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July 12, 2013     Post-Gazette
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July 12, 2013
 

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Page' 10 ; "POS'I=-GAZETTE,'JULY 12, 2013" ' "" by John Christoforo (IFt/lO; Babb onno A Nostalgic Remembrance Socially Scene (Continued from Page 7) I guess I'm getting more sentimental than ever. I just sold the house we moved into after we left East Boston and I am feeling guilty and nostalgic. Since my mother passed away, I've held onto the house and have rented it to a couple of dif- ferent families. But, it all started during the winter of 1960. Dad came home one night from playing with his band and there must have been about six inches of snow on the ground. He couldn't find a parking space anywhere near the house on Eutaw Street. He dropped off his instruments and scouted the neighborhood for about a half hour and finally found a place to park. He then walked home with the snow soaking his shoes and freezing his feet. You could hear him coming up the stairs to the top floor when he arrived. He was swearing in both Italian and English. From that point on, he talked about moving to the suburbs. He spoke to Uncle Gino and Aunt Ninna about what it was like living in Belmont. His piano player, who lived in Newton, gave him infor- mation about his neighbor- hood, as did several relatives that had left East Boston and the North End for the north- ern suburbs. Dad spoke to Mom about his conversations with friends and relatives, but she was adamant about stay- ing in East Boston where Babbononno was comfort- able. Finally, in exaspera- tion, he told her that they could stay at the Eutaw Street apartment and he would pay for it, but he was moving. Mom gave in, but Babbononno didn't want to move. Dad gave him the same offer and he backed down saying that he was going with us to wherever we decided to live. Dad decided on Belmont. Uncle Gino knew of a house that was going on the market in the spring of 61 and we looked at it. Dad made the down payment and on Good Friday of 1961, we moved in. It was quite dif- ferent living in the suburbs than on Eagle Hill in East Boston. I couldn't sleep for the first week or so, it was too quiet. No planes flying over the house, no sirens in the streets, no neighbors sitting on the front steps after dinner and no corner store where one could buy cigarettes, newspapers or play the daily number. I had decided to go back to school and begin working on a master's degree and knew it would be cheaper to live at home rather than maintain an apartment, so I went along and became a Belmontonian. The decade of the '60s was a busy one for me. I was teaching in Bos- ton, playing music nights, at first in Boston and then New York. And then later, I began commuting to Los Angeles when the Hollywood doors I was knocking on began to open. Dad was happy with the life style he adopted. He knew that no matter where he played, when he came home at night, he had a driveway to park in. Mom adjusted to suburban living along with Dad. Babbononno hated it. Belmont Center was just a ten minute walk away, but no one sold DeNobili cigars, no one sold I1 Porgresso, no one sold La Gazetta (our Post-Gazette), and most important, no one spoke Italian. As a result, he was un- happy. Finally, Dad and my uncles found him an apart- ment near Maverick Square and it was just what he wanted. My mother wasn't too happy with his leaving the fold, because his apart- ment was next door to an Irish lady close to his age and she insisted on taking care of my grandfather. I don't know how they com- municated. She had a brogue thick enough to cut with a knife and Babbononno spoke fractured English. But, they became close friends. Nanna had been gone for about ten years and this relationship was company for him. Dad and I made several changes to the new house. The first thing we did was paint it and when it needed painting a year and a half later, I called in a siding com- pany and they did the rest. Dad wanted new kitchen cabinets and the old ones were replaced that same year. Little by little the house was modified to suit Mom and Dad's tastes. Well, the years rolled by and in 1977, Loretta and I were married. The night be- fore the wedding, my folks hosted a pre-nuptial dinner party with Uncle Nick play- ing the part of bar tender. No one went without. The priest that was going to marry us asked if me if I had a room he could use to hear confes- -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 sions for anyone that wanted to receive Holy Communion at the ceremony. I picked my old bedroom as the location and the first to confess was a member of the wedding party. When he and the priest came down stairs to rejoin the festivities, they were both laughing. I asked what was funny. The priest an- swered with, "This is the first time I've listened to a confession with the confes- sor drinking a beer, me with a scotch on the rocks and an open copy of Playboy on the pillow of the bed." As the years advanced, Dad began to slow down. He developed aneurisms that were operated on until one finally did him in the fall of 1991. He passed away at age 8 i. Mom did better than I thought she would as a widow. To make things easier, whenever Loretta, the kids and I headed to a vacation spot, we brought her along. This came to an abrupt end one winter week- end when she was in her 90s. I had help go in several times a week, but it became evident she needed the care that could only be found in a nursing home. She consid- ered the place a vacation resort and was happy right up to the end. She passed away on son Michael's birthday in 2007. When all was said and done, I felt guilty selling the house and decided to rent it. For the