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November 7, 2014     Post-Gazette
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November 7, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 7, 2014 Page 13 1,1 J00anna by John Christoforo 00Babb00onno A Nostalgic Remembrance Socially Scene (Continued from Page 6) Last week's issue con- tained my Halloween story, and due to its length, I wasn't able to tell you what the family did. My birthday was on the 21 st of October, a Tuesday. Seeing both Loretta and I were tied up day and night, my son, John, and my daughter-in-law, Beth, took us out to dinner on Monday the 20 th. My son Michael, called on the 21 st and he and his lady friend, Abby, both sang Happy Birth- day to me. On the 22 "d, John Silva and Stephanie DeRosa had us out to dinner. I thought that birthday trib- utes were over by the end of the week, but I was wrong, and two events should have aroused my curiosity. On that Thursday morn- ing, I was talking to Dean Saluti. When the business end of the conversation was over, Dean said, "We'll see you over the weekend." There were no functions that we were obligated to attend and we hadn't made plans to get together. I just let it slide and con- sidered it part of the closing of a general conversation. That evening, Loretta told me that we had to pick our son John up at Alewife Sta- tion that next afternoon (Fri- day) and bring him home from work. While waiting at the station the next after- noon, Loretta asked if I would head into the station and get her a coffee. I obliged and as I was walking back outside, Michael was stand- ing there, arms folded and head cocked to the side. I looked at him, hugged and kissed him, and said, "You're supposed to be John." He laughed and we headed to John and Beth's house. He told me that he hadn't seen us for a while, and the week- end after my birthday was a perfect point in time for him to come home and for the family to get together. After dinner, my wife and sons voted to go to Ristorante La Summa for a Saturday lunch. I had no objection since Barbara Summa's place is my favorite Italian restaurant. I wondered ff she would be open for lunch but concluded that it was a weekend and she might be. I didn't ques- tion the intent of my kids when my wife said that she would call Barbara to see if she would be open. The next day, Loretta and I headed to the North End. The kids said that they would meet us at La Summa's at a particular time. As we en- tered the restaurant, about 20 of my closest friends and relatives were sitting on the left side of the restaurant at a long table, and cheered as Loretta and I walked in. A surprise party was the last thing I expected. The group included Lee and Claire Orlandi, both originally from the North End, Ed and Bar- bara Ligon, Dean Saluti and his wife, Margie Cahn, Bill and Janet Erickson, my cousin, Ralph Pepe and his wife Angela, Dick and Eileen DeVito, John Silva and his lady friend, Stephanie DeRosa. Just then, as I looked behind me, I saw my sons, my daughter-in-law and Loretta's brother, Mike DeVito and his wife, Lin. After a quick welcome speech and a thank you, that I extended to the crowd, I asked Loretta why she did it. Her answer focused on the events of last fall. She said, "When your 75  birthday oc- curred, you were just out of surgery and didn't know what planet you were on. If you remember, your sons were there, but there was no way we could have had a cel- ebration. You were too weak and it wouldn't have been fair. So, this is the party you didn't have last year for your 75th." Barbara and her daughter- in-law, Sharon, waited on us. Barbara and my wife, Loretta, had decided on a menu ahead of time and it included everything I like. First the salad arrived, served family-style. This was followed by lasagna with everything in it and home- made pasta separating the layers. Accompanying the lasagna were meatballs that were to die for. A side dish of cut up sausages, peppers, onions and potatoes in olive oil was the next course. Con- sidering the lasagna and meatballs were served with meat gravy (sauce to non Italians), the sausages were kept separate. The next thing I knew, there was a birthday cake with lit candles under my nose and the group began to sing Happy Birthday. I blew out the candles and the cake was cut up into enough slices to feed the entire crowd. Just in case, Barbara had baked a couple of dozen chocolate cupcakes, which were served to everyone who ordered coffee to finish off the meal. Personally, I was so full, I could hardly stand, but I did and headed to a table --FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 that held cards and presents brought by my guests. My friends were quite generous and I was overwhelmed once again. Most of the folks in attendance read this col- umn, and I repeat myself by saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Later in the afternoon, the party broke up and we all headed home. I was quiet as we headed to the burbs. When asked, I told my wife that I was thinking of the surprise parties they threw for Nanna and Babbononno over the years. Nanna was always humble and accepted the situations with dignity. Babbononno loved to be the center of attention and rev- eled through every minute that he was "on stage." On a sad note, I have a picture taken at Nanna's 72 nd birth- day party. It was her last. The picture is of her cutting into her birthday cake with Babbononno's hand on top of hers. As Christmas ap- proached that year, Nanna passed away. I believe it was December of 1958. I knew that my folks loved surprise parties and I began putting them together begin- ning with their 25 TM anniver- sary in 1961. Uncle Nick made arrangements with Stanley Blinstrub for a sur- prise party to be held at his famous supper club in South Boston. I would repeat the surprise party process in the future when my folks cel- ebrated their 40 th and 50 th anniversaries. I loved seeing the expressions on Mom and Dad's faces as they entered the places where the sur- prise parties were held. Each time, the guests included relatives and friends, many of whom, like Dad, were the musicians who entertained in the hotels and restau- rants in Boston. Of course, I had a live band each time the party was at a function facil- ity. They were composed of the side men Dad and Uncle Nick played with or the mem- bers of the bands I was with or led back in the day. Now, it's time to think about the next holiday, Thanksgiving. For about the past 25 years, I have been combining my family with that of my cousin, Ralph Pepe. We ran into each other at a family wake back then and decided to put the fami- lies together to represent the extended family we were part of especially at holiday time. This year, my son, John and my daughter-in-law, Beth are going to hold Thanksgiv- ing at their home. I told Cousin Ralph about the de- cision and he had no objec- tion. The gang at his house on holidays is getting larger and larger, and it's time that we break into immediate families or rent a hall for ev- eryone. I think that ours is the best choice. I will keep you posted, but in the mean time, it's time to close. So, all I can say is MAY GOD BLESS AMER/CA The Women of the World, award-winning international vocal quartet, will be returning to Regattabar with their Caravan of Sounds extravaganza on November 21 *t. (Photo by Ro Rowan) Parish, Brookline and All Saints Ashmont under Con- ductor Emily Howe. The Henry Purcell Society of Boston made its debut in April 2014 with "Welcome to all the Pleasures," hailed by the Boston Musical Intel- ligencer for delivering a "smashbang debut" to a "packed house." This production of a time- less classic subject like Queen Mary II is one not to be missed. All Saints Parish, Brook- line is located at 1773 Bea- con Street, Brookline. To purchase your tickets, visit www. event889355 or for more information contact Jessica Cooper at 617-650-7399 or purcellsociety@gmail, com. A Tasty Treat ... The glu- ten free way! Boston Center for Adult Education will host a gluten free pasta making class on Wednesday, Novem- ber 12 th. Who said pasta can't be glu- ten-free? Boston Center for Adult Education, Boston's award-winning adult educa- tion center, is now offering a single-session cooking class on gluten free pasta making. Students will learn about pasta making, the healthy AND gluten-free way, with veggies and grains. Instruc- tors Leah Dickerson and Loni Zelfon's guide to gluten free pasta making includes turning vegetables, like zuc- chini, into noodles and glu- ten free grains into pasta. This class will leave stu- dents with a broadened glu- ten free repertoire; friends and family will be thrilled with this healthy, gluten free fix! Grab a pal and get ready to go gluten free at the Boston Center for Adult Education located at 122 Arlington Street, Boston. Registration is necessary. Please visit or call the Boston Center for Adult Education at 617-267-4430 to sign up. News Briefs {Continued from Page I) Also, Remember Amnesty Issue Too Plans still seem on track to see President Obama, by executive order, legalize anywhere from 11-20 million illegals already inside the country and with our porous borders still wide open, more will surely follow Rule #70: When All Else Fails, Dig Deeper, McGee, NCIS Our government is start- ing to scare me. Our Consti- tution is getting chipped away at almost unknowingly to most of us too busy just trying to survive. The Demo- crats appear to be trying to import more Democratic vot- ers from wherever it can. The story about Haiti is one example. Our open borders with Mexico another ex- ample. Our voting rolls have already been imperiled by the motor voter law here in Massachusetts alone. Any- one who picks up that post- card at the RMV offices just fills it out and mails it in. Pretty much automatically you get on the voter list. Since no Photo ID or proof of citizenship is necessary, on Election Day, they vote and it counts. NO ONE, IN GOVERNMENT AT ANY LEVEL, SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT DIGGING DEEPER AND JUST LETS IT HAPPEN. SHAME ON ALL OF US. Quote to Remember "President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." - Clint Eastwood, September 7, 2012 Baker Defeats Coakley (Continued from Page I) in the Louisiana runoff in December as well. President Obama's policies were on the ballot and those policies were defeated on Election Day. The president will now have to play ball within the Constitution rather than doing endless end-runs. The people have spoken. Were they heard? On a side note, Coakley now looks like history as does Brown but young Steve Kerrigan who was a candi- date for lieutenant governor, saw his prospects grow and even in losing, he came out as the Democratic Party's future. I see him gaining political traction as we move on in Massachusetts. Time will tell. b