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June 13, 2014     Post-Gazette
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June 13, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 13, 2014 Page13 abb honno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance Today is Friday the 13th. According to superstition, this combination is sup- posed to be bad luck. I don't believe in luck, knock on wood. Italians, especially southern Italians in my grandparents' day tended to be superstitious. As an ex- ample, most of us who are Catholic, have driven cars with religious statuary lo- cated somewhere. St. Chris- topher had always been the patron saint of travelers and everyone in my family who drove a car had a St. Chris- topher medal attached to the driver's sun visor or glued to the dash board. When I bought my first car back in my college days, my mother presented me with a medal that had St. Christopher on the right side and Our Lady of the Highways on the left. A few decades ago, the Church proclaimed that they couldn't prove that St. Christopher ever existed and they dismissed him from the rank and file of Catholic saints. I was going to take the medal out of my car and buy something the Church okayed, but both my mother and Nanna asked, "What if the Church changes its mind and there really was a St. Christopher???" Here it is 56 years later and that medal has graced every car I've owned for every-day travel. Well, Babbononno claimed that he didn't believe in luck. He added to this re- garding Friday the 13th, that it was an American super- stition and he was Italian. But something happened on a Friday the 13th, when he was a young husband with infant children. The point in time could have been early 20th century, so that makes this story some- where around 100 years old. Babbononno had a friend named Antonio. They had met when both of them were young, single and liv- ing in Boston's North End. Babbononno became a furni- ture maker by day and a musician by night. Antonio worked as a fisl~e~an on a boat docked at Boston's fish pier until he had enough money saved to buy his own. At one point, when Cardinal O'Connell, the prelate that preceded Cardinal Cushing blessed Boston's fishing fleet, Antonio made sure he was docked within the reach of the Cardinal's blessing. Now, Antonio often asked his paesano, Mike Contini to join him for a day of fishing, but Babbononno refused each time due to work com- mitments. On a Friday the 13th, he called Antonio to tell him that he had the day off as there had been a death in the family that owned the factory he worked in, and out of respect, the family closed up the shop for the funeral services which were to be private. He was free and clear for the day and so, he joined Antonio and his crew for a day of fishing. Antonio filled the fuel tank, checked the engine fluids and then headed out of Boston Harbor. When they reached the outer islands of the harbor, a pea soup fog came in and blanketed them so there was no vis- ibility. Antonio guided the boat's direction with his compass and all was well. That is, until the engine started to sputter as if it was out of fuel. It then stalled. No matter what the mechanic of the crew did, the engine would not start. The crew began to grow apprehensive due to the problem and the date, Friday the 13th. When Antonio looked at his com- pass, it was spinning around and around so they had no idea which direction they were heading. Antonio, grabbed a portable mega- phone and began yelling out for help. While he did this, one of the crew hit the boat's bell every few seconds in case someone was near, another boat, that is. This cry for help was finally answered. After yelling, Ahoy through the mega- phone and ringing the bell for some time, a voice in the fog finally answered. Another fishing boat was in the vicinity and offered help. The other fishing boat followed the sound of the voice and the bell and be- came visible to Antonio and his crew only when it was within five feet of them. The captain of the boat spoke with Antonio, but both men only caught a few words here and there. The captain of this Gloucester base was Portuguese. What Antonio understood from the conver- sation was that the captain of this boat, which was named the Ave Maria, was also named Antonio and he offered to tow Antonio's boat back to Boston Harbor before they continued fishing in the fog of the outer islands. Antonio agreed and the Gloucester based boat threw -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 a line which Babbononno caught. Several of the crew fastened the rope to Antonio's boat and the Ave Maria towed Antonio, his crew and my grandfather back toward Boston. Just as they reached a point where they could see through the fog, Antonio from the Gloucester based boat yelled for our Antonio to try to start his engine. It started. He then yelled for our boat to untie his rope and head in to safety. Babbo- nonno states that when he saw the Custom House and then Boston's fish pier, he stopped saying Hail Maries. Antonio maneuvered his fishing boat into his usual birth at the fish pier. The harbor master helped dock the boat and asked Antonio what happened. Antonio, in broken English, explained to the harbor master the events of the day that led them into cutting the day's fishing very short. As the harbor master heard the tail end of the story, his eyes opened wide and he became white as a ghost, according to Babbononno's description of the scenario. When Anto- nio asked what was wrong, the harbor master stuttered and then blurted out, "The Ave Maria was a Gloucester- based fishing boat that was well known even to those of us who worked out of Boston. The captain, named Antonio, was a friendly and honest man that everyone here liked, but one day toward