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August 12, 2011     Post-Gazette
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August 12, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 12, 2011 Page13 abb onno i i lUlU Ul ii You've never heard of Norwich, New York, a city that is between Syracuse and Albany and reachable via state roads 12 or 23. Well, back in the day, Dad played for the Chet Nelson Orchestra during the sum- mer, and from the end of June to the Labor Day week- end, they worked the county fairs throughout the north- east. This week, the 9th through the 14m, is the time slot for this year's Norwich Chenango County Fair. Dad loved to play the county fairs during the summer months. They were fun, profitable and you got to see a good portion of rural America that, otherwise, was left to the locals. Of course, Morn and I went with him when we could. At times, Nanna and Babbo- nonno came along. This was my parents attempt to get them away from the city during part of the summer. If it wasn't for my father insisting they come along, they would never have had a vacation. Beginning around 1955, things changed a little. Dad bought the cot- tage on Lake Maranacook in Winthrop, Maine and the family headed there in August, minus bad when it was time to play at a county fair somewhere. But this was the early 1950s, and Mom. Dad, Nanna, Babbo- nonno and I piled into Dad's 1949 Chevy and headed for New York state. For these outside fair grounds, Dad played tuba, not bass. This meant that there was more room in the car for everyone's stuff: the tuba (or maybe his Sou- saphone), suitcases with clothes, a portable charcoal burner, a Coleman gas stove, a Coca Cola ice chest filled with everything Italian that had to be refrigerated, a gar- ment bag with Dad's band uniforms, jugs of homemade wine that Babbononno insisted upon and a couple of cardboard boxes with things my family might need in the wilderness of rural New York. When we arrived at the fairgrounds, Dad had a meeting to attend, and when he returned to us, he said that we were staying at the home of a man named Will Northrup. It seemed that the Northrups, a retired couple, had a large home and rented out rooms to help make ends meet. Will Northrup was wheelchair bound, but he and Babbononno hit it off by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance immediately due to Babbo- nonno's homemade wine, if you get my drift. Most of the rural fairs were held at designated fair grounds, with buildings that could house prize animals that were put on display by local farmers, or 4H Club members showing the pro- duce grown in the area, ad- vertising the latest in farm implements and machinery and selling just about any- thing that was homemade or grown. Each of these fair grounds had a race track with a grandstand on the outside of the center of the track and a stage on the inside of the track. During the day, people in the grand- stand were treated to horse pulling contests, sulky races, dare devil car drivers, a couple of the entertainers that appeared on the night time venue and a few selec- tions from Chet Nelson's band with Dad on tuba. All of the entertainment was con- ducted between the races, rain or shine. After Dad got settled into his routine, he invited Mr. and Mrs. Northrup to be his guests at the fair. They hadn't been to it in years, as Will Northrup had been in a wheelchair for quite a while. Dad made all the arrange- ments, and they had one heck of an afternoon for themselves. After that point in time, Mrs. Northrup in- sisted on making breakfast for us. None of us were used to country style breakfasts which, to these New York folks, consisted of oatmeal, fried eggs, buckwheat pan cakes, home cured bacon, American style sausages, homemade white bread with fresh churned butter and black coffee with fresh cow's milk on the side. This was the type of meal that, once eaten, you might get hungry four or five days later. Lunch and dinner were usually eaten at the many food areas at the fairgrounds. Most of it was wholesome. Most of it was good tasting. All of it was American. Thank God Dad brought the Coca-C01a ice chest where Babbononno had stashed everything Italian that he assumed we wouldn't find in rural America. I even worked during many of the county fairs.-For the shows held at night on the stage across from the grandstand, they needed many scenery changes. A- scenery man from South Boston usually had the con- -- FOR Y0U WHO APPRECIATE TIlE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS ....... . ........... ...................... ZS.l-.64/~5t?:xT,8" tract, and he was the man I worked for. He was an Irish- man named Louie who chewed cigars, day and night. He taught me how to be a stage hand and paid me $35.00 for the week to assist him; not bad for a young kid in the early '50s. Dad's business partner in the music business was the trumpet player for the band, Barney Mould. One day, it rained so hard that all of the afternoon entertainment was cancelled and we all sat at tables in a large staff tent that was located on the grass behind the