One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for March 2, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get reacquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
This past weekend was fabulous as I had a number of wonderful experiences all surrounded by wonderful friends. I attended two surprise birthday parties for special friends, had Friday night cocktails with friends, attended a lavish gala that serves as a fundraiser for our local hospital, sat on the first row of a UNC Pembroke basketball game, and enjoyed a great Sunday breakfast. With all of these events besides my wife Mira, the common denominator who attended each event with me was my good friend Giuseppe “Joe” Terranova.
As you might have guessed Joe is of Italian descendent. In fact he was born in Italy and lived there until he was 14 years of age. Joe adds a distinct flavor to my group of friends because of his perspective on everything.
He has a tremendous appreciation for what this country has to offer because of his background. Joe from the age of 9 spent ever night at his grandmother Eleanora Terranova’s house. His grandmother influenced him in a number of ways including an expectation for him to be an excellent cook and housekeeper. Joe lost his grandmother when she died in her sleep in 1996 in her mid 80’s.
Joe had to overcome a lot of obstacles but his perspective was that they were all opportunities. He came to the United States and settled into a New Jersey town called Garfield which is located just 12 miles west of New York City. He started high school knowing no English. He moved to a new country not knowing anyone his age. He approached both as an adventure not as a woeful prison sentence.
That attitude led him to meet a friend that had a lot in common with him. His second year in the USA he met a young man who was born in America but at age 3 moved to Sicily. When he reached high school age he came back to New Jersey. His name is Romualdo “Aldo” Turelli. More about Aldo later.
I, like Joe Terranova, have Northern NJ roots. I understand the culture that young italian men experience. Joe was a hard worker and shortly after high school and Bergen Community College he found work in 1992 as a shipping clerk for Rempac Foam LLC. Shipping clerk is code for loading trucks and Joe did a lot of that in Clifton NJ.
Joe’s work ethic and loyalty lead him to progress in the company to eventually he was promoted to a buyer. Then in 2006 he was given the opportunity to be transferred to Lumberton NC to work in the Rempac facility located there. At the time of his move to North Carolina he was married with three daughters. His wife Beth is beautiful and is also from New Jersey. She works for the Public Schools of Robeson County. Joe is very involved with our community and his church where he is moderator of the deacons. He is also a past president of the Kiwanis Club.
The Friend-Giuseppe “Joe” Terranova with his wife Beth
The Friend of the Friend-Romulado “Aldo” Turelli on the right.
Italian bonds of friendship-Aldo and Joe
When Joe Terranova got put in a ESL (English as a Second Language) class at Garfield HS he didn’t realize he was going to have someone transport him to a different culture when he learned English. In that class he met Aldo Turelli a student who had come back to America after living in Sicily for the last 10 years. Aldo had the benefit of knowing English since he was born in America. Aldo helped Joe Terranova get transported to the American way of life. Joe didn’t just have Aldo he had a bunch of buddies named Sal, a Tino, a Vinny, and Lou to help also.
Once they became friends in HS They realized they actually lived across the street from each other on Westminster Ave. in Garfield. They were always together. At graduation the High School yearbook voted them best friends and inseparable.
When you have a inseparable friend you get lots of advice. Most of what Aldo shared with Joe was spot on. One piece of advice Joe regrets listening to was Aldo opinion of high school soccer in New Jersey. Aldo told him American soccer players were hacks and would take out your ankles. Joe regrets not playing soccer in high school but points out Aldo gave him lot’s of pointers on girls, cars, and how to look the part.
Aldo and Joe shared some sad moments both of them lost their moms about the same time.
They also bought new cars about the same time.
Aldo went with VW Cabrio
Joe bought a black Chevy Baretta GTU
One day Joe was giving a friend named Lou a ride in his Baretta GTU. On the dashboard of that car in big letters was GTU. Lou said to Joe do you know what GTU stands for? Joe said no and Lou told him GUIDO TRANSPORT UNIT. For those not from Northern NJ here is some help
GUIDO Is a sad pathetic excuse for a male; not necessarily of Italian descent, but most likely; usually native to the New York/New Jersey Tri-State area.
Joe laughed and knew his friend Aldo had transported him into the American culture because he understood the joke told to him in English.
For the record having an Italian friend is no joke or excuse it is a gift.
la fortuna di chiamare un amico