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July 13, 2012     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZETTE, JULY 13, 2012 Page 13 by John Christoforo Babb onno A Nostalgic Remembrance i ii iii i People have asked, "How come you wound up going to college?" I came from a time when a lot of my friends quit school to go to work and fin- ishing high school was for less than half of the rest. If you've ever seen Happy Days or American Graffiti, you might get the idea of how "hanging around" was of paramount importance. In our case, we didn't have an Arnold's to hang out at, we had the street corner. In places like East Boston, the North End, South Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, etc ..... teens associated with one another at designated street comers. As a young teen, my corner was at Brooks and Eutaw Streets near the top of Eagle Hill in East Boston. When I graduated from there, the next location was the bottom of the hill: Brooks and Bennington Streets. This second location had several age groups hanging around. Mine was from the mid to the late teens. There was a younger group and an older group. We mid to late teens observed the older guys and some of us tried to emulate them. Most worked hard at various factory jobs or on construction, dressed well and drove nice cars. The majority had quit school and opted for the better paying jobs that demanded physical strength and the fancy clothes and nice cars dem- onstrated to the world that they had arrived. Dad didn't mind me hang- ing out on a corner. He thought it would make me tough. He also knew the adults that ran the stores on the corner of Brooks and Bennington and was told that most of the guys weren't trouble makers and that someone would watch over me to make sure I didn't get into trouble. So, by the mid 1950s, I observed hard work- ing older guys hanging out in clothes sold by Sumner's of Boston (remember that store on Treinont Street near Boylston?), and driving the latest model Oldsmobile bought at Bell Oldsmobile in Revere (the location is still called Bell Circle.) A few of my crowd joined the service when they reached 17 or 18. Two in par- ticular joined the Marines, were sent to Parris Island for training, and flunked out for one reason or another. They were supposed to be a couple of the tough guys and came home with all of the clich6s a recruit should know, and the way they talked, you would think they had won battles single handedly, but they didn't make it and were sent home. This disillusioned me. I saw a couple of other friends get arrested one evening. There had been a robbery "in another part of East Boston and two of the guys from the corner fit the descriptions given to the police. They were* basically arrested on suspicion, something they could do in the old days. This experience also disillu- sioned me. What really changed my mind on a direction to head in life occurred around the time of high school gradua- tion. I received a call from a friend who told me that his father had gotten us jobs at a construction site. My friend was going to operate a steam shovel and I would be driv- ing a bull dozer. When we showed up at the location on the next morning, the boss handed my friend a pick and me a shovel and that's what we did all day, pick and shovel dirt. When I went home, the palms of my hands were covered with blood blis- ters. Both Dad and Babbo- nonno soaked my hands in salt water to soothe them. Babbononno thought it was great that I was going to learn a trade and develop tough hands like his. In the soak- ing process, I looked up at Dad and said, "I think you're right, I should go to college." I applied to Boston State College and got in. That summer of '56 was the last summer of hanging on the corner for me. Actually, I wasn't there every night as were some of my friends. The Seville Theater occu- pied a lot of my time. By that point in time, I was the head usher and had responsibili- ties that caused me to be at the theater a few evenings a week. On weekends when I didn't work, I headed to record hops with my friends. Rhythm and Blues was the in thing and several of my crowd were great dancers. Rock and Roll eventually be- came the term that replaced R and B for what we listened to. We were the first genera- tion to dance to the new music, today called Doo Wop. If you know names like the Platters, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Bobby Darin and Paul Anka, then you know who we danced to. As my hands healed, Dad told me that I should report to the MDC Police Station on Revere Beach. A friend of his put my name in for a job as a lifeguard. When I reported and filled out the neces- sary papers, I was assigned to Constitution Beach. I thanked everybody but didn't ask where Constitution Beach was. I had never heard of it. It turned out to be Shay's Beach in the Ori- ent Heights section of East Boston, where many of my friends hung out during the day in that summer of '56. September arrived and I headed for Boston State Col- lege. I began school in the middle of the month and combined with studying music and working at the Seville Theater, there was little time left for hanging out on the corner of Brooks and Bennington Streets. The clincher came when one of my street corner chums was sought after by the FBI, and another got into a gun fight with the local po- lice, was injured and arrested. At the same time, I was developing a new social life with some of the people I met at the college. I thought many of them were square, but I liked them. In the be- ginning, I was sort of like a Fonzie, hanging around with Richie, Potsie and Ralph. Morn and Dad were silently happy that I was moving away from the street corner. Babbononno's concentration became focused on Nanna. She developed breast cancer and was treated for two years, succumbing to it in 