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POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 24, 2011 Page17 0000'anna 00abb00onno by John Christoforo i For some reason, during the past week, l had discus- sions with several people about retirement. Most people look forward to it, that promisedqand that you reach when you are in your six- ties. Last Thursday, the Lawrence campus of Cam- bridge College held an appre- ciation ceremony that hon- ored two graduates who had gone above and beyond in their chosen fields, and two faculty members who accom- plished more with students in just a few semesters than most teachers do in a life- time. One of the two was my wife, Loretta. She has been teaching at Cambridge College since the early 90s and has courses at both the Cambridge and Lawrence campuses. After she received her award and spoke to the gathering of students, grad- uates, fellow faculty mem- bers and administration from the college president down, someone turned to me and said, "I hope Professor Christoforo never retires, she's the best the college ever had. I didn't know the person but nodded in agree- ment. I was so proud, I was ready to stand up and cheer. I contained myself and settled for just applauding her along with the rest who had heard her speak. She spoke off the top of her head. Nothing was scripted, but she touched everyone in attendance. After the ceremonial part of the evening was over, refreshments were for the taking and Loretta and I began conversing with the administrators and faculty members of the campus. During the conversations, one of the topics that cropped up more than once was retirement. Loretta isn't old enough to head in that direc- tion, yet, but I am. After she headed off to take a picture with our new college presi- dent, I continued to discuss retirement with a few of the older members of the faculty. I told them that I tried it once. Back in 2003, Mayor Menino put together a retirement incentive for administrators in the police, fire and school departments of Boston, and many of us accepted the package and called it quits. I was among them, but, as I told the crowd, "Retirement lasted about 15 minutes." The morning after I retired from Boston, I headed for a Dunkin Donuts where many of the antique car owners "hung out" at night. One or A Nostalgic Remembrance i two of that crowd was there and I sat with them and several of their friends who were not part of the old car owners group. All were retired and the conversation contained complaints about problems with diabetes, ar- thritis, high blood pressure, loss of hearing and bad eye sight. I silently screamed, "Get me the Hell out of hereF Retirement was definitely not for me. The faculty mem- bers listening to me laughed, but a couple who are up there in years, wondered when I, the oldest member of the group, would retire. My com- ment was, "When Loretta is ready for retirement, then I will consider it." I went on to say that higher education is one of the few areas where age is a plus, not a minus. Most businesses want you out by the time you are in your sixties. I related a story of someone I know who was on the board of two corpora- tions, and when he hit sixty- five, they told him that they wanted him to retire and take the lucrative packages they offered. When he told them he didn't want to retire and that his record spoke for itself, the CEOs of both cor- porations were more blunt, "You either retire, or we'll vote you out and you won't get a golden handshake, just Social Security." I then added, "We're lucky. Age is a plus in our field, not a mi- nus." They all agreed and si- lently thanked providence that they were in the profes- sion called higher education. At some point, Loretta will retire from teaching. When she does, I think I might pull back from the schedule I now maintain and spend the win- ters in a warmer climate. I kiddingly tell my friends that when I retire, I want to sit under a palm tree on a beach in the tropics sipping some- thing cold and puffing on a good cigar, and the most provocative thing I want to see is the tide going out and the tide coming in. Most people my age are long retired, but considering I married a lady a dozen years my junior, I think I have a way to go before I look for those, tropical palms. I think I picked up my atti- tudes from'Babbononno and Dad. Babbononno had to re- .tire when he was sixty-five. If they tried to enforce this today, it would legally be con- sidered age discrimination. He didn't call it quits, though. He was a furniture maker and carpenter and was much -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS WWW. BOSTO N POSTGAZETTE.COM 781-648-5678 The Socially Set (Continued from Page 8) in demand locally by neigh- bors who needed work done and wanted the best. He fi- nally called it quits in his chosen trade as well as his music when arthritis forced him to. Dad was a full-time musi- cian who traveled with the big bands of the 30s, until WW II began. He came home as 1941 ended and worked with local bands at night while accepting a day job teaching machine shop at his old alma mater, East Boston High School. When court-ordered bussing began in Boston, he was in admin- istration and had to head into troubled waters with other administrators to help solve the problems that plagued the city. As the pressure began to effect him, he and Mom discussed the possibil- ity of retirement and he eventually did retire. Not one to remain idle, he became more involved with union politics and became a mem- ber of the Board of Directors of the Musicians' Union and the Professional Musicians Club. Unfortunately, bad health slowed him down in 1990 and he passed away in 1991, at the age of 81. The third person who influ- enced me in terms of ignor- ing age was Uncle Nick, my mother's middle brother and my Godfather. He, for twenty- five years, was the vice presi- dent of the Boston Musicians' Union. When he finally de- cided to call it quits, he joined Aunt Dorothy, who was al- ready in Florida. Once there, he joined the Boca Pops as a clarinetist and also worked for band leaders playing dance music for the country club set throughout Palm Beach County. He continued this routine until he was ninety. Talking it over with Loretta, I feel that if I ever do retire, it won't turn me into a vegetable. If I'm still able, I will continue writing. I have this column to consider, a bunch of short stories about growing up in East Boston and the North End that I want to finish, and a couple of books that I started and left in suspended animation. If the cold weather gets to me, I could do all of this from under a palm tree in Florida, and Loretta and I could pos- sibly teach part-time at a southern Florida college. But first, I want to see where our kids wind up living. John Jr. and his lady friend are think- ing about heading to Califor- nia this summer. Michael is living in New York, and if he continues to become more popular as an actor, might have to consider heading to California, also. Right now, I will remain here writing this column and teaching at the three col- leges I am affiliated with. By the time I'm 80, maybe I'll slow down and go looking for those palm trees in southern Florida. GOD BLESS AMERICA,, ,:,, ,II',  'd i'TY J;,"*A'"JA","4 , %\\; .'.:,,,l,.. .................................. John Larroquette won both a Theatre World Award and a Tony for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. (Photo by John Harrison) sailing event comes to North America for the very first time in its five-year history and runs from Thursday, June 30 through Monday, July 4 at Fan Pier. Boston's waterfront will showcase close combat rac- ing on high-tech, high-speed catamarans raced by some of the world's best skippers. This 11-month global tour spans three continents with eleven top-class teams from eight nations. The award- winning circuit brings together sailors from fifteen different nationalities, in- cluding Olympians, Amer- ica's Cup winners, world champions and two-time Olympic Gold medalists who race against each other on identical boats along the heart of Boston's inner harbor. Previous stops for the Extreme Sailing Series TM included Muscat, Oman; Qindao, China; and Istanbul, Turkey and will conclude with races in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain before their final stop in Singapore. "Boston is proud to be the first U.S. city to host the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series TM to our waterfront for the city's July 4 th cele- bration -- one of the largest in the nation," said Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston. "Fan Pier is the perfect place for spectators to expe- rience this up-close-and- personal extreme water sport," said Joseph Fallon, CEO and President of The Fallon Company. "We plan to make this the most spec- tacular event in the circuit with fireworks, a race vil- lage filled with activities for families, on-site television coverage and a fun-filled, five-day event for Boston area residents and visitors." Other highlights at the Extreme Sailing Series TM at Fan Pier will include the Race Village, open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day during this historic event. In addition to all of the racing activities, the Race Village will also include Red Bull energy stations and Red Bull Air Force displays, fire- works displays, live enter- tainment and dancing, oyster shucking from Legal Sea Foods, additional sam- plings provided by Lydia Shire and Shrine, and an interactive family friendly area. For the most up-to-date information and full sched- ule of events for the Extreme Sailing Series TM at Fan Pier in Boston, visit http:// facebook, com/ ESSFanPier. Enjoy t (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, www.bostongardens.eom. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.) North End Waterfront Health Employees (Continued from Page 3) department also won a Part- ners in Excellence Award for outstanding, performance and commitment to excel- lence. Georgina Chamber- lain, DMD, Edward Fidrocki, DDS, Catherine Dooling, RDH, Maria Ferrusi, CDA, Silva Arstamyan, and Kellie Ann 'VCalsh received the reward for their hard work and perseverance while the department was under- staffed. Ferruisi also received an individual Partners in Excel- lence Award because she consistently goes above and beyond for the department and the Health Center. She skillfully manages the den- tal department budget and follows up on every possible avenue to save the non-profit organization money. She also translates Italian for the de- partment as well as the rest of the health center. "I am extremely proud of all our staff and these seven individuals have showcased our commitment to provid- ing quality care to the North End community," says Jim Luisi, North End Waterfront Health CEO. "It's because of dedicated staff members like these that we are the pre- miere health care provider in the neighborhood." @ JUSTINE YANDLE PHOTOGRAPHY 781.589.7347 J USTINE.YANDLE@GMAIL.COM www.J USTINEYANDLEPHOTO GRAPHY.COM (* I, :'1 "3"t,)" -, , ,' a,', ; # lt ,% " I