Thursday, February 02, 2006

The power of the Web.

In the last 5 days, I have been reunited (via email) with about 20+ fraternity brothers.

These are guys (the vast majority) that I have not spoken with or had contact with in nearly 15 years.

We were connected because one of our brothers has a son, who has been diagnosed with a rare childhood disease called, ADEM - see his website link HERE -- we are trying to support him, by putting together a fund to help offset some of the cost associated.

I am really hoping that my fraternity brothers will band together in the same fashion, to contribute to Mike's son's Fund -- JUSTIN, to help defray some costs associated with his terrible illness.

I am confident they will. As a parent, there is NO GREATER fear - than having one of your children ill. It is the worst feeling in the world.



We had a fraternity brother named Lenny Massa. He was killed at our college on Sept 29, 1989 - in a shooting at a party we had thrown, when a local from the town, got drunk, and brought a gun into one of our gatherings. (he was on parole, and had just been released from a multi year sentence, for I believe, assault with a deadly weapon, and he was out early).......He murdered Lenny.

All these years later, I cannot help but think what he would be doing now.

This guy (Lenny) had so much passion and energy for LIFE. He played bass in a band called "Social Convention." He came to DEAD shows with us, and drove from CT to Greensboro NC for one show -- and drove straight back after the show. (we all stayed for 3 nights) -- but he came for one, and then at 11:30pm got in his soft top blue Jeep, and drove back to Connecticut.

He was unique.

He was special.

I have no doubt that he would be on this list, and he would have been WILDLY successful at anything he would have set out to do.

Anything.

Because he had passion.

He could convince you of nearly anything. And, with his bravado, be SO CONFIDENT - that you just had to be trusting of his judgement.

I was.

He had a huge impact on me in a variety of ways, but none more so than the following:

He was a ARCHITECT (see my definiton) he defined being HIS OWN LEADER, and consistently marching to the beat of his own drummer.

Lenny inspired me in many ways. Some unspoken, and unrealized -- until I was old enough to know--the VERY characteristics that made me love him in the first place, and FORCED me to respect him.

Lenny was himself. Everyday. There was not ONE OUNCE of phoniness in him.

I raise my glass to Leonard Massa.

Thanks Lenny for being a great role model, you touched many of us -- and I;m adding you to our ongoing dialogue.

you can email him at :

lennymassathecoolestguy@inheavenplayingbasswithgarciaandhendrix.com

9 Comments:

Blogger Ed said...

Hey Andy
I was recently checking out the UB website looking for Alumni information when I had this flashback of this guy in a denim jacket, holding a beer, with this big grin on his face while discussing the deep philisophical relationship of music in architecture. I laughed and smiled to myself, then suddenly felt a great sense of loss. I remember Lenny. I couldn't recall his last name so I just "googled" Lenny bridgeport setp 1989 and found your blog.
I had several classes with him and had been to your "House" several times. It was usually to cap-off an evening of drinking with a smoke. He invited me to the party that night, but I had a arch project that I had to work on and stayed at my place in Milford. I had just gone to bed when I got the call probably 30 minutes after it happened. I thought I was having somekind of horrible nightmare.
Our Arch studio classes were never the same. They were pretty boring after that. I don't think he would have been a good architect, he was far too "...Unique". Main stream clients would have a hard time grasping his vision. Everyone looked forward to his architecture presentations. Instead of the uptight, stiff presentations of the typical reviews, we always laughed with Lenny through his presentations. His work was not the typical. What a relief!

Your account of him is "DEAD" on.

I too,...raise my glass to Leonard Massa.

FYI - I was born and raised in NJ, currently residing in AZ as an Architect and Builder. And I'm pretty dam good at BOTH. LOL

Ed
UB class of 1990

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Andy,

I also raise a glass to Lenny and thank you for your wonderful tribute! I often wonder what his future would have held and if I would have been part of it. Alas, that was not to be. I cared very deeply for him and not a day goes by that I don't think of him still. I enjoyed reading your post. It made me feel closer to him. He truly was a gift!

LC

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
I just happened to google Lenny's name today because I remembered it was 21 years ago that we lost him. I was in the band "One Way Out" with him (before Social Convention) and he was the boyfriend of one of my best friends at the time. I think of him every Sept. 29th and every November 15th (his birthday). Thanks for posting such a great and spot-on tribute to him. He was ahead of his time.

God bless you,
Soph in Minnesota

10:55 AM  
Blogger fred said...

I recall the incident, though I did know Lenny. I was a faculty member at the time...but I used to get my haircut not far from UB, and barbershop was owned and run by Lenny's dad, a very nice man. He had placed a number of items belonging to Lenny in a corner on a small table, and each time I got my haircut, I would look at the memorial and my heart would get heavy.

It is a horrible thing to lose a child and especially in so senseless a way.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Andy. I thank you for posting this tribute to Lenny, and I thank Fred for forwarding the link. I taught Lenny in several classes at UB and was deeply fond of him--his humor, his originality, his insights, his social courage. At his memorial service on campus I read the passage on the death of Hector from The Iliad. I still miss him. ---RAB

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Susan Doyle said...

Andy, thanks for such impactful words. Lenny was my cousin. Just last weekend I got together with a few cousins--I was up visiting Lenny's mom...she just turned a robust 89 Dec. 10--and we got to talking about Lenny. We, too ask the question of what kind of person would he be today. I believe it was during his time at UB he was just discovering his own person and starting that journey of following his own dreams....he is missed every day.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
I was going through some old boxes in my Moms crawlspace and came across a pic and a letter written to me by Leonard Massa from Feb of 1975. He was a very close friend the short time we knew each other back in the 2nd grade. I started to research Lenny, and I came across your blog.You mentioned his bday in 1966 so I am sure this was him. I was shocked to hear such a tragic story. Though so long ago, I remember the times we had as young children. We were inseperatable back then. My prayers go out to family and friends. If you would like to see his letter and pic that I found, please reply back to me. Thank you. Mike S

3:50 PM  
Blogger Ernie Ursini said...

Andy,
It was a horrible thing that happened. I remember it like yesterday... I often think about Lenny and what happened that day. I had a liquor store in the south end and Lenny worked for me. I still have, somewhere in my house, his Amadeus VHS tape that he let me borrow....
RIP Lenny
Ernie Ursini

I raise my glass to Lenny!

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

28 years tonight :-( May you Rest In Peace, surrounded by love!

11:45 PM  

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