1958. Periodically, I'd return to the comer just to see how the guys were doing. The rhetoric I received turned me off, "You got all the breaks. Everything went your way. You're a lucky guy." By the fall of '56, all the friends my age were work- ing, most at jobs that paid lower-end hourly wages. It was time for me to say good bye and I did. In June of 1960, I gradu- ated college. Within a few weeks, I had obtained a job teaching drafting in the Boston School Department. That September, I began teaching school and com- bined with practicing my instrument, playing a little baseball, still working at the Seville Theater and thinking about graduate school, there was little time for the comer. One night, the electricity went off at the Seville and we closed early. I decided to see who was left on the old corner and headed there. Many of the same people were there and greeted me warmly, but within the first half hour, I knew that I didn't belong any longer. Times had changed or maybe I had and they hadn't. From that point on, the only stops at the old corner were when I headed for Barney's for a barbecue. The positive end of growing up on a cor- ner was that I became street-wise and would take that education with me throughout the rest of my life. Today, I can thank the guys from the street corner for those lessons. GOD BLESS AMERICA LEGAL NOTICE NOTICE OF PRIVATE SALE Notice is hereby given by TODISCO TOWING OF 94 CONDOR STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA pursuant to the provisions of Mass G.L c 255, Section 39A that they will sell the following vehicles by private sale on July 28, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Vehicles are being sold to satisfy their garage keeper's lien for towing, stor- age and notices of sale: 2000 OLDSMOBILE INTRIGUE VIN#1 G3WH52H 1YF341256 2004 HYUNDAI ACCENT VIN#KM HDN46D24U772739 1993 LEXUS SC300 VIN#JT8J231 C7P0011719 1995 HONDA CIVIC VIN#2HGEJ1226SH566414 2000 CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY VIN#1C4GP44R9YB744433 Run dates: 7/13, 7/20, 7/27 Public Safety (Continued there driving with valid li- censes. It's time to crack- down on this abuse of the system rather than enable it as Patrick has seeming accomplished. He obviously showed little empathy for a Stoughton grandmother or her grieving family who was killed reportedly by a driver operating a car registered in her own name even though the state never issued her a driver's license. According to RMV spokesperson Sara Lavoie, "There is no legal requirement that a person has to have a license to own and register a motor vehicle." Apparently, our governor is more concerned about tar- geting the undocumented and says such action "strays into inappropriate territory." Inappropriate territory is about closing your eyes to from Page I) illegals on our roads and giv- ing them permission to crash into other people shar- ing the road with them. The governor wants the scope of this legislation narrowed. The scope is fine just the way it is. The governor has now taken his stand with illegals driving on our roads causing harm to public safety. Recently, Tim Buckley, spokesperson for the MassGOP had stated, "Gov- ernor Patrick's decision to put left-wing special interest groups ahead of public safety makes about as much sense as Tim Murray's night time storm damage survey." It is time to override this veto and override it quickly. We are furious and want fast action dealing with this is- sue not more sound bites from the governor. Editorial (Continued from or under employed the true rate when all categories are included is 14%. Rumor has it many Ameri- can citizens are unaware that the tabulating of our votes have been outsourced to a company in Barcelona, Spain. For the edification of readers, not one network on television has reported this fact, not even Fox. The same is tree with the print media. It is imperative that Romney and the Republi- can Party determine who authorized outsourcing the tabulating of our sacred Page 3) votes to an overseas com- pany. I am aware no errors will be detected and these people will know the election results before'the American people. It is my contention the whole scheme was devised to guarantee the re- election of Obama. Reason, a top official of the company was a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Mitt go on the attack using the facts mentioned herein, all are verifiable. The American people will be grateful and your ratings will zoom to the top. Extra Innings (Continued Bobby Richardson showed up to support a fundraiser for the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Foundation at Yankee Stadium. I still consider RIchardson, the best second baseman I ever saw play the game. Best infielder ever in my book. Damn good human being too. Townie Skaters Chosen By NHL and Bruins Charlestown has always been a hockey town. Can any from Page 15) Townie forget 1980 and the Miracle on Ice and the role "Cowboy" Jackie O'Callaghan played in that U.S.A. victory?. Recently, the hockey legacy of Charlestown continued when Matt Grzelcyk was picked by the Boston Brains in the NHL draft. He comes from a die-hard Bruins fam- ily. Brendan Collier, another player with Charlestown roots was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes. 25493761.8 978 1634 361485 79 73984 561 4853619 7 61 579834 54679318 | 1 7658493 8931 4756 i ii !i i ii~!i ili !ii i~ i~ii!i!iiiiiiiili i~iiiiiiii!iiiil i)iii! iiii!i i!i!iiiiiil;ii!ili! iili ili!iiiiiiiiii!ii!iii!i)ii iiiili]i)i ili :~i ~!~i ~z~i ~i~i :~i ~iiiii~i~ !i~ i z~ ~i :~i~ i~i~ i~i~ i~i i~!~i~i ~ii~i~ i~i! ~ii ~}i ~ii il ~zzi !zi z~i z~ii~il ~ii~ii ~zi ~i~i~i~i i~i !~i ~ii~i~!~i ~i~ i zi~i~i~izi~i~!~i i:i~ i~i!~i ~i~!~! ~i~i~ i~i ~i~i !~i ~!~ i~i~i ~i~! ~i~z!i ~i~i~i~i ~i~iiiiiiiiiii i iii i ii i!iiii i! i iii i iiii!iii z i!ii~iiizii! ;ii!i!i! i iii iiiii:ii! i iiiii i i