SAVINI AND ME: Part Four, Mr Savini’s Neighborhood
Most people can’t wait to get out of their parents’ house. They want to get away from their families and start a life of their own. Then, they want to get a bigger and better house; they might not need it, but they want it. It becomes a thing of prestige, who has the biggest house? Who lives in the better neighborhood? Look, my house is huge, I’m successful! When it comes to celebrities, it’s even worse. Typically, they try to move into the high class areas in L.A., and buy houses that are ten times the size they need, just because they can. This is why Tom Savini’s house was more than surprising. It was in a normal neighborhood in Pittsburgh and an average house, while the inside is anything but (see the entry Tom’s House for more on that. I was intrigued that Tom lived there; hell, I was surprised he didn’t live in L.A. like most other actors.
After taking a tour of Tom’s home, we headed out to eat. I was all set to hop in the car, but Tom said we were walking. Following him, we went down a little hill to an Old Italian restaurant that had been in the same location for decades. As we walked, I started to ask Tom questions about his house and where he lived. I was more than shocked to find out that the house I just took a tour of was the house Tom was born and raised in. It was his parent’s home, and he had lived there for over sixty years. Sixty Years. Hearing this, I was a bit confused. How could he have lived there for sixty years? He must mean he moved back after living in LA after a while, right? “So did you live in LA for a while?” I asked him, trying to figure out this puzzle. “No, never lived anywhere but here.” At this point, I found myself stopping in my tracks. I had to catch up to him and ask him to clarify what he meant, for how could he have possibly lived here his whole life and have the career he had and still has? When I asked again, he told me how has really, never, lived anywhere but here. Yes, he might have stayed a few months at a time in different locations around the world while working on movies, but he has always lived in this house. Not once in his sixty-six years did he ever move into another dwelling. His entire career, he did it from the heart of Pittsburgh. I was shocked by this. Almost everyone in the industry that I know has moved to New York City or LA at one point or another. People always say you have to be where the work is, and yet Tom has had one of the best careers in the horror industry, and never left his childhood home.
Walking into the restaurant, I was thrilled to see how Tom was welcomed. Every single server instantly said hello to him, then he was allowed to take any seat he wanted. At first I thought this was because he is the Tom Savini, but it’s because he has been eating at that restaurant since he was four years old. Not only has he been eating there for over sixty years, when he is home, he eats there, carry out or dine in, several times a week. He is more than a regular. As we sat down, I noticed a few of the wait staff were arguing about who got to serve Tom’s table. I later found out it was because Tom left a $20 tip no matter how small the bill was, which explained their squabbling. Of course Tom didn’t even need to look at the menu to order his favorite Wedding Soup (which after several visits with him, I realized is a staple of his diet, no matter where we ate). I myself looked the menu over as I started to ask Tom a barrage of questions about the restaurant, the neighborhood and everything in between. I was truly fascinated by this situation, especially since at thirty-two, I’ve lived in three states and a dozen different apartments and homes.
When I finally got to the question, “Why have you never moved?” Tom’s eyes twinkled a bit as he answered simply with, “Because no place feels like home.” He elaborated, talking about how it’s hard to get that feeling anywhere else. This made me think of my own childhood home, and he’s right. While I have my own house and my wife and I are making it our own “home”, my parents house, where I grew up, will always have a special feeling to me that I will never be able to recapture. Tom has never had to lose that feeling.
When my Eggplant Napoleon was served to me, I instantly knew why Tom ate here on a regular basis. What I couldn’t understand though, was how he could eat here all the time and still have zero percent body fat. After dinner we strolled through the neighborhood while Tom pointed out different areas, like the hill he use to sled down, old friends’ houses, the old movie theater and the tree he used to hide in and jump down to scare people from. As we walked, every single person we passed by said, “Hey Tom,” to which Tom said a polite hello back. He knew every person, and almost all by name. One guy even stopped us and said he was watching one of Tom’s movies on cable last night. I could see in the guy’s face that pure excitement of a fan getting to know and live near one of his favorite stars. Tom very kindly stopped and talked to the man about the film for a few minutes. As the two spoke, I instantly understood Tom never wanting to leave. This was his home, a place where everyone knew him. A place that was familiar and filled with a lifetime full of memories… it was home indeed.
by: Michael Aloisi on: 2013-01-08 18:32:04