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November 25, 2011     Post-Gazette
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November 25, 2011

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POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 Page13 00Y'anna 00abb00onno by,o00000000,o00oro A Nostalgic Remembrance First of all, although it is a day late, let me wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving• Once again, I combined my family with that of my cous- in, Ralph Pepe. We had an added surprise this year, company from Italy. Loretta's friend, Manuela Ferarri, from Milan, had never experi- enced an American Thanks- giving• We invited her and she accepted• Later, when we were alone, her com- ments included her observa- tions of family, several gen- erations of family, and the interactions that took place between them all. She also indicated that it was like an old fashioned Italian get- together except for the fact that the food was American and English was spoken• Last week, I left off with Sal Meli and me arriving in Catanzaro. Actually, we drove to a little town just outside of the main city of Catan- zaro, called Andeli, with the accent on the "A." A friend from Watertown and his wife had gone back to visit fam- ily and check on an offer given to them by a German developer. They owned a piece of beach-front property and the developer wanted to buy it and put up a resort of sorts. We were late driving from Reggio and they were with the representatives from the German company. Sal and I were entertained by my friend's aunt at her home, and within an hour or so, my missing friends showed up with smiles on their faces• Without saying anything in the way of busi- ness, I guessed that the Ger- mans offered them quite a bit to purchase their beach- front land. It was late after- noon, and time for dinner. They took us to the best local restaurant in town along with just about every other relative that wasn't commit- ted to something• We hit it off with one of their cousins• He was young, single and relished the idea he was go- ing to hang around with two Americans for a few days. My friend's aunt insisted that we stay at her home, but it was overcrowded and inconvenient. My friend knew that the best thing for us was to check into a hotel and he knew one on the beach that might be to our liking. When we saw it, it was. Most of the guests were young single Italians on summer holiday, and this meant many lovely young ladies. The next day, A1, my friend from Watertown, brought his single cousin and joined us at the hotel for lunch. We sat out on a veranda that was actually on the beach. Before they arrived, Sal and I spent most of the morning and early afternoon on the beach sunning ourselves, swimming and admiring the scenery, if you catch my drift. When AI and his cousin arrived, we selected a table at the hotel's beach restau- rant. We sat in the shade with most everyone around us still in their bathing suits. We began discussing the qualities of the young ladies that surrounded us, but it was in Italian. Al's cousin really didn't speak enough English to converse in anything but Italian• We ordered something to eat and I began eaves dropping on a conversation between two girls at the next table• By their accents I knew that they were English. They were actually discussing Sal and me, not thinking that we could understand English• One of them indicated that she found Sal quite attrac- tive with his tan and curly hair. When Sal had hair, it was so curly that he had an Afro, long before it became stylish in the U.S. Sal over- heard the young ladies and mentioned their conversa- tion to the rest of the table, only in Italian• From that point on, we focused in on what the two girls were say- ing. The next thing we heard were comments from the second of the two, describing me and that she would like to meet me, but how? Being a wise guy, I told my com- panions that I was going to put a cigarette in my mouth, and not finding a match, would ask them if anyone had matches. Each of them was to say no and I would take it from there. The two young ladies ob- served us searching. I soon turned to them and saw a lighter sitting on a pack of English cigarettes near the one that made the com- ments about me. As I turned, she said, "Si signore•" In my perfect Boston accent, I said, "May I borrow your lighter, we seem to be out of matches•" She turned purple, now knowing that we under- stood everything they were saying. Well, they were em- barrassed and that was the end of the relationship. Like I said, I could be a wise guy. We stayed with my friend A1 and his family for another -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 day or so and then hit the road. The only reservation we had made was for a hotel room in Rome and I wanted to see southern Italy before we headed for the Italian capital. Rome is like any other big city worldwide, no reservation, no rooms. Be- fore we left, I called home to let them know that we were heading north. When speak- ing to Babbononno, he reminded me that I had promised that I would visit Foggia where he was born and try to find family. I said that I hadn't forgotten and that I would head there when I was on the east coast of Italy. Morn and Dad wished us luck on our trip north, and after many good byes, we left Catanzaro. On the outskirts, we passed a wine stand. In ru- ral America we have fruit and vegetable stands with some of them selling apple cider. In Italy many of the local room and pop vintners sell their wine on the side of the road. I sampled a couple of the blends the owner had for sale, selected the one I liked and bought a five liter bottle of it. The bottle was a giant Chianti bottle without the wicker around it. The vintner carved out a stopper from a piece of cork, stuck it in the top of the bottle and we were on our way. We drove west on the high- way that connected Catan- zaro and Reggio. There was no major highway head- ing northward in that gen- eral area except from Reggio. So, we retraced our steps and looked at the local scen- ery. Part of the way, we were up in the mountains of Calabria. The road was a two lane road with no guard rails and I took it slow manipulat- ing some of those mountain curves. Without any warn- ing, a tropical thunderstorm developed and surrounded us. We were up so high, we weren't below the storm, we were in it. You couldn't see anything as the rain came down in sheets. The thunder sounded like the sixteen inch cannons on a battleship and when light- ning flashed, it flashed hori- zontally across the car. We were in trouble. I couldn't see the edge of the road and I knew that, if I made a mistake, we would end up in the valley below the hard way. I soon saw red lights flashing in front of me and downshifted to second gear. An 18-wheeler was in front of us just crawling and I pulled in right behind the giant truck. We finally exited the storm and by the time we were at the foot of the mountain, the sun was out and the car was dry. I think what helped were the Hail Marys that Sal and I silently said. That day, we got religion. TO BE CONTINUED GOD BLESS AMERICA • The Socially Set (Continued from Page 8) Left to right: BLO music director David Angus, baritone Daniel Sutin and BLO overseer Michael Puzo enjoy the "Hocus Pocus Gala" at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. (Photo by Roger Farrington) ....... Madison Square Gar- den Entertainment has announced the 2012 audi- tion cites and dates for the "Rockettes Summer Inten- sive" training program at Radio City Music Hall for all local area aspiring dancers. Auditions in Boston are scheduled for December 27 at the Wang Theatre. Now entering its eleventh year, the Rockettes Summer Intensive offers aspiring dan- cers the unique opportunity to train with the world- famous Rockettes as well as a Rockettes Director/Chore- ographer and learn their signature precision dance technique. Acceptance into the Rock- ettes Summer Intensive is a crucial stepping stone for Rockette hopefuls who aspire to one day dance with the legendary company. Since the inception of the Summer Intensive in 2001, 47 danc- ers who have gone through the program have gone on to become world-famous Rockettes. Auditions begin November 6, 2011 and run through January 2012 in 13 different cities across the country. "The Rockettes Summer Intensive is a pivotal pro- gram for serious dancers who want to gain the training and technique of the Rock- ettes precision dance style," said Eileen Grace, Rockettes Director and Choreographer. "Our dance education pro- grams are invaluable for dancers and one of the best training tools for these tal- ented Rockette hopefuls who strive to become part of the legendary dance company." The Rockettes Summer Intensive is a weeklong pro- gram, running June 24 - August 3, 2012, and hosted at Radio City Music Hall in the actual studios where the Rockettes rehearse for their starring roles in the annual production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Dancers accepted into the program rehearse daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with group education seminars in the evenings. This dis- tinctive style transcends a multitude of dance disci- plines including jazz, tap, musical theater, lyrical and of course the legendary Rock- ettes kick line. The cur- riculum focuses on original choreography and forma- tions from the Rockette rep- ertoire that will culminate in a student showcase. To be considered for the Rockettes Summer Inten- sive, dancers must be at least 14 years of age (by June 22, 2012) with a mini- mum of 5 years training in tap, jazz and ballet. For further details on the Rockettes Summer Inten- sive, visit Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site, In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases, PRNewswire services, etc.). • Thinking Out Loud (Continued from Page 4) about thanking the same God and hoping probably that God protected them from the Pilgrims too. Yes, terrible things happen all the time that call into question our faith in our- selves, others and even God. However, always taking time to offer Thanksgiving is not a one-day holiday; it needs to be repeated constantly. A family in Weymouth is now in great pain and for them this year's Thanksgiv- ing may offer little if any hope. However, it will be up to all of us to share hope with one another and a sense of oneness. Pain is shared by all of us, but at the end of the day, it is in giving thanks, that we understand who we are as a society. For the most part, the good will outlast the bad. Everything else is chopped liver and not turkey• The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud end deception. CaU 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or log on to www,