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June 30, 2017

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 30, 2017 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore I The Fun and Festive Fourth by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz independence, was recruited to fight in the Civil War and, though he did not because of his commitment to Italy's free- dom, his name inspired a Union No other holiday smells, tastes, or feels like summer more than the Fourth of July. It is the scent of fired-up grills emanating from every Ameri- can backyard, the light swirl of smoke rising up in the hazy heat. It is the taste of sweet but- tered corn crunching between your teeth. The Fourth of July encompasses the sounds of families laughing as they share food and memories outside, and of fireworks exploding across a silky night sky. To this day, I stiU feel a mysterious shiver when I hear the faint sound of fireworks bursting from some far-off festival during a starlit evening. These distant fire- works instill in me the feeling of the unknown, the sensation that little feasts are sweeping the country before the big cel- ebration of Independence Day. Because of these exciting and myriad feelings, the Fourth of July remains one of my favorite holidays, the quintessential cel- ebration of summer. It is a com- memoration of family and food, patriotism and heritage, history and diversity, all converging in a brilliant summer day. Had Massachusetts repre- sentative John Adams been correct, we would have been honoring our country's Inde- pendence Day on the second of July. That was the day in 1776, when during the height of the Revolutionary War, the convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies known as the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution that de- clared independence from Great Britain. Adams predicted that this day would forevermore be marked with parades, bonfires, and games. In reality, Adams's speculation on the nature of Independence Day celebrations proved accurate, only the date shifted to the fourth, when the Congress finally approved this declaration after much revision. Therefore, the Fourth of July commemorates a tremendous event -- a bold statement of independence, a desire to free ourselves from oppression that would inspire revolutions the world over. As a patriotic holi- day, the Fourth of July is also a perfect time to honor America's diversity, and during this holi- day I often reflect on what it means to be Italian-American. Italians have been involved in America's quest for liberty and equality since the country's early days. The Tuscan physi- cian Filippo Mazzei inspired the Declaration of Independence's statement that everyone has fundamental equality. Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian Public Insurance Adjuster Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building Jy Sal Giarratani Army regiment comprised of soldiers from both Europe and America. The U.S. Capitol dome was painted by an Italian immigrant, Constantino Bru- midi. I believe that America's diversity and blend of cultures is precisely what makes our country so great, and on the Fourth of July I celebrate my pride as both an American and an Italian-American. Along with its history, the Fourth of July is also revelry in the primordial pleasures of summer, of outdoor festivi- ties. and food and fire and the splash of water. In this way, it resembles European Midsum- mer celebrations, which mark the height of the season around the summer solstice. My family has several Fourth of July tra- ditions which I hold especially dear, all of which epitomize the unbridled joy of summer." On the night of July 3~d, my hus- band and I watch a fireworks display put on by our old home- town. As we sit in the stands of the high school football field, we are surrounded by images of vintage Americana: children playing tag across the field, glow sticks waving like little bursts of starlight brought down to Earth, snatches of classic rock tunes, and streaks of color il- luminating the night sky as the crowd hushes with awe. On the Fourth, my family gathers for a festive meal which would not be complete without my two Independence Day mainstays: a Southwestern corn pudding and Zebra Pudding, a delectable dessert consisting of chocolate wafers layered with whipped cream, decorated with chocolate sprinkles, and refrigerated until properly cool and the wafers turn soft. My mother usually makes a panzanella salad and, as an appetizer, a dip of salsa and cream cheese served with tortilla chips. As we gather for food and fun, we laugh and share nostalgic and funny stories as the hot summer day descends into a balmy, firefly- filled evening. I will always be thankful for this day of com- munity, love, pride and food! The Fourth of July grants us an opportunity to pause and reflect on what is most impor- tant in life. As we celebrate the freedoms that make America wonderful, we should pause and honor the sacrifices of the men and women throughout history and the modem day who made these freedoms possible. We should take this holiday as a chance to feel proud to be an American but also proud of our ethnic heritage, which contributes to our unique iden- tifies. Finally, we should see the Fourth of July as a prime feast of summer, and all of the joys that the season entails. With that, I must take the time to wish everyone ... A Happy and Safe Fourth of July! Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachu- setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- The Older We Get, The More Chill We Feel I still remember back in 1968, when I was a Boston State College freshman just starting off into my future; I met a bunch of guys my age down at the Collins Lounge, a hangout during class breaks. One of them surprisingly was someone from my old Roxbury neighborhood who had moved to Southie. His name was Johnny McGinty. He was at this table and started introducing me to his friends from Southie and Dorchester and I quickly settled in with them. Little did I know that that introduction that morning would turn into a lifetime of friendship that continues to last until this day. Recently, we as a group have not all held together as tightly as we once did, but we still have open lines of communication somehow. Must be the magic of real friendships. Over the years we have grown together in both happiness and sorrow. The older we get, the sorrow shows up too often. Two weeks ago, sorrow showed up larger than life. One of those friends, Eddie Stack from that Class of "72 group, suffered a massive heart attack and died. It hit me so hard. He was far too young to die. His father, after all, lived to be 92, didn't he? However, there we all stood in a circle of sadness with all those graying memories: Jack and Patty Harney, Paul and Cathy Donovan, Eddie and Donna Gregory. Among our group was also Jack Ronigan, who went back with Eddie Stack since first grade. There we were, once young and full of hope, attending Boston State or, in the case of Jack Harney from H Street, some college up in the sticks in Biddeford, ME. And then there was Ronigan, who was studying at St. John's for the priesthood. He made it, too, and sadly was part of that sad circle at St. Mary's Church in Dedham for Eddie Stack's funeral Mass. Even Bob Murphy from Hingham, another link of the circle, showed up. Eddie leaves behind his wife Maureen, another very important part of the circle, and their two daughters. We all were one again, comforting each other. Maureen wanted us all to be pallbearers, something we never would have thought about 49 years ago chatting it up in Collins Lounge. But here we were helping to carry Eddie home and remembering all we had experienced together. Even in the midst of real sorrow, there were moments that would bring smiles to our faces as we talked about Eddie. I actually spilled the beans about a family secret he denied to his grave. His daughters had heard about the "Chandelier Story," but when they asked their dad, he denied all knowledge. I can remember at the wedding of one of his daughters, I asked him if he ever told her about the "Chandelier." He smiled, looldng at me, and said, %Vhat chandelier?" Jack Ronigan is now Father Ronigan and he said Eddie's Mass, not just as celebrant but as a lifelong friend. Eddie is in good shape. How many guys get a dear friend to say your Mass, and then have four other friends not drop you as pallbearers. When I think of Eddie I will never forget the night of the chandelier on East Broadway in Southie or his old, black Dodge sedan and his crook lock ready to protect it. So long, Eddie, I will see you again, but don't stay up too late waiting for me. It hopefully won't be for a while. Meanwhile, I will keep you in my mind and prayers. N 5 PRINCE STREET NORTH END * BOSTON, MA 02113 Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs Stationery * Business Cards * Menus * Flyers Program oks * Wedding andP Invitations 6uncem * Business and Documents m COMPETITIVE PRICES lore at