Carmine

August 17, 2022- It was the Spring of 1976. The nation, and the community of my youth, were in the aftermath of the upheavals of the VietNam War, the Civil Rights struggle-which by then included campaigns for the rights of women, gay people and the disabled, and Watergate. I was a newly graduated, minted and struggling substitute teacher-working mostly in the schools that I had attended in my childhood.

One morning, a small group of male students had completed their assignments and were quietly playing cards in the middle of the room. The door opened, and an authoritative voice instructed me to take the deck of cards, and that there would be no more such activity in that high school. I was told later that allowing such activity in a classroom diminished my worth to the school district, and “of course, will not happen again.” A lesser man might have let me go; but he knew that I needed to build my skills, not fade away in a heap of disrepute.

The quiet, traditionalist man who was the Assistant Principal at that time was not a roving dictator, out to quash personal freedom. He was, arguably, one of the most engaged school administrators I’ve ever known, and served as a model for my own efforts in that field, later in my career.

He was a master woodworker, a true craftsman, who believed that details matter. His furniture pieces and carpentry are known today as worthy of emulation by young craftsmen in the Boston area and beyond. His homes, and those of his two daughters, are replete with that quality work, as are Saugus Town Hall and Public Library. He built a vacation home for his family, from scratch, refining his welding and plumbing skills in the process. Until very recently, he used his nonagenarian years to teach other senior citizens the skills of craftsmanship.

The worth of a human being is not fully realized until it is time for the soul to go on. Carmine C. Moschella was, in the true sense, a father figure to many rising young people, craftsmen and educators alike. Funny, he actually resembled my own father, in appearance and in demeanor. His worth was, and is, enormous-as my Dad’s was.

Rest in plenitude, diligent servant.

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