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October 21, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 21,2011 Page13 N00anna 00Babb00onno li VlEWS...morethanmeetstheeye @@@BQII 111, O II@ @ O 9 @ O @Q@ Q 0OO@ lit OQ @ OOOQOO OOQ O1 Q CARE BEARS: RUNNING WILDE: SHARE BEAR SHINES SEASON ONE (2-DVD) To begin with, today is my birthday. I am ## years old, so, happy birthday to me. My memory is such that I can remember most of the birthday parties that were thrown for me throughout my life. The first I remem- ber was when I was three years old. Mom and Dad bought me a red tricycle and Nanna and Babbononno had the party in the dining room at 70 Eutaw Street, the big house we lived in East Bos- ton. There were several other presents from my uncles and aunts. Beyond them, I only had one cousin at that point in my life, my cousin Paula, Uncle Paul and Aunt Eleanor's eldest daugh- ter. All other cousins are or were younger than I. Most of the guests at my 3 rd birthday party were rela- tives, my mother's cousins- children of Zi'Antonio, Nanna's oldest brother and Babbononno's best friend. I remember the three candles on the cake that Nanna made, and I remember blow- ing them out. A year later, there was a repeat of the party. Several people were missing due to fighting in Europe or the Pacific. (For- tunately, all my uncles made it home in one piece). I had continuously slammed my red tricycle into the hydrant that was located in front of the house and broken the welds that held the front wheel housing in place. Dad had fixed it two or three times but it kept breaking. As a result there was a larger and stronger purple tricycle that took its place on that October 21, at my 4 th birthday party. Several rela- tives gave me sheets of war stamps and a couple gave me war bonds, sincere gifts considering the times. Not long after my 4  birth- day, Babbononno sold the big house. Nanna had had a heart attack, and as she recuperated, everyone knew the house would be too big and too much work for her considering her condi- tion. The house had to go in favor of a smaller apartment. They were lucky and found one on Princeton Street, a ten minute walk from Eutaw. The birthday parties came and went through- out my formative years. If you remember last week's column, my folks and the Manfredonias combined their son John's birthday with mine and we had a joint celebration until we both started high school. At that point, we went in separate directions. Future parties were at our own homes and included our friends which A Nostalgic Remembrance were not from the same group. After high school, John joined the Army and I went off to college. Birthday parties from then on included my college friends. Quite often, my folks' apartment at 74 Eutaw was where everyone congre- gated. It had been that way when I was a kid and it continued into my early adult years. Usually, those family parties were paral- leled by parties thrown by my friends, and parents were definitely excluded. When I turned 21, my folks wouldn't hear of me not having a family party. I agreed and invited my closest college pals, who were on their best behavior in front of my folks. When we went out afterward, they partied to the extent, I was the designated driver of one car and a college chum who also didn't drink drove another. Once I passed 21, the fam- ily parties stopped and my college pals all had gone in separate directions. The crowd I associated with more than any other was com- posed of musicians, most of whom I worked with at vari- ous points in time. I remem- ber one such party when a couple of groupies threw me a surprise party and invited my closest friends and the members of the band I was playing with. The two group- ies had a cake made with white frosting covered by musical notes made of blue frosting. It was rather pretty. What I didn't know was that both young ladies had a crush on me and after I blew out the candles, one said to the other, I want one of those frosting notes. Her friend scooped up a large blue eight note with her hand and deposited it on her friend's face. Squashing it all over her mouth and nose. Everyone laughed. The girl with the blue frosting face did the same thing, only her hand held much more frost- ing and her target (her girlfriend's face) became completely covered with blue and white frosting. Everyone laughed at their antics, but this was just the beginning. The second girl scooped up an even larger handful of frosting, pulled the top of her friends dress away from her bust and covered her bra and upper chest with frosting and cake. Every one decided to get into the act and started throwing pieces of cake at one an- other. I stood on the side- lines, completely unscathed, laughing at the antics of the rest of the crowd. Unfortunately I didn't es= cape. The next thing I knew, the remainder of the cake was being deposited on my head and then ground into my hair which became lath- ered with blue and white frosting. This time, they all laughed at me. Unfortu- nately for them, they had run out of ammunition ... I was wearing it. We then began cleaning up the ap/rt- ment and ourselves, all agreeing that the Three Stooges couldn't have done it any better. Years later, after I was a family man and had aban- doned the ways of my youth. My wife, Loretta, threw me a 60 th birthday party. My closest relatives and friends were there including Dean Saluti and his wife, Margie Cahn, Bill and Sandi Hurley, John Silva and my old neighborhood chum from my days back in East Bos- ton, Sal Meli. The only one of my musician pals present was my pianist/partner, the late Marty Goldman. Dean, John Silva and Bill Hurley gave me a giant sized cigar humidor which I still used today. Ten years later, Loretta told me that she was taking