~~-~" With phone calls to make , and plans to put in motion ~ to travel to snow-covered ~~ ~/~ ~"7¢7~ ~ upstate New York, I hur- ii,p_~ riedly wrote the final words "S~ P~ ~,,~ of my mom's tribute. Toto's eerily prophetic words 2~~ THREE (3) COURSE DINNER $24.95 years earlier vividly flooded Choose One Appetizer from a choice of (4) ~ my memory. I disagreed with his "you lose the world" Choose One Entrde from a choice of (13) '~ upon losing your mom. You Dessert see, only her earthly exist- :~:!: This menu is available every day from 3 PM to 6 PM and from 9:30 PM to closing, ence is absent. I've no doubt This offer is valid now through the month of May 2011. ,m:~, ~, my mom's spirit is always ~ ~Also available now through the month of May 2011 (exceptSaturdays) ~ and everywhere with me. .~ . ~ While it's true my life is is our S~ ~ which inc,udes: ~ momf°reVermovesalteredon to heraS nextmY "7~ ALL WINES BY THE GLASS - ½ price ~ journey, it is enriched in a ALL APPETIZERS- ½ price .~ million ways because Our "~' ALL PASTA DISHES - 1/2 price Lord shared her with me all VEAL FRANCESCA-½ price these many years. She CHICKEN MICHELANGELO- price J passed beside her family in {) OGLIOLA ALIA MEDITERRANEANA (SOLE)- V= price knowingher home.herWe struggleare comfortedhas ceas , ss,n s aplenty bestowed upon me ~C~ ~ ~-~~~ ~ and my family. Torn would C 4~ agree. Still we miss her 150 RICHMOND STREET ' -~ immensely. r In the Heart of Boston's North End To all the wonderful ~i:~ ~ .~ ~, ~ .... 'a.~ ~_ ~ women whose children went ~.~ ~~ X_~- ~'~ ~b_~ . ~~ before them, Happy Mother's " • ..................... ~ ...... .................• Day;.. , WHOM rr u,ZaN NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS) Compiled b~i Orazio Z. Buttafuoco THE INTERESTING HISTORY OF A SMALL TOWN IN SICILY. The small town of San Fratello (Holy Brother), in the province of Messina, in Sicily, is surrounded by the Nebrody mountains. The town may tumble down and disap- pear forever. The people of San Fratello do not always speak Sicilian, but also a dialect similar to the "Lombard," an old dialect indeed. It appears that in the 12th century a small group from the "Valle Padana" (the Po Valley) settled down in the area after following Count Roger in his efforts to conquer Sicily. San Fratello is also unique, as an old Greek settlement existed on the very same spot since the IV century B.C., established by the tyrant of Siracusa (Syracuse), Dionisius the Great: Apollonia. The Greek town was destroy.ed the First time by Siracusa a century later, and then by the Arabs. There they used to raise horses which are still considered by the locals a special breed, brought to Sicily by the Arabs. San Fratello is also the center where the family of the late, former Italian Premier Bettino Craxi originated. Today, there are still several people with the name 'Craxi'. GREEN ENERGY IS AVAILABLE IN A CERTAIN PART OF ITALY. Here is something unique in a particular Italian territory. If you live in the Gorizia area (North East of Italy) and plan to install photovoltaic panels of three Kw. on your house, you will be eligible to get a grant of 300 euro (@ $400) from the Provincial Government. The program is called "Go Elias Family," which is in collaboration with a small local bank. The Credit Institution (bank) advances the entire cost for the purchase of the panels and its in- stallation as well. The citizen who applies for the grant must open an account with the bank, in which the money will flow, until the cost of the installation will be refunded. The grant is for 0.46 euro per Kw produced. The President of the Gorizia Province, Enrico Gherghette, said recently: "Other people talk about a 'Green Economy,' but we build it!." "It's all about the Servke" EMAR Board of Directors 5i Parla Italiano Short Sales Specialists We represent Sellers, Buyers, Renters & Landlords We have quali~ed agents for all your needs. Revere, Everett, Malden, Sau~us, Winthrop, East Boston, Chelsea Ask for Patty 6W-999-4365 FEATURED PROPERTY Ridge Road, Revere Multi-Family - 2 Family List Price- $544 K M. Celata Real Estate 164 C Broadway, Revere, MA o21 I BEAUTY TALK SERIES at: NORTH END BRANCH LIBRARY 25 Parmenter Street, Boston (617) 227-8135 Come experience the latest cosmetol- ogy trick £f e trade from a pro/essional at our third annual "You Look Marvelous" beauty talk series. Man/DiZazzo Trumbull Saturday, April 30, 2011 - 12:00 noon: Guest speaker Mary will discus skincare and makeup Saturday, May 7, 2011 - t2:00 noon: Mary will discuss "Hair care: keeping it shiny," and "My first Beauty Pageant." Mary will present Nailcare: the latest technique for a two-week manicure - Shellac." Come to one or all three. And be sure to bring your experiences, opinions, and questions. Italian refreshments will be served. Mary OiZazzo- Tmmbull is a third genera~on cosmetologist and sa/on owner. She has practiced her professton for more than 30 years #~ Andover and Boston. She has written All That Zazz, the Beauty Culture Column for lhe Post-Gazeffe, "The ira~Jan-American Voice of Massachu- setts" for the past eight years. She lives on Beacon Hi//with her husband David Trumbu//.