Episode 25: With Counselor Vin (A Lifetime of Supporting Others)

Opening

0:04

“My wife took me to the emergency room and they said, “You might have broken your hip.” I freaked out. You can’t be old and break your hip.”

Vin goes to the health club every day. With the hip recovery, he’s been watching Netflix and Amazon Prime and is going stir crazy.

0:10

Gratitude for Vin

0:14

Mid-1960s: Hippie Vin Becomes a School Counselor

Vin volunteered to help during his two prep periods, but continued to teach math. Vin changed his Master’s Degree program to counseling psychology.

Vin was wanted by both the Math Department and the Counselor. He had to decide which direction to take. He didn’t want to let down either of them. He loved teaching, but decided to become the guidance counselor in his fifth year at Arlington High.

Vin in the the late 1960s.

“In the late 1960s, I witnessed walk-outs. Kids would walk out and stand in the grass and burn the American flag and burn their draft cards. Then, streaking became popular. They would run naked through the high school and go into the teacher’s rooms, which was mostly women. I loved the 60s! I had a car…my son would go nuts if he knew this…I had a Volkswagen or something like that and I had flowers all over it! I became a hippie, I have to admit! I went to these parties in Cambridge, I won’t tell you what I was doing!”

0:27

Q. When you look back at that period of social movements, what went wrong over the decades? Where did that push for change go?

0:31

Supporting Students in Need — A Vietnam Story

I loved the job. I loved working in Arlington. Arlington changed my life forever. I loved working with the parents and their children. I was fortunate I was there.

0:36

Childhood — Sicilian Dad and Polish Mom

Vin grew up in Cambridge in the 1940s. His dad Rosario was in the army during World War II and saw hell. Air-raid sirens. Vin’s grandfather painted murals on the back of the shades. Vin remembers the murals being calming, during those air-raids.

Vin’s dad came back entirely changed from the war. Was clearly dealing with PTSD. Vin says, “You wouldn’t want to make Rosario angry.”

Uncle Rio and Aunt Connie

0:45

Brief Ode to Trev (Mr. Trevisani)

0:47

The Big House in Arlington

“I spent a lot of time in that house as a child. She loved me. I was named after her father, Vincenzo. She’d invite me over to the house. She’d take me to New Hampshire. I believe part of it was because I carried his name.”

Fortunate: I Was Lucky I Wasn’t Around Alcoholism

Before the war, Rosario was jovial, and everyone loved him. He came back as a changed person.

0:52

Health, Mental Health and Grieving

0:55

Becoming a Father

Three Sons: Jason, Aaron and Simon

Jason was a track runner in high school. Aaron was asthmatic. He became a wrestler. They’re both married with three kids. Simon’s aspiration was to play football in college. He wanted to go to Babson and major in business.

Tragedy

“I’m so thankful where my boys are now. I really thank god for where they are, because they stayed on track as they lost their younger brother.”

1:08

Returning to Arlington: Giving and Mentoring In Order to Heal

They helped me heal. The job allowed me to not get overly depressed and move forward with my life.

Peer education groups; a loss group for kids dealing with death and loss; a suicide prevention group — trained high school kids and sent the kids to 9th graders. Students with other students. Talking about suicide prevention and depression.

Hiking the Grand Canyon

Vin hikes the Grand Canyon after intense chemotherapy.

Herbert Benson: The Relaxation Response

A Psychological Tool: Making an Intention List

1:20

Connections

1:25

COVID-Disconnections

1:28

Bowls of Fresh Vanilla Ice Cream

“I dealt with a lot of harassment in terms of my body.”

Vin was constantly bullied and harassed about his weight. He had a crush on Christine. After he asked her to the junior prom and she said no, he lost 85 pounds over the summer and came back to high school feeling entirely different. When he asked Christine to the senior prom, she said yes.

Christine said no to the junior prom and then said yes to the senior prom. She changed Vin’s life.

1:35

Vin’s Experience: Childhood Harassment Leading to Empathy

If you enjoyed this show, please share the episode and subscribe to the podcast. Reach out to those who you think might be having a difficult time.

Thanks for listening.

This is temporary.

Jonah

Links to Resources for counseling, anti-bullying, and mindfulness practice.

Jonah Hall makes Jonah Asks, a podcast about being human. Conversation-interviews with friends and friends of friends about how to live on Earth in 2020.