Alloggia, my father, was born in the town of Camarda, l'Aquila
in the region of Abruzzo, Italy. At the age of 3, he left
with his parents to move to the town of Charleroi in Belgium
where they lived for a year before immigrating to Ottawa.
He grew up in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood where he attended
New Edinburgh Public School. As a teenager, he attended Ottawa
Tech high school where he met many of his good friends. After
high school, he went to Carleton University where he received
a Bachelor's degree in math and sciences and where he met
Anita. They took an Italian class together. My father obviously
didn't take the class seriously as he often copied my mom's
homework. They eventually got married in 1977 and ten years
later they had twins. He was a civil servant in the RCMP for
over 30 years.
can I say about my father? Obviously the attendance here today
speaks for itself. First and foremost he was devoted to his
family. He constantly reminded my sister and I that our three
most important priorities at the moment are school, school,
and school. We took trips together to Italy almost every summer
where he took us sightseeing and was our personal tour guide.
At the beach he would take us snorkelling and in the mountains
he took us hiking. Even in Canada he would often take my sister
and me to Gatineau where we would take nature walks. Travelling
with my father always took ten times longer than it should
since he would stop every two seconds to take pictures of
us, or a church, or a panoramic scene, or flowers, you get
the idea. When my sister and I were in school, he would make
sure that if we had any problems he would help us with homework,
especially with math and science. In fact, he was able to
help me all the way to first year engineering, and then he
said, "You're on your own kid", obviously still
helping with moral support. When my sister decided to go study
in Italy, he wasn't thrilled at first, but once he got used
to the idea he didn't waste an opportunity to boast about
how his daughter studying in Italy. Last fall he accompanied
my sister on a two-day road trip to Amiens, France where my
sister was pursuing a study abroad program in languages. At
that point, my father was really beaming with pride. After
a few days, my mother joined them and together they travelled
around France. My father couldn't stop talking about how bad
the road signs were. My dad also liked cooking, often creating
conflicts when he and my mom were in the kitchen together.
However, he loved my mom very much, even when she nagged him
about procrastinating for things he didn't enjoy doing. When
my mom was in Italy, he always made sure that I ate well,
asking me first thing in the morning what I wanted for dinner.
My father was surrounded by two loving parents, Giovanni and
the late Berardina, his sisters, Maria and Lucia, and his
brother, Raffaele. My father did everything in his power to
make sure that Fabiana and I grew up with a sense of respect
for others and teaching us morals and values.
father had many interests. He was a very cultured man, a walking
encyclopaedia. He knew everything about everything and didn't
miss an opportunity to lecture us about history, philosophy,
politics, art, anything that he thought would fill our brains
with knowledge. He was constantly reading books and he had
the amazing ability to retain everything he learned. He sometimes
couldn't remember where he left his wallet or cell phone,
or I'd come home and notice the house keys still in the lock
of the door, but he could recite a book that he read twenty
years earlier. He loved photography. I don't even know how
many weddings and events he photographed. I'm sure many of
you here today had your wedding photographed by him. He always
brought cameras and lenses wherever he went. He loved music.
We must have several thousand records sitting somewhere in
boxes. He taught himself classical guitar many years ago and
then taught himself to play the piano. He played even when
it was time for bed and my mom always gave him an earful.
Music was one of the things he had in common with my girlfriend
Milena, whom he loved very much. My father was also a very
active member of the Italian community.
BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO TONY
learn and come to understand Tony, now that he is gone, is
through stories. His actions and deeds speak loudly of his
persona and the measure of the man that he was.
of Tony, Our Friend
my friend, our friend, great plans were germinating as we
dwelled on the adventures in retirement. A new era to romp
in, with unlimited possibilities. But it lasted for too short
a time. It seems that God has other plans for you, and for
us without you.
we, who believe to be your closest friends, reminisce, it
seems that when you barged into our circle back in grade ten
at Ottawa Tech, our neat little structure broke up in chaos.
Had we taken the time, we could have written great papers
on the potential of the human mind when it is in dis-array.
