Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

December 12, 2013

A tailor-made Spirit of Giving Gala

My wife, Katharine, and I attended Ironstone Farm’s recent Spirit of Giving Gala at Andover Country Club, a place that was transformed into a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Many of us dressed for the occasion. My wife put together a flapper outfit and looked sensational. My tuxedo, worn since college, looked like it had actually seen some speakeasies.

Shortly after arriving, I talked with Enzo and Lina Fossella during a happy and boisterous cocktail hour, through which we managed a conversation. The Fossellas own Enzo of Andover, which supplies top-end clothing to men. When they first opened in 1983, the local paper took a fancy to the Fossellas, and pictures of them at one fundraiser or another appeared often.

Our dinner at the gala was especially pleasant because we were sitting next to Susan and Mike Tucker — she the former senator and past gala honoree, he a retired CEO of a publishing company and a supporter of Ironstone Farm.

Our table was close to where the emcee, Susan Wornick, a Boston journalist, was most amusingly moving the program toward the fundraising auction. At the same time, Enzo was working his way back to his table and was near Ms. Wornick when they were suddenly talking, with the 400 in attendance listening. Enzo, using his pleasing Italian accent, effusively told Wornick how wonderful she was, and she, somewhat embarrassed by the compliment, adroitly turned it all into part of the show. It caused lots of laughter.

Into the auction, Enzo, now with Lina at his table, extemporaneously spoke up to donate a handmade suit for auctioning. Then ensued the bidding, with Enzo joking back and forth with the bidders. All in all, I was pretty impressed so decided to find out more about Enzo and Lila.

In the middle of World War II, Enzo was 7 years old, living in Calabria, Italy. He was both an apprentice tailor and schoolboy. At age 16, he opened his own tailor shop. In 1954, he was 19 and had saved enough money to follow his father to America. Enzo left behind beautiful Lina, the girl across the street with whom he’d grown up. Four years later, after establishing himself in the clothing industry in Massachusetts, he returned to Calabria and they were married.

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