Monday, December 12, 2011

REMEMBERING LARRY MAFFEOLA

A handsome dark-haired policeman crossed the children in front of the old Claflin School at the corner of Washington Park and Walnut Street in Newtonville (opposite what was then the Newtonville Library and is now the Newton Senior Citizen Center). An honored few student crossing guards would assist the policeman, standing at the curb, protecting classmates from rushing headlong into the traffic (even though there were not many cars  then) -- the 6th Grade students wore white bands across their jackets to signify their special status.  Marash Girl always remembered the dark-haired policeman (and the other policeman who was known as Happy because he always had a smile and a happy word for the kids). Marash Girl didn't know the dark-haired policeman's name at the time. It wasn't until years later that she met Larry -- her mother (Jennie) had long since gone to heaven (with a smile on her face, mind you!), her father was in his mid-eighties, and so was Larry. It was then that she learned that Larry and her father had always been good friends. And it was then that she began to accompany her father on visits to Larry and his wife, visits which were returned at Marash Girl's Christmas parties (an extravaganza of vast proportions, with all of Newton Corner, and Armenian friends and family from Watertown and Belmont, and a chosen few from the 14 villages of Newton.)

One Christmas season, and after Larry's wife had passed away, some days before Christmas Eve, Larry arrived at Marash Girl's house in Newton Corner for a short visit with her father (Peter) and noticed that Marash Girl had cut down the top from another table to use as the surface for a beautiful Victorian coffee table base (which she had purchased years earlier from Garage Sales in Newton Highlands when she was escorting her niece Katie Atikian and Katie's new husband Jerry Reilly on a tour of the antique shops in Newton -- they insisted on her buying the beautiful Victorian table base for the living room of her Victorian house built in 1870, even though the table WAS missing its top!) Larry took one look at the table, excused himself, went out to his car, returned with a tape measure, took the measurements of the erstwhile table top, looked at the colors in the oriental rug, and left. Marash Girl had no idea what he had in mind.

On that Christmas Eve, too early for the party, there was a knock at the door of the old Victorian house on Maple Avenue, and on answering it, Marash Girl found Larry hoisting a beautifully finished granite table top -- (he had carried it up the six front stairs and lugged it across the porch by himself, but it took two adults to help him get it into the living room and place it atop the Victorian coffee table base.) Magnificent! Marash Girl couldn't believe it! A perfect fit and a perfect match for the oriental rug (which, by the way, had been left to her by Uncle Vartan -- Reverend Vartan Bilezikian -- it had been in his living room all those years that Marash Girl and her siblings visited as children, singing hymns to the heavens!) Marash Girl was laughing and crying and hugging Larry and her father (who just happened to be there also). . . a gift of vaster proportions than she could have ever imagined.

Marash Girl was to learn later that Larry's father had been a stonemason and a marble cutter and in Larry's back yard (Larry lived down the Lake, i.e., Nonantum,  the oldest village in Newton) had been stored years earlier pieces of uncut, unfinished marble and granite. That week, Larry had rummaged under the snow in his backyard and found the perfect piece for Marash Girl's coffee table; rekindling the talents that his father had taught him years earlier, Larry created a work of beauty which sits in the living room on Maple Avenue to this day, a centerpiece for all to admire, a memorial to Larry Maffeola and his father.

1 comment:

  1. From Marko Pasha

    What a beautiful story!

    ReplyDelete