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June 27, 2014     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 27, 2014 Page13 Babb?]nonno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance My father was a pioneer in the Department of Audio and Visual Education, created by the Boston Public Schools just after WWII. During the '30s, he had been on the road with the big bands, most of whom traveled the coun- try playing swing music for the bobbie soxers. When the war started, the bands began breaking up as many musi- cians traded their instru- ments for rifles, machine guns and other weapons of war. Dad came home and registered for the draft. While waiting to be called, he accepted a job teaching machine shop at his old alma mater, East Boston High School. He didn't have a college degree at that point, but if a tradesman wanted to teach his or her trade, all they needed was to prove they had spent seven years in that trade. As a kid, Dad had been employed by an iron works and he was hired. Once the war was over, Dad was approached by a mutual friend who was in administration at the school committee headquarters. It seems that a neighbor from Jamaica Plain was running for a seat on the Boston School Committee and had no contacts in East Boston. Dad was asked to help out. Dad met the prospective can- didate and the two men hit it off. As a result, Dad agreed to help out. It was a bit difficult for Dad as he was playing with a band six nights a week and teaching five days a week, but he succeeded in obtain- ing enough votes for the candidate, Dan McDevett, to capture East Boston. Once in, Dan told my father about a new department being considered in the BPS. It seems that the administra- tion wanted every school to have a projector to show films and a repository that lent the films to the schools, hence the new Depart- ment of Audio and Visual Education. Dad headed to Boston State College and took the neces- sary courses to prepare himself to become one of the four pioneers in this new department. The man who initially asked Dad to help Dan McDevitt out was to become the director of the new agency, Joe Hennessey. The other two men were Lester Morris and Mike Barca. (Mike and Dad would become the best of friends, and we would buy a cottage in Maine a few years later to be near Mike and his family who vacationed there each summer.) As the department grew, they were given tons of war surplus equipment by the federal government. Joe Hennessey would determine if what they were sent could be used at the local schools, and ff something couldn't be used, the men of the depart- ment could take the equip- ment home. As a result, our cellar looked like a war surplus store. The only thing I still have is a pair of field binoculars. Dad brought home a tank radio that wound up in Babbo- nonno's room. My grand- father was becoming pro- gressively deaf and wouldn't admit it. As a result, on Sat- urdays, when the Metropoli- tan Opera House in New York would air their weekly show, Babbononno would switch on his tank radio and you could hear Italian grand opera all over the neighbor- hood. It was loud. Working in the audio visual department had its perks. The school commit- tee, city council and the mayor's office would have Dad or one of the other department members film events that they partici- pated in. This, of course, was back in the day before video tape was invented. Because Dad became so involved in the filming needed by Boston officials, he was often given perks that were usu- ally reserved for politicians and the people they wanted to impress. From the point in time when I was just out of diapers, I was a Red Sox fan. One of the perks Dad received was a pass to sit with the city hall politicians at Fenway. Back when I was a kid, the first or second row of seats just to the left of the Red Sox dugout were reserved for Boston officials. Dad couldn't use the seat he was assigned to at night as he was usually playing with his or some other band. He often looked for someone in the neighborhood who might be going to Fenway Park on a particular night and have them take me along and deposit me at the seat loca- tion I mentioned, and then pick me up for the return trip home. Being a sweet young kid, I didn't know who most of the people were that surrounded me. All of them referred to me as "Little John," or "John -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 C's" son. On any given night, especially if the Yankees were in town, I would be sitting with the mayor, the police commissioner, the fire chief and members of the city council and school committee. As a result, they bought me hot dogs, soda, ice cream and peanuts. I was treated like a little king ... I didn't object. During those early years, Dad traveled to many of the schools showing films that they had requested. Most of them were industrial or edu- cational films, not Holly- wood productions. Once each school had an AV per- son who could handle the projectors, Dad could back off and just work out of the department's main office. Later, after a few more courses had been taken, Dad became the person who designed the science experi- ments used at the junior high schools around the city. They fell under the jurisdic- tion of the Audio Visual Department. Dad would pack the necessary equipment for a series of experiments in wooden boxes and have them delivered to each junior high in the city. As the depart- ment grew, more people became involved and Dad didn't have to leave the office as much as he did in those pioneering days. At one point in time, he looked around and discovered that he was the last of the four men who started the new department right after WWII. Unfortunately, when bus- sing started in