June 8, 2015
Dad was born on June 7, 1918 in the Montowese neighborhood of North Haven, Connecticut. Brother Joe and Sister Anna were already at home. Grandpa came over from Salerno, so did Grandma – that is, his second wife. We think that the first wife died of influenza.
On one of Dad’s birthdays (we were children still), the phone rang and within a few minutes he had grabbed his sport coat, spoken to Mom, and said to all of us, “I’ll be back in a little while.” He was going over to drive Aunt Rose to the hospital – they didn’t have a car yet. We were most concerned about birthday cake. “You’re going to miss the cake!” He said he’d have some for breakfast, and that made sense, since we’d seen him eat pizza, hotdogs, and such in the morning.
Where did he go? Not sure, but the following day we received the news. We had a new little cousin, a girl. (2 boys to 3 girls in our cousin clique). I like to post that picture taken on her baptism day, the five of us kids in a row on the big bed. It was the beginning of oodles of fun, mischief, love, and growing up.
In our neighborhood, it wasn’t only Mom who watched after us. Every single mother on the street watched us, and had “in loco parentis” decision-making authority if we were doing something terrifically entertaining, but not on the approved list of activities to enjoy in front of all the neighbors.
Those were the days of wearing “good clothes” to school and changing into “after-school clothes” after school. Those were the days of playing tag in the backyard, avoiding stepping onto Grandma’s vegetable garden (and every else’s Nana’s garden as well). Thirsty? Have a drink of water. Hungry an hour before supper – eat a piece of Italian bread. And yes, eat fruit – peaches, pears, bananas, etc. And finally go to bed early. I don’t know who designed this plan, but NOW I like it. We went to bed early… not 9PM, not 8PM, but 7:30PM. Why? Sleep is good for you? Perhaps, but more importantly, Mom was exhausted and needed some quiet time before going to bed herself. Living the life of Reilly!