Seniority/Native of Portugal recalls past
Published 6:10 pm, Thursday, October 6, 2011
Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of chats with local seniors about their lives, youthful aspirations, sources of pride and regret, plus a bit of wisdom to share with younger folks.
Following is an interview with Mario Sa'Couto, 71, of Westport. The native of Portugal made his mark working at IBM and Xerox before retiring in 2004. Sa'Couto, immediate past president of the Y's Men, plays tennis three times a week and volunteers at Masonicare hospice, helping families of the dying.
He prides himself on coming from a small country with 10 million people and then making it in America with 300 million people.
Q: How long have you lived in Westport?
A: 35 years, with four out working in Brazil for Xerox.
Q: Are you married?
A: Yes. To Maria Teresa, 49 years.
Q: Are you retired?
A: Yes, since 2004.
Q: What did you do when you worked full-time?
A: I first worked for IBM in Portugal and then for Xerox in America and Brazil.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An economist.
Q: What was a significant memory or defining moment in your youth?
A: I think something that defines my character was a sports guy in high school. Our volleyball team was declared the winner when he reported the ball landed on a line. That made us the loser. The referee who called us the winner was wrong.
Q: What are your main hobbies and interests?
A: Reading, listening to music, playing tennis three to five times a week, playing bridge, sailing.
Q: Do you have a favorite work of art?
A: Guernica by Pablo Picasso. It depicts the town of Guernica in Spain.
Q: What music do you listen to and what is your favorite piece?
A: All kinds, but mostly classical and opera.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: "The Godfather."
Q: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
A: Jack Nicholson.
Q: What TV show do you watch regularly?
A: The news and soccer.
Q: Who do you think was the best President of the United States and why?
A: President Ronald Reagan. He restored pride and confidence in ourselves and our leadership in the world.
Q: If you could tell the President of the United States one thing, what would it be?
A: Look and do what is best for the nation, long and short-term, and don't be partisan.
Q: What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
A: Eating too much.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People who lie and people who brag about themselves.
Q: Do you have any regrets in life?
A: Not reallly. We all make mistakes and, I think, learn from them.
Q: What achievements of yours are you most proud of?
A: Coming from a country of 10 million and making it in America, a nation with 300 million.
Q: What, if anything, are you terribly concerned about?
A: Natural disasters, terrorism, our country's direction. We are wobbling.
Q: Best piece of advice for the younger generation?
A: Dream, be true to yourself and your principles, work hard.
Q: What brings you your greatest joy?
A: Family together at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: A few more years and peace in the world, inside family and inside myself.
Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?
A: I'd wish we could turn around the world crises and, as a nation, get closer to what America used to be. It used to be a great economy, a lot of freedom and making the nation focus less on self-interest.