Entropy lives on! And Tony, for us, you were the first "outside-the-box"
thinker. You were definitely the philosopher amongst us. And
for this reason, you were like gluons that hold the nucleus
of atoms together, a gooey, non-intrusive glue that, no matter
what happened, kept us bonded over the time of your life.
we got to know you, we didn't find it strange seeing you one
morning, in sandals and shaved head, walking down Slater Street
carrying a 12-foot dead tree. Over, the next few weeks, as
we prepared for the production of the play, Godot, we knew
that you, above all, were fully in tune with existentialist
thought and stream of consciousness and you saw and felt what
most never do. Along with your musical talents, you brought
to the delight of the audience, other plays, including some
that you wrote, to the stage.
bad that you couldn't bring similar talents to help our school
on the field. A soccer player you were not! No matter, you
had many other talents. For most of the high school years
you were king of briscola and a pretty good chess player.
to Prof. Italo Tiezzi, students from Immaculata were allowed
to take Italian at Tech! Imagine, for the first time, girls
were going to take classes in an all-boys school! A follow-up
to this was that Tech was given a special invitation to the
Immaculata dances. Pretty good idea. Girls' school invites
boys' school. Well, we all had to go to the dance, but who
would have guessed that it was sold out?! Standing outside
Immaculata, Tony signalled through the open door to one of
our friends inside. Three of us followed Tony to the side
of the school where we began removing the few screws that
held a metal screen in front of a lower window. Sure enough,
as our friend, who was already inside, opened the window,
we jumped in and found ourselves in the girl's bathroom. Humming,
"she came in through the bathroom window", we quickly
ran out the door to the dance hall where we were greeted by
the chaperone-Sisters. They were not happy! Out we were! The
following week, the principal of Immaculata sent a letter
to the principal of Tech who read it on the intercom, "All
the boys at the dance were such gentlemen. We must do this
again!" Then, the principal concluded with, "Could
the following four boys please come to the office." Oh!
Tony took a foothold in the Theatre Arts class, his expertise
and interest embroiled him in the Theatre of the Absurd. Not
only did he extensively research this field but also wrote
several plays, some of which were performed at Tech. Of course,
his experience and talents made him a natural director.
play that was in preparation during, and took place a few
weeks after, the Immaculata-dance event, caused him much excitement.
It was a short play in the realm of theatre of the absurd,
which attracted many young people. So it was a little strange
to see three old ladies (very old to us teenagers) dressed
all in black entering the theatre and crossing to the other
side to sit near the back. They brought to mind the three
haggard witches in Macbeth. The theatre was draped all in
black and the set was a sitting room with half a dozen Modigliani's
hanging on the walls.
the play began, the lights dimmed, the actors acted and murmurs
from the three old ladies began. "What is this? What
are they talking about? This is not what we paid for!"
(Not the reaction you would expect from patrons of theatre
of the absurd, no??) The threesome would not let up and before
the end of act one, they noisily made their way to the door,
patrons standing to let them through!
returned for the second and final act. Incredible! Concerned,
Tony asked that chairs be brought in so as to have the ladies
sit by the door. If they did not like the remaining act, they
could easily leave or be encouraged to leave without too much
settled down, except for the odd exclamation coming from the
ladies, "It's dark! It's getting hot in here! Can we
open the door a little?" As the climax of the play approached
and the protagonists were at each other, the lights were to
be completely turned off and the theatre was to remain dark
for about ten seconds. During these ten seconds, Tony, dressed
all in black, with black make-up, would go out on stage and
put smiles on all the Modigliani's elongated faces. The smiles
would accentuate the great discovery revealed in the climax.
When the lights went off, the three ladies began screaming
and screaming. Movement could be heard. "Where is the
door? Where is the door? We want to get out!" There was
no choice, the lights had to come back on, and yes, Tony was
seen, frozen on stage, somewhat camouflaged. Quite a disappointment,
that the audience missed the emphasis of the climax by the
expression change on the Modigliani's!
make-up still on, Tony exclaims, "I can't believe this!
I can't!" (He may have used slightly stronger words!)
As he watched the audience leave and the three old ladies
slowly walking away and laughing with each other, Tony could
not help but make a quick connection, "Do you think that
those three ladies were Sisters from Immaculata? Couldn't
be! They wouldn't be so upset with us sneaking into the dance
that they came to ruin my play?" One of many unsolved
the Absent-Minded Scientist
was no surprise to us that Tony went on to study chemistry
at Carleton University. After several unintentional attempts
at destroying the chemistry lab at Tech, filling it with smoke
and starting sodium fires, the chemistry teacher always peeped
in the room to make sure that it was safe before entering.
Luckily, the university didn't ask him for a letter of recommendation!
But we knew that you would do well, Tony. It was in your blood.
father, Giovanni, was already practicing food chemistry, being
a great cook, a master at curing meats, and making cheese
and wine. Often, just before sitting down to an evening of
card games, the gang trekked down to that dark area in the
basement where this great cheese culture was rising. It looked
like it was moving. Giovanni would reach in with a knife and
spread this cheese on the thick, Italian bread. It was best
to eat it in the dark if you were squeamish about those white
crawly things that were responsible for the great flavour
of this cheese.
