The City I Love: Grass rises, so do hopes of young man
‘Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, I wonder where the flowers is?"
Most of us know that little diddy as a silly rhyme. But city native John Brancazzu, 24, takes that lyrical tickler very seriously, especially that part about how the "grass has ris."
We had parked at the Crowne Plaza garage and were returning to the vehicle when we spotted a piece of paper trapped beneath the wiper blade. It looked suspicious and foreboding -- a ticket, perhaps? -- but it turned out to be nothing more than an introduction from Brancazzu, who in his typed message was offering to become our yardman this spring, summer and fall.
We weren’t the only car housing that request.
"Yeah, I know parking garages can be pretty shady places," Brancazzu said. "But this was my mom’s idea. She’s a nurse at BMC and knows that a lot of people use parking garages."
Lurking around such places and slipping messages under wiper blades might warrant a 911 call if someone was to observe that sort of behavior from a distance. Brancazzu said he understood, but described himself as a "skinny guy" who was "non-threatening" in appearance.
"I actually put one under a wiper and I didn’t notice there was a guy in the car," he said. "I just smiled and waved."
Brancazzu is Pittsfield through and through. He graduated from Pittsfield High in 2007, and has earned his associate Degree in Environmental Science from Berkshire Community College. He previously attended Egremont Elementary and Herberg Middle schools.
A passion for working with high-end lawn equipment and a strong desire to remain debt free has fueled this burst into his first real foray with being his own boss. Brancazzu cut his teeth on big-time lawn work previously at Eastover Resort, in Lenox, where his grandfather oversees the indoor and outdoor pools.
"That sort of thing, I guess, runs in the family," he said. "My father is mechanically minded, too. If you give him an engine that doesn’t work right, then he can fix it.
"I love the machinery and the heavy equipment and I’ll tell you this, I’m not lazy. In fact, I’m very determined. You also meet a lot of nice people doing this kind of work. Know what? If the customer is happy, then I’m happy."
The story gets a little bit fishy here. When Brancazzu isn’t living the life of a shadowy figure in our city parking garages, he’s a full-time employee at the Berkshire Museum, where he oversees the aquarium area. He’s as proud of the care he gives to his aquatic friends and their living environment as he is of the high-quality work he believes he can serve up to prospective lawn customers.
The aquarium gig seems very fitting since Brancazzu said he’s a bit of a pool shark, playing with the cue and chalk in local leagues.
"They all have specific needs," said Brancazzu, about his aquarium pals. "Give props to the museum. I’ve been able to make some great contacts and it’s a fun and friendly place to work."
Props, too, go to this enterprising and outgoing young city resident, who took an idea from Mom and a chance on random cars and their unsuspecting wiper blades. It brought us to here, and after speaking to the young man I’m endorsing him as the real deal.
So, spring has indeed sprung and the grass has certainly ris. Call (413) 770-6652, because that’s where John Brancazzu is.
Brian Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com.