Boston, the superintendent of schools sent mid level administra- tors out to the schools that were in trouble due to racial tensions. Dad would often come home feeling like he had been in combat. He was often nervous and irritable. He and Mom sat down one day and discussed what was going on and Mom asked, "Do you have enough time to retire?" The answer was yes. She then asked if they could live on whatever his pension would be. Again, the answer was yes. And so, Dad put in his papers and retired. He immediately became more involved with the Boston Musicians Union, something he had been part of for decades. He continued in this direction until ill health put an end to playing at night and heading to the union hall during the day. His birthday would have been this month on the 9th. He would have been 104. He had a great life and always said the words I end my column with: GOD BLESS AMERICA I Socially Scene {Continued from Page 6) Newport Flower Show ... Opens on Friday, June 27'h, 2014 at Rosecliff, one of Newport's most beautiful and historic mansions. serene weekend retreats, horse farms and a quail plantation. The Opening Night Party on Friday, June 27th will launch Newport's summer season, with a cocktail buf- fet, live music and dancing, a seaside'supper, and other entertaining surprises. The show will continue through the weekend with unfor- gettable garden railway ex- hibits, horticultural entries, floral designs, photography, and children's programs, all staged throughout the el- egant reception rooms of Rosecliff, its oceanfront ter- race and lawn. Two' new events have been added to the weekend this year. Among the lavish and inspiring home and garden festivities will be an Authors' Afternoon Tea reception on Saturday, June 28th at 2:30 pm, and a Sunday Champagne Brunch on Sunday, June 29th at 11:00 am. The expansive front lawn of Rosecliff will once again be filled with beautiful garden displays, offering inspiration for those look- ing to add color and charm to their own gardens. Guests will be able to browse the Gardeners' Marketplace for specialty plants, flowers and garden accessories. The shopping experience will continue on the back lawn, in the Oceanside Boutiques featuring additional garden and lifestyle-related products and services. The Newport Flower Show will be open to the public from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, June 27th, and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sat- urday, June 28th and Sun- day, June 29th. The Authors' Afternoon Tea reception will take place on the back lawn of Rosecliff on Saturday, June 28th at 2:30 pm. Guests will be treated to a sampling of savory and sweet delicacies as well as flavored versions of iced or hot teas. Joining the guests will be relevant authors who will share their newly published books. PRAYER TO ST. JUDE May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and pre- served throughout the world now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us, St. Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day and by the 8th day your prayers will be answered. It has never been known to fail. Publication must be promised. My prayers have been answered, s.s. The Sunday Champagne Brunch is a great way to ease into the last day of the Newport Flower Show on Sunday, June 29th at II:00 a.m. Guests will enjoy a delicious brunch on the terrace at Rosecliff, with one of America's leaders in style and gardening. Special guest P. Alien Smith will headline two lecture luncheons on Friday and Saturday. Smith has been practicing design since he returned from his stud- ies in England nearly 30 years ago. His home, Moss Mountain Farm, serves as the inspiration for his culi- nary pursuits, design work, art, books and nationally syndicated television shows. With Newport's largest private ballroom, Rosecliff was constructed in 1902 as a party pavilion for one of the leading society host- esses of the Gilded Age. This snow-white terra-cotta mansion, modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles, was created for Theresa Fair Oelrichs, heir to the Com- stock silver lode in Nevada. It hosted many of the most fabulous entertainments of the period, including a fairy- tale dinner and a party, featuring magician Harry Houdini. Free lectures and demonstrations by plant ex- perts, flower designers and gardeners will also be pre- sented throughout the weekend. For more details and to purchase tickets visit www.NewportFlowerShow, org, or call (401) 847-1000. LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Middlesex Probate and Family Court 208 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02141 Docket No. MI14D2102DR DIVORCE SUMMONS BY PUBLICATION AND MAILING PROSCOVIA STALLWORTH VS. ANTHONY STALLWORTH To the Defendant: The Plaintiff has filed a Complaint for Divorce requesting that the Court grant a divorce for Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage lB. The Complaint is on file at the Court. An Automatic Restraining Order has been entered in this matter preventing you from taking any action which would negatively impact the current financial status of either party. SEE Supplemental Probate Court Rule 411. You are hereby summoned and required to serve upon Richard S. Cabelus, Esq., Maroun & Cabelua, LLC, 397 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801 your answer, if any, on or before July 28, 2014. If you fail to do so, the court will proceed to the hearing and adjudication of this action. You are atso required to file a copy of your answer, if any, in the office of the Register of this Court. WITNESS, HON. EDWARD F. DONNELLY, JR., First Justice of this Court. Date: June 17, 2014 Tara E. DeCristofaro, Register of Probate Run date: 6/27/14 J-