the end of the Great War (World War I), the Ava Maria was fishing off the north shore of Massachusetts and was tor- pedoed by a German U boat and it sunk with all hands aboard." At that point, the harbor master walked away and left Antonio, Babbononno and Antonio's crew speechless. Antonio and Babbononno made the sign of the cross simultaneously and the rest of the men just stared in silence. I don't know if this was a true story as my grandfather loved to tell stories. He called that Friday the 13th "Lucky Friday" from then on, but never accepted another in- vitation from his paesano, Antonio, unless it was a shore side fish dinner that was accompanied by a good bottle of wine. I've checked the historical records, and there was a Gloucester based fishing boat called the Ave Maria that was sunk by a German submarine (U boat) off the coast of Massachusetts, just before WWI ended in 1918. You figure it out??? I can't. GOD BLESS AMERICA Get Big Results For more information, call 617-227-8929. Socially Scene (Continued while still a teenager. Though born and raised in Montreal, Boston has been home for the past 40 years. The phrase "move on the cha-cha's" is based on a story told by Ripstein's late father, and was heard often around the Ripstein house- hold. From ballet to bop, with a dash of mid-life salsa dat- ing, this poignant one- woman show depicts a life lived and danced. Love, loss and laughter intermingle on the journey from age 5 to 55. A parade of unique charac- ters joins the musical beat, led by The Bubbe (played by Ripstein), our intrepid host and guide..The Bubbe is based on Ripstein's impres- sion of her Russian-Ruma- nian female ancestors. The Bubbe's secret to aging grace- fully? Keep movingl And it's true. From youth to mid-age, the rhythm of life has kept pulling Ripstein back to the dance floor. The stories and characters in the show are an homage to generations of family, with the universal themes resonating with au- diences young and old. Move on the Cha-Cha's is a look at local talent and presented at the Arsenal Centre for the Arts. The Arsensal Centre for the Arts, Watertown is located at 321 Arsenal St, Watertown, MA and can be reached for tick- ets or more information at 617-923-7631or by visiting / theatre. South End Boston Beauty ... Artists will create paint- ings on site during the 21st Annual South End Garden Tour, the self-guided walk of over 25 private and commu- nity gardens in Boston's South End. Throughout the tour, art- ists will work amidst the fea- tured urban gardens, which are located in the country's largest district of surviving Victorian brick row houses. The paintings may be pur- chased the same day at the Artists in the Garden Reception immediately fol- lowing the tour at City Year headquarters, 287 Colum- bus Avenue, Boston. All are welcome. This year's tour encom- passes the Southwest Corri- dor to Tremont Street to Northampton Street to West Newton Street. The Tour includes private back gar- dens, rooftop terraces with city views, front gardens, neighborhood parks and community gardens -- all treasured space carved out of the asphalt of the city. Tour goers start at the South End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 685 Tremont Street. The South End Garden Tour was cre- ated 21 years ago to benefit the South End & Lower Roxbury Gardens, one of the country's first non:profit organizations charged with protecting urban community gardens and pocket parks within a historic neighbor- hood. The event takes place rain or shine, Saturday, June 21st, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information visit, or call 617-542-7696 with specific questions. from Page 9) Legendary drummer, Ginger Baker will be in Boston on Sunday, June 29th for a show at the Wilbur Theatre, Boston. (Photo by Legendary Rock Drum- mer ... Legendary drummer, Ginger Baker, renowned for his work with Cream and Blind Faith was once voted as "The musician least likely to survive the '60s." But now, four decades and a few years later, he has proved them all wrong and is heading to the United States for a June 2014 jazz fusion tour and a new CD titled Why?[ Teaming up with funk and jazz giant tenor saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis -- the architect of James Brown's era -- defining soul of the late '60s, bassist Alec Dankworth, and African per- cussionist Abass Dodoo, the band is known as Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion. Together they play hip, pro- gressive jazz originals in- a-Thelonious-Monk- style but with exciting African rhythms. Ginger Baker's recognition as a drummer began during the Graham Bond Organiza- tion in the early sixties. The band toured with The Who, The Troggs, The Moody Blues and Chuck Berry, attracting press interest for their out- rageous behavior and riot- ous fun. In 1964, Baker was considered "one of Britain's great drummers" by Melody Maker journalist, Chris Welch. Baker, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2010 and Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2011 and whose awards include a 2005 Grammy Life Time Achievement Award and a 2008 Zildjian Top Drummer Award, was also impressing music journalists. He also attracted attention from many musicians, one of them be- ing Eric Clapton. The two met, jammed, saw one an- other play in their then-cur- rent bands, added bass player Jack Bruce and formed Cream. In Baker's own words, they created "instant magic" and began touring earning 45 per show and later smashing box office records previously set by The Beatles. The must see rock and roll band will perform at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont Street, Boston on Sun- day, June 29th at 7:00 pro. Tickets can be purchased at Or for more information go to www. thewilbur, com. k