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September 25, 2015

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POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 Page 13 ........ b..o. C o I": l JEWS...morethanmeetstheeye '' * :1 O " OA Nostalgic Remembrance OiA 'i R ; . iiiii;ff f ia;i iiiee :Wiihl iid It was September 1956 and I was a 17-year-old fresh- man at Boston State College. It was the first day, and a fel- low English High graduate, Bob Pesce, picked me up. We headed to the college which used to be at the intersection of Huntington and Longwood Avenues. The college, which was sold to the state by the City of Boston, went from being called Boston Teacher's College to Boston State College. Bob and I had been selected to be members of the freshman class majoring in Industrial Arts. We wanted to be the future shop teachers in the Boston schools. Before I left the house, Staff Sergeant Babbononno had to inspect me from my hair down to my suit and tie and the spit shine on my shoes. When he thought I looked presentable, I headed down the three flights of stairs to the street and into Bob's waiting car. We weren't sure what to expect on that first day and discussed our curiosities as he drove west on Storrow Drive toward the Fenway section of Boston. When we entered the lobby of the college, we were di- rected to an assembly hall and joined up with a couple of other people that we had known from Boston English High. Not long after we were as- sembled, one of the deans climbed the steps to the stage and called us to atten- tion. He gave the call letters and numbers each of us would have to respond to depending on what we were majoring in. Seeing this assembly was for freshmen only, the letter we had to remember was "F." The dean called names followed by things like F1, English majors, F2 Math majors, F3 History majors ... when he got to us, he called, "F-20, industrial arts majors." Following instructions, Bob and I headed to a classroom to be registered with all of the other boys and men slated to study industrial arts. There were 42 of us who sat in the room we were assigned to. A Mr. Thornton introduced himself as a new teacher who had just arrived from the mid-west. He then began calling the names of the students on his list. Coming from the mid-west, the most difficult names he probably had to pronounce were Smith, Jones, Brown or Johnson. Much to his cha- grin, the first four names on our list were Abruzzese, Christoforo, Ciccarelli and Civili. Of course, he butch- ered them. There were three other Italian surnames on the list that he killed: DePaoli, La Bollita and that of my friend, Pesce. Well, we were told to fill out schedule cards and all types of paperwork that registered us as incoming freshmen. Being industrial arts majors and considering the point in time we attended college, the assembly of students was all male. Pesce and I looked around at our future fellow classmates. Some looked quite older than we did, but there were several who looked green behind the ears and we knew that they were recent high school graduates just like the two of us. We discovered, a bit later when we had a break, that the older-looking of the crowd were actually veter- ans who were taking advan- tage of the GI Bill before it ran out for Korean War vets. We kids were 17 or 18, but the vet's ages ranged from late 20s to the mid-30s. We discussed our forth- coming schedules, which in- cluded all of the academic subjects the rest of the flesh- men were given, plus all of our shop subjects. We were told they would take place at our shop school, the Park- man School for Teachers of Mechanic Arts. We also found out that the shop school was located on Broadway in South Boston, and we were to commute there one and a half days per week. What we didn't know was that the school was built when Lin- coln was president and that it had been condemned a few times, but was still in opera- tion as a training facility for shop teachers. A day or two later, we be- gan attending Boston State, taking our first academic courses on campus and then heading to South Boston to check out the shops as our schedules indicated. We were greeted by four men, Mr. Staebner, the di- rector; Mr. Hartnett, who would teach us machine shop, printing and graphic arts; Mr. Walker who would teach us sheet metal; and Mr. Ventura who specialized in woodworking and drafting. They gave us the rundown as to which of us would be taking what course at what points in time and described the shop courses. When I returned home, Babbononno wanted to know what the wood shop looked like and what I learned. I told him we hadn't started yet and he reminded me that he had taught me how to use hand tools and that I shouldn't have any trouble making things. I assured him that what he taught me would be applied to whatever they gave me as projects and he relaxed. When Dad came home and Mom had dinner on the table, I had to tell them what my academic studies would be (math, English, American history, science) and they were pleased. The following day, we were in full swing as college freshmen, all 42 of US. That first year I saw sev- eral of my classmates drop out. Most of them were vet- erans with only a couple be- ing in my age bracket. By the end of the second year, we were down to 21, and for the last two years, we remained what we called, "Club 21." When we graduated, I looked into teaching in Boston and took the city's exams to teach there, but knew that I would wind up on a waiting list. With veteran's prefer- ence and disabled veteran's preference in place, I knew I didn't stand a chance, re- gardless of my high scores on the exams. I was right and applied to several cities and towns around the eastern part of Massachusetts. One of my classmates, Paul Ciccarelli, and I accepted jobs at Tewksbury High School, he in the wood shop and me in a drafting room, and there we stayed for a year. I started the second year at the same school, but everything the administra- tion promised me to per- suade me to return was for- gotten about, and I didn't have anything in writing. I was very upset, mainly with myself for being duped by what I considered upstand- ing educational administra- tors. Dad and Babbononno agreed with me that I shouldn't have been so inno- cent, but their comment, "Live and learn," haunted me. Within the first two weeks, I received a call from the director of industrial arts in the Boston schools, tell- ing me that he had a job for me. I gave a two week notice to the Tewksbury School Department and re- turned to my own city and stayed there for the next 43 years as a teacher and administrator. Unfortunately, I lost touch with most of my classmates. The majority settled down teaching in school depart- ments in communities sur- rounding Boston. I concen- trated on teaching, playing music, acting, modeling and, when there was time, tak- ing courses that led to a master's degree. It is now 55 years later and all but two of us are retired. Attempts to get all 21 of us together for a reunion have failed until recently. Due to the efforts of a few, we located all 21 members of our class. Unfortunately, five are no longer with us, and a few of the older ones have problems that prevent them from getting together. Since the reunion efforts began, we have gotten together for lunch a few times and have reminisced about those bygone days on the Boston State campus. Unfortunately, when I re- turn, home neither Dad nor Babbononno are there to ask me questions about my col- lege life or friends like they did 55 years ago. As I've said a few times in past columns, "I'm now one of the old-timers." GOD BLESS AMERICA. Sony Pictures Home Ent. The aerobics-loving, mix- tape-making, royal wedding- watching Goldberg's are backl The second season finds the siblings involved in hover- board accidents, the treach- erous world of male model- ing, wannabe pop star making, re-enacting Ferris Bueller's Day Off and lots more. The parental units are busy as well. Beverly is at her best meddling and matchmaking when she's not bedazzling everything, while Murray is waging war against Cowboys fans. Love, rad antics and a lot of laughs keeps this family together. TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL: VOL. 4: THE SPIRIT OF LIBERTY MOON (DVD) CBS+Paramount The angels are headed on a special assignment to Beijing in this feature- length Touched by An Angel. Monica (Roma Downey) has been hired by toy mag- nate Edward Tanner (Adrian Pasdar) to close an Asian manufacturing deal, and employee Jean Chang (Bai Ling) reluctantly agrees to accompany them as a trans- lator. Even though Jean is risking her life by returning to her homeland, she's determined to' take this op- portunity to find Liberty Moon, the young daughter she was forced to leave behind while protesting for democracy. Aided by angels Tess (Della Reese) and Andrew (John Dye), Jean ultimately finds much more than she anticipated, while Edward unexpectedly discov- ers love he's never known. It's anything but business as usual for the angels in this emotionally charged global adventure. LEAPFROG LETTER FACTORY ADVENTURES: THE GREAT SHAPE MYSTERY (DVD) Lionsgate Home Ent. + Leap Frog The LeapFrog friends dis- cover that fun, learning- filled adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. There's a new machine at the Letter Factory ... but no one knows what it is supposed to dol With only a map and a few clues, Leap, Lily, and Tad set out to unlock the machine's secret, embarking on an amazing journey that will teach them about shape.s, fractions, and measure- ments -- and give them the tools they need to solve The Great Shape Mysteryl HAWAII FIVE-O: THE FIFTH SEASON (6-DVD) CBS+Paramount The Hawaii Five-O team faces some of the most ter- rifying criminals ever, as they fight to enforce law and the line, Danny scrambles to get the money to save him, and Chin Ho Kelly puts his career on the line to help.. Steve meets a woman who helps him re-open his late father's last unsolved case, Kono Kalakaua and Chin are taken hostage while undercover in the black market world of priceless art; Steve is kidnapped by Wo Fat. In the aftermath of his daughter's kidnapping, Lou Grover becomes more ac- cepting of the team's less- than-upstanding tactics to keep the islands safe. High tide thrills in 25 episodes, all contained on 6 discs. AGATHA CHRISTIE'S MISS MARPLE (3-DVD) BBC America Completely restored and remastered in stunning high-definition, BBC has released Agatha Christie's Miss Marple starring Joan Hickson. Follow Miss Marple as she stars as the shrewd sleuth in four thrilling who- dunits: "The Murder at the Vicarage," "The Moving Finger," "The Body in the Library," and "A Murder is Announced." The cunning and clever Miss Marple puts her perceptive powers to good use, and gets to the bottom of even the most complex crimes in this beloved se- ries, in this three-disc set. THE BLOOD LANDS (Blu-ray) Lionsgate Home Ent. It's Ed (Lee Williams) and Sarah's (Pollyanna Mclntosh) first night at their new home -- a perfect farm- house in the country. This should be a new beginning away from their stressful city lives. At first it is, but as darkness falls, Ed and Sarah ~uspect they're not alone. It suddenly dawns on them that they do not belong there, and they're certainly not welcome. ACCIDENTALLY PRESERVED - VOL. 3 (DVD) Undercrank Productions This 3rd volume of rare, silent comedies mines its obscure gems from the shelves of dedicated film col- lectors. Each of the nine rare or lost silent films on this DVD is presented in a new HD digital transfer. They each boast a new musical score by renowned silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model, performed on piano or theatre organ. Stars include Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew, Arthur "Dagwood" Lake, and a very young Billy Barty, among many others. Unavailable to the public for decades, these delightful comedy shorts are now back onscreen, entertaining fans all over again. Don t A rhse? the Post-Gazette, call 617-227,8929. /