1. My first paying job was being responsible for putting together the banners that would get flown over large outdoor events such as a Patriots game or over Horseneck Beach south of Fall River. An old bi-plane would snare the loop that I hung between two 15’ tall uprights and peel the banner, laid out in the opposite direction, off the ground. It was a cool job made even better because at the age of 14 I was able to drive an old ’58 Dodge around on the airport perimeter dirt road to get from our shed where the letters were stored to the pick-up location.
2. Many people know I am an avid Boston/New England sports fan. But when I was in Little League, my favorite pitchers were Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, and Bob Gibson. I must have been channeling Bob Gibson, who was known for “brushing back” hitters, when I pitched my best game – a 9-0 no-hit shutout with 18 strikeouts (in a six-inning game) and 5 walks. I think I was just wild enough to intimidate the batters in a Gibson-esque fashion.
3. I am a Coast Guard veteran, enlisting right after high school at 17 while the Vietnam War was still ongoing. But, I spent the majority of my 10 years of service on Cape Cod and Nantucket. Not a bad place to be, right? One memorable search and rescue call which I responded to came from Ethel Kennedy who indicated that friends who took their Wianno Senior out for a sail had run aground and capsized in Hyannis Harbor. When we arrived on scene there were a dozen or so guys (heavy Irish accents) and an equal number of wine bottles bobbing about. There was also an attractive blonde woman who may or may not have been Farrah Fawcett. The next couple of days we received many calls from several tabloids, some offering cash, looking for more of a story. But we dutifully kept to just the facts.
4. The Blizzard of ’78 was when a series of unusual/fortunate events came together just right and brought my wife and I together. The storm began before my commute home from Wentworth Institute in Boston where I was studying architecture. By the time I reached 128, my usual route, I heard it was already at a standstill so I pushed on down Route 1, bald tires and all, and was able to make it home to Mansfield three hours later. The whole east coast was shut down to vehicular traffic for three days so I strapped on my cross-country skis and ended up at my friend’s apartment. That night, while enjoying the sounds of Little Feat and Robert Palmer, two young ladies from the two adjacent apartments came to complain about the volume. But, their rolled up jeans beneath their bathrobes gave away the fact that they just wanted to see what was going on. They stayed late, we made arrangements to meet for breakfast, and the rest is history. Cindy and I have been happily married now for 42 years and counting!
5. As an architect I have been fortunate to work on a wide variety of projects. Some notable and unusual projects include the Boston Beer Company brewery in Jamaica Plain, a shellfish depuration plant in Newburyport, the “mothballing” of the old prison at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a fire training facility at Logan Airport, Cheel Campus Center and Hockey Rink at Clarkson and Squash Cout Facility at Trinity College.
6. I first came to know of Siena when I worked on the MAC addition, Kiernan House (St. Francis House), Reynolds House (now Colbeth) and McGuirk House (Clare House) as well as the “Tully” Master Plan. Tony Pondillo hired me away from Tully Associates in 1993, and I was here to watch several major projects from the Master Plan come to fruition: Cushing Townhouses, Standish Library, Morrell Science Center, Sarazen Student Union and Turchi (loop) Road.
7. My most memorable event to be a part of here at Siena was the pilgrimage to Italy with Fr. Mark, Br. Larry, and all the rest. Truly a memory that will last a lifetime for both me and my wife. It was topped off with a surprise visit from my son Brian who made the trip from his home in Antalya, Turkey to meet up with us.
8. When my son was in the Boy Scouts, I signed up as an assistant scoutmaster to help out. It was a great experience to be able to share several 50 mile canoe trips, winter camp outs, and High Peak treks though the Adirondacks. I think the young men especially enjoyed some of my outdoor culinary treats such as boiled eggs in a paper cup, Spiedies steak tips, foil packet roasted vegetables, crepes, and Dutch oven cherry cobbler.
9. Both my son, Brian, and my daughter, Meghan, are graduates of Siena College. Like me, they both loved the sciences, at least through high school. Both began at Siena as biology majors but both soon changed majors as they realized biology was not for them. Now they are very successful in jobs totally unrelated to their degrees! But that’s the beauty of the liberal arts education here at Siena!
10. It’s been a few years, but for a while I was frequently asked if I was, or related to, the author John McPhee. I had to admit that, no I am not, but that I enjoyed his writing. My favorite being “the Survival of the Bark Canoe”. Another is “the Crofter and the Laird” where he writes about the system of property ownership versus the people who actually work the land. Paralleling the story is his visit to the Isle of Collonsay where the last of the McPhee Clan Cheiftains met his demise. I was disheartened to find out it was less than honorable.