Congratulations to #1 and #2 for earning the Class of 1977 NON MOLLARE Scholarships.
I would like to congratulate every student that received a scholarship today! I wish that I was there in person with my classmate Paul Dougherty to present to you the Non Mollare – Ride to Finish Scholarship! Unfortunately, I live far away in Nettuno, Italy. In a few months you will be starting your life’s journey by continuing your education in college. Hopefully, the $500 scholarship contributed by our classmates from 1977 and friends will help you along your way.
In Italy, we Italians love our Minestrone soup. It is a dish of seasonal vegetables with a type of pasta. The vegetables could be carrots, potatoes, peas, cauliflower, beans, celery, green beans, spinach, zucchini and freshly grated parmesan cheese. There may be some vegetables in the soup that you may not like, but to enjoy the ones you do like, you will have to eat all the vegetables in the soup. That is just how things go. We all have to learn that we have to take the good with the bad!
I left Penn Hills on August 10, 1977 to start my life’s journey. It has taken me to Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, Italy, Korea and I even competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. My journey also included marrying my Italian wife in 1984. In 2001 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. During my life’s journey, I had to learn to eat a lot of cauliflower and carrots so I could taste the parmesan cheese.
My wife and I recently sold our house in the suburbs and moved to the center of town here in Nettuno, Italy. We are a stone’s throw away from the beach where our American soldiers landed on January 22, 1944 during World War II. There are 7,845 American Soldiers buried here today that never made it home. The other day my wife had sent me to buy some minestrone I had a thought as I walked home from the market. I was looking down the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, and I wondered what our American soldiers were thinking about when they were getting ready to storm the beaches of Nettuno in 1944. As I looked to my left, I could see the Island of Circeo and thought, do the soldiers know about the perils of the Sirens as written by Homer in the poem The Odyssey. It was written in Greek mythology that the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to cause them to be shipwrecked on the rocky coast. I thought to myself at the moment, I am the luckiest person in the world to be one who still has the ability to walk while having learned to enjoy all of the vegetables in life’s minestrone.