MAY 2019


President’s Message

Brothers and Sisters,

Happy May! I just returned from the Grand Lodge quarterly meeting in Port Charlotte, Florida. It was a productive meeting, and I was happy to report on all of our activities and successes in the last few months. While much ground was covered at the meeting, there was quite a bit of discussion regarding a coordinated effort underway among several Italian-American organizations, including Sons of Italy, to hire a public relations firm to handle the controversy surrounding Columbus Day. The Grand Lodge has decided to match donations for this effort from local lodges up to a total of $1000. The goal from Sons of Italy nationally is to raise $50,000 toward this project.

Everyone is gearing up for the biennial convention in June, and we will be sending several delegates to represent our lodge. I look forward to attending with those delegates you elected.


Brooke Hardy
Buona Fortuna Lodge

Installation Dinner 2010 058

Membership Information

General Membership Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, 140 W. Government St. Pensacola.

Our next General Membership Meeting is Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center. A business meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m. Please bring a  potluck dish to share and a donation of men’s clothes for the St. Joseph’s Clothing Drive. Please, only men’s clothes.

Council Meetings

First Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Franco’s Italian Restaurant.

Grand Lodge Quarterly Meetings

2019 Grand Lodge State Convention, June 26-29, 2019, Doubletree by Hilton, 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.

NEW: The Grand Lodge’s website: https://osiaflorida.org/

Meeting Set Up/Clean Up Committee:

We need all the members attending a meeting to help clean up after the meeting. 


If you have a charity that you would like supported by Buona Fortuna, please contact Michele Ledoux.

Lodge Committees

The current list of committees is located on the Buona Fortuna Officers page on our website. Here is the link: 


Buona Fortuna needs your participation. If you would like to join a committee, please contact President Hardy.

Dates For Upcoming Events:

You can also visit our website calendar for all the year’s events at https://soibuonafortuna.org/home/buona-fortuna-calendar/

Dining Out With Giovanni 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at O’Brien’s Bistro, 4350 Bayou Blvd #8 Pensacola, FL 32503, at 6 PM.  Please RSVP Giovanni to attend at john.mirra@att.net

Spring Dance

Saturday, May 4, 2019, 6 PM, St. Joseph’s Parish Center. Mexican themed decorations and food.

Bocce Tournament

Saturday, May 11, 2019, 11 AM at Susan and Peter Comer’s home located at1238Tecumseh Trail, Pensacola, FL

Cost $10 per person: Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches, Drinks, Please bring a side dish or a dessert, Please bring a Bocce set if you have one, Please bring a Lawnchair if you can.

Lodge News

Buona Fortuna member, Josephine “Josie” Patti Merritt, age 82, of Pensacola, was called home April 28, 2019. She was born in Pensacola, FL on October 7, 1936, to the late Joseph and Anna Patti. Josie’s love of the Catholic Church initially led her down the road to becoming a nun, and later a huge contributor to the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, AL. When she met and married the love of her life Charles Edwin Merritt, Sr. she traded in everything and taught English for over 20 years. Upon his death, she moved back to Pensacola and co-founded Joey Patti’s Seafood Restaurant. In the beginning, it was only a to-go sandwich shop. She grew it into a successful full-service restaurant most recently featured in the Washington Post. She is preceded in death by her husband and her parents. Those left to cherish her memory are her children Charles Edwin Merritt, Jr. and Valerie Maria Merritt, both of Pensacola. Mass of Christian Burial begins at 11:00am on Saturday, May 04, 2019, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 140 W. Government St., Pensacola, FL 32502.  Interment will follow at Pensacola Memorial Gardens and Cemetery. (Obituary from Harper Memorial)

Proclamation of Apology

Following the murder of New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy on Oct. 16, 1890, nineteen Italian immigrants were arrested without just cause. Nine of the 19 men who were indicted went to trial, which resulted in six acquittals and three mistrials (because the jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict). In reaction to this — on March 14, 1891 — a mob formed outside of Parish Prison. The rioters broke inside and dragged 11 of the Italian immigrants out of the prison. Those 11 Italians were hung, shot, and/or clubbed to death in the city streets—making this the largest lynching in American history. The Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, issued an official Proclamation of Apology for this injustice on Friday, April 12 at the American Italian Cultural Center–New Orleans, La.

Event photos were taken by Andy Fricano. Additional photos can be viewed on Buona Fortuna’s Facebook page.

Michael Santo, Mayor Cantrell, Vincenzo Pasquantonio director office of Human Rights and Equity in New Orleans, Joseph Guagliardo president of National Council of Italians in Civil Service…Mr. Guagliardo presented plaques to the Mayor and Mr. Pasquantonio for their efforts in organizing the event.

Our Italian American Heritage


A Violin Maker

He’s a lifelong carpenter who’d just as well live in the woods. She’s a former gymnast who fell under the spell of the violin while training in ballet classes. It would seem they don’t have that much in common. Except, that is, for the fact that they both want to make violins, and they’re both outsiders at doing it. An unlikely friendship has formed at the workbench where Ray DeMeo passes on an ancient craft, and in the process, both he and his apprentice Amanda N. Ewing aim to make their work — and the music their work helps create — more accessible.

For DeMeo’s part, he’s not the picture of a refined luthier one might imagine training among European masters. When he’s not tinkering with violin parts, he’s likely to be wielding a chainsaw or building a post-and-beam house. He’s a hunter, fisherman and veteran, an Italian-American who grew up in the city and fled to the woods of Alaska for many years. He later drove an 18-wheeler 350,000 miles across Canada and the United States to save money for violin school.

Ewing is apprenticing in a trade that is traditionally male-dominated. She also scours the internet for faces of luthiers at workshops and conferences who look like her, a black woman. But almost to a one, they’re white.

Ewing, 38, met DeMeo, 61, in a group of violin players. During one session, DeMeo brought his tools to make some repairs. “It was like somebody was about to have surgery but on instruments,” says Ewing. Ewing hadn’t been particularly happy with the sound of her instrument, though she didn’t know exactly why. “I thought, ‘I wonder if I can afford to have my own violin made,’ ” she says. But as one question led to another, her intrigue blossomed. “I think I remember him saying, ‘Are you for-real interested in this?’ ”

On average, it takes 250 hours, about 56 parts and solving a host of tiny problems and utilizing precise details to make a violin. Not everyone who sets out to do it will accomplish it. DeMeo says it’s essential to have a human on the other side of the bench from you, not just a YouTube tutorial or a book. The process takes time and can’t be rushed.

“It’s a lot of information,” Ewing says. “When I first started, I would leave with headaches.” After the patterns, the cutting and the chiseling there comes a critical point in the process — bending the curved ribs on the middle part of the instrument.

As Ewing will tell you, DeMeo doesn’t really answer questions in a small way. Rather, he’ll give you the big-picture explanation, which also might include a sidebar into the migration patterns of sand cranes in Alaska and the way a moose chews on a stalk of fireweed. He blames it on being over 60 and Italian.

DeMeo started making instruments at age 15. He had good woodworking teachers in high school and lived near a park with a public wood shop. His father worked as a machinist and allowed him to use equipment in the basement. DeMeo visited music stores as a kid, bringing with him rulers, pencils, and erasers to trace patterns. He gawked at ancient instruments in Chicago’s museums. “Even back then, I was amazed,” he says. “I never thought I could learn it, but I knew I would try.” So he read books at the public library and showed up with pockets full of quarters to make copies. It’s how he taught himself to make a lute that got him disqualified from a contest in high school — he says the judges didn’t believe he made it.

About 25 years ago, after years of carpentry, DeMeo went to school for violin repair in Minnesota. He convinced his instructor to teach him how to make violins on the side. “You have to have all your work in and can’t miss days, and you have to get good grades,” he remembers her telling him — yes, he learned from a woman. But he’d driven a truck for three years to save for tuition and a year’s mortgage while attending repair school. He had more determination than she might have bargained for. She taught DeMeo enough to send him on to further training with masters — one Polish and another a Cambodian refugee. There are only three schools that offer training in making instruments in North America (in addition to shorter-term workshops), and those cost about $80,000.

Ewing first learned to play violin about seven years ago at the Allegro School of Music where she enrolled her daughter in piano and herself in violin. Ewing attended Stratford High School in Nashville, and she recalls a piano and band instruments as part of the school’s music program, but she doesn’t recall stringed instruments. She doesn’t see them in her three kids’ schools either. And that’s part of why Ewing and DeMeo want to make instruments and their craft more accessible. But Ewing knows she’s getting ahead of herself for now. She must first finish her violin.

“Is this just a dead piece of wood?” DeMeo asks. “Maybe. But it ain’t gonna be. It’s a new life.” He describes trees as alive but silent and says making them into violins gives them a voice. “The best way for me to honor a tree — and the tree’s maker — is through a violin. Then there’s the music aspect of it. Creating this thing out of wood, and off it goes!”

SOURCE: https://www.nashvillescene.com

Italian Language – Quantifiers

In Italian, there are a variety of ways to say ‘a lot’ and ‘many’. How would you say, for example, ‘there are a lot of beautiful churches in Italy’ or ‘there are so many good wines in Italy’? In grammar terms, these are called quantifiers and it’s useful to be able to use them correctly in Italian. You probably already know ‘molto’ (many) and tanto (so many) which can be used as both adjectives and adverbs. When they’re used as adjectives they have to agree in gender and number with the thing they describe. When they’re used as adverbs they don’t need to change.

Some examples:

Ho speso molti soldi al mercato – I spent a lot of money at the market (adjective)

Ci sono molte scarpe belle qui – There are a lot of beautiful shoes here / There are many beautiful shoes here (adjective)

Ho visto tanti libri nuovi in libreria – I saw so many new books in the book shop (adjective)

I bimbi hanno mangiato tante torte – The children ate so many cakes (adjective)

La pizza è molto buona – The pizza is really nice (adverb)

Ieri ho lavorato tanto – Yesterday I worked a lot / Yesterday I worked so much (adverb)

Gli studenti sono bravi, studiano molto – The students are good, they study a lot (adverb)

Mi sono divertita tanto alla festa ieri – I had so much fun at the party yesterday / I enjoyed myself a lot at the party yesterday


Here are some other, more informal, expressions to say: a lot, so much, many:

Parecchio (‘quite a lot’ or ‘quite a bit’)

Vi aspettiamo da parecchio tempo – We have been waiting for you for quite some time

Abbiamo bevuto parecchio! – We drank quite a bit!

Piangeva parecchio – He was crying quite a lot

Abbiamo ballato parecchio in discoteca – We danced quite a lot at the club

Un bel po’ (‘quite a lot’)

C’è ancora un bel po’ di pasta nella pentola – There’s quite a lot of pasta left in the pot

Sono stata in un bel po’ di posti in Italy – I have been to quite a few places in Italy

Hanno speso un bel po’ per quella casa – They really spent quite a lot on that house

Un bel po’ di gente viene all’evento – Quite a lot of people are coming to the event

Un sacco (literally ‘a sack’ or ‘a bag’)

Ho ricevuto un sacco di messaggini – I received lots of / a load of / so many messages

C’era un sacco di gente alla mostra – There were lots of people at the party

Abbiamo mangiato un sacco questo fine settimana – We ate so much this weekend

Mi piace un sacco questa birra – I really like this beer

Abbiamo camminato un sacco ieri – We walked so much yesterday

Un mucchio (literally ‘a heap’ or ‘a pile’)

C’è un mucchio di lavoro da fare – There’s a heap of work left to do

Ho speso un mucchio di soldi ieri – I spent a load of money yesterday

Ora abbiamo un mucchio di problemi – Now we have so many problems

Buona Fortuna 2835 Lodge Officers

President Brooke Hardy

Immediate Past President Joyce Russo Bollenbacher

Vice President Patricia Russo

Orator Eric Frulla

Recording Secretary Barbara Ferg

Corresponding Secretary Jovina Coughlin

Financial Secretary Thomas Bollenbacher

Treasurer Lucy Smith


Ginny Barberi, Nancy Colalillo, Joseph Del Signore, Al Hargis, Tami Pecora, Mary Resedean

Guard Shirley Cotita

Mistress of Ceremonies Dawn Wilson

Master of Ceremonies Andy Fricano

Past Presidents Gene Valentino, Mark De Nunzio, Pete Resedean

Herald  Tod Wilson

Public Relations/Webmaster/Newsletter Editor: Jovina Coughlin

Lodge Chaplain  Giovanni Mirra

Lodge Photographers: Al Lombardi/Shirley Cotita

State & National Officers

State Trustee-Region 1 Thomas Bollenbacher
State Deputy Bill Smith
National Foundation Trustee Mark DeNunzio
Arbitration Commissioners

Joyce Bollenbacher, Peter Colalillo, Mark De Nunzio, Barbara Ferg, Tod Wilson

 Alternate Commissioners
1.  Anne Hargis, 2. Paul Pecora, 3. Dawn Wilson, 4. Lucy Smith

Lodge Contact Information:

Sons & Daughters of Italy in America – Buona Fortuna Lodge #2835. P.O. Box 12351, Pensacola, FL 32591

Webmaster/Editor – Jovina Coughlin – jovinacoughlin@gmail.com

Website Address: https://soibuonafortuna.org/

Buona Fortuna Email System

Our email address is buona-fortuna@googlegroups.com

Visit Us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sonsofitalybuonafortuna 

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/BuonaFortunaSon

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/buona.f/


Remember Those Who Are Ill

  • Rita Somma
  • Vera Fricano
  • Don Loftus
  • Larry Fordham


Kathleen Ludlow
Teresa Michael
Paul Vincent

Italian Cookbook For Sale

Preserving Our Italian Heritage. Cost per book $15.00. Great gift for Birthdays, Weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Christmas. 

Grand Lodge 2018 Calendar For Sale

Calendars are available to purchase and cost $50. The calendar program is part of the Cash Three-Evening Florida Lottery Program. Prizes range from $100.00 to Special Holiday prizes for up to $1000.00.  You may purchase a calendar at the General Membership Meeting. Checks should be made out to the Grand Lodge of Florida.

Newsletter Article Deadline

The newsletter is published monthly on the first day of the month. The deadline to submit information is the 30th of the previous month. Submit all information to Editor:  jovinacoughlin@gmail.com

Newsletter Ads

Members’ Personal Ads for Selling Consumer Goods cost $3.00 per month. Business Ads cost $36.00 for 12 months and are payable each January. Email a copy of your business card information or your personal ad information and a photo of the item you are selling to jovinacoughlin@gmail.com. Please make the check payable to Buona Fortuna Lodge and mail it to Buona Fortuna Lodge #2835. P.O. Box 12351, Pensacola, FL 32591.

Community Business Ads








The Drowsy Poet Coffee Company


“Best Cup of Coffee on the Coast!”

86 Brent Ln, Pensacola, Florida 32503

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