retire early, live large, die well...
Meet Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.: college graduate (Saint Michael's College B.A - Boston College M.Ed.), Peace Corps volunteer, retailer, hippie, transatlantic sailor, photographer, philanthropist, cyclist, teacher and mentor, writer and man about town.
Paul Tamburello began his post-collegiate adventures with a stint in the Peace Corps in India. Returning at a very leisurely pace through the Middle East and Europe, he cultivated a sense of adventure then entered the workforce for the first time as a retail manager at Filene's in Boston. Discovering in short order that while this occupation might keep his Porsche in gasoline, it did not provide the excitement he'd grown to enjoy, he left Filene's and spent a year living the life of the times: traveling across the USA, living in a commune, and making his living using his wits and his muscles.
Eventually he found himself facing winter in Boston, and the charm of the outdoor life had worn thin. Through a teacher friend, he was introduced to work in a public school classroom and it was there that he found a kind of adventure he'd not yet experienced. And so it was that he spent the next 34 years teaching and guiding fourth graders in Brookline, Massachusetts.
The teaching year being what it is, pt had summers to develop other interests. Always athletic, he developed his talents as a long distance cyclist and as a sailor who cruised the coast of New England and crewed on vessels bound home from Bermuda and The Azores.
A weakness in his left arm took him for a check-up where he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a non-terminal, although progressive, neurological disease. Shaken, but never one to dwell on the dark side, he dedicated himself to learning about that disease and about a terrible disease his doctor informed him he did not have - ALS, a fatal neurological disease, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” He realized that he could use his cycling ability to raise money to assist people who’d been diagnosed with this as-yet incurable affliction.
Paul created “A Positive Spin for ALS” and once each year from 1995 - 2004 cycled from Plymouth Rock to Provincetown, MA, raising a total of $300,000 - the money to be used in large part for patient care for those with “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Now named Ride To Defeat ALS by the ALS Association, the spin raises money in seven states. The 20 anniversary Spin will take place on September 28, 2014.
"Mr. T" as he was affectionately called, retired from teaching in 2004. But not before the Brookline Foundation had honored him with the Ernest Caverly Award for Teaching Excellence and the famous “Working Hard Feels Good” sign that had become a mantra for pt’s students since the early 1980s was passed on, like a torch, to another class.
By September, 2003, Paul had taken his teaching experiences public, writing a column in the Brookline TAB, ‘Making the Grade’, a look at education from the point of view of an elementary classroom teacher, and thus he began his current incarnation, his latest adventure as pt, the writer.
These days he's a culture junkie with a pen (and a laptop) and writes about his jaunts to playhouses, diners, restaurants, music halls, and places that he ends up in by mistake.
He divides his time between his home in Watertown, Massachusetts (a few minutes from downtown Boston), his cottage in Westport, Massachusetts, and dancing up a storm in Lafayette, LA.