stage. Barney, a tall heavy set red head, and Dad complained to each other about eating nothing but American food. Nanna, Babbononno and Morn agreed. Barney told Dad that he had heard of a Kosher delicatessen on the outskirts of Syracuse. That's all Dad had to hear. We made a dash for his car, piled in and headed for an establishment called "Benny Qinsberg'g Koaher Deli." Don't ask me how, but we found it and ran inside dodg- ing the rain drops. The smell reminded me of the delis in Chelsea when I was a kid. The only smell that was better to my nostrils was an Italian grocery store, but I didn't want to offend anyone so I kept my mouth shut. We looked around for sev- eral minutes until Dad appeared with Mr. Ginsberg, the owner. Dad told him that Barney was a Cantor at a temple in Bogton, and if he gave us good prices, maybe Barney would sing a couple of religious songs for him. Barney obliged and the bill was cut in half. That after- noon, we pigged out on pas- trami, Jewish hard salami, corned beef, homemade coleslaw, half sour pickles and tomatoes and a few other Jewish delicacies. Babononno told everyone that the food wasn't Italian, but it was just as good. We took what we didn't eat and put it in Dad's Coke chest for a future lunch. Babbononno hit it off with the leader of a dog act that was one of the features of the fair that year. His name was dohnnie Laddie and he was from Foggia where Babbononno was born. At night, after the show, they talked about the Old Country in their own dia- lect, drank Babbononno's wine and patted the dogs. We became friendly with a two- man pantomime act called the Bryants. They both had numbers tattooed on their left arms. They were survi- vors of a Nazi concentration camp and had put their act together years earlier to en- tertain the other inmates. This was how I spent part of my youth during the sum- mers of the late '40s through the mid '50s, and I wouldn't swap those memories for all .,.~e tmil~iorm, I never made. .... GOD-i3'LI~SS ~ERICA The Socially Set (Continued Popular entertainer Tony Cibotti will be performing songs from the Great American Songbook made famous by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole on Thursday, August 18 at the Hyde Park Library beginning at 6 p.m. Admission is free and re- freshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Hyde Park Library, which is located at 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park. For more information, call 617-361-2524. (File photo by Hilda M. Morrill) from Page 10) anthropic endeavor of Babak Bina, co-owner of Lala Rokh, BiNA Osteria and Bin 26. A non-profit organization pro- viding Equine Assisted Ac- tivities and Therapies (EAAT), the BiNA Farm offers inte- grated programs of music, art, gardening and nature to children with cognitive, physical, psychological and developmental disabilities. The organization goes a step beyond similar equine therapy programs by inte- grating children with and without special needs, al- lowing them to interact and learn from one another, while creating an inclusive, enriching community of family members, caregivers and friends. For more information, call 508-479-6232 or visit Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening website, 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.) Andrew B. Cuneo (Continued from Page 3) Cross Street and fired five shots at Whelan. One of the five shots struck Whelan in the leg causing him to fall to, the pavement. Whelan then attempted to reload his pistol, but Sergeant Cor- coran, Officer Hafner, Deyer, Stengel and Kavainugh were able to hold him down and arrest him, not without a violent struggle. Officers McGowan, Mayer and Curry rushed Officer Cuneo to the Haymarket Relief Hospital where Doctor Breslin pronounced Officer Andrew B. Cuneo dead upon arrival. Whelan was charged with the murder of Officer Cuneo and arraigned in the Municipal Court before Judge Dowd. Officer Cuneo was married and the father of nine children. Patrolman Andrew B. Cuneo was buried in St. Michaels Cemetery, Roslindale. MA. Officer An- drew B. Cuneo's name is on the National Law Enforce- ment Memorial in Washing- ton, DC, Panel 7, East 6, along with the Massachu- setts State Law Enforcement Memorial in Boston and at the Boston Police Memorial located at Bogton Police headquarters. [nough ToII Mr, Pr idnt (Continued from Page 1) will not grow under a cloud of tax and regulatory uncertainty. And another speech is not going to change that. Mr. President, respectfully, you need some different poli- cies and you need to listen to some different advisors. A declining stock market, a U.S. credit downgrade follow- ing a questionable debt ceil- ing deal, and a persistently high unemployment rate are clear evidence of the need to do so. It is also very clear that we need new leadership in the White House. It pains me to say so, hut the best days of this presi- dency are behind us. Copyright 2010 The t - Nor[h Star National. All Rights Reserved The Agency for all your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking :wo~s fo[ I he nsU~r to prevent fraud and ~ion;