Matteo Petrera died.

I have not seen nor heard from Matteo in over 50 years.

We were in college together. Manhattan College. I was a resident student and Matteo a day hop.That means I had the money to live on campus. Only because of a scholarship. Matteo lived in New york City proper and took the subway or bus, or both, to school each day from his home.

We went through 4 years together. He was my partner in biology lab.

We were not close. I never recall our going out together on the weekend. But we talked every day.

He perceived me as a farm kid from somewhere in upstateNew York. I saw him as this street smart kid from New York City.

Matteo was physically large. Not fat. Tight. Like a full back.

He knew about everything. He was the expert. Girls, studies, the world. Nothing was beyond his knowledge and comprehension.

He taught me much. I used to hang on his every word. He was sort of a hero to me.

I have not seen Matteo since our college graduation in 1957.

Yesterday, I received the Manhattan College Alumni News. It noted the death of Matteo Petrera.

I felt sad. I went to the computer and googled Matteo. His obituary came up. Turns out Matteo touched many in his lifetime.

He became a high school teacher for 30 years on Long Island where he eventually lived. Taught history and was a guidance counselor. Was married for 46 years. Had several children who gave him several grandchildren.

He apparently was well liked by his students, who affectionately referred to him as Mr. P.

I love his Italian background!

His family came from Bari in Italy. They settled in Harlem, where he was raised. Harlem is where he got the street smarts of which I was so much in awe.

Matteo, God bless you! Keep an eye out for me when I arrive where you are! Perhaps you can give me the lay of the land, oops Heaven, so I can better find my way around!

Michael Eptien is back in town! Ran into him at La Trattoria last night.

Michael has been gone for 8 months. In South Carolina with family. He has decided Key West is home and where he belongs. And so, he has returned!

I first met Mike when he was a waiter at Square One. A nice guy! The best!

Mike had a good life here in Key West. He was a leader in the gay community, active in his church and was even elected Queen once.

He became a good friend of Lisa’s. Attended her wedding and knew the grandkids. He asked about them at length last night.

I am glad he has returned and wish him well.

Have a good day!

One comment on “

  1. TRANSCRIBED FROM JASPER JOTTINGS

    thanks for the great memories of my dad. you were right on the mark in your description of him, and his never ending knowledge of all things continued throughout his life. He and my mom raised a fine family of three–Tony, a pharmacist; Teri, a radiologic technologist; and myself, an orthopedic surgeon. He instilled a great sense of family and tradition into his children and was most proud of all their achievements. But most of all he said his greatest accomplishment was that in 73 years of life he rarely missed church or receiving the Eucharist. Clearly his Manhattan College education played a large part in his and our success. Thanks

    –pasuale petrera

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