October 1963 – July 2013
Ciro, Ciro, Ciro…..
What can one say about Ciro? He had an odd name given to him, well for living in Canada anyway. Ciro’s name is pronounce “Chiro” for the English, and if Italian “Giro”
Ciro was an odd fellow to some who did not know him that well, but for the few fortunate people that did know him well, he was not odd at all….. well ok maybe just a bit. In fact, Ciro was a simple, gentle, kindhearted & thoughtful individual that loved his cookies, Cheeze Whiz…. and coffee. To this day I actually think Ciro’s body is 60% Cheeze Whiz and 40% coffee with a bit of Nutella thrown in for good luck.
Ciro and I go a WAY back, I met Ciro in Kindergarten at Immaculata elementary school in Ville St.laurent, that was 45 years ago. From then on we were to become close buddies for many, many years, until of course we figured out what girls were all about and how much trouble they would cause!
My most vivid memory of Ciro has to be the day I was helping Ciro’s family move from Crevier street to their new house on Miller street in St. Laurent, 40 feet from where I was living at the time. We moved allot of stuff by simply walking down the street with boxes in hand as neither of his parents drove or owned a car, however it was not far…. well not far for back then… today it would have been car only or forget it! But thats the way stuff was done back then….. On one of the many trips to and from the new house I was entrusted to carry something called a “Galloni”
… a big jug of Ciro’s dad’s homemade wine…. at that time I knew nothing of the importance of homemade wine, being 7 or 8 years old. So while i was carrying this “galooni” thing, I was fooling around with Ciro in front of me, he was carrying a box of something, one thing led to another and I dropped this “Galloni” of precious liquid and it broke and spilled all over the sidewalk…. I am sure the stain is still there! Well Ciro turned white and went into a fit and started crying and yelling oh my god my dad is gonna be so upset, I turned around and said, but its only wine, Ciro said but he loves that stuff so much…. as he is going on about what happened, his father comes running down the street yelling at Ciro, even though I broke it…..”Managia la Miseria”, a slap here and there, and then it was over. I stood there wondering what did he do to deserve that, when it was I who broke the “Galloni” ??? Ciro later told me, “well he could not do anything to you as you were not his son, so he took it out on me, plus your dad is a big guy!”
Ciro and his family were my first introduction to Italians. It was weird at first until i discovered Italian food, then it all changed, Ciro’s mom cooked all kinds of food I never heard of or saw before, it was all fantastic! And with all that, Ciro still could never get enough of Cheese Whiz.
When Ciro got a bit older and started his first job delivering newspapers for the Montreal Star, he would take his tip money and buy himself some Cheese Whiz and crackers and hide it in his basement so no one else would have at it, except him, and when he was feeling generous, I would be able to have a few crackers and Cheese Whiz myself…..
Ciro was also a great pool player, believe it or not, John Mele.
Ciro and I use to play pool 3 or 4 times a week in the summers at the YMCA on Porier street.
YMCA on Poirer
One summer they had a pool championship, out of about a dozen people in the group…. the last two players to go head to head were Ciro and myself, yes John I played pool pretty good back then, but in the end Ciro beat me hands down and he got a small plastic medal for it…. I wonder if he still has that somewhere?
Ciro loved sports, Baseball, soccer, and of course hockey, not that he played any of those well, but he loved to watch and listen to them on TV and on the radio, we use to go watch the expos play at the Olympic stadium together for like 3 bucks and the Habs together at the old forum, once paying a whopping $25 to see a playoff game, standing room only! I cannot remember who the Habs played against, but I am sure Ciro would have, as he had a mind for sports stats, go figure. You could ask Ciro who scored that winning goal between the Habs and Boston on Thursday December 11th 1978 and he could tell you who it was, without fail. Whenever Ciro, John and I would be together, I would often tease John, who thought he is the best at hockey trivia, and pit him against Ciro, I guess you know who would always win.
When we were young teenagers, Ciro would often listen to baseball or hockey in what he called his office. It was a small corner place in the basement where his parents allowed him to put a desk to do his homework undisturbed by his younger sisters and brother, it was no bigger than 4 feet by 8 feet and had enough room for Ciro and all his worldly possessions and one guest, which was usually myself or his faithful pet canary. He eventually blocked off access(and to make it more private) to his office with a curtain( an old blanket his mom did not use anymore) and this became his sanctuary, his paradise, in a house with 5 other siblings that fought over everything and anything. This was his place and no one was allowed in uninvited! We even built a kind of wooden cabinet or safe on the wall that he would keep his most valuable things in, like the hockey cards we used to pay 10 cents a pack for, and trade them or any amount of money he had, and of course his cheese whiz and crackers. There was actually a pad lock on this cabinet, and only Ciro had the key, no one else! Then one day Ciro had enough money to get himself a small 12 inch black and white tv that i helped him set up in his office, Ciro and I would spend hours in there watching hockey or some kind of show on the all of 4 channels he got on that TV! It was a simple and a fun time!
When Ciro worked for the Montreal Star he entered a contest to win a real Red Go Cart…
….it was so very cool indeed, I remember well the day he actually won it, I was there at his house with The Montreal Star taking pictures of him to put in the paper, it was everything a 14 year old could want back then. Unfortunately, at the beginning his parents did not want him riding that fancy new red go cart any further than the backyard, which of course was very small due to the JARDINE, So we would start it up and take turns driving it 10 feet down his small narrow stone path in between the JARDINE and then stop it, lift it up and turn it around start it up and ride that long 10 feet back to the beginning of the path. It was so fun! Eventually his parents let him drive it up & down the driveway and then up & down Miller street.
Once the gang found out he had a cool red go cart, they were all over him, I remember this one time someone in the gang tried to up the power of the of the engine by bending a little spring on the accelerator to give it more pep. Everyone was nervous to try it out after he did that… so of course Ciro said “Robert you try it” so I got in, pressed the gas and away I went, everything was going great except the little tweak that the guy did stuck open….. and the go cart just kept going and going… right by Pelligrino’s house and right to the corner of Poirier, the breaks did not work either as the accelerator was stuck on, I was just able to make a big U turn rather than to go onto Poirier street but in doing so I ran into this weird looking older blonde kid with thick glasses that use to deliver groceries for Allen’s Grocery Store on a bike…
….I ran directly into him, causing him to fall over with all the groceries he had in the basket, but that did help me slow down. I was then able to turn around and head back while this bike guy was picking up the groceries that fell out after I hit him. While I was heading back, I was just able to reach around and hit the cut off switch before I almost ran into Mr. Painter’s car next to Ciro’s driveway… Who was The Mayor of Ville St.laurent at the time! It was a couple weeks till we used that go cart again.
Ciro was so psyched that he won that go cart, he & I would enter many contests, one of them being a contest to win Cross Country skis at Les Galeris St.laurent shopping center, known as “The Gal” to many in St. Laurnet.. It was thought to be a sure thing for us win, as we knew pretty much everyone one that worked in all the stores there, as we spent much time hanging out in that small shopping center on what was then Laurention Boulevard. A person needed to have a coupon from any of the stores in the shopping center to enter the contest which normally meant you had to buy something, but we just got hundreds of them for free because everyone in that place knew Rob & Ciro, and especially Ciro at the restaurants. So the big day came and they were to make the draw to give out 5 prizes of 5 sets of cross country skis, we were so excited. So they spun the wooden barrel that contained the coupons a few times and pulled out the first name, the announcer says, “And the first winner is”…. Kiro, Cuci, cookie, uhmm… SIRO, and before the announcer could finish trying to say Ciro’s name Ciro jumped up and said its me!!! Many non Italians had problems pronouncing Ciro’s name, he was so excited, a brand new pair of cross country skis. Then they spun the barrel again… pulled out a name. Robert Morin…OMG!!….. The first thing I ever won in my life, we were so excited, unbelievable, We were about to leave when they pulled out the next name…. Robert Morin, oh o.. and then the next name Ciro and the next Rob and ciro , rob and ciro, I think we were the only names in that barrel! So they picked until they got other names, it got kind of embarrassing… but hey we each got a pair of cross country skis, of which i still have to this day sitting in my garage.
