Saga of the Missing Door

December 7, 2010 at 5:13 am (Uncategorized)

This probably happened around 1957, during the summer before I started high school at Lawrence. I was helping my father with deliveries from John Lombardo, the butcher. Dad had an old “Woody” station wagon back then that he used for work… you know, the kind with wooden planks along the sides. My father had a well-deserved reputation for salvaging old junk heaps, and the “Woody” may have been his piece-de-resistance. Anyway, he would drive and I’d jump out when we got to the customer’s house and run the bag in.

One afternoon we made a pickup, and at our first stop I hopped out with the order and slammed the car door. As I started to walk away, I heard a rattle and thump behind me. Turning to see what had caused the noise, I was shocked to find that the door I had just slammed shut had fallen completely off and now lay in the gutter!

Dad and I broke up in near-hysterical laughter. When we were finally able to control ourselves, my father said, “Throw the door in the back. We’ll take it to the dumps.” For some reason, that triggered another round of wild laughter. We drove to someplace in the back of Inwood, and I tossed the door into the weeds alongside the street. Then we resumed our route.

When we had completed our run, Dad said, “Maybe we should go back and get that door. I might be able to have it fixed.” So we drove back to where we had jettisoned the deceased door only to find that someone had already taken it! Once again we exploded into side-splitting laughter.

Dad drove that wreck around without a door for the rest of the summer. If you rode in the front seat, you had to hang on for dear life every time he made a left turn, or risk landing in the street. There were no seatbelts in those days to keep you secure. And my poor sister Sue was absolutely mortified anytime someone saw her riding in our “limo”.

In those days, we held a family picnic every year. That summer, we all piled into the “Woody” for the trip, Mom sitting in the “jump seat” up front while the rest of us kids climbed into the back with the food. We usually went to Belmont Lake State Park or Heckscher State Park, but I don’t remember which it was that particular time. I definitely do recall the incredulous look on the gate attendant’s face as we pulled up, with one door missing and a bunch of kids in the back seated on coolers and watermelons, surrounded by loaves of bread and bananas! The poor guy must have thought that the Beverly Hillbillies had just arrived!

I used to enjoy picnics back then. Not this one. The men challenged a neighboring group to a softball game at $1 per man. I remember they wouldn’t let me join in, even though I was a pretty good ballplayer in those days. I was forced to serve as a disgruntled umpire. I can still see some of our players: my Dad, Uncle Ralph, Grandpa Bevy, Uncle Jimmy, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Alfred, Uncle Albert Bevilacqua, Uncle Ernie, Uncle Syl Matland. Our team won, but that didn’t make me any happier. Then a cloudburst hit. I recall sitting on top of a picnic table under a big umbrella as the heavens opened, watching a bowl of hard-boiled eggs float by in the resulting flash-flood! Unbelievable! And you can only imagine the ride home, with water from every puddle splashing through the missing door and soaking us all!

That night I became deathly ill and couldn’t stop throwing up. The last thing I remembered eating was a veal cutlet sandwich. Somehow that affected me psychologically, and I’ve never been able to stomach that meat since. The mere mention of veal brings back unpleasant memories of violent nausea and bedraggled picnickers. And I’ve also never forgotten the doorless “Woody” that gave us so many laughs during that wacky summer a long time ago.

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Now Hair This!

December 7, 2010 at 5:11 am (Uncategorized)

My father had a highly-developed self-deprecating sense of humor, which was very fortunate, because hilarious things often happened to him. Many of those things involved his hair, or lack thereof. Dad lost much of his hair at any early age, so I really have no memory of him with any natural growth on his head. When I was a teenager he began wearing a toupee either through vanity or because he played in a dance band, and you just don’t see many bald musicians.

Anyway, in the spring of 1966 I was still living home after being discharged from the Army. Dad usually had band jobs on the weekends, and this one particular Saturday he prepared for his gig by shampooing his hairpiece. However, as the time to leave approached, his “rug” was still damp.

In desperation, my father decided to dry his toupee in the oven! Bad idea! Unfortunately, he set the temperature a bit too high, and after a few minutes smoke began pouring into the kitchen as the wig caught fire! Howling like a banshee, Dad snatched the blazing thing from the oven and tossed it into the sink. After extinguishing the flames under the faucet, he picked up the bedraggled mess. Parts of it were singed black, and there were a few bare spots in the “scalp” where the hair had been burned off. Lacking a spare, he had no choice but to wear it.

