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November 9, 2012     Post-Gazette
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November 9, 2012

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 9, 2012 Page 13 n n ct taP00 -, 00Babb00nonno I Luck was with us again. Hurricane Sandy arrived last week and we received no damage at all. We didn't even lose electricity. Just to be on the safe side, I went out and bought a few things, just in case. Extra flashlight batter- ies, a kerosene lamp, a gal- lon of kerosene, a pack of long-lasting candles and whatever else seemed nec- essary to survive a bad storm. Loretta headed for a supermarket and picked up a few things that didn't have to be cooked or were ready to eat. Actually, she bought enough cold cuts, cheese and bread to feed the neigh- borhood. I guess she got car- ried away. When I returned from the hardware store, I could smell gravy on the stove. She had bought a box of tomatoes and made enough sauce to cover more pasta than we could ever eat. Let's see, we had my stuff ready for the storm, we had the emergency food ready, my wife was making gravy; cooking sausages, meatballs and rigatoni for dinner. I guess we were prepared for the worst, Italian-style. When Sandy finally ar- rived, it rained just a little, but you could hear the wind blowing its way up the street. Within an hour, I saw a fire engine outside the house. Some wires had broken off from the house next door, but they turned out to be tele- phone wires and there was no danger of anyone being electrocuted. As I looked up and down the street, I didn't see any houses that were dark, but during the night I was awakened by the sound of a crash. I looked out the window and saw a tree down across the street. A very old and tall pine tree had become uprooted by the strong winds. Fortunately, when it fell it was in the direction of the street, not the house aside of it. When it came down, there were all sorts of wires that came down with it, elec- tric lines, cable lines and phone lines. As I write this column, the tree is still there but the lines are fixed. When all was said and done, I called the folks in the neighborhood to make sure they survived and all that I called did. I was worried about my youngest son, Michael. He lives in New York and they were hit hard. When I spoke to him he told me that he, personally, had no problem, but he couldn't get in or out by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance I of Manhattan. He's working on a film in New York City and they had to put produc- tion on hold for a few days. Loretta called our son John's lady friend. She lives on Long Island and the TV reports of the storm hitting parts of New York sounded disastrous. She and her fam- ily were OK, but they had lost electricity and were told that it may be a week until they get it back, but, compared to some people along the east coast, we were very lucky. John N.aated to. return from Switzerland to check on the love of his life, but couldn't get a flight. They were all cancelled. While the storm was rag- ing here, I began to think of one a few years hack that was coming to Florida. Michael was in college at that time. He had actually transferred to Lynn Univer- sity in Boca Raton and we were in Boca in August to get him settled in. My worry was centered on Uncle Nick. By this time, he was in his early nineties and needed assistance with almost ev- erything. Aunt Dorothy had passed away a couple of years earlier and he was alone in the condo they had shared since the 70s. Loretta, Michael and I headed for Uncle Nick's place and we put up his hur- ricane shutters. We next made sure he had enough food, candles and water to sustain him because he re- fused to come with us. He was an independent sort and said that he would weather the storm from his own home. When we saw the next storm report, it indicated it was heading for our area and Loretta insisted we all head home. We couldn't talk her out of it and being unable to book us on a flight back to Boston; she called Amtrak and was able to get the last three tickets taking us north. I found a garage near the train station in Palm Beach and left Michael's deep there for safe keeping. We made it home a day and a half later. The storm hit our area of Florida and missed us as we traveled north. By the time we were back home, the hurricane was over and, within a day or two, I was able to book a flight and get Michael back to Florida and Lynn University. I wasn't as worried about him as much as Uncle Nick. After I got Michael squared -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 m..m i away, we headed to Uncle Nick's. He was without elec- tricity and still had the hur- ricane shutters up. He was living in total darkness and didn't even know the storm had passed. My youngest son and I took down the shutters and got Uncle Nick dressed and brought him out to a restaurant for something to eat. He seemed disoriented but, in general, was OK. Once Michael was on his own on campus, I called my cousin, Ellie. Ellie and her husband, Charlie, had moved to Florida with Uncle Paul, her father and my mother and Uncle Nick's oldest brother. Uncle Paul was gone by this time and I asked Ellie to check in on Uncle Nick from time to time as I had to head back to Boston within a day or two. What I didn't know was that Ellie and Charlie had decided to move to St. Au- gustine within a month or so which meant that our ninety something year old uncle would be alone at his condo in Delray Beach. I had to get back home and back to work within a couple of days and my cousin and Charlie headed to Uncle Nick's to assess the situa- tion. They asked Uncle Nick to move to St. Augustine with them and, to my surprise, he didn't refuse. I think he knew that he really couldn't take care of himself at that point in his life. The move was made and Uncle Nick put the condo on the market and headed to America's oldest city with his niece and her husband. As time progressed, Uncle Nick needed more attention than they could give him. With the sale of the condo, they were able to afford an assisted living community where our uncle could re- ceive 24/7 attention. One morning, Uncle Nick had his breakfast and headed back to his room to watch Regis. He closed his eyes during the broadcast and that was it. He had made it to age 94. Ellie and Charlie buried him next to Aunt Dorothy. We couldn't get to Florida for the funeral. The mourners consisted of Ellie, Charlie and son Michael. All of Uncle Nick's friends were gone so the' list at the funeral was a short one. Loretta and I head to Florida whenever we can. We love the area around Delray Beach and Boca. We've actu- ally weathered a couple of hurricanes since the one we escaped from. Every time, though, I think of Uncle Nick and Aunt Dorothy and a happier day when my kids were young and my uncle and aunt were an integral part of their lives. They never had kids of their own. Loretta and I were the kids they never had and John and Michael were the substitute grandchildren. They live on in memory. GOD BLESS AMERICA * Socially Scene (Continued from Page 9) Celebrate Veteran's Day at Old Sturbridge Village. (Photo courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village) Colbert Report, and Real Time riod firearms in a costumed with Bill Maher. Bourdain "time-line" spanning 300 joined the writing staff of years of military history. On HBO's Treme in 2011, contrib- Saturday evening, Novem- uting to the popular drama's ber 10 th, the museum hosts restaurant storylines. He "An Evening of Illumination," recently launched his own a once-a-year opportunity to publishing line with Ecco, see the Village lit only by Anthony Bourdain Books, candles, oil lamps, and fire- and an imprint of Harper light. Following a lantern Collins. His first titles will be light tour around the Village released in early 2013. No Common and into select Reservations, widely popular 19th-century homes, visitors all over the world, has won will return to the Bullard four Emmy Awards, with Tavern to enjoy light refresh- many other nominations. In ments including mulled 2013 he keeps the trend cider, a cash bar and enter- going with the premiere of tainment. Guided tours will two new television shows leave every I0 minutes hosted by Bourdain: The from the Visitor Center from Taste, a cooking competition 6:00 to 7:30 pm. An Evening series for ABC with Nigella of Illumination is a rare op- Lawson, and a travel docu- portunity for visitors to see series for CNN. what life was really like for With a shopping list of New Englanders in the early things to say about Bourdain 1800s. Each tour is limited it's safe to say you should to 15 visitors to ensure a pick up a tip or two. If not it peaceful, intimate look at sounds like a great story tell- the Village. On their tours of ing with a few laughs on a select homes and buildings, Friday night. Tickets are visitors will learn how people selling out fast, so if you stayed warm and productive want to spend an evening during the fall and winter with your favorite opinion- when daylight dwindled and ated travel expert, grab yours long hours of darkness began today. He will be in town on early. With light and heat November 16 th at 8pm at coming only from candles, oil Symphony Hall. Additional lamps, and fireplaces, 19 th- information may be found at century families typically wtt,, gathered in a single room on Facebook or on Twitter. where the limited light You can also contact the would provide enough for one Symphony ticket office at person to read aloud to the 617-266-1200. entire family. "Families in Heroes That Are Home .... early New England gathered November 1 i th is Veterans around the fire and played Day and Old Sturbridge Vil- music, games, or listened lage is celebrating. Veterans quietly as someone read active military members aloud by candlelight. The and their families receive soft light created a magical free admission and children mood and drew families to- have the opportunity to gether at day's end," notes march with the militia. You Deb Friedman, director of can step inside the old time public program at Old Stur- village for one of a kind fes- bridge Village. "Also, the time tivities and it's a great way following harvest was a to educate the kids on now much-anticipated social sea- and then. son filled with frolicking and Special programs will socializing. The shorter days highlight the 200 th anniver- meant less work and more sary of the War of 1812. fun." Old Sturbridge Village Youngsters get an opportu- celebrates life in early New nity to drill with toy muskets England from 1790-1840. directed by a militia captain With the weather bringing and fife and drummers will a chill it should be fun to see perform martial music on how they used to operate in the Village Common. Visi- the old days. It's a great way tors can meet an 1812 U.S. to understand some of the Navy surgeon from the survival techniques that our U.S.S. Constitution, and join modern day military are still a curatorial tour to view putting to use. Advanced reg- 1812 artifacts in the Old istration is suggested as Stur-bridge Village collec- this event tends to sell out. tion. Actors will display uni- For details, visit forms and demonstrate pc- or call 800-SEE-1830.