Greetings, folks! I just got back from the weekend in Los Angeles, where I went to attend DeafNation Expo in Pomona. I was shocked and saddened to learn that my old friend and MSSD classmate Todd Silvestri had passed away. As I had mentioned in my comment there, he and I were on the same wrestling team way back in '78-'79. He was one of the coolest guys I knew at MSSD. If you happened to be a 90-pounds weakling wearing nerd clothes, guaranteed you'll get picked on at MSSD. MSSD in my old days wasn't for the faint-hearted...there were always arrogant alpha-male jocks you'd run into who'd take sadistic pleasures in picking on little people. Todd was indeed an alpha-male jock allright, but he was never in my memory ever arrogant or mean towards anyone. He was always polite and respectful to everyone. Of course, with his good looks he'd get many girls. He got along well with everybody and he was well liked. I had the pleasure of getting to know him when we were in algebra class (one of my worst classes with teacher Jeff Dieter...I was one of his biggest F students, believe it or not!).
When I learned about his tragic death, I was brought back to my memory of one incident that involved he and I. It was '80 or '81 and he was sporting an earring on his left ear. We were in class one day and I noticed his earring. I asked him how he got the earring and he explained to me how he pierced it himself. Back then very few boys wore earrings. There was only one punk student at MSSD and that was one girl named Nancy. (Remember her? Her Mohawk haircut and leather outfit?) The punk fad hadn't yet caught on at MSSD, where most students wore preppie clothes. The only exception was when several football players shaved their heads and sported Mohawks to show how macho they were. (Funny, wasn't it?) I was so impressed by the gutsy thing Todd did so a few years later when I enrolled at CSUN, I pierced my own left ear. It didn't hurt much and I wore earrings often during the early '80s when I was into punk/new wave fashion. Now I don't wear an earring anymore because I kept losing them, but believe it nor not, the hole in my earlobe is still open. Nowadays you see teenagers wearing more rings and pins on their ears, noses, chins, nipples and belly buttons. Ah, as the famous folk singer Bob Dylan said, time's a-changing! I'm now in forties and I wear normal fashion like everybody else my age...but next time I put on an earring, I'll do it in honor of my old friend and classmate, Todd Silvestri. I am proud to have been on the same wrestling team with him and I am also proud as well of his great achievements and what he did for MSSD and Gallaudet. God bless him, wherever his soul is. Once again...my dearest and deepest condolences to his younger brother Toselli and family!