Dad grabbed a towel and a hair dryer and went to work. When he was satisfied that the toupee wasn’t too wet to wear, he positioned it carefully on his head. Good Lord! Sections of the hairpiece were charred, and to make matters worse, it had shrunk! Dad now had a half inch-wide part that ran completely around the side of his skull! He looked like he had a dead skunk on his head!

I was just coming in as he raced out the door. When I saw that ridiculous sight, I collapsed on the stairs in wild laughter. He just glared at me, jumped into his car and took off. Well, there was one good development that night: nobody took a shot at him!

On another occasion, Dad was visiting at my sister Suzanne’s house. After saying hello to my nephew Jason, he sat on the living room couch to watch TV while Sue worked in the kitchen. After a short while, he began to fall asleep. As his head drooped, his toupee slid off and fell to the floor.

About this time, Jason came back into the room. He had never seen his grandfather without hair before. In a panic, he went running into the kitchen to his mother. “Ma!” he cried. “There’s a man in the house!”

Sue dashed into the living room only to find Dad snoozing on the couch. She burst into uncontrolled laughter while poor Jason cowered behind her. “That’s your grandfather!” she finally gasped. The commotion woke up Dad. When Sue told him what had happened and he saw his hair lying on the floor, he picked up the toupee and slapped it back on his head. But the damage had been done. Jason avoided him like the plague for the rest of the day.

Another incident that comes to mind occurred while Dad was working as a school bus driver. One of his passengers was a young special-needs girl who was prone to violent outbursts. Dad’s matron, Rose Politano, had seated the little girl directly behind the driver where she could keep a close eye on her.

As they headed off down the road, the child erupted in a wild tantrum for some reason. Jumping to her feet, she reached across and tried to snatch Dad’s toupee from his head! I guess “wigged out” would appropriately describe her behavior, pun intended. Letting out a whoop of dismay, my father grabbed the “rug” with his right hand in an attempt to keep from losing it. And with his left hand, he continued trying to steer the bus.

Poor Rosie was laughing so hard that it took her several minutes to get the little girl to release her grip on Dad’s hair. By that time, they had traveled quite a distance, swerving back and forth along the street. Fortunately, no harm was done, other than to Dad’s ego.

To this day, Rose Politano can never finish telling that “hair-raising” story because she’s always overcome by an uproarious laughing fit!

Well, I’m sure Dad must have experienced other such ordeals. If you’re aware of any, please let me know and I’ll add them to the collection.

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Brawl on Summit Avenue

December 7, 2010 at 5:05 am (Uncategorized)

This must have happened during the summer of 1958, shortly after my freshman year in high school. I was a skinny 15 year-old at the time. It was a Friday evening, just around dusk, and I was sitting on the front porch of our house on Summit Avenue. Uncle Ralph had stopped by and was talking with my father and Grandpa Bevilacqua out on the sidewalk by the curb.

Suddenly a car full of boys who appeared to be in their late teens or early twenties came hurtling down the street. As they passed, my grandfather called out, “Slow down!”

The car squealed to a halt, then backed up slowly and stopped in front of our house. Out piled five arrogant young men who had taken exception to the remark. They said something rude, one thing led to another, and before long punches began to fly.

When I saw that, I jumped up, dashed out into the fray throwing wild haymakers… and promptly got my ass kicked! One of our adversaries put me in a headlock where we “danced” harmlessly for several minutes. From there I had a good view of the rest of the fight taking place under a streetlight.

Uncle Ralph had one of the troublemakers by the collar and was lining him up for a kayo when my father swooped in, knocked the guy for a loop, and continued on to belt someone else. Grandpa Bevy had already landed a heavy shot on another kid, who was now half-prone in the bushes. They made quick work of the opposition, except for the one who was fortunate enough to be tangled with me. When he saw all his friends taking such a beating, he let me go and raced for the car, his battered buddies in close pursuit. They burned rubber pulling away, screeched around the corner, and that was the last we saw of them. The whole incident had lasted only two or three minutes.

By this time my grandmother Elvira (we called her “Nonnie”), having heard the ruckus had come out onto the porch holding a dishtowel and exclaiming, “OOOH! OOOH!” It turned out that I was the only one in the family who had suffered any damage: two cauliflower ears and a slightly puffed lip. Nonnie fussed over me with some ice cubes in a towel to help keep the swelling down. I was kind of embarrassed about having lost my share of the fight, but for some reason everyone except my grandmother just laughed and treated me like I had won the heavyweight boxing crown. I’m sure Nonnie wasn’t too happy about her family getting into a street brawl, but she never said anything critical of us.

Even I had to smile eventually. That fight was the talk of the block for weeks to come. And I can assure you the version of the story I told my friends had me really kicking the hell out of that entire bunch by myself!

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Under the Influence of Uncles

December 7, 2010 at 12:13 am (Uncategorized)

Uncles on all sides of the family played important roles in my early development. Many of the things I’m about to relate may seem trivial at first, but they made enough of an impression on me to remain permanently fixed in my memory. Here are a few good examples from among those that I experienced.

Uncle Dinnio Oliveri was my godfather. In addition to becoming my golfing partner later in life (which I covered in “The Hackers”), Uncle Din was my mentor in many other ways. When I was a sophomore in high school, I became interested in joining Our Lady of Good Counsel Band, which was primarily a marching unit. Uncle Dinnio and my father were already members of what was more commonly known as “Mazza’s Band” because of the many members of the Mazza family who belonged, or more humorously as “Mozzarella’s Band”. Uncle Din was a drummer, and Dad played the French horn.

The band used to practice every Wednesday evening at the American Legion hall in Inwood. I was a bit intimidated and unsure of myself the first time I went there, so Uncle Din seated me beside him in the percussion section behind my own snare drum. Now you need to understand that I may have been the worst drummer on Long Island, bar none. I had never taken a lesson, and couldn’t read music very well. But Uncle Din would quietly count out the rests and clue me in when it was time to play. During parades, he always marched next to me, calling out the cadences and other cues so I would know what was going on. He covered for me so well, in fact, that it was quite a while before the other band members caught on to how lousy I really was. This is the essence of what made him a great uncle. The fact that such deeds stand out so well in my memory is a pretty good indication of how much they meant to me.

Uncle Ralph Bevilacqua was another of my idols. Besides being a World War II veteran who had been wounded at the “Battle of the Bulge”, Uncle Ralph was an accomplished bowler and artist. When he and Aunt Fran were married, I served as a junior usher in their bridal party. I still have vivid memories of later watching him compete in the famed Newsday bowling tournament, where Aunt Fran and I would cheer him on from the audience.

Anyway, along about the time I was a struggling young baseball player, Uncle Ralph took an interest in helping me improve my play. One afternoon he brought me behind our house on Summit Avenue and very patiently began teaching me to bat left-handed so that I could become a switch-hitter like my idol, Mickey Mantle. He started me out hitting tennis balls and “Spaldeens”, gathering them up afterwards and repeating the process over and over until I began to get the hang of it. Then I took to hitting stones from the left side for hours on end, eventually becoming somewhat proficient at doing that. The stones chewed up my bat, but I thought that was a worthwhile sacrifice for what I was learning. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the athlete that Uncle Ralph was. About the only thing I accomplished was to become mediocre from BOTH sides of the plate! But the fact that I can switch-hit even to this day (although poorly) is a testament to what he taught me.

I once learned a valuable lesson in self-reliance from Uncle Pete Capozzi, Nonnie’s brother. When I first got out of the service, I occasionally saw Uncle Pete walking down Summit Avenue on his way to some destination. Now, Uncle Pete lived across Rockaway Turnpike in Lawrence, so that journey had to be several miles. Since he was in his eighties at the time, I was suitably impressed. Whenever I saw him, I’d call out, “Hey, Uncle Pete! Let me give you a ride!”

He’d just smile and respond, “No, no. Have to walk. Have to walk.” Then he’d go merrily on his way, leaving me staring after him in total admiration. I remember thinking, I hope if I make it to his age I’ll be able to do the same thing. I still wonder about that.

The athlete in the family was probably Uncle Bobby Bevilacqua. He had played football for Lawrence and was always after me to try out for the team. Alas, but I was somewhat of a late-bloomer. When I graduated high school I was a shade under six feet tall and 135 pounds, the epitome of a rail! It took the Army to add 50 pounds to my frame. Come to think of it, I’d be quite happy to get DOWN to 185 now! Anyway, I wasn’t much interested in having that skinny body crushed by those big Lawrence linemen, including my cousin Richie Mollo. So I made the bowling team, got cut from the baseball team (even though I could, wink-wink, switch-hit) and ran track in those days when I was actually pretty fast!

But Uncle Bob never gave up. I got my first real baseball glove from him, after he had spent many hours oiling it and breaking it in until it had a nice flexible “pocket”. And whenever I needed any kind of athletic equipment, he always managed to come up with it. Too bad I couldn’t have rewarded him by being a better player. He did his best, but as the old saying goes, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!” I haven’t seen Uncle Bob much since he moved to Florida, which I regret, but I’ll always be grateful for what he tried to do for me.

Uncle John Mollo wasn’t a blood relative, but he always treated me like he was. When I started high school at Lawrence, Uncle John was the head custodian there. He liked to roam the grounds carrying a big blue paddle with holes drilled into it that he used to swat any misbehaving kids. I was pretty well-behaved during my first three years there. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started to become a bit of a hell raiser and finally ran afoul of Uncle John and his paddle. He whacked me on several occasions, even though I pleaded, “But Mister Mollo,” (I would never call him “Uncle John” in front of the other kids), “I’m your nephew!” Unfortunately for me, that never cut any ice. And of course, I had to hide those little red circles on my rear end from my parents, or risk having to explain how I got them!

When I was discharged from the service, my friend Richie Vicario and I wanted to join the Spartans bowling team. Upon hearing this, Uncle John willingly gave up his spot on the squad for us. But he still continued to come down every Monday night to watch us bowl or to keep score for the team. And on Sundays, he was always at the Peninsula Golf Club, even though he rarely played, to laugh and encourage us as we blundered our way around the course. Now what better example of a true and caring uncle could you ask for? He was a tremendous role model not only for me, but for hundreds of youngsters who passed through Lawrence High School. You just can’t replace someone like that.

Uncle Sylvan Matland wasn’t a blood relative either. You had only to look at him to know that. He was blond, six foot five and towered over the rest of the family. Uncle Syl owned a small cabin cruiser and used to take my Dad and me fishing on occasion. In fact, I learned my first basic seamanship from him. After I got kicked out of college, I went to work for him as a carpenter’s assistant. Now I have to admit that I wasn’t much good at the job, a fact of which he constantly reminded me. Fortunately for both of us, I left after a year to go into the service.

When I got back from Vietnam, Uncle Syl was one of the relatives who met me at the airport. I’ll never forget how he would tell anyone who would listen that “You don’t get those medals for nothing.” I was very grateful for that, especially since I hadn’t done all that much to earn them. But thanks to Uncle Syl, I was a bit of a celebrity in the family for a while. And from that point on we always shared a mutual respect until he passed away at much too young an age.

Uncle Dominick Oliveri and his family lived in Havre de Grace, Maryland when I was a child. I only remember seeing him two or three times. Once, my parents took me on a trip to visit him and Aunt Sally when I was probably about ten years old. While we were there, Uncle Dom taught me a bit about marksmanship. He had several rifles and a shotgun, and let me handle them. He showed me how to disassemble them, clean the parts, and put them back together again. Afterwards we went out into the fields, where he let me shoot his .22 at some tin cans. I wasn’t very accurate at first, but I finally caught one of the cans in the lower right side. Uncle Dom slapped me on the back and smiled, “Next time you come here, I expect you to hit that can dead center!”

Sadly, that next time never came. But what Uncle Dominick taught me must have taken hold. When I went to basic training for the Army, I fired expert with the M-14 rifle, which was the highest marksmanship award you could earn. That in itself gave me a little extra confidence, particularly when I found out I was headed for Vietnam.

I learned how to knot a tie from Uncle Ernie Bevilacqua. It must have been the month before I reported to Fort Dix in September of 1963 that I was standing in front of a mirror at home trying to figure out how to put on a necktie. Uncle Ernie happened to stop by for a visit. When he saw me struggling with that blasted tie, he took me aside, and with great patience, showed me over and over again how to make a proper knot. He stayed with me until I could finally do it on my own. Quite frankly, that was the only knot I ever mastered, and I use it to this day. Now that may seem like a trivial thing to you, but it probably saved me a lot of grief in basic training. Those drill sergeants had ass-chewing down to a science, but thanks to Uncle Ernie, I never took any abuse because I couldn’t knot a tie. For that I’ll always be grateful to him.

Uncle Jimmy Bevilacqua introduced me to one of my favorite hobbies as a teenager… collecting tropical fish. I recall that when he got his first aquarium, I used to enjoy going to his house in Far Rockaway just to watch the fish swimming around the tank. My interest progressed to the point where I eventually had a dozen tanks in the basement at Summit Avenue. When I finally left for the Army, my Dad disposed of the tanks, as well as my Lionel train layout! That was the last of me keeping tropical fish as a hobby. After the service I was a lot more interested in chasing girls, until I met Maureen… and then that came to a crashing halt too! Oh, well. But I still have Uncle Jim to thank for getting me involved in the great pastime of raising tropical fish.

Uncle Bill Fearns was another early role model I admired very much who also had a great sense of humor. He was an air traffic controller and frequently encouraged me to consider pursuing that as a career. As a teenager I wasn’t quite ready for so much responsibility, but I did enjoy hearing stories about his experiences in the tower. As with many of the decisions I made in life, years later I wished that I had taken his advice more seriously.

When my Mom passed away, I had the unenviable task of going into the city to identify her body. I was planning to make the trip alone, but when Uncle Bill and Uncle Ralph heard that, they would have none of it, and offered to drive me there. Then they stayed with me throughout that whole unpleasant process. I will always be grateful for, and never forget, the support my uncles gave me at such a difficult time.

Uncle Alfred Bevilacqua taught me a lot about leadership. We both joined Kiwanis around the same time, but with different clubs. Uncle Al quickly rose through the ranks, first as President of the 5 Towns club, then as Lt. Governor of the Long Island SouthWest Division where he was responsible for 13 individual clubs, then finally as Governor of the New York District. That in itself was a major accomplishment. As Governor, he became the leader of 350 clubs with more than 12,000 Kiwanians throughout the State of New York.

Uncle Al and Aunt Rita were uniquely qualified for their roles as Governor and First Lady. Their duties required them to attend countless functions, both within the state and around the world. It was not a responsibility I would want, but they relished it. He always strongly supported any program I ran in Kiwanis, and there were many, even though at times our two clubs were intense rivals. I didn’t always agree with everything he said and did, but he invariably stood by his convictions, which is one of the characteristics of a true leader, and one that I admired about him. With his passing, Kiwanis International, as well as our family, suffered a huge loss that will probably never be sufficiently overcome.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many more instances of “uncle-influence” that helped to shape me as a person. And writing these few anecdotes has opened my eyes to the fact that I haven’t really lived up to my responsibilities to my own nieces and nephews the way my uncles did for me. Life’s circumstances sometimes have a way of interfering with good intentions, and before you know it, too many years have passed. I sincerely hope there’s still time to remedy that before the final curtain comes down.

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A Brief History of the Oliveri Family

December 7, 2010 at 12:06 am (Uncategorized)

I have very little recollection of my Oliveri ancestors. My grandmother Angela (Angelina) Carestia Oliveri passed away at age 47 ten years before I was born. Grandpa Eugenio (John) survived until 1951, when he died at age 69. I don’t recall us having much contact with my grandfather, even though he lived nearby on Long Island. I’ve heard that after Grandma passed away he married a woman named Marcelle without the blessings of his family. That could be the reason why there was a disconnect.

I do have one memory of my grandfather shortly before he passed on. I guess I was six or seven years old at the time. Grandpa was visiting Aunt Florence, Uncle Bill, and Cousin Natalie across the street on Summit Avenue, and my Dad brought me over to see him. I had a loose front tooth at the time, and Grandpa wanted to take a look at it. Then, much to my shock, he snapped it right out of my mouth! Of course, I immediately burst into tears. Not a very pleasant memory to be sure, but it’s the only one I have of him.

Both Grandma Angela and Grandpa Eugenio (see photos in library) are buried in St. Mary Star of the Sea Cemetery in Lawrence, alongside my sister Carol Ann, who died in 1948 at the age of just six months.

Several years ago, I became interested in genealogy and began researching our family heritage. I didn’t find much. Then, with the help of cousins Fran Mollo DeNicolo, Lisa Mollo, and some input from Aunt Mary Mollo, I began to come up with bits of information.

Grandma and Grandpa Oliveri originally came from the village of Manoppello in Chieti Province located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy near the Adriatic Sea. Manoppello is a town of 5600 people located on a hillside overlooking the Pescara River. It became part of Pescara Province in 1927. Its patron saints are Pancrazio, Rocco, and Nicola (more on this later).

Manoppello is renowned as the sanctuary of the “Volto Santo” (Holy Face), a veil with an image on it of a man alleged to be Jesus Christ. It is the only religious icon where the image is visible on both sides of the cloth, and is said to have a connection to the famed Shroud of Turin, which many consider to be the burial cloth of Jesus. Also known as the “Veil of Veronica”, the icon is believed to have been created when a woman named Veronica wiped Jesus’ face with the veil during his terrible journey to Calvary. Christ’s image is said to have remained on the cloth. Residents of the Pescara area have worshipped the Volto Santo for more than 400 years, although its authenticity has never been confirmed.

The current telephone records of Manoppello show that there are still seven OLIVIERI families living there, who are most likely our distant relatives. For some reason, Grandpa Eugenio changed the spelling of our name to OLIVERI after emigrating to America.

Eugenio Olivieri arrived in the United States on March 27th, 1907 aboard the S.S. Cretic from Naples. The records I found indicated that he had made a previous trip in 1903. According to the ship’s manifest, Grandpa was described as 23 years of age, 5 feet 3 inches in height, with brown hair and brown eyes. Apparently he traveled as a steerage passenger and had $6 on his person when he boarded the ship, leaving behind his wife Angela and infant son Italino (Uncle Tally). His destination was listed as Madison Street, Inwood, NY. There is another notation that is difficult to read, but appears to show that he had a brother, Nicola (named after one of the patron saints of Manoppello?) living in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. I have no further information on him.

Grandpa also had another brother, Michael Olivieri (he never changed the spelling of the family name), who lived in Cedarhurst, NY. Uncle Mike had five children, but I only know the names of Mary, Tootsie, Rosie and Michael. Unfortunately, Uncle Michael was killed in an accident just prior to Christmas coming home from work. I never knew any of his children when I was growing up, but met Mary later when she reconnected with my parents. She was a teacher at NYU, and passed away shortly after my parents died. But despite living in close proximity to one another, the families did not communicate. Evidently Uncle Mike disapproved of Grandpa Eugenio’s lifestyle and did not regard him as a good family man. I recall my Dad telling me that Grandpa at one time was a rumrunner between Brooklyn and Long Island. In one of the stories, he told of being in a car with his father on the Belt Parkway when the police started chasing them. The police opened fire, and Dad claimed to remember being pushed to the floor of the car as bullets whizzed past. Knowing Dad, he may have embellished this tale a bit, but the pieces do seem to fit the puzzle.

Grandma Angela arrived in New York City on June 11, 1909 as a steerage passenger aboard the S.S. Antonio Lopez sailing from Naples. She is listed on the manifest as Angela Carestia, and was 24 years old upon arrival. With her was her two and a half year-old son Italino (Uncle Tally), later to be known as Italo, or Jimmy. Their residence in Manoppello was listed as the home of Grandma’s father, Amadio Carestia, who escorted them to the ship. Angela is described in the ship’s manifest as four feet, 11 inches in height, with brown hair, blue eyes and a scar on her right temple. But if I remember correctly, I think Dad once told me that she had one blue eye and one green one. Her destination was listed as c/o Smeriglio at the corner of Mott Avenue and Madison Street in Inwood, NY.

After settling in Inwood, Grandma and Grandpa Oliveri had five more children, William, Dominick, Dinnio (who was a twin; the other child was stillborn), Augustine (my Dad) and Mary, the youngest and only girl. They all eventually married, Tally to Helen, William to Florence Suhusky, Dominick to Stella (Sally) Nastick, Dinnio to Lucille Teasdale, Augustine to Jennie Bevilacqua, and Mary to John Mollo.

Uncle Tally and Aunt Helen had several children. I only knew one, Jimmy, who lived on Long Island.

Uncle Bill and Aunt Florence were the parents of Bill Jr., who lived in upstate New York and just passed away recently, and Natalie Gordon, presently living in California.

Uncle Dominick and Aunt Stella (Sally) lived in Havre de Grace, MD, and had two children, Michael and Angelina. They later adopted a third, June Marie Oliveri Spangler, who now lives in Spout Spring, VA.

Uncle Dinnio and Aunt Lucille lived on Long Island and had two daughters, Jean McDonald and Joyce Palchynsky. Ironically, Uncle Din (my godfather) passed away in July of 2009 on my birthday.

Augustine (Augie) and Jennie, my parents, had five children: James (me), Carol Ann, Suzanne, Denise and Augie Jr.

The extended family seems to have grown quite large in recent years. We have countless cousins from the various unions listed above, many of whom, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve never met. Perhaps it’s time to think about some form of reunion where we can all become acquainted, or reacquainted as the case may be. We may all regret not having done so in the future. I’ll give that some thought and get back to you. In the meantime, if you have any information to be added to this history, I would welcome hearing from you.

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