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September 9, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 Page 13 ~/~(~'~(~ (~-~ by John Christoforo tlabb? onno A Nostalgic Remembrance i iiii iiiiiii ii iiiii iiii Left to Right: Uncle Nick (Nick Contini), Morn (Angelina Christoforo) and Uncle Paul (Paul Contini) enjoying their senior years. For the past three weeks, Loretta and I have been in Florida. We love it there, even in the summer. It's about the same temperature as here except the sun is more in- tense. I don't know if I could ever move there perma- nently, most of our friends are here in the Boston area. I do have friends that we hook up with when we are there, but they are new friends and none of them are Italian. We actually were go- ing to stay until Labor Day and come home that night, but decided to come home a bit early. For the first week, we stayed at a resort on Singer Island, just north of Palm Beach. We were invited by a hotel chain due to the fact that, when we travel, we usu- ally stay at one of their ho- tels. The resort was great, every amenity you could think of, but it turned out to be a time share community and was filled with dozens of kids not being watched by their parents. We listened to a time share pitch from one of their sales people but told him, "NO," to their offer. When we left, we headed to Boca Raton and the location we usually stay at when in Florida. Vacations in Florida used to be more fun years ago. We stayed right on Delray Beach with our young kids and my mother often accompanied us after Dad passed away. Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy were alive and well back then and were with us just about every day. Uncle Nick was my mother's middle brother and my Godfather. He and Aunt Dorothy never had any kids and I was their adopted son, which made my kids surro- gate grandchildren. Uncle Nick was a musician all his life and put in about twenty-five years as the vice president of the Boston Mu- sicians' Association. In re- tirement, he and Aunt Dor- othy moved to Delray Beach, he hooked up with a couple of bandleaders and continued playing society functions until he was ninety-years- old. Aunt Dorothy was a Proper B0st0niad." Adffi~Iry'," the last of the Hanscoms. Hanscom Airbase was named after one of her relatives. My son, John, once asked his great aunt, "Hey, Aunt Dorothy, how far back does your family go?" She looked over her reading glasses that were hanging on her nose, held her head high and proud and said, "The American Revolution, both sides." Actually, her family mem- bers were Loyalists. After the Revolution they had to leave in a hurry or get tarred and feathered, or worse. They couldn't get back to England and opted for Canada, escap- ing northward ten minutes in front of the vigilanties. Two generations later, they re- turned to Boston, but they had another problem. While in Canada, they had con- verted to Catholicism. I once said to my aunt, "The only reason you married an Ital- ian is that you are a status seeker." She did throw some- thing at my head. I don't know what it was because I ducked fast enough. But, they were my family in Florida and we loved them. My mother's oldest brother, Uncle Paul Contini, reached his 90s and moved to Florida, too. His youngest daughter, my cousin Ellie, retired from teaching~and hea~le~( ..t!~e ~o take care ~)!~ her aging father ~O Uncle Pau~ made it to ninety- five and then passed away. Not long afterward, Aunt Dor- othy, who also made it to her mid-nineties, died after a short illness. After that, Uncle Nick was never the same. As he headed into his nineties, he needed help and Cousin Ellie was there to take care of her uncle just as she had taken care of her mother up here and later, her father in Florida. One morning, Uncle Nick got up, had breakfast and headed for a TV to watch Regis and Kelly. During the program, he closed his eyes and that was it ... he was gone. Ellie handled all of the arrangements and he was buried next to Aunt Dorothy. By this point in time, my mother, who was in her late nineties, was in a nursing - ll-dl~.