John Gagliardi - a Monterey Original, Celebrates a Century

John Gagliardi, a Monterey Original

John spent his youth in Ardsley, New York, the eldest of four children born to Joe and Filomena Gagliardi. He has been heard to remark that over the years he was the only one in the family whom his mother permitted in the kitchen while she was cooking, a stroke of good fortune which perhaps lent itself to John's own capabilities as a cook.

As a young man, John played baseball for five or six years in the Hudson Valley League, switching around infield positions, but mostly as a pitcher. During this time he allowed himself to be persuaded to go along on a blind date one evening. There he met a lively young woman named Veronica Baum, and in 1941 the two were married - a marriage that lasted seventy-three years.

Later, in New York City, John's career took a serious turn and he spent the bulk of his working years with Chase Manhattan Bank, from where he retired in 1980.

John and Vera made a short visit to see friends in Florida in 1971, and on impulse, since their friends had invested, they bought a condominium in a building not yet under construction in a complex called Monterey Yacht and Country Club.

When he first occupied 33H a year later, John found the golf course a sorry sight, with weeds and vines complicating the fairways, but having never played before, he took up the game with help and instruction from friends. He chuckles to recall that soon he was playing better than his teachers and continued for years playing every day.

John is pleased to remember some of his hardier pursuits here: Building over fifty concrete ramps for the handicapped... Pouring concrete pads in front of the mailboxes. ..Cleaning up the mess from the tornado of 1977 ... Retrieving golf balls out of the ponds ... Serving on the Board for seven years and as golf course ranger for twenty-five!

Now, with a well-attended party and two huge cakes as memories of his hundredth birthday, John likes to reminisce on his life in this most unusual and marvelous spot , where the Florida sun continues to shine and friends continue to stop by.

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St. Patrick's Day at Monterey

Monterey St. Patricks Day, 2015

Live music and a truly scrumptious dinner go a long way toward cementing a reputation for first-time organizers on Monterey's social scene. Add to that, Saint Patrick's Day is the one occasion that will never lose its stunning appeal for our citizenry. It was celebrated in high style on its own special day on the calendar - March 17.

Green, of course, was the color of choice, and shamrocks, the shape of the moment, as the crowd filtered into the Yacht Club at the beginning of the evening. And what a crowd it was! With lists of rentals and new owners in our community swelling, it was indeed a pleasant mixture of the new and the old Monterey residents who jammed around those round tables. A pre-dinner clutter of bottles and glasses along with some pre-recorded Irish music to set a tone for the evening's fare along with plenty of conversation and merriment.

TooJays' corned beef and cabbage, along with all the expected extras, cannot be beat. It was served up buffet-style by our own committee, and nobody went away hungry.

The live music of drums and three guitars provided by the Surfin Rascals found a most receptive audience on the dance floor, and the singer for the band truly livened up those songs from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Remember?

The sunset that evening was not one of the most spectacular, but what matter? Party goers aplenty took advantage of our fine dock to mingle in the fresh air down by the water.

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Vegas Night at Monterey - 2015

MYACC Las Vegas Night

Once a year Monterey's gamblers have a real stroke of luck. Instead of traveling to the gambling spots, the gambling tables come to them. It's called Vegas Night - four hours when the Yacht Club is converted into a mini-casino, and players roam from one attraction to the next with wads of play money clutched in their hands. 

At some tables the bills are converted to chips, and everybody finds places for  them on an array of numbers and squares laid out on the table. When the wheel stops, workers are quick to size up the situation and pay the winners with little down time. No one cares if you don't quite know what's going on.  

Black Jack tables line the far wall. Dealers with splendid little shuffling machines take charge of dealing the cards, analyzing the array of card combinations all around the table, and paying off the winners. If one of the players has a losing streak and walks away, no matter.  Plenty of people are milling about, ready to occupy the vacant seat.  

Near the end of the evening is the horse race with real, live horses.  If the horses are actually ladies pushing little wooden sticks, who cares? The excitement builds as numbers are called and horses inch forward, with a big shout when one crosses the finish line and bets are paid off.

The final attraction is a drawing for donated prizes and an auction for spending whatever play money you have left when the gambling tables shut down. It's a night when everybody goes home with something, even if it's only the intent to come back next year. 

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Bocce at Monterey - 2015

Bocce at Monterey 2015

You couldn't stop it or slow it down if you tried.

The bocce craze in this golfers' community began unobtrusively in 2007 with a few of the men taking it up on Wednesday mornings to fill the time while the Women's League tied up the golf course. 

The women passing by the bocce court couldn't help but notice how much fun the men were having, so the next year they gave it a try on Thursdays while the men took over the golf course. Now the women have twenty teams of four playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays with extra teams on Mondays, whereas the men have ten teams of five playing on Wednesdays and have added teams on Fridays. The season lasts nine weeks, from mid-January to mid-March. One might safely say involvement has grown from pastime to passion.

All season long, as newer players become more and more dedicated and skilled, enthusiasm rises until its crescendo in March, with none other than March Madness, an annual tournament that began with participation by sixteen couples, which soon stretched to 32 couples, and now enrolls 64 couples in elimination matches that stretch over six days ending with four couples playing for the championship. As the list narrows down, the heat of the competition and the size of the crowd balloons. Hooting, hollering, and a bit of mischief are not out of place in this atmosphere. 

Finally, one couple is left standing, and the appreciative crowd of onlookers has had as much fun as the players.

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Second Time Around Sale - 2015

Second Time Around 2015

The click of the pool cue behind closed doors ceases. For insiders it's the signal that the annual magic is about to begin, while the pool table takes on new life as the collection center for goods coming from every point of the Monterey compass.

Everybody knows the drill. Treasures of all descriptions, soon to see a change in ownership, are sorted into categories, packed into boxes, and eventually transported to assigned counter space. The clubhouse becomes a warehouse: couches, tables, and chairs; coats and shirts; toasters and radios; beads and earrings; lamps and golf bags all find a space to await the big day, when, in a span of four hours, it will all disappear, and a huge pile of dollar bills will take its place.

It's the "Second Time Around Sale," a high holiday at Monterey in which virtually everybody has a role that is repeated year after year, yet is never quite the same as the year before. Everyone's home contains at least one treasured object found and purchased at this remarkable event, and everyone's thinking is trained on the potential sales value of whatever has outlived its usefulness.

Think you're seen everything? Not unless you've seen Monterey on the first Saturday of February.

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