AGE: Well, let’s just say I’m old enough for our friends at AARP to start corresponding with me.
OCCUPATION: Executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Washington County.
RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Preparing for the spring and summer events at Literacy Volunteers: Bloom (a celebration of spring on June 1), Links for Literacy (our annual golf tournament at Weekapaug Golf Club on June 18), and our Speaker’s Event featuring Daniel Silva on July 26.
BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: West Warwick.
FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME: With my husband, Dr. Tullio Pitassi, and our pets (two Shetland sheepdogs, a tuxedo cat, and a Ragdoll cat), horseback riding on my American quarter horse gelding, and traveling.
PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: My Dad passed while my sister, brother and I were all rather young. My sister was in college, I had just started high school, and my brother was only 5 years old. Being the oldest at home, I helped my Mom raise my brother, in the absence of my father.
I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Being compassionate and fair-minded.
TOP Of MY BUCKET LIST: Visiting all of our beautiful national parks.
ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: Mrs. Pastures horse cookies or grain
WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: An archaeologist.
PERSON OR EXPERIENCE THAT HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: My husband.
BOOKS ON MY NIGHTSTAND: “Tallgrass,” by Sandra Dallas, “The Earth Hums in B Flat,” by Mari Strachan, and I’m rereading “The Unlikely Spy,” by Daniel Silva.
I AM LISTENING TO: A CD for classical flute and guitar that was actually released many years ago. It was recorded by a friend who retired from the world of performing before we met, but has recently begun performing again.
FAVORITE MOVIES: Some of my favorites are “The Deerhunter,” “The Legend of the Falls,” and “The Illusionist.”
FAVORITE TV SHOW: If I’m watching TV, I’m watching a movie or Masterpiece Theatre. I especially like Turner Classic Movies.
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: I eat very healthy food, but every now and then I like to have a Russian tea cake.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I USE MOSTLY: The only time I spend on social media (Facebook) is when I’m posting for Literacy Volunteers of Washington County.
TRAITS I MOST ADMIRE: Compassion, humility and a sense of humor.
PET PEEVE: Self-impressed people who assume they know more about everything than everyone else. My experience has shown me that they’re often the least knowledgeable in the room.
FAVORITE QUOTATION: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The architecture and the beaches, of course!
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My husband, my family and my pets.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I’ve received extensive training in pasty decorating and design. Occasionally I’ll create a specialty cake to celebrate a special occasion.
BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: The best advice I ever received came from my husband. While we were dating I noticed that whenever we ran into someone he knew he always managed to find something complimentary to say to him or her. Eventually I asked him why he did this. He told me, “Toni, you never know if the one, nice thing you say to someone might be the only nice thing they hear from anyone today or tomorrow or this week or even this month. That one little compliment might just make their day and it only takes a minute to do, so why not make someone feel good about him or herself?” I’ve reminded myself of that conversation thousands of times and have tried to model my own behavior accordingly.
ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: Flexibility is the key to being happy. If you aren’t flexible, you’ll snap just like the tree that refuses to sway with the wind.
IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Make sure that no person or animal would ever be in need. They say you can’t save everyone, but if I ruled the world I know I would try.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Make sure every one close to me is well taken care of, then invest well and set up some foundations and scholarships to help students. In addition, I would continue supporting various charities, but in a more substantial way.
I DRIVE: A black 2017 Jeep Renegade.
I WISH I DROVE: A Jeep Renegade.
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Homemade muffins. Believe it or not, my husband makes them!
IF I COULD HAVE DINNER AND A CONVERSATION WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD I WOULD CHOOSE: My parents, the late Rosindo and Luigia Lautieri, my siblings, and our families. Since my dad never had the opportunity to see how his children turned out, this would be a chance for him to see us as adults and meet our spouses and children. And, of course, it would need to be a traditional Italian feast with all the courses!
Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro