Sunday, September 4, 2011

There's Nothing Like a Good Laugh

One thing I love to do is laugh.  I've been told that you can find me in a crowded room because of my laugh.  I got my loud boisterous laugh from my father.  It's the one thing about myself that I can't change nor do I want to.

The only other person I knew that had an incredible laugh was Anthony J. "Tony" Marciano.  Tony came into our lives in 1987. My husband and I would drive around on weekends looking at houses in the area to see what was under construction, so we could then approach the builder regarding stone veneer on the chimney, sidewalk, fireplace or any other surface we thought needed stone. The following week I loaded the trunk of our Volkswagen Jetta with stone and proceeded to drive over to Bedford Close in the hopes of meeting the contractor/builder to peddle my wares.

The new homes that were being built in Bedford Close were bigger, more elaborate and more expensive than we had seen in the area for quite some time. I was a bit nervous about approaching this contractor due to the fact I was a female and most contractor's (back in the 80's) thought women didn't know much about building, let alone stone veneer products.

Upon my arrival, I saw this tiny little man, out in front of his latest creation, with his hands and arms doing all the talking for him.  I cautiously approached him and when I overhead his laugh, I felt more comfortable.  Once I introduced myself to Tony, he welcomed me with open arms and couldn't wait to show me his work.  He was so very proud of these new homes he was building and it showed.  He had a gift of gab, a love for dogs, a taste for the finer things in life, yet he was humble and lived a very simple life. He captured my heart after I heard his laugh.

Tony was Italian, only about 5' 5" tall, yet his personality and his love of life was immeasurable.  The relationship my husband and I had with him was true and honest.  Once he took on a "friend" there was no doubt Tony would be by your side, have your back and open his home to you whenever, always.

After seeing Tony's work, we decided that he had to build our home for us and he did.  During the planning stages Tony and Carol (his wife) took us into their home every Sunday morning to sit around the table (for hours), talk, drink coffee (copious quantities of it) discuss our house plans, and share stories of his time in Italy. The stories we told I do not recall, however, what I do recall is Tony's laugh.  His laugh was real and infectious.

We were very fortunate to have had Tony in our life for 21 years. He was a good friend, mentor, teacher and had a zest for life just like my father had. I don't think I have to mention when my father and Tony got together for a good laugh, all conversation stopped for we couldn't hear what the others were trying to say.
In 2008, Tony passed during the building of his last house, he was 77 years young. I won't say who he was building the house for, but I have to believe this client drove him into the ground. The demands that were put on him were too stressful and instead of stepping away from this project, he gave his all to compete it so his client would be happy. Tony always finished what he started, no matter what, but his heart just couldn't handle the stress.  His death was a shock to all and I took it very hard.  I still can't believe he is no longer with us, however, I have his laugh embedded in my mind and bring it out every now and them to share with my boys, which only makes them laugh.

I would like to share the letter I wrote to his wife after Tony's death. Even today, after reading it, it brings back fond memories of him, memories I will cherish and take to my grave.

Dear Carol,

I recently read where "Every human being's life is a story, a unique story, that nobody ever lived before and no one will ever live again."

When we think of Tony's life story, we can think of it as a wonderful book that ended too soon. What we want to know about a book is not how long or short it is, but how good it was.  We can think of Tony's life in the same way. Tony wrote one fantastic book.  As we get to the end of the story, we can then look back on chapters with fond memories. Mike and I are fortunate enough to have been part of Tony's book. We are able to look back on chapter's 87, 88, 89, 90, 97, 98 and 99 with great fondness.

You and Tony made so many things possible for us and we are forever grateful. You opened up so many doors to us, including your own.  For so many years your home was our home, making us feel like family each and every time we got together with you. Tony's unselfishness, his wonderful sense of humor, his laugh, his knowledge and smile will always be remembered.

If life was written as a story, we can only wish that it would go on forever and never end. However, we know that even the best stories have an ending. So instead of grieving that Tony's wonderful story had to end, Mike and I can feel very blessed that we were lucky enough to have been part of it. We are one of the lucky ones were wherever we look we see Tony, whether it be in the curve of our roof, the moldings on the walls or standing behind the French doors looking out at us.

Ciao to a dear friend who will live forever in our hearts and in the walls of our beautiful home.

Barbara and Mike

P.S.  I have to mention one last thing about Tony that will surly bring a smile to your face.  One afternoon, while we were sitting around Tony and Carols table enjoying each others company, Tony got chilled.  He asked us if it was too cold in the house and we replied, "no".  His mother, who was in her 80's at the time, was sitting on the couch with their beloved dog, Peanut.  Tony yelled over to his mother, "Hey mom, are you cold?" Her reply, "Well, it's a little chilly in here." So upon his mother's reply, Tony proceeded to get up, go over and grab a throw off the chair, walk over and cover up his dog, Peanut !!!!  Only to have Tony laugh until his sides burst open-

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