~ I" ~C'i'd'~d "fi'o~t" oiiO:'tell her about Uncle Nick's pass- ing. Within a year, Mom was gone, too. The only one left from that gide of the family is Uncle Gino, the youngest of the Contini children. He is now 94 and the last child of Nanna and Babbononno. Cousin Ellie now lives in Saint Augustine, the oldest city in America. I called her after we left the time share resort and were back in fa- miliar surroundings in Boca Raton. She drove five hours to join us for a visit. We remi- nisced about Nanna and Bab- bononno, her father, Uncle Paul, our Godfather, Uncle Nick, and my mother, her favorite aunt. I asked if she had been to any good Italian restaurants in Saint Augustine, and she replied, "There aren't any good Italian restaurants up there." I answered, "'Nuff said, I'm taking you to Pizza Time." You may remember a story I wrote about Pizza Time last year. The food is authen- tic. The name is unassum- ing, but the owner Bobby, his son, Rino and the head waiter Lou, run things just like they did when they lived in Brooklyn, We went there on a Sun- day afternoon and Lou the waiter said, "Aye, you want for Bobby to make you an old fashioned Italian family Sun- day dinner?" We all smiled and nodded in the affirma- tive. A glass of red wine and a couple of garlic rolls later, out came oval shaped dishes with sausages, meatballs, stuffed bragiola, stuffed egg- plant and rigatoni cooked just right, not what they call, "AI dente," and I call, "Under cooked," but, just right. Bobby, the owner, is the father-in- law of Roberto Luongo, the goalie for the Vancouver Canucks and sheepishly has to admit they his favorite hockey team lost the cham- pionship and the Stanley Cup to our Boston Bruins. At the end of the meal, Lou brought out canola and t{ra- misu for Loretta and Cousin Ellie. He brought me a double ~espresso and slipped me a '~'mall bottle of sambuca to sweeten it. Ellie must have read my mind, because she said, "You know, this was just like the Sunday dinners Nanna used to make when we were kids." I had to agree, but being a wise guy, I added, "The only problem with food like this is that four or five days later, you get hungry again." We missed the hurricane and watched it on TV. After it hit here, we decided to cut the vacation short hoping there was no damage to the house. We lucked out. We didn't even lose electricity. By the way, ff you would like to meet up this weekend, I will be at the St. Cosmas and Damian Feast on Cambridge Street in East Cambridge. If you can make it, I'll see you this weekend. ~':*:(~0D BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Sandy Moose, left, and Christa Bleyleben at the "Midsummer Night's Dream" cast party and reception. (Photo by Roger Farrington) follow in the hotel lobby and atrium, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The event will also feature an auction through- out. the evening and items will also be posted online at www. thepricecenter, org. The rhythm & blues group The G Clefs will provide entertainment during the buffet. Among the innova- tors of rock 'n roll and the pure doo-wop and jazz of the 1950's, the original G-Clefs are returning by popular demand to entertain The Price Center's generous sup- porters and friends as the encore performance of the evening. The group is a highly flam- boyant, well-choreographed pop/soul vocal ensemble which has the distinction of having the first Boston area rock & roll record to chart nationally -- their 1956 hit "Ka Ding Dong." Consisting of four brothers, Teddy Scott (b. February 29, 1936), Chris Scott (b. Febru- ary 2, 1937), guitarist Tim "Payme" Scott (b. August 23, 1938), and llanga Scott (b. July 22, 1940), along with their friend and neighbor Ray Gibson (b. September 24, 1937), the band formed in Roxbury, thirty years before New Edition would bring Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun's music to the world. The G-Clefs were the original pioneers from New England's soon-to-be-impor- tant music scene. For information about pop singer Neil Sedaka, be sure to visit For information on The Barry L. Price Rehab Center, visit www. thepricecenter, org. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, 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.) K3 ~ Fully Insured Lic #017936 Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 POST-GAZETTE EAST BOSTON SATELLITE OFFICE is NOW OPEN MARIE MATARESE 35 Bennington Street, East Boston 617.227.8929 TUES. 10:00 A.M. - 3.00 P.M. THURS. 11:00 A.M.- 2:00 P.M. ACCEPTING Advertisements l General Advertisements * Sales and Rentals II Memorials * Legals I ADVERTISING WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE