Thursday, November 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

Sometime in 1917 or 1918 Achille [ed: Dad's father] went to work and as usual, took the ferry. The fare was 2 cents. When he boarded the ferry he saw a young girl sitting on one of the benches. And he said that's for me. And he ran all over the ferry to find someone who knew who she was. Just how long it took in is unknown. However, he eventually found a person who could introduce him, in this case, the relatives that they were living with. One just did not go to a girl or woman to introduce himself. She would react and anyone watching or observing would aks that woman, "is that man bothering you?" It's just the way thing were done.

Anway, Achille did find someone who knew who that girl was. The individual either knew Achille or Achille had to get someone who knew him to visit the woman's family and explain that a young man was interested in the young woman, seriously of course, with the objective of marriage if the lady and her relatives were amenable. Of course, the person who would introduce Achille would have knowledge of his background, family in Italy and America and of course his job, trade, or profession, etc. and the result would be an invite for the prospective husband to be.

Evidently, everything was hunky dory. Achille was a Journeyman Custom Tailor. Top of the line in the trade. His family background in America and Italy was ok and then on April 28, 1918. Achille and Raffaelina (Fannie) were married.

Achille was a handsome looking man, good frame, 1 inch below 6 feet., well dressed. And needed glasses because his eyesight wasn't 20-20 it kept him out of the Draft and military [ed: The Great War, WWI] He was also a citizen, besides reading and writing in his own language, he could speak English and read it. He went to night school. His wife to be could read and write in her language and speak English but did not read it.

Evidently, things happened fast. I was born at the Boston Lying-In Hospital [ed: now Brigham and Women's Hospital] on March 17, 1919, the firstborn of the newlyweds. My mother, your grandmother, was as usual rather proud. She presented her husband with a boy for the firstborn and the nurses presented me to my mother after I was cleaned up with a green ribbon in my hair.

Many years later, I would hear my father say that the firstborn of the Todisco were boys for seven generations. There may have been a boy born to Joe in Italy before the aunt who died or my father did not talk too much about his relatives in Italy.

[ed: I hate to burst your bubble, Dad, but this theory of relativity just doesn't hold water. Let's try to follow the pedigree as I have found on Ancestry. By the way, I'm so sorry I started the genealogy search so late, you would have loved this.

The earliest ancestor on the Todisco side that I found was Giuseppe Todisco. He would be your great-great-grandfather and was born in the town of Mirabella, near Torre Le Nocelle. I don't know if he had any siblings. He married Rosa Di Minico. They had a son,

Giuseppe Domenico Todisco, your great-grandfather who was born in Mirabella in 1822. I haven't found any siblings for him so don't know his birth order. He married Angela Rosa De Cristofaro. There looks like there might have been a daughter from a previous marriage, Maria Lucia Elsabetta born July 30, 1845.  Giuseppe Domenico married Angela Rosa on April 29, 1847, in Torre Le Nocelle. Their first son, Antonio died shortly after birth. in 1854.

Your grandfather, Antonio Donato Zeferino Todisco was born on October 20, 1855. He married (Maria) Saveria Ardolino.

Their first child was your aunt, Angelina, March 12, 1882
your uncle, Giuseppe came next, December 5, 1883, and he died February 2, 1884
your aunt, Adelina, January 13, 1885
your uncle Joe (Giuseppe), March 24, 1887
your father, Achille, March 22, 1889
your uncle, Alfred, October 9, 1891
an aunt, Alfonsina Emma Eutilia, December 19, 1893, and she died November 26, 1896
an uncle, Alberto Attilio Arimondi, October 24, 1896
an last, an uncle Arturo Amedeo Ciriaco, April 8, 1899

Your father, Achille, and your mother, Raffela Mottola had
their first child, you, March 17, 1919
your brother, Mario, November 4, 1921
your sister, Olga, October 8, 1922
your sister, Emma, April 27, 1924,
and your brother, Robert, May 22, 1929

You and Ma had
your first child, a son, 1949
and your favorite daughter as you used to call me, 1955

So that's our lineage. As to the firstborn son had a firstborn son for seven generations, well, we've only counted 5 generations. We don't know if your grandfather and great-grandfather had older siblings, male or female, and we'd have to ignore the fact your Aunt Angelina was the oldest child of your grandfather and your father wasn't the oldest son. Still, it made great family lore.]

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

T Stands for Laying The Wreath

We had planned on going to the cemetery to bring the Christmas wreath in mid-December. Himself would have a day or two off between exams. With the thought of December fast approaching and unknown weather, we decided on a change of plan. We would travel the Friday after Thanksgiving. And then on Wednesday, the doctor's office called Himself. He had an appointment scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving, but someone called and cancelled their appointment on Friday so Himself thought he'd rather push up the appointment so the trip to the cemetery was moved to Saturday.

Lots of people were leaving Grandma's house after the Thanksgiving break at the same time we decided to leave for the cemetery (10:30 AM). We were barely to the next exit on the Pike (I-90 westbound) when traffic came to a grinding halt. The Pike would be backed up from Exit 9, the junction of I-90 and I-84, the major roadway to Hartford, Connecticut, and New York. The drive to the cemetery would normally take an hour and 10 or 15 minutes, but at this rate, we wouldn't get there until February.

The Pike is a toll road, and I thought most of the problems at this stretch were caused by all the cars trying to get through the tolls. The Commonwealth (Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, not a state) went to electronic tolling last year. That still hasn't helped the congestion at busy travel times of the year.

So, we got off the Pike at the next exit to take Route 20 West as an alternate route. Traffic was busy in places like Charlton and Sturbridge, but the traffic was moving. Once we got past the shopping areas, we pretty much had the road to ourselves.

We traveled to Palmer where we would pick up the Pike again. While we were waiting at a traffic light to make the turn to the Pike exit. We were across from a cemetery. There was a man at the corner holding a sign which read Open House. I found it amusing as I wondered if the cemetery was advertising.

We finally reached our destination. The Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. 

This last section is filling in fast. 😿 On the drive up, lots of families had already left wreaths for their loved ones.

As always, the first thing is flowers for Ma. Some beautiful red roses to look Christmasy and a sprig of baby's breath to let her know she'll be a great-grandmother in the Spring. Ma and Dad would be thrilled to be great-grandparents.

I was so glad we didn't have to go crazy looking for a wreath stand. Earlier in the morning, I found some sheer red and gold ribbon to make a pretty bow to replace the cheap flocked bow that came with the wreath. I wish I could decorate the wreath as I used to do for their front door at home, but the only decoration allowed at the cemetery is a single bow. Deep sigh. Forlorn look.

After our visit, we usually stop for lunch at Michael's Pasta in the Pan, a small nearby restaurant. To our surprise, the restaurant wasn't open for lunch. Note to self: On Saturday, the restaurant doesn't open until 4 PM. With the help of Siri, we found another restaurant close by

We had never been here. It was a small place, but lots of cars. We figured that was a good sign.

The restaurant consisted of a bar, tall pub tables, and we found the only empty regular size table at the back. Tall pub tables are a challenge for a Hobbit.

Our view at the back entrance. On the way to the restaurant, I had told Himself other T for Tuesday husbands were good sports and posed for the picture of the meal. He said that was nice.

"Don't eat, I need a picture."

And being a good sport, he posed for the picture with his lunch choice of steak tips, fries (chips), sauted vegetables, and a Coke.

I had beer battered fish and chips (I substituted sweet potato fries), Irish slaw, and a Coke.

Madge (short for Magellan), the GPS decided to send us home through the city of Springfield. We think Madge was upset with us on the trip down as we disregarded all her directions for the alternate route.

Springfield is the largest city in Western Massachusetts, the third largest city in Massachusetts, fourth largest city in New England, home of the Basketball Hall of Fame (the sport was invented here), and home of Dr. Seuss, famed children's' author.

For a big city, not much going on.

Stop and Go, an aptly name convenience store. Next door is the packie. A packie is what is known as a liquor store in other parts of the country.

Finally, back on the I-91 North which will take us to the Mass Pike. (I-90)

Traffic was backed up from Exit 9 (I-84 and I-90 interchange) on the Westbound side.

We weren't going anywhere fast on the Eastbound side.

Good thing I had some provisions with me.

And finally home, sweet home.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Mail

Fun envelope from Nan. She cleverly used the basketball stamp as the body of her turkey. Sadly, someone at the Post Office didn't appreciate her creativity as they scribbled a cancellation mark with ballpoint pen. Visigoths!

The back of the envelope with pretty Washi tape and a cute Thanksgiving sticker.

Inside, an adorable hand-made card with a lovely note inside. Love that bear. Thanks for thinking of me Nan.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

What's this in the Meadow? A weird egg? Nope, neighbor kids soccer ball.

The Leaf Lady's husband repaired the down section of the fence from last week, but heavy winds knocked down three more sections.

Junk waiting for the junk man to pick up. Bye-bye swingset. Such happy memories.

Bye-bye wavy slide and rotted remnants of the sandbox.

In the very early hours of the morning, I caught the cardinal hanging out at the birdfeeder. He even waited for me to get my camera so I could take a picture of him through the sunroom window.

The yellow slide and remnants of the sandbox are gone.

Either the junk guys did not understand take everything from the side of the house or the fact that the truck they brought was already half full, and I had a full truck's worth of sh stuff.I told them to never mind the stuff in the garage because I could see it would never fit in the truck. Deep sigh. At least, they took the weigh-a-ton televisions, two love seats, and the treadmill. Maybe we should check on the dumpster bags from the