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December 26, 2014     Post-Gazette
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December 26, 2014

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POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 26, 2014 Page13 J anna abb nonno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance When I was a kid, I belonged to the Trinity Neighborhood House. It was a settlement house atop Meridian Hill near the inter- section of Meridian and White Streets in East Boston. In the 1800s, it had been the home of a prominent Boston family, but by the time I got there, it was a neighborhood center, part of the Red Feather Organization, and it serviced the youth of that island part of the city. Each year, they hosted a Christmas party for the kids who were members, and of course, their families were invited. I was often found at the Trinity House during the week. I made airplane models, took boxing lessons, played basketball, and due to my mother's insistence, learned how to dance. When I first joined, Mr. Dudley was the man in charge of the activities for the boys, but not long after, a local, J.J. Dana took his place. Edith De Angelis, who later became Dr. De Angelis, a prominent East Boston neighborhood activist, ran things for the girls. The head of operations for both boys and girls was a woman named Ms. Orr. It was the middle of December 1949, and the Trin- ity House annual Christmas party was rapidly approach- ing and I had a problem. Dad and my uncles were musi- cians and working day and night playing parties during Christmas Eve and Christ- mas Day. I needed someone to take me to the party and the only one left was Babbononno. He complained, argued, made excuses and gave Nanna a hard time, but her endurance outlasted his and he agreed to take me to the Christmas party. It was on the Tuesday night before Christmas and when we arrived, Ms. Orr was at the front door greet- ing all of the young guests and their families. Babbo- nonno looked at the food table wondering what the for- eign offerings were: finger sandwiches, chips, potato salad, coleslaw, red colored punch and a large cake with red, white and green frosting on it. I told him to help him- self in Italian, and by the look on his face, you might think he was going to be poisoned. He suffered his way through a sandwich or two, but seeing he had a sweet tooth, he dove into the Christmas cake and loved the sweet red punch. After we ate, Ms. Orr asked all of us to be seated and she read three Christmas stories to us, The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore; Yes, Virginia, There is a Santo~ by Francis P. Church, and from her Bible, The Gospel According to St. Luke: "And it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went December. Mom and Nanna to be taxed, everyone into his were spending all their time own city. And Joseph also Judea, unto the City of r)avid, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first- born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keep- ing watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And, suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and say- ing, "Glory to God in the high- est and on earth peace, good will toward men." And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shep- herds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, getting things ready for large family gel togethers on both went up from Galilee, out of which the Lord hath made the City of Nazareth, into known unto us." And they Buon Natale -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST-- MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 Fully Insured Lic #017936 Heating & Air Conditioning Sales, Service & Installation Ken Shallow 617.593.6211 kenskjs @ came in haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the say- ing which was told them con- cerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those which were told them by the shepherds." Ms. Orr concluded her reading with Amen and we repeated. Babbononno whis- pered that the prayer was similar to the one we hear at Mass on Christmas Day. I just smiled and it was soon time for the parents to get a tour of the facilities at the Trinity House. Well, that was then and it's now 65 years later and I still have that same Christ- mas spirit. Son, John, my daughter-in-law, Beth, son Michael and his lady friend, Abby, will be with Loretta and me this Christmas. Weather permitting, we will be combining families with my cousin, Ralph Pepe, to celebrate Christmas with the extended family, a con- cept we remember from our youthful days. I will let you know about the festivities next week, but in the mean time, from the descen- dents of the Contini and Christoforo families, may you all have a very Merry Christ- mas ... Buon Natale a tutti and MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA Within Hearts a Yearning (Continued from Page 1) The conceit opened with a beautifully perfi)rmed ver- sion of ~'The Yearning" by Craig Cour'mey, followed by a lovely se_ection of famil- iar and not so familiar Christmas carols. One of the evening's highlights was a beautifully performed ren- dering of "O Holy Night" sung by soloist Sherri Snow whose operatic voice brought the audience to its feet at the conclusion of her performance. As in the past, the Finale of the concert was a "Sing- along" in which the audience was invited to join the per- formers in a medley of carols culminating with the rous- ing "Hallelujah Chorus" by Handel. Following the performance, concert goers were invited to the annual parish Christmas party that took place just across the street at Saint John Hall where they were treated to coffee and cake served and prepared by parishioners and members of the Choral Society. Look- ing forward to the continua- tion of this lovely tradition in 2015. Merry Christmas to all our readers. Gridiron Audibles (Continued from Page 14) for a 10 yard loss creating a difficult field goal attempt for kicker Nick Folk. "It was a real big play," Belichick said. "That was a look we hadn't run all game. The sack made it a much tougher field goal." Folk's line-drive kick sent the ball within the grasp of Wilfork's right hand, grazing it and fluttering harmlessly short of the uprights. "I had a good opportunity to make a play and I did it for the team," said Wilfork. "It was nothing special that I did. I penetrated a little bit and got my hands up and got a piece of it. I'm glad it helped my team win a ballgame. That's what it's all about." After the game, Tom Brady said it best, "That was great, I'm glad it came out the way it did, it makes for a better Christmas." We're moving on to the Bills ... AFC PLAYOFF SEEDINGS AS OF WEEK 16 Ranking Record 1 New England Patriots .................. 12-3 2 Denver Broncos ........................... 11-4 3 Cincinnati Bengals .................... 10-4-1 4 Indianapolis Colts ....................... 10-5 5 Pittsburgh Steelers ..................... 10-5 6 San Diego Chargers ................... 9-6 The Patriots clinched the number one seed in the AFC playoffs. The road to Super Bowl XLIX goes through Gillette Stadium. REX RYAN REQUIEM FOR A (ORAL) HEAVYWEIGHT He was yet another false "prophet" for the New York Jets. His New York arrival in 2009 was viewed as that of savior for the star-crossed franchise. He spoke well for six sea- sons as head coach, but ultimately Ryan could not deliver on his promise of a championship. He spoke of dethroning the Patriots in the AFC East, but during his tenure as head coach, the Patriots were 9-4 versus the Jets with six con- secutive division titles. Ryan will be missed. He breathed life into what had be- come a stale rivalry by being the anti-Belichick. True to form, to the end, Ryan never did kiss Bill Belichick's five Super Bowl rings. But he also never won any of his own. "I really thought it was going to be our day," said Ryan follow- ing Sundays game. "It never turned out that way." IIAPPY IIANUKKAH! MERRY CHRISTMAS / BUON NATALE: Industrial Credit Union We wish all the Post-Gazette Readers Happy Holidays! "Banking Done Better" 1 Liberty Square, Boston 02109 617-742-1616