Thursday, March 16, 2017
Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks
My mother had two sisters and two brothers, and a sister in Italy.
Zia [ed: aunt] Lucia was the oldest, Zia Filomena was the youngest. Both women were lookers. Zia Philomena was on the husky side and lived a few doors down from us. When she came to America she lived with my mother. Her complexion was peaches and cream. She stayed with us until she married.
Zia Lucia was tall and rather beautiful. Although the oldest, when asked who was the oldest of the women, she would say Fanne [ed: Dad's mother] or Filomena. She had two sons and five daughters.
Carmen was the oldest of the two brothers. Nedio or Ned was the younger of the two. [ed: I have another brother: Earnest found on the 1930 census]
There was Bette and Phyllis the oldest and Mary. The others [ed: names] escape me [ed: Louise, Helen, Mary, Dorothy, and Elizabeth]
Of the two brothers [ed: Dad's maternal uncles] Uncle Vincent was the elder of the two. Uncle Louie, the younger. [ed: According to the records I have found, Uncle Louie was the elder born in 1882 and Uncle Vincent was the younger, born in 1894] Both were barbers and Uncle Vincent was the ambitious one. He decided to become a lawyer and built a nice business. He made a reputation for himself. He also played the violin and taught students.And at some point he became the owner of a genuine Stradivarius violin which cost him $10,000 at the time. It came with expert acknowledgment and papers. He also had a nice singing voice and went to the Conservatory [ed: Boston Conservatory] for lessons. He went for the full course and was an alumni and later became its president.
Uncle Louie was a wonderful man. The type that everyone would like. I remember when he lived in Boston that he would come to visit and he would bring his tools and give me and my brother, Mario, haircuts.
He married but his wife did not seem to fit in the family. She was somewhat aloof and they had two children. Cousin Louie and a brother who would need care all his life as he had physical and mental disabilities. And the mother was blamed for this.
Uncle Louie moved to a small town in New Jersey. It was surrounded by farms. He opened a barber shop and did well even during The Depression. He also developed a custom. The big day in this town was Saturday and since it was surrounded by farms, the farmer came to town on Saturdays to buy and stock up on things they needed.
Uncle Louie would invite the last customer whose hair he cut and his family to have dinner with his [ed: Uncle Louie's] family.
He also had a nice voice. And from a story my cousin Louie told me, it must have been a beautiful voice.
On a Fourth of July evening, he [ed: Uncle Louie] had a cookout with his friends. He borrowed a portable amplifier from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The party broke up about midnight. Uncle was feeling good and also tired. Forgot that the amplifier was still on, he began singing Italian songs and arias. He continued to do so until two or three in the morning.
Later it turned out that he kept the town people awake until he stopped. Yet no one called the house and told him to shut up or send the police to tell him to call it quits.
On the next business day, many townspeople went to the barber shop to thank him for the concert he gave them. While he was being complimented, on the one hand, he was apologizing and embarrassed on the other.