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December 5, 2014     Post-Gazette
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December 5, 2014

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Page10 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 5, 2014 Sanna j{i o 00Babb00onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance The memory of this past Thanksgiving won't fade. Normally, I would combine my family with that of my cousin, Ralph Pepe, but this year was different. My son, John, and his wife of seven months, Beth, decided to have their first holiday din- ner at their new home. Beth invited her parents, and son, Michael, came home from New York. And so, the seven of us celebrated Thanksgiving with a turkey that we actually ate. Every- thing was American except a couple of desserts, but the food was excellent and we had a great time enjoying each other's company. Something else I have to mention. The day before Thanksgiving, I got together with two cousins from my father's side of the family. Jim Dello Russo is my father's sister's son. Up to this point in time, we would call each other about once a year, with, "Hello, how are you, what are you up to?" And, that would be it. Our grandmother, Antoinetta Paglia DeCristoforo had a brother, Frank, whom I had only met a few times when I was a child. One of his son's, Francis, located me through this newspaper about a year and a half ago and we met over cappuccino and cannoli to discuss family. This time around, I called Francis and Jim, and the three of us met at Pizza Regina for, you guessed it, pizza and conver- sation. What started out as a quick meeting lasted about three to four hours, discussing people from that side of the family, and hope- fully, this was the first of many get-togethers sched- uled for the future. Well, the next holiday com- ing is Christmas, and if you remember from my past col- umns, the men in my fam- ily would become quite busy for the next five or six weeks playing Christmas parties, with the finale being New Year's Eve. Babbononno came to this country as a musician. From the time of Thomas Jefferson through the presi- dency of Harry Truman, the Italian Marine Band would come to this country and serenade the brass in Wash- ington. It was a tradition, and in 1896, Mike Contini and Babbononno, was part of the band that sailed to America to entertain. While here, Babbononno was noti- fied by the Reuter's Service that his wife had died and when the band returned to Italy, he didn't. Years later, he married, Giovannina Ceruolo, Nanna, and they raised a family in Boston. Their three sons, Paul, Nick and Gino were taught music at very young ages, Paul and Nick clarinet and saxophone and Gino played drums. Paul and Nick would play professionally begin- ning in their teen years and continue for the rest of their lives. Gino would give it up after WWlI and go into busi- ness. Their sister, Angelina (Anne), would marry a musician, my father, and when I came along a couple of years later, I began learn- ing music at Babbononno's side. My recollection of Dad and my uncles can be summed up by saying, "They lived in their tuxedoes." Back in the day, they played just about every night of the week. Uncle Paul worked with a Dixieland band, with Dad and Uncle Nick hitting their peaks during the swing era. Dad went by Johnny Christie and Uncle Nick by Nick Conti. When I was about 18 years old, I turned professional, was fitted for my first family style tuxedo and took my place as third generation musician in my family. And, as I said before, this time of year, between Thanksgiving and New Years, was the busiest season for us. There were no DJs back then. All music was live. I played the same instrument as Dad, bass violin. As a result, we never worked together. A few times, I worked with Uncle Paul, but over the years, I worked quite a bit with Uncle Nick. Nanna was so proud that her first-born grandson would follow in the footsteps of her husband, sons and son-in-law. But, one day, she said to me, "You have learned the family business, but in case you don't marry an Italian, you have to learn how to cook. As a pre-teen, the last thing on my mind was Finding a wife, but Nanna believed in being prepared. So, by her side on several occasions, I had to learn how to cook. Nanna didn't buy macaroni (pasta to non-ltalians), she made it from scratch, and I had to learn her recipes. She would pour out a moun- tain of King Arthur flour, knuckle out the center so it looked like a white volcano, mix in her eggs, add some water-maybe a drop of milk- -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 and kneed everything adding in salt and a few secret ingredients and eventually come up with the dough that would evolve into homemade macaroni. The only thing was that Nalma couldn't read and everything was, "A pinch of this and a pinch of that," in Italian of course. She taught me how to make ravioli, linguini, rigatoni, gnocchi and lasa- gna the way her mother taught her back in Avellino when she was a young girl on the family farm. Once this was mastered, she taught me how to make es- carole soup with the little meatballs and tiny pasta. She taught me how to make the meatballs for the soup and the ones that cooked in her gravy along with the sau- sages and gravy meats. Oh, I