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November 18, 2016     Post-Gazette
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November 18, 2016

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 18, 2016 PAGE 9 (lnna abb onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance When I was a youngster, I attended the Chapman School on Eutaw Street in East Boston. At about this time of the year, the teachers of this elementary school began to prepare their students for the upcoming holi- day, Thanksgiving. Preparation meant telling us the story of the Pilgrims and their 1620 arrival at Plymouth. Their stories would describe the sacrifices they made just to survive. One of the last les- sons would include the thank you celebration at the end of November the following year, the first Thanksgiving. After the question and answer ses- sion that followed, we were taught to sing a Thanksgiving song which included the line, "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go." Coming from East Boston, and an Italian family, there was no way we kids could iden- tify with the song. Nanna and Babbononno originally lived next door. Later they moved just a few blocks away to a fiat in a similar three-decker. This never seemed like, "Over the river and through the woods," and the title of our mater- nal grand-parent was Nanna, Nonna, or iammanonna, not grandmother. Our teachers were American and thought we kids could identify with what they taught, but we couldn't, At about this time of the month, Nanna and my mother would begin to plan the Thanks- giving dinner. First, they had to know who was coming. The immediate family consisted of Morn, Dad, and me on one side, Uncle Nick and Aunt Ada on another, then there was Uncle Paul, Aunt Eleanor and their two daughters, Paula and Ellie. Uncle Gino and Aunt Ninna had a set of twins still in diapers, but they would be at Nanna's dinner table, also. The extended family consisted of just Nanna's side. All of her brothers and sisters immigrated to America with the exception of her old- est sister. In retirement, her parents would come here to live with Nanna and Babbononno. No one from Babbononno's family ever came to America, but he was accepted as part of Nanna's family. Before plans could be made as to how much food would be needed, Nanna and Morn would have to find out if any paesani would be com- ing for dinner. Paesani usually consisted of single friends of my grandparents who had no family in this country. Just a side note: I had great-grand- parents who came here to stay. If I'm not mistaken, that makes my .new granddaughter the 6th generation in the family. I wonder if this fact makes her a Yankee. Years earlier, when my mother and uncles were kids, they explained the Thanks- giving holiday to their parents, and Nanna and Babbononno accepted the celebration of it as the American way and it became part of the celebration ritual schedule including Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, and the 4th of July. You might ask, "What about New Year's Eve?" My family consisted of musi- cians. They didn't celebrate New Year's Eve, they worked. With Thanksgiving just a week or so away, the menu would be put together with the quantity of food being deter- mined by the total number of people who would be in atten- dance. But you have to remem- ber, Nanna was Italian. If there were 14 people at the table, she would cook for about 25, just in case. I guess she factored in the leftovers that each person would take home for the next day's lunch or dinner. The essence of the Thanks- giving dinner table is the tur- key, the fowl introduced to the Pilgrims by the natives who joined them on that first com- munal dinner. Luke the Pilgrims, Nanna planned to roast a large turkey. Morn would figure out how large the bird should be, depending on that number of people I mentioned before. There was one problem, al- though you might not call it a problem. Even though Thanks- giving was an American holiday, we were Italian. The American menu might consist of turkey vegetable soup, followed by a garden salad, and then the turkey with bread stuffing that would be surrounded by steamed vegetables and baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. The tail end of the meal would be apple pie, mincemeat pie, Indian pudding, or Boston cream pie. The beverages would include beer, apple cider, soda for the kids and, with the des- serts, coffee and tea. The Ital- ian menu was a bit different: escarole soup with pastina and tiny meatballs, followed by ravioli, meatballs, hot and sweet sausages, gravy meats of all kinds, stuffed artichokes, an assortment of vegetables -- all cooked in garlic and olive off- mushrooms, and at the tail end, garden salad with oil and lem- on, or oil and vinegar dressing. After all of these courses, fruits, nuts, and chestnuts would be brought out, accompanied by the table wine from dinner and an assortment of after dinner wines and liquors. Later in the --- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 evening, Italian and American coffee would be served with several types of Italian pastries, cookies, and imported candy. I mentioned that the essence of the Thanksgiving dinner table was the turkey. Nanna's could have been made out of plastic, as no one would have eaten it. It was just decorative. The stuffmg might have been sampled when the saut6ed or stuffed mush- rooms were brought out, but the bird would remain untouched. That's the way it was. Today, the family is mixed with other nationalities, and it's a genera- tion or two later. The turkey in the center of the Thanksgiving table will be consumed by one and all. With a new grand- daughter in the family, both sets of grandparents will par- ticipate in holiday celebrations. They and my daughter-in-law are American, so we compro- mise on the food. For years, I combined my fam- ily with that of my cousin, Ralph Pepe. When all of the kids were single, this was fun. For Ralph and me, it approximated the extended family we remembered as kids growing up in East Bos- ton. Now his kids are married with children of their own. With his kids' in-laws thrown into the mix, it makes it impractical to continue the extended family set up, just too many people. Probably the only holiday dish I don't compromise on is the seven fishes at my house on Christmas Eve, but we'll talk about that next month. In the meantime, I would like to answer a couple of questions readers have asked. 1. Yes, the actor Michael Christoforo is my son. You can Googie him to find out what films and TV work he has done or is working on. 2. Yes, I do have a book coming out soon, about growing up in East Boston and attending English High School ... More about this later. GOD BLESS AMERICA LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Probate and Family Court Middlesex Division 20e Cmbddp Street East Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) ~00 No, IUI1r#S421FJL Eltate of GI~CE I~Y C.AJRROU. Also Know~ ~ GRACE M. CARROLL Date of Death June 17, 2016 INFORMAL PROBATE PUBLICATION NOTICE To all persons interested in Ihe above ca~ estate, by Petition of Pet,loner in~l~ K ~mh~t 0f iod~d, Wt, a WH has boon admmed to ~on~ pc~ab~. Patflcla/L imnhert of IkKm0of, ttt has been informally appointed as the Pemonal Repraseatative of the estate to serve without safety o. the bond. The estate is being administered under informal procedure by the Personal Reprasen- ta~,e under the Massachusetts Uniform Pro- bate Code without supervis~ by the CourL Inventory and ascounts are not required to be liled with the Court, but interested parlies are ermlilkom to rN)Cice regarding the adrnini~Ikm the Personal Fb)presontativo and can peUlim ~ Coert in any matter relating to the estate, inducing dstfibutk~ of assets and expenses of edministra~n. Interested parties are enf~led to ~ ~e Court to institute formal proceedings and to obtain orders ter- mining or restricting the powers of Personal Representatives ~ under informal pro- cedure. A copy of the Petition and Will, if any, can be obtained from ~e Petitioner. Run date: 11/18/16 Raymond F, Flynn (Continued from Page 5) cleaning lady. Mr. Flynn gradu- ated from South Boston High School and won All-America honors in basketball at Provi- dence College. He was drafted in 1963 by the NBA Syracuse Nationals in the fourth round. He was the last player cut by the Celtics in 1964. At the Celtics 1986 world champion- ship celebration at City Hall, Red Auerbach told the crowd jamming .the Plaza, "If I didn't cut Ray Flynn, he might still be with us and K. C. Jones would have been the Mayor." Mr. Flynn served in the Mas- sachusetts House of Represen- tatives from 1971 to 1979 and on the Boston City Council from 1978 to 1984. In 1983, Mr. Flynn won the mayoralty in what most ob- servers see as one of the most historic mayoral elections in Boston. In the final election, Mr. Flynn and Melvin H. (Mel) King conducted an electoral contest in which they modeled racial tolerance as much as they fought very hard to get elected. Mayor Flynn went on to make the building of bridges across communities and classes his signal initiative. =Boston has for too long been a house divided against itself ... our resolve now is to bind old wounds, put the memories behind us, and carry worthwhile lessons into the future," Mayor Flynn an- nounced in his First Inaugural. An editorial in the Bay State Banner in 1985 indicated that Mayor Flynn had delivered on the promise. "But that (racial conflict) may be history now. True to his word, the new mayor, Ray Flynn, has made dramatic moves to bring the city together." Mr. Flynn is known for build- ing social and economic bridges that linked a prosperous down- town to affordable housing, jobs, and other opportunities for better lives in every neigh- borhood. The mayor earned wide national recognition and many awards for his leader- ship on reducing homelessness and ensuring quality housing and health care for homeless individuals and families. The City partnered with commu- nity development corporations, unions and other like-minded organizations to develop afford- able housing across the city. As Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker wrote on May 29, 2015, "He came into office as the ... leader who would prioritize the city's neighborhoods over downtown development. .. His role model was James Michael Curley, the so-called Maayor of the poor.' He vowed to move beyond the naked racial ani- mus sparked by busing, and he poured energy and political capital into cooling race rela- tions ... He deserves to be remembered as a mayor who improved the city." President Clinton appointed Mr. Flynn ambassador to the Holy See in 1993, where he served for four years. Mr. Flynn has written two inspirational books. His first, The Accidental Pope (which he wrote with author Robin Moore), was a best seUer pub- lished by St. Martin's Press. The second, John Paul II, The Pope and The Man (with Jim Vrabel), is a non-fiction book. He has also written many articles for local and national publications. Ambassador Flynn has re- ceived hundreds of awards, honorary degrees, and offi- cial citations in the U.S. and worldwide for his faith-based humanitarian work. In 2007, he joined the College of Fel- lows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA. He holds a bachelors degree from Providence College and a master's degree from the Harvard School of Education. The Flynn Years Raymond L. Flynn served as =The Mayor of the Neighbor- hoods" from 1984 to 1993. He inherited a city divided against itself. Racial tension and vio- lence flared. Major City services, such as schools, public housing and water/sewer, were in court receivership. Boston Harbor was dying from pollution. In his nearly three terms as mayor, Ray Flyrm established a legacy of building bridges that united Boston residents across historic social and racial divides. Mayor Flynn's overriding policy goal was the creation of Unity, Dignity and Opportunity for every person and every family in every neighborhood. On March 14, 1984, The New York Times reported, =Mr. Flynn has seemed to be everywhere trying to bring racial and economic justice to his constituents." LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one parson or organization. Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published. Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 135, Boston, MA 02113