me to dinner for my birth- day. She knows that my fa- vorite restaurant iS La Summa on Fleet Street in the North End. I said ok and we headed in to town. When we entered the restaurant, I discovered that it was filled with everyone I associated with in my adult life. Even my physician and my den- tist were there. The biggest surprises were my sons. John had come home from Switzerland and Michael from New York to celebrate their dad's 70 th birthday. Loretta had gone all out for me. She doesn't like big par- ties, but she knows I do and this one was big. I'll never forget it. This was a busy week. Last night I attended an annual English High get-together. Prior to the dinner, several of my classmates and I had a private reception to cel- ebrate our 55 a anniversary. During the dinner, I was given an alumni of the year award, something I didn't expect. It made me think about the time I crossed the stage of the theater where we graduated from. Sitting proudly were my parents and grandparents, the proudest being Dad and Babbononno. They, as you know, are long gone. Michael couldn't re- turn from New York and John is now on the West Coast. Loretta represented the family and I was proud she was sitting with the guys I had graduated with. This all happened last night, the night before my birthday. You couldn't ask for a greater gift than to be recognized by your friends and family. What do you think??? GOD BLESS AMERICA MOVIE (DVD) Lionsgate Share Bear and a Twinklet named Gleamer lead a heartwarming mission in caring when they travel to Glitter City, a magical place where Princess Stargio trains Twinklets to become stars. Because no one be- lieves in Princess Stargio, her confidence has dimmed ... and she's turning out lights all over the night sky! With the power of belief and the help of the Care Power Team, Share Bear gets things glowing again in this sparkling movie adventure that highlights the Power of Care Bears Friendship! (1 hr. 10 rains.) TWO AND A HALF MEN: SEASON 8 (2-DVD) Warner Home Video This season, Charlie has a thorny problem: Rose. Before, she was on the make for Charlie. Now she's married and supposedly off- limits -- and that's irresist- ible for Charlie. He pursues her. ChaHie's hilarious antics continue with his sad-sack brother Alan and his underachieving nephew Jake. Charlie keeps his mojo in motion with Michelle, Courtney and Rose. Alan burns down his girlfriend's house, and hatches a chiro- practic Ponzi scheme, as Jake risks his body and brain cells to film a Jackass rip-off. Funny Men! (5 hrs. 37 rains.) NO ORDINARY FAMILY: FIRST SEASON (4-DVD) Lionsgate After 16 years of marriage, Jim (Michael Chiklis) feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie (Julie Benz), and two teen- age children. To encourage bonding time, the family joins Stephanie on her busi- ness trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and dis- tinct superpowers. Extraordi- nary! (14 hrs. 20 rains.) DETROIT I-8-7: FIRST SEASON (4-DVD) Lionsgate Get an in-depth look at some of Detroit's finest and the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism of the cops assigned to an inner-city homicide unit, on four discs/18 episodes. Find out what it takes to be a de- tective on America's streets, with a cast of Michael Imperioli, Jon Michael Hill, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds, Natalie Martinez, D.J. Cotrona and Shaun Majumder. (13 hrs. 12 rains.) Lionsgate Running Wilde is a roman- tic comedy starring Will Arnett as Steven Wilde, the playboy son of a rich oil tycoon trying desperately to win the heart of his child- hood sweetheart, Emmy Kadubic (Keri Russell, the Eco-liberal humanitarian who got away. With Emmy committed to doing good for nothing, and Steve being a good-for-nothing, the ques- tion is, will this hopelessly mismatched pair ever be able to reconcile their differ- ences? (4 hrs. 46 rnins.) GOOD WILL HUNTING (Blu-ray) Lionsgate Will Hunting (Matt Damon) works at one of America's top universities, cleaning the floors -- and possesses a brilliant mind. The head- strong, working-class genius is failing the lessons of life. After one too many run-ins with the law, Will's last chance is a psychology pro- fessor (Robin Williams), who might be the only one who can reach him. Damon and Ben Affleck who also starred in the film, co-wrote the film and earned an Oscar for 'Best Original Screenplay), as did Williams (Best Supporting Actor) for a film nominated for nine Academy Awards. (2 hrs. 6 mins.) WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2-DVD) BBC Ever wonder who we are, why are we here and where do we come from? These are among the most enduring and profound questions we can ask, and it is an essen- tial part of human nature to want to find the answers. Our ancestry traces back hundreds of thousands of years to the dawn of human mankind, but in reality our story extends much fur- ther back: it starts with the beginning of the universe. Our universe began 13.7 bil- lion years ago, and today it is filled with over 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars and a breathtaking array of wonder. Professor Brian Cox tells the epic story of the universe and shows how its story is also our story. (3 hrs. 52 rains.) " TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY (Blu-ray) Lionsgate When Madea learns about the health of her niece, Shirley, she is determined to bring the whole clan to- gether for an important fam- ily meeting. Trouble is, ev- eryone is too busy with their own problems to be bothered. That's when Madea lays down the law with her own brand of TLC (tough loving care) in this outrageous and touching comedy that gets to the very heart of the family. Visit us online at WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM