Thursday, June 30, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Uncle Fred also married and it did not set well with the Aunt. His wife was a second cousin. She was a lovely looking woman, who also died young. Leaving Tootsie, Charley, Arthur, Freddie, and Ellie to bring up. He had a shoe store, he sold and repaired shoes, which was in a good location in Wellesley at the train stop at the square [ed: the shop was first owned by his father-in-law, Ciriaco Ardolino]. Later he moved to a store a little further in the instersection. [ed. Washington St. across from the town hall]. He also owned his own house. The two bachelors [ed. Uncle Joe and Uncle Fred] went together to a number of events, banquets, dances, etc. Uncle Joe loved to dance at the American Legion. They loved us and when mother [ed: my wife] and I moved to Natick, they came regularly. I miss them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Other Wives

get surprised with flowers. I get bouquets of syringes without needles to main line inks and paint. Thanks, Kid!

Monday, June 27, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Exceptionally gorgous weather beckoned me outside to do some yardwork. While weeding and pruning, I found some foxglove that I didn't plant. At least, I think they are foxglove.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Looks Like

Thanksgiving came early. The entire yard is littered with turkey feathers. Someone had a run in with the coyote/coywolf or fisher cat.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Delightful annual lunch at Legal Seafoods with my cousin.

2. Survived a 3.5 mile walk with Red

3. I thought I lost my dental implant as I found a screw on my tongue. Turns out it was the healing screw. This holds the place where the crown will go. The doctor had time to give me Novocaine and then to screw the healing screw back in. Whew!

4. Went browsing in the Christmas Tree Shop with Red and then a fab bacon cheeseburger lunch at the Britsh Beer Company.

5. Long phone call with author friend, Erica Vetsch, to catch up. Always worth a sore ear after chatting with her.

How was your week?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

The uncles and my father lived with my aunt [ed. their sister] and brother-in-law until they married. Uncle Joe was first and Aunt Angelina set up a big to do. She did not approved of his bride. He married Aunt Clara who was a divorcee, with two girls. He did not adopt them and like their mother, they were attractive.

Uncle Joe had his own business as a barber. He also had other barbers working for him and also a room at the rear of the store where he had employees giving waves to women and the latest hair styles. Aunt Clara talked him into shutting down and going to New York where she felt he could do much better. However, it turned out to be a bad move for him. So he moved back, but he opened a shop in Framingham and he was the only barber and no womens room. He did well however, he did own his own home and also had some lots that he purchased and much later he sold them at a good price.

He and Uncle Fred came often before The Depression. And he would give us a haircut whenever he came.

[ed: the statement about divorce may seem harsh, but remember the mores of the 1920s though changing were still conservative. My father's family was Catholic. Divorce wasn't an option for Catholics. Divorced couples could not be married by a priest in the church and the sacrament of communion would be denied to them. These would be shocking consequences for a Catholic such as my father's aunt.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Not To Do

You don't go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but who knew you didn't go to the movies on Father's Day?

Himself had requested an outing to see X-Men Apocalypse and take-out seafood from Harry's. A very do-able request. We decided to see the movie in Framingham and hit Harry's on the way home.

The theater parking lot was quite full and a bit of a line at the ticket booth. Grown ups had little kids in tow so I thought everyone was going to see Dory. There seemed to be lots of discussions happening at the ticket window. We wondered if people couldn't decided what movie they wanted to see. I heard John Pinette scream "Get outta the line!"

Finally our turn to get tickets. The theater was full! There were a couple of seats left. Mostly in the the front row and not together. Guess everyone takes Dad to the movies for Father's Day. Or Mom takes the kids while Dad goes golfing, fishing, or some other Dad activity with the fellas. We left.

Himself called our Harry's order in from the parking lot (2 fish and chips, 1 belly plate (me), 1 scallop plate (Himself). We picked up the order and got Raspberry Lime Rickeys for me and the girlies and a coffee frappe for Himself. Then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening in the sun room binge watching Chuck. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Is

finally here! Happy Solstice! Don't forget to look at the Full Strawberry Moon tonight. Full moon at the Solstice doesn't always happen.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cure for the Common Head Cold

I was asked what I watched on Netflix this week while I was side-lined with a head cold. Most programs were pretty mindless because it's hard to concentrate while your face is caving in. I knew I was feeling better when I could follow a complicated plot,

Star Trek - only favorite Bonesentric episodes

Chuck computer nerd becomes a spy

Quantum Leap Theorizing a person can time travel on his own timeline, a scientist makes the leap. He finds himself in someone else's life trying to right wrongs from the past hoping to leap back to his own life. Oh, boy.

Chopped  cooking competition watched with The Eldest

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross and his happy, little trees,  is a hypnotic balm

An Unfinished Life Robert Redford, 

Buck a documentary about Buck Branaman, the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer

Run, Boy, Run movie based on the life of an 8 yr old boy who survived the Nazi takeover of Warsaw by hiding in the woods and how he survived the war.

The Giver in a perfect society, a young man is chosen to be the keeper of memories

Turn Washington's spies during the Revolutionary War

What do you watch when you're feeling under the weather?

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Prissy's daughter gave me the teabag holders Prissy used when we had tea.

2. The toilet cover came in

3. Loving the new washer. It can take an entire hamper full of towels in one swell foop

4. Feeling better. The elephant isn't sitting on my face, and I can breathe. Energy is still a bit low, but it's a good excuse to hang in the sun room and watch Netflix

5. Himself leaves for work at the crack of dawn. I got to see a beautiful sunrise of red, yellow, and orange light.

How was your week?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

In a little town in Italy, called Torre de Nocelle, with the area of Naples, on March 22, 1889 Achille Todisco was born to Joseph and Saveria Todisco, my grandparents. He had a sister, Angelina, the oldest of their children, Uncle Joe, Uncle Fred, Uncle Roberto and a sister, whom they did not talk about or mention. [ed: Her name was Alfonsina Emma Eutilia, born 19. Dec. 1893 and died 26. Nov.  1896.]

Grandpa Todisco was a shoemaker. In those days or period most shoes were custom made. The customer would put his or her foot on a paper. The next thing was to trace the foot, take measurements and in due course a pair of comfortable custom made shoes would appear.

Grandpa T. must have done well economically as he was able to send my aunt, Uncle Joe and Uncle Fred and my father when they were 16 years old. To Aunt Angelina as she was married when each boy was shipped out. He also saw to their future. He sent Uncle Joe to a barber to learn that trade, Uncle Fred must have been taught by Grandpa as he was a shoemaker amd my father to a tailor as he became a journeyman custom tailor.

Aunt Angelina was well established when these boys arrived. She was married to Emanuel DeCristoforo. He was a sculptor and worked with granite and marble. In those days there was no workmens law or safety laws and as a result he died young. Leaving my nine cousins. Margaret, Chris, Annie, Angie, Dick, Raymond, Manual, Joe and Fred.

My uncles and father thought the world of their brother-in-law. They thought of him even in their later years. I was old enough to remember being at the wake when he died [ed. 1926] He was waked in his home, as was the custom in those days.

His funeral was well attended. He lived on Cottage Street at the intersection at the end of the G.E. factory which manufactured electric products. And if the bulb failed you could take it to the factory and get another for free.

At that time we had gas light in our house. In fact, the electric era  was in its early birth. He had a huge funeral and the horse drawn cart was still in use although slowly going out in favor of the motor vehicle. He died from breathing the dust from his work. Emanuel's work can be seen on the steps of the Boston Library [ ed. BPL Main branch at Copley Sq.] two lions one on each side.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How Could Something So Small

knock you on your ass for a couple of days? I'm going back to bed. Hope your day is going better.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Visitor

Spotted a new visitor checking out the petunias in the garden.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

When It Rains, It Pours Money

We had attended The Nephew's wedding and when we got home found ceiling tiles in the basement buckled and dripping water. There was a bit of water in the washer drum so I did a spin cycle and everything seemed fine. Tossed in a load of towels and that cycle seemed to function ok. The Eldest went to take a shower and when she got out of the bathroom she said the washer lights were off, but the washer was filling up with water! Either the washer/dryer was missing the old well tank, the bathroom was jealous the utility room got new equipment, or the washer was haunted.

A call to the repair service hinted that the repair would cost nearly half the amount of a new washer. The dryer has been on the fritz for a while and only the timed dry function actually dries the clothes. Both machines were 10 years old so we decided to buy a new set.

The criteria was easy. I wanted a Maytag (my first lasted 20 years. Ma had one that lasted 30) and delivered quickly. On Thursday last week, I went to one of the big box stores and purchased the Maytag. They would deliver it on Monday. When Himself got home from work, he suggested we go looking at a few other department stores. One didn't carry Maytags and the other didn't have a machine any less expensive than what I had already purchased. We went out to dinner and then Himself suggested we try the other big box store.

They had a Maytag, and they could deliver it on Saturday. Sold! The following day I called the first big box store to cancel my order. Saturday, the washer and dryer were delivered earlier than expected. Hopefully, this now appeases the water sprites.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

At her 85th birthday party
12. August 2011
My neighbor and friend, Prissy, passed away this week 2 months shy of her 90th. birthday.  Five good memories about Prissy.

1. Prissy was like having another mother. Except, Prissy could say the same things Ma would say to me, but Prissy's words wouldn't push my buttons.

2. You could count on her to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg so you didn't have to run to the store in the middle of baking when you ran out of ingredients.

3. She was always good for a cup of tea. After the Eldest was born, I took a part-time job at the hospital where I worked when I was in high school and college. I worked an 8pm to midnight shift running the laboratory computer and scheduling blood tests from the various floors for the following morning. Monday nights, Prissy used to play poker with some lady friends. They took turns hosting the games. The ladies' game broke up around midnight. I'd get home between 1 and 2 AM.Prissy would see my car pull into the driveway and then yell over "Come and have coffee!"

4. During warm weather, I loved having tea on Prissy's enclosed back porch. Prissy's porch was the inspiration for the sun room.

5. When she used to have a big vegetable garden, she would send over tomatoes, cucumbers,zucchini, and rubharb. She gave me recipes for freezer pickles and zucchini bread.

For 30 years, I had tea with Prissy once a week, sometimes twice a week. I used to tease her that I visited with her more than I visited my own mother.  I'll miss the old girl, the tea, the chats, and her love and kindness.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Dad from the Oral Veterans History Project
My dad left three notebooks which he tried to record bits and pieces from his life. I'll use the next several Thursdays to record his words. I'm not sure of the order of the notebooks. They begin the same way and some of the stories are the same. At the time Dad was writing, he was around 88 or 90 years old or so. He never mentioned to me that he was writing his memoires. What we didn't know during this time was Alzheimer's was taking Dad away. I suspect that's why there were three notebooks with the same stories. Poor old dude either didn't remember filling a notebook and/or where he had put it. I found the notebooks while cleaning out the house. TBT will give me a good excuse to transcribe what he wrote.

My Life As I Remember and Lived It [ed: Dad was born 17. March 1919]

While discussing events with friends I'm asked if I have written anything for my children about my life,as they tell me that I have done some wonderful things. I do not think so, but I do so because I did not ever meet my grandparents on both sides. Nor any of my ancestors. Today I have cousins in Italy, Switzerland, England, and in South America whom I have never met and whom I cannot get in touch with them.

I recall when I was a child that the uncles came to visit there was talk of their parents and friends, since they wrote to their parents. As time went by and things worsened in this country [ed: The Great Depression] things seemed to stop. Their dreams of visiting their parents stopped. And even their thoughts.

To My Son, My Daughter, The Grandson, The Eldest, The Young One, The Daughter-In-Law, and Himself, The Son-In-Law.

I love you all and I am blessed to have such a lovely family.

This begins my life, but before I start let me tell you a little bit of your grandparents. And if the films I gave to The Daughter to share with you, which are very old still can show good photos on the canvas [ed: movie screen] you will know what they looked like.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Hard to see in the photograph because I had to take it through the screen door in the sun room and the turkeys moved fast. In the picture there are two hens. Can  you see all the little dots around them? Those are all the poults or babies. There were close to two dozen little butterballs.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another Year as a Bridesmaid

I didn't win this year's Graceful Envelope contest, but you can see the amazing envelopes of the winners and honorable mentions. This year's theme was Communication.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What's That, Lassie?

The well and pump dudes arrived. I crossed my fingers that whatever was causing the no water pressure problem was inside the utility room. Anything done inside the well like pulling up the pump and replacing pipe is charged by the foot. Our well is a deep one at 440 feet. Turns out, the pump inside the well had breathed its last after 30 years of service, and the well tank decided to go along for the ride.

What's that Lassie? How do you appease a water sprite or selkie? You throw money down the well? Aye, will do, but not gonna like it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. The Young One's Friend, Ohio, arrived safe and sound after a long drive.

2. We celebrated the marriage of The Nephew and his Bride. They were married aboard the Beaufort Princess and then we were treated to a cruise around Gloucester Harbor. It was a lovely evening for a cruise. A beautiful Bride and a handsome Groom.

3. Our local Chinese take-out was closed so we ordered food from a place the next town over. I think we found a new take-out place as the food tasted so much fresher.

4. We had trouble getting the pre-filter on the water system open. The Culligan Man came to our rescue on the holiday!

5. Talk around town this month has been the sighting of a coyote or coywolf. I was working in the sun room and caught a flash of grey out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see the coywolf run through the backyard up into the woods. He was moving too fast to get a picture. He was big maybe the size of a German Shepherd. His fur was silver grey with a big, bushy tail.

How was your week?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Passenger and Crew List S.S.Romanic sailing from Naples, 18. May 1906 arriving at the port of Boston 31. May 1906

List 47
Line 6
Name: Todisco, Achille (my grandfather)
Age: listed as 15, but he would have been 17 years old
Occupation: Tailor
Last Residence: Torre Le Nocelle
Destination: Brother-in-law, Emanuele de Cristofaro (great-uncle Manny, the stone cutter) at 68 Prince St. Boston, Massachusetts
Previous Travel: No

While working on my genealogy, I decided to vist the blog, The Genealogy of Torre le Nocelle  Torre is the town in Italy where my father's family comes from.  I stumbled onto the blogpost about the ship manifest, the Canopic, and saw my grandfather listed.

I went to my family tree on to see if I could find the record. Instead, I found the same information, but the ship is listed as the Romanic.

What struck me the most was the date. I found the blog post and the record on 1. June 2016. 110 years and one day since my grandfather came to his new country.