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May 8, 2015

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POST-GAZETTE, MAY 8, 2015 Page13 Babb' onno A Nostalgic Remembrance OTHEII POHIACATIONS) I love talking about Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy Contini. Uncle Nick was my mother's middle brother and my Godfather. Aunt Dorothy was his second wife and the last of the Hanscom line. (Hanscom Air Force Base) Theirs was a different type of a relationship than my folks generation was accustomed to. Aunt Dorothy wasn't a stay at home mom. She was in the leather business working in an executive capacity. I'm not sure what it was, but she did rather well, if I remem- ber correctly. Uncle Nick was a musician, having followed in Babbononno's footsteps. He worked with many of the society bands in Boston fol- lowing his discharge from the Navy in WWII. After his discharge, he took advantage of the GI Bill and went to the North Bennett Street School and studied watch repair. He learned the jewelry busi- ness en route and antici- pated a new career as a re- sult, but politics in the musi- cians' union got the best of him, and he ran for office and was elected as their vice president. Working at the union office and playing nights with various bands, watch repair became a part- time challenge. Unfortunately, Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy never had any kids. Both went through several series of medical tests to find out the reasons but whatever they were, there were no ways around them and they remained childless. As a result, when- ever they had time off, they traveled, more often than not, taking cruises that brought them to all parts of the world. Seeing as I was Uncle Nick's Godson, I was often invited to travel with them. Unfortu- nately, most of their travel was not during school vaca- tion time, and I couldn't go. The one time I could go, as I've mentioned in the past, it was on a trip to Cuba for Easter, a few months be- fore the Castro revolution. Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Nick often hosted dinner par- ties at their Brookiine apart- ment. Quite often, Mom, Dad and I were invited and I en- joyed meeting people from the business world that Aunt Dorothy was a part of. Around Christmas time, they would host a gala open house that included family and members of the music profession, which back in the day, was a major factor in the entertain- ment picture of Boston. Aunt Dorothy was a few years older than Uncle Nick. When it was time for her to retire, Uncle Nick was still going strong in his role as vice president of the Mu- sicians' Union. Most of the out-of-town entertainment that played Boston came through his office and he was on the go, day and night. When the 70s rolled in, Aunt Dorothy began to hate .the weather locally. In spite of being a Bostonian through and through, she longed for a warmer climate to spend her senior years in, and headed for Florida. She bought a condo in Pompano Beach which prompted Uncle Nick to begin heading to Florida about a weekend a month. Just after she seLtled into the condo, Uncle Nick was re- elected and planned to retire after his term was up, but he delayed his plans even longer due to the fact that Loretta and I had decided to get mar- ried in July of 1977 and he wanted to stay around to help out with the arrangements. On July 2"d of '77, Loretta and I tied the knot at St. Leonard's Parish in the North End. Aunt Dorothy was under the weather and didn't make it back to Boston, but Uncle Nick was there to make sure everything went as planned. His best role was as the head bartender at the dinner party my folks through for us the night before the wedding. He was good at pouring a stiff drink. As an Irish friend said observing him, "Nicholas, you have a fme steady hand when it comes to filling a glass." I guess he passed the test. Not long after we were married, I helped Uncle Nick sell off everything at the apartment. He had decided to call it quits. I think that he had made a promise to Aunt Dorothy that he would retire to their Florida home right after the wedding and he didn't back down. At first it was difficult for him being away from Bos- ton. His whole life for the 30 years after WWII centered around Boston's entertain- ment scene and now he was a man of leisure. He imme- diately began making con- tacts with contractors and band leaders that worked between Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. His reputation preceded him and he soon began playing society func- tions at local yacht, golf and country clubs in the area. To keep his hand in classical music, he joined the Boca -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 Pops and became the first clarinetist for the orchestra. Later tduring that sum- mer of '77, I decided to bring Loretta to Florida and intro- duce her to Aunt Dorothy. Uncle Nick insisted that we stay" with them at the new condo they had purchased in Delray Beach. It seems that Pompano Beach was getting a bit too crowded to suit both Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy, so they headed a few miles north. Well, we headed for Delray Beach and Aunt Dorothy and Loretta hit it off right away. They shopped together, lunched together and just hung out with one another, leaving Uncle Nick and me hanging out around the pool or at the beach to work on our tans. Music is slow in Florida dur- ing the summer as most of the winter residents are back home in the northem states. Beginning in the late fall, these *snow birds" return to the warm weather and the social functions happen just about every night. For Uncle Nick, this meant donning his tuxedo and heading to a yacht club, a country club or someone's home to play and entertain with the bands he had joined. During the next couple of years, Loretta and I ventured to Florida during the school vacations, but if they were during the height of the tourist season, Uncle Nick wouldn't be home at night. One year, we planned to travel with my aunt and uncle dur- ing the following summer. Work would be slow for Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy discov- ered that several of the luxury resorts, rather than closing for the summer and losing a good part of their staff, would stay open and offer cut- rate packages to local Florida residents. She took advan- tage of this and that next summer, we traveled to the Keys, then Naples and back to Florida's Gold Coast. Dur- ing the height of the winter tourist season, there was no way we could afford the prices they asked, but during the summer, we stayed for a frac- tion of the cost and enjoyed ourselves just as much. Son John was born May 5, 1981, and at 3 months of age, he was introduced to Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy. Michael came along in November of 1983, on the 10~, and my two kids became the grandchildren my uncle and aunt would never have. I realized at that point that Loretta and I were the chil- dren they never had and I was touched by the outcome. Well, both Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Nick are no longer with us, but the memories of traveling as a family will linger forever. Every time my kids are home, they reminisce about those days in Florida with their great uncle and aunt ... what wonderful memories. NO LONGER STEM CELLS FROM AN EMBRYO: THE END OF THE OLD WAYS. A new technology has been elaborated to obtain stem cells, from one of the eight cells of an embryo without interfering with the developments, but making possible the growth of a single stem cell. The new technol- ogy puts an end to the ethic debate that for years has raged about the use of stem cells extracted from an embryo end- ing in the destruction of the embryonic stem cell. The maga- zine Nature Communication has described the new approach, conducted by an international research group working at the Swedish Institute "Karolinska." In reality the new tech- nique consists in isolating a single cell, leaving the others to continue their development to create a new being, right in the uterus. The embryonic development, has been noted, appears to be quite accelerated, as observed, in the human cells. NEW MEDICAL DEVICES AND ELECTRIC CARS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. A little more than three years from Steve Jobs' passing, the time has come to think "differently," as Steve Jobs once stated, to go back and think "big." In the future of the colossus at Cupertino, CA., the Apple com- puter, there may be in the works a new electric iCar, and also the development of sensors to monitor an individual,s health status and even predict a heart congestion! We often read, and learn, of research on the "auto of the Suture" by several research centers. Google, for instance, is fully involved inthe development of a *car of the future," i.e., a "driverless" car. Let's wait and find out, hopefully, what is about to suddenly materialize in some dealerships' showrooms[ NEW REVOLUTIONARY BATTERIES ON THE MARKET IN THREE YEARS! An article recently appeared describing a new generation of battery which will function using sugarl We read that they will be very efficient, economical and ecological, as compared to the present ones. This new kind of battery has a density of energy quite unprecedented, as compared to the old conventional ones, are rechargeable and bio-degradable. They will have a longer life before a recharge. This new battery can provide more power to cell phones, tablets, videogames as well as to most electronic gadgets, because they supply more energy. Pro- fessor Stefano Panero, of the Chemistry Department of Rome's University La Sapienza, has stated that this new battery has a unique configuration, it is environmentally- friendly because it is rechargeable, limiting its disposal, for it could cause problems to mankind. ICHAEL CEMETE RY 'CREMATORY 500 Canterbury Street The Respectfid Way Boston, MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving the Ito./ian Community for Over 100 Y~ars! ph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. - Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. Sabia, Jr. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. Fitzgibbons A Service Family Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter St., Fall River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454 J GOD BLESS AMERICA .... : ....