first three years, a fam- ily from out of state occupied it. When they left, another family rented it for a month and gave us such a hard time, I evicted them. Then, along came another family. The Honduran government wanted to open a consulate in Boston and the new con- sul general and her family moved in with three kids and a nanny. Happy days were back again and they were great tenants. Unfortunately, they had to leave and I de- cided to sell the house. I felt guilty about doing so, but it was time. I called a friend who works in real estate and the house was on the market for only a day and then it sold. A couple of weeks ago, a young couple bought it stating that they were newlyweds and wanted to start a family right away. I was happy that the house was going to the kind of people who might inherit the energy and love that was attached to the property. On the way home from finalizing the sale, I dropped Loretta off and told her that I had to do an errand. I drove by the house and silently said my goodbye to what had been the family estate, emotionally telling my late folks that it was time for new young life to take over. I guess I made peace with myself and generations of family that came before me. And so it goes ... GOD BLESS AMERICA Also to open the festival is Acoustical Electronica on July 13th at 9:00 pm in the Commons. (Photo courtsey of outsidethebox.org) through song that they strive to address the societal challenges of today. With intensive choral training and high-profile public per- formance experience, chil- dren learn discipline, de- velop leadership skills, and proudly represent the city of Boston as ambassadors of harmony. Since the BCC's inception, their programs have grown rapidly. Twenty children were accepted into an initial pilot program and in the cur- rent season, they have over 500 singers from diverse backgrourlds in the Greater Boston area, with twelve choirs in five different loca- tions. BCC' is just off cel- ebrating 10 Years of Har- mony, and has performed all over the world, from Japan and Australia to Jordan and Mexico. Also hitting the stage the first day is Acoustica- Electronica on July 13th at 9pm Boston Common: SPIEGELTENT AT TREMONT but this is for the adults be- ing an 18 plus show. Presented by toUch Perfor- mance Art, a genre-bending performance company lo- cated in Boston and NYC, AeousticaElectronica is an extraordinary event that blends elements of elec- tronic and classical music, dance, circus arts and the- atre with the infectious en- ergy of a contemporary nightclub. This immersive event fea- tures dancers, symphonies, aerialists, operas, and live musicians in every inch of the performing space to keep the audience -- or par- ticipants, as Acoustica- Electronica refers to them - guessing at every turn. Dig Boston says, "It's like Cirque du Soliel meets a rave, but a better description would be totally unbelievable. This was the COOLEST blend of theater, all types of music, dance, opera and creation of an atmosphere in a space that I have ever seen." Experience the Fork Lift Food Fest at Outside The Box from July 18th--21st! A festi- val within a festival featur- ing the best local restau- rants and celebrity chefs, the Fork Lift Food Fest will transform City Hall Plaza into a garden of gastronomic delight. Celebrate the culi- nary arts alongside the per- forming arts with pop-up demonstrations and book signings by celebrity chefs, as well as small plates from Boston's best eateries. Need something to wash it all down? Relax with a drink in our Wine & Beer Pavilion (21 and overJ." " Located right in the middle of the action, the Fork Lift Food Fest is the perfect spot to grab some lunch or dinner while you're enjoying all the performances that Outside The Box has to offer. From July 13th--21st, the first annual performing arts festival will turn public spaces like the Boston Com- mon and City Hall Plaza into performance spaces, with over 200 events showcasing the best of Boston and Mas- sachusetts and what a party is shaping up to be. I will be highlighting a few each week but there are so many events to attend and fun to be offered I just couldn't in- clude it all, So if you're look- ing to view the schedule, see the artists and chef's visit www.outsidethebox.org for more details. The Marvelous Wonder- ettes .... The Marvelous Wonderettes written and cre- ated by Roger Bean opened on July 5th and will continue through the 28th at the Stoneham Theatre. Revisit your prom at Springfield High circa 1958. You'll have a crush on this funny, sweet, frothy musical revue that features every hit song you can imagine from the '50s and '60s, including Mr. Sandman, Lollipop, It's My Party, Leader of the Pack, It's in His Kiss and Respect. The Stoneham opened on Friday, November 2, 1917. The feature attraction of the opening performance was Womanhood, the Glory of the Nation. Movies were silent when The Stoneham was born. Though early films lacked sound effects and spoken dialogue, they were usually shown with accompaniment by a harried piano player whose tunes suited the action. A new era in the field of movie pictures, the talk- ing and sound picture; ar- rived at The Stoneham on Sunday, May 12, 1929. The renovation to sound placed a new screen at the front of the stage with the speaker behind it. It also caused an increase in ticket price, but for adults only. Amaz- ingly, some people did not want sound and for their ben- efit on two days a week The Stoneham offered a double feature; one picture with sound and the other silent. The Stoneham Theatre is filled with history yet still brings top acts to the stage. The Stoneham Theatre is located at 395 Main Street, Stoneham and the box office number is 781-279-2200. For more information visit www.Stonehamtheatre.org.