Tony was primed for chemistry! There are many stories to reminisce
and some of his quests remain a mystery! No time for them
here. But, there was the challenge to confirm the alcohol
content of store-bought wine and to compare it to that of
homemade wine. Not a big deal for chemists! It would have
to be done after-hours. Who would believe that after breaking
into the chem lab late one evening, amongst all the spatulas,
pipettes, stirrers and other stuff, we would discover that
chemistry labs actually do not have cork screws? The glass-cutting
diamond file did the trick and, success, the alcohol experiment
went ahead. Then, Tony noted that the homemade wine was somewhat
cloudy, and seeing that we were in a chem lab, no problem!
Activated charcoal powder, as a filter, will clear it up!
Big surprise! Activated charcoal not only cleared the wine,
it actually removed all the red wine pigment. So now, Tony
changed the wine to water. Well, not quite, the alcohol was
still in that clear water. This was a great discovery. We
could now sneak this wine into any restaurant and, even the
then met Anita, the love of his life, and all this experience
made his home life much more interesting. Experimentation
continued. Yes, it may be possible to brew a nice cup of cocoa
in your stove-top espresso maker but sometimes the espresso
maker doesn't survive and that nasty fine cocoa can make a
big mess in your kitchen. Forever patient, Anita, restored
the kitchen, till the next time. And of course Fabiana and
Damiano were never bored. They shared in Tony's great insight,
human thought and nature and of course in the more mundane
but bodily need for food. Tony's great tomato sauce pasta
was always available on demand!
Tony loved Alfa's. One summer while Anita was in Italy, he
bought an Alfa 2000 GTV. How was he to break the news to Anita?
Tony decides that he would surprise Anita by picking her up
at the airport. Meanwhile, through the grapevine, Anita learns
that Tony is burning rubber in Ottawa with his new toy. The
day arrives when Tony drives to Montréal to pick up
his sweetheart. Anita gets in the car and says nothing. Tony
waits and waits for Anita's comments. Getting very impatient,
Tony finally asks Anita if she hears the renowned musical
notes emanating from the Alfa exhaust! "Yes, Tony, I
hear them, and I knew about the car, but have you painted
the house or have you just been driving around showing off
your car?" Oh! Oh!
and Anita arrive home, unload the car and Tony, taking Anita
by the hand, walks her over to the kitchen. Voilà!
Look, Anita, a nice dishwasher just for you! Seeing Anita's
expression, Tony forever the loving husband, whispered, "and
you can drive the Alfa, if you want!"
for Tony, the neighbours came to welcome back Anita. They
mentioned that Tony was ever so considerate and did buy the
best dishwashers. They also added that after connecting and
loading the washer to make sure that it was in working order,
he went outside to chat with them. Then Tony went back to
check that the wash cycle was complete. All that could be
heard was loud, strong language. Rushing in, the neighbours
saw Tony amidst half a metre of soap suds that covered the
kitchen floor. It seems that laundry detergent is a no-no
in the kitchen!
Secret life of Tony at RCMP
I would ask Tony, "So what did you do today at the RCMP?"
He would reply, "Oh, I just entered a bunch of info on
a national database." "What kind of info?"
I would ask. "Nothing important," he would reply.
Then, I would remind him, "Tony, I have my secret clearance,
you can tell me!" "It's just boring stuff!"
"OK fine! Then, I am not going to tell you any of my
super-duper secret stuff either!" I would tell him. This
conversation would be replayed quite often, so there is no
news to report on Tony's tenure at the RCMP.
the short period that Tony was at Casa Abruzzo, he made an
impression on people, just on their first visit. For a while,
Anita was also cooking there a few days a week. It was great!
Many people, mostly non-Italian, who happened to go there
for lunch met both Tony and Anita and for them Casa Abruzzo
was referred to as Tony's Place! This reflects on the man.
He was one of those people with a huge aura that encompassed
you from a distance, and as you get closer, you would be smothered
in his spell of kindness and understanding.
by no means are these highlights of your life or of your character,
as those could have only be felt by being present with you
and by noting what you worked to leave behind, a throve of
loving friends and a caring, and loving, tight-knit family.
we will miss you but you left this world a much better place.
Thanks! You were a director, a playwright, a musician, a photographer,
and a philosopher. Tony, you will always be with us!
Anita, Damiano and Fabiana for some of the stories they shared