As we got older and finally almost of legal age, we started going out to clubs, like the Octagon on Gouin street down the road from the prison, or Le Manoire and of course Le Harem, Thanks to Emanuel for getting us in Le Harem. Ciro and I at the ripe old age of 16 and 17! How new and exciting for us that was. We also frequented the Octogone with Johnny Dargino’s(AKA Boogie) sister, Elvira, and her cousins, Johnny was too young at that time. Ciro would sometimes bring his friend Alby, Now Just when you thought Ciro was an odd enough fellow, you meet this guy, Alby. Alby would bring an extra set of pants to every club or bar we went to, Ciro never understood why and to this day neither do I, One time when we were almost at the Octogone, Alby said he forgot his spare pants at home, so we had to turn around to go back because he was just freaking out. I will never understand that guy or why Ciro hung out with him, I guess Ciro just felt sorry for Alby and tried to be friendly with him regardless of Albys weirdness, but that was Ciro…
When one of my high school buddies Tommy Dee passed away in the early 80’s of unknown circumstances, Ciro was there to hang out and comfort me, and help me to try and get my mind off of what happened, even though he did not know Tommy that well.
Then came that dark day in October, not long after Ciro’s 19th birthday, and on Halloween, my Dad passed away from Cancer
I had turned 18 not too long before that and had the world in my hands, or so I thought, until that day. But who was there to comfort me for days and be by my side? Ciro, he would come over to the house and just sit with me, he did not say much, I did not say much, but he was just there, sharing his endless supply of Cheese Whiz and crackers with me…
Not too long after that, we seemed to have parted ways a bit, we each met a girl that seemed to take up allot of our time, and we saw less and less of each other. But Ciro always managed to call me up every couple months to say, “Hi, how you doing? How much money are you making?”
Then the big day came and Ciro, to the disbelief of many actually got engaged and married to girl that he described as “a girl from the old country”, in other words someone that would cook, and clean and do laundry for him , he was in LOVE…..
We hung out for a few months after that and then for the next few years with all the baby making action going on at his house, we would only see each other on holidays or at his Godfather’s house. Ciro would always find time to call call me every few months and say “Hi, how you doing? How much money are you making now?”
Then a couple years later, the unfortunate happened, Ciro got divorced. During his divorce period that summer of 2006, Ciro, John, Dom Speranza, Ralph Mele and I would hang out more often, and it was like old times again, except we were all 20 years older now, and no sign of Alby and his spare pants.
Fortunately, Ciro seemed to have sailed through the divorce pretty well, mostly due to the support from his family and friends and in big part from his brother Mike, of which Ciro told me, was a big help to him emotionally and in other ways, and Ciro regretted not expressing that sentiment to Mike enough, but told me he could not have made without Mike’s help.
But let’s not forget the new girl in Ciro’s life, Antenella, she is great gal and fun to be with, they got along like two peas in a pod and before you knew it they were engaged and I was to be the best man at his wedding, and my lovely wife Paula was to be the maid of honour, it was very cool.
Soon after that, once again life’s responsibilities and Ciro’s baby making powers took over, and we parted ways yet again and saw less of each other, Ciro and Antenella would come to my New Years eve parties before they had the baby, but that was about it, maybe I would see him and John’s parents place in the summer now and then, but as expected and accepted, a new marriage and child takes up much of a couple’s time. As time went on, we were speaking to each other every few months and on holidays and birthdays, Ciro ALWAYS called me on my birthday, he never forgot, Never! But sadly and regrettably, I frequently forgot to call him on time for his birthday, but that never bothered him… he still always called me without fail.
Oddly enough Ciro mentioned quite frequently that during the year that 2013 would not be a good one, Ciro was a sort of superstitious guy, most people just ignored his superstitions, Ciro said any year ending with 3 was a bad year for him in the past, his sister’s death, his mom’s death and so … it was true!
I could go on forever with other funny stories and great times I had with Ciro , like school dances, going camping at Plattsburg beach, trying to meet girls at clubs, or our first cars, Ciro’s Lada and my ’76 Ford Torino and the time we spent trying to repair them, but these many stories would take a long time to tell. Unfortunately, these days, as we get older and older, time is not on our side and time was not fair to Ciro or us with his sudden departure. With all that said, I will end with a quote from one of Ciro’s favorite movies,
“ I have been – and always shall be – your friend “
We will remember you for a long time to come, God bless you Ciro and say hi to my dad for me.
If you have not signed his guestbook, please do…
I will periodically add photos to this page, so check back sometimes!
Thanks to all for reading this page dedicated to my buddy Ciro!