had to learn how to make the gravy, also. Back then, you didn't buy "pasta sauce" in a jar, it was all home made. During another les- son, she taught me how to stuff mushrooms, how to stuff artichokes, how to cook eggplant so it didn't taste like cotton, how to cook cut- lets, how to cook fish, and how to make coffee Italian style. The last lesson was how to make desserts. Most of them were Italian with one exception, apple pie. Babbononno loved apple pie and hers was the best. When she was done with this part of my youthful training, she would send me to Babbononno to take my music lesson for the day. Years later, as a college student and a graduate stu- dent, I cooked at many dinner parties that I threw. Once in a while, I would have a dinner party for the mem- bers of the band I was work- ing with, and remembering Nanna's, "A pinch of this and a pinch of that," I came up with many Italian dishes the American musicians never knew about, but, happy to say, loved eating as much as I loved making them. Well, between Thanks- giving and Christmas, my family and I played music morning, noon and night. There was little time for cooking, but between Christmas and New Years Eve, things slowed down and I lent a hand in the kitchen. These are the two most important things I learned from my family: .how to play an instrument and how to cook. I guess they figured that I'd never be broke and never be hungry. Those were great days, the days of my youth. Today, I make reservations. Times have changed, as I've gotten old, but in closing, MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA. Small Ads Get Big Results For more information, call 617-2:27-8929. Saint Edmund Campion by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Edmund Campion was born in London, the son of a book- seller on January 25, 1540. Campion was recognized as a promising child, evidenced by the fact that when Mary Tudor entered London as queen, he was the schoolboy chosen to give the welcoming in Latin to her majesty. Sir Thomas White, Lord Mayor of London, who built and endowed St. John's College at Oxford, accepted Campion as one of his first scholars. Campion took the Oath of Supremacy, imposed by the Act of Supremacy 1558, which required any person taking public orchurch office in England to swear allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He went on to pursue a Master's Degree at Oxford in 1564. Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 visited Oxford University, and was very impressed by a 26-year-old Protestant scholar chosen to greet her with a welcoming speech, he was Edmund Campion, He won her lasting admiration in a public debate, he was chosen to lead in front of the Queen. By the time Elizabeth left Oxford, Campion had earned the patronage of the powerful William Cecil and also the Earl of Leicester At Oxford, Campion studied the works of the Church Fathers, which lead him to begin questioning his Protes- tant beliefs. He journeyed to Douai, France in 1572, where he converted to the Catholic faith and began studying for the priesthood. A year later he entered the Jesuit Order in Rome. As a novice, he experienced in a garden a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary foretelling his martyrdom in England. Three years after his ordination in 1580, Father Campion returned to England. He preached one to three times a day, mentally preparing his homilies while travel- ing on horseback across the English countryside, winning many converts. Campion in London worked to reclaim Catholics who were wavering under the pressure of gov- ernmental tyranny; his preaching, his whole saintly and soldierly personality, made a general and profound impres- sion. Campion, endangered by his activities fled to the North, where he wrote and published his famous tract, the "Decem Rationes." He returned to London, only to flee again, this time towards Norfolk. In July of 1581, Father Campion was captured by the Elizabethan authorities. Campion was derisively paraded through the streets of London, bound hand and foot, rid- ing backwards, with a paper stuck in his hat to denote the "seditious Jesuit." The Privy Council, at its wits' end, hatched a plot to impeach Campion's loyalty and called in hirelings to falsely accuse him. A ridiculous trial ensued in Westminster Hall on November 20 1581. Campion, pleaded not guilty. He made a magnificent defense. But the sentence was death, by hanging, drawing, and quarter- ing: a sentence received by the martyr with a joyful shout of Haec dies and Te Deum. He suffered torture on a rack before his execution. On December 1, 1581, he was executed by drawing and quartering at Tyburn, London. Historians of all schools agreed that the charges against Campion were false. Edmund Campion was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on December 9, 1886, and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. His feast day is celebrated on December pt. 500 Canterbury Street "i-'le Rcs/),..ctfl E'x  Boston, MA 02131 617.524A036 Serving the Italian Community for Over 100 Years! Boston Harborside Home Joseph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. - Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. Sabia, ]r. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. 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