We've Moved!

Stories About Peter

We've Moved!

From Crissy Buonocore
As Chris mentioned in his eulogy, Pete never did anything half-way. Once he had his mind set on something he was going to do it, and he was going to do it better than anyone else. Pete's gifts regardless of how big or small were all so incredibly thoughtful. Every holiday, anniversary, or just for fun gift came straight from the heart, and each presentation of the gift was more creative than the next. And not just gifts for me - he would stress for weeks over what to do for his brothers' and parents' birthdays, but I always knew at the end of the day he would come up with something great!!
As many people know, Pete's birthday was the day after Christmas so his family would celebrate his half birthday to make sure that Pete had his own holiday. However, Pete seemed to think that I had to acknowledge both of them equally, and so every year I would buy him 2 birthday cards, 2 sets of presents, 2 cakes, etc (which, by the way, I would've done anyway even if he didn't constantly remind me how that would be the "good girlfriend thing to do":) ).
After 2 and a half years and 5 Peter French birthday celebrations later, I think Pete began to feel guilty. A week before my 27th birthday, I came home from work and Pete was already at the apartment and had a silly grin on his face. I knew something was up. He handed me a box and told me to open it. In it was a fully bound book and the cover read "Happy Crissika". The book went on to explain how Crissika was a seven day celebration of my birthday and that each night a small gift was exchanged. In the same box was another book which was the first Crissika gift - a coupon book.  He made up about 10 coupons for things like "Good for one night of Pete cooking dinner" and stuff like that (but he was pretty sly and if you looked at the fine print they all expired in about 2 weeks!!). It was great.
I really didn't think he'd have a gift every night, but for the next 6 nights there they were. And he couldn't just wrap them and give them to me - he had to make it a game. If I got home before him he would make me hide in the bathroom (we lived in a small studio so that was the only other room to go to) and then make me search for the gifts. There would be a CD in the refrigerator, or a shirt under my pillow, etc.
The last night of Crissika (which ended on my actual birthday) he told me he forgot to hide the present and that I had to hide again in the bathroom. When I came out he sat and watched me tear through the entire apartment and I couldn't find a thing. He was laughing hysterically as I was slowly getting frustrated. Finally, he said while laughing, "Maybe you should check the bathroom." I was SO MAD and then I finally pulled back the shower curtain and there was an envelope with 2 plane tickets and details about our trip to Disney world. I couldn't believe it. I think he probably had more fun planning Crissika than he did on the actual trip. But basically this was a very long way of trying to show what a thoughtful and fun-loving man he really was.

From Mark Rieper
In the first week of double sessions at Colgate freshman year, Pete hurt his ankle badly and had a meeting with the coach to talk about his status and future. While his dream to play at Colgate was crumbling, Pete was selfless enough to mention to coach that he thought I was a good player (knowing I hadn't played well in the first part of the week). Peter was always thinking of his friends and family, and he was one of the most selfless, caring people I've ever known.

From Scott Dinneen
One Thursday after work (winter 01-02), Pete took me to his gym for a quick workout before we went out. We arrived at his gym and got two lockers to change into our workout gear quickly. As I started to change, Pete went back to the front desk to get towels for us. I finished getting changed, reached into my gym bag to grab my sneakers, and realized I forgot to pack them. At that time, Pete just got back, saw the look on my face, and asked what was wrong. I told him that I forgot my sneakers. Pete said, "No worries, I have an extra pair" and threw me his sneakers. He then told me to go grab us a bench while he changed. So I walked out of the locker room and into the workout area to grab us a bench. About 5 minutes later Pete arrived with a big smile on his face and he said, "You ready big dog? Time for a great work out." I looked at him in his tank top, gym shorts, and his WING TIPS (see Pete didn't have a extra pair of sneaks...he wore his dress shoes) and just smiled. One more thing to add to the resume of one of the greatest friends I could ever have.

From Dan Haarmann
About three years ago I threw what was then an annual Thanksgiving Party at Tiernan's down in the Financial District. My girlfriend at the time brought one of her friends that had met Pete a previous weekend down in New York and immediately fell in love with him. They had nicknamed him "The Guy" so they could talk about him while I was around thinking I wouldn't know who he was. The only reason this girl from NYC showed up was because she thought Pete would be there. Pete in his casual yet embarrassed style, walked up to her at the end of the night and started schmoozing her - you know making fun of himself and in general just being Pete, silly, funny, and utterly charming in his own way. She was staying at my place for the night on the couch and we all went back to my place for after party drinks, etc. I woke up in the morning to Pete singing songs to her and making up ad lib poetry on my couch. Then he jumped into bed with me and my girlfriend and for about half an hour had everyone in the apartment in stitches. Pete was truly a lady's man and had a knack of winning the hearts of those around him with ease. I was always jealous of his style and grace (albeit a little unconventional) when it came to the ladies and try to emulate it even now.

From Crissy Buonocore
Our first official New York date was in October of 1998. I was still getting to know him, but what I knew so far was that he was a big sports fan. Since I was a big Ranger fan I though it would be great to take in a Ranger game. So off we went to Madison Square Garden to take in a Rangers/Flyers game.
At that game, Pete learned that in addition to being a huge Ranger fan, I'm an even bigger fan of their goalie Mike Richter. Poor Pete had to listen to me for years go on about how adorable I thought he was. In turn I learned that Pete was actually a huge BOSTON sports fan, and actually hated anything related to New York Sports. Thank God we were still in the beginning of the relationship so he was on his best behavior!! After that, I learned that from then on it was going to only be Knick/Celtics, Yankees/Red Sox and Rangers/Bruins for us.
Ironically, the last date Pete and I ever went on was on March 2, 2002 and it was also a Rangers/Flyers game. Pete told me he had 2 tickets for the game and wanted to know if I wanted to go. He knew I could never turn down Ranger tickets - especially because there was still a glimmer of playoff hope at the time and everyone wanted to watch Lindros play his old team.
We went to the game and we had amazing seats - center ice and about 15 rows back. Again, I had to keep pointing out to him how close we were to Mike Richter and I was determined to get his attention. As it turns out, it was youth fan appreciation day at the Garden, so there were all sorts of promotions and giveaways for kids. After the first period, Pete went to get some drinks and he was gone for a long time. I just assumed that he also went to the bathroom or that the line was exceptionally long.
When he came back he did have drinks, but he also had a huge poster rolled up under his arm with an even bigger smile on his face. He sat down and gave me the poster.  When I opened it up it said (in Pete's handwriting) "I Love Richter" and he drew hearts on it. Even now I can't tell the story without bursting out laughing. I was too humiliated to hold it up, but of course Pete was not. He's standing up hooting and howling to try and get Richter's attention. I never even knew if Richter looked over because I was too busy crawling under my chair to look at him.
Finally Pete sat down and was laughing hysterically. I asked him where he got the sign and he said there was a station in the lobby where all these kids were making posters. He said, "You should've seen me. I'm on the ground with 15 or so 7 year old kids making this poster, and I turned to the kid next to me and was like 'dude, are you done with the red yet?'" We must've laughed for 5 minutes straight!!
If nothing else, this story exemplifies the fact that he really was a kid at heart (and that he really wanted me to stop barking about how adorable Richter was - it worked!! I didn't say another word about him for the rest of the night!!). It wasn't until about a week ago (so about 2 months after Pete passed away) that his friends told me he never even had tickets to the game and that he scalped them that day. He just wanted to come visit. He was quite a smooth character!!

From Harper Fertig
We were at a party at a friend of a friend's apartment in New York. Peter decided it would be comfortable to sit down on a small bookcase. I guess he did not notice the see-saw-like condition it was in, and when he sat down on one end of it, the other side shot up, spilling books on to the floor! It was absolutely hilarious, and everyone was in stitches. Peter was fairly embarrassed and worried about the small mess he had made! Not only did he scurry to stabilize the bookcase, but he felt it necessary to begin cleaning up the mess that had been made in the apartment by the party-goers, collecting empty beer bottles and the like. Most people would likely have just left the mess, but not Peter. He made us all laugh, in typical, silly, Peter-style, but also he was concerned about the consequences of his actions. Always looking out for others and making people smile, Peter was truly one of a kind.

From Dan Haarmann
A very fond memory of Pete that I think about frequently is the first time I met Jeff Tahnk (one of Pete's longtime friends from Winchester) and a whole bunch of the other guys from Colgate. I think it was Thanksgiving of our Freshman year at Colgate. I came down to Winchester from Andover and we went over to Jeff's house. This one is short and sweet because there isn't much to it except a lot of Beirut and laughing. Pete was teaching all of the Winchester guys our Colgate/Sigma Chi drinking games in Jeff's kitchen. There were about six of us playing Beirut and Mexican and in general making a mess of things that Jeff's maid had just cleaned. I am not sure if you know this about Jeff's maid, but she doesn't or didn't speak a word of English, and Pete had a tremendous time telling her he was in love with her while handing her a ping pong ball and trying to get her to play Beirut! We modified Zoom Schwartz Profigliano into a non-speaking hand-gesture game only that night as well. Pete's antics with Jeff's maid were only out-laughed by watching him give hand signals and fake the person out to his left. Pete was a natural at controlling the crowd and ensuring that we all laughed as hard as possible and I loved him for that.

From Crissy Buonocore
One common theme in every story I've heard about Pete is that he always wanted to make sure that everyone was having a good time. He never wanted to leave anyone out. When Pete first moved to New York (actually to Hoboken, NJ), he was still interviewing for jobs in the city and trying to settle into our new place. Over the past 2 years, I had accumulated quite a stuffed animal collection (every time Pete came to visit me while we were dating long distance, he brought me a little gift - most of the time it was a little stuffed animal). We had names for all of them, and if anyone had overheard any of our conversations they would've thought we were talking about our children.
Stew (Pete's famous stuffed dog) of course knew everyone, but they had never all spent more than a weekend with each other. One day I came home from work and Pete was already there (he had interviews in the morning), and he was sitting on the couch with about 12 stuffed animals surrounding him. They were all sitting in a semi-circle and Stew was facing them. Pete had this look on his face like he just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I asked him what he was doing, and he told me that he had called a meeting and he just wanted to make sure everyone was going to be OK with the fact that Stew was going to be living with them now. And he wanted to make sure everyone would go out of their way to be nice to him - especially during the daytime when we were both at work and they were in the apartment without any adult supervision.
The funniest thing was that he was 100% serious!! He was always looking out for the new guy!! Also, we had just moved into that apartment and we didn't have cable yet - so if nothing else, it proves that he definitely was self-entertaining!!

From Ted Keenan
In October 1999, Pete took Danny and I to a Bruins game for Christmas. Pete spent the game cheering with over-the-top enthusiasm and telling me made up stories about different people in the stands that he didn't know. When I went to the bathroom, Pete and Danny spiked my beer with liquor. When I returned, Danny maintained a innocent demeanor while Pete smiled and laughed and told me what they did...I drank it anyway. This story personifies Pete in my mind. He had the attention span of a fruit-fly, he couldn't keep a secret and he was one of the most creative, generous, and fun-loving people I have known.

From Crissy Buonocore
Again, Pete couldn't do anything just like everyone else and he had to add his own little flare to everything he did. Pete and I had been together for a while and it was getting to that awkward point in your relationship when you finally tell someone that you love them, and of course Pete couldn't do that like everyone else.
He first gave me lectures on how he wouldn't just say it to anyone until he was good and ready. He would always joke around about how you can say so many other things that SOUND like "I Love You" but aren't, like "Olive Shoes." It was actually frustrating because I knew he loved me and just wanted him to say it, but of course he made me laugh about it so I didn't care at all. 
One day, I was sitting at my desk (at the time I was working at Lehman Brothers, and the atmosphere was extremely "stuffy" - for lack of a better word) and a package came for me. I opened it up and there was a white teddy bear holding a red pillow that said "I Love You." It had one of those "Press Here" stickers on his chest so I did. I should have known better because after pressing it, the teddy bear started roaring really load. Mind you, I'm not in an office so I'm in a cube surrounded by about 6 other people. I was mortified (but thought it was hilarious and could tell that's exactly what Pete wanted to happen!!).
Clearly I knew it was from Pete but thought it was so not like him for the bear to say "I Love You". But it all made sense when I opened the card and there was no name or anything, but all it said was "ELEPHANT JUICE". To this day, that's how we told each other that we loved each other. Every conversation ended with "Elephant Juice". Every CD he made for me was called Elephant Juice Mix or something like that. I'm sure many of his friends were around when he'd leave me one of his famous 5 minute long voicemails and all he would say the whole time was, "Elephant Juice. Elephant Juice. Oh, by the way ... elephant juice". Everyone must've thought he was crazy but I could (and did) listen to those messages forever.
Anybody can say I love you, but it takes a special, wonderful, creative and loving kind of guy to say Elephant Juice. So Pete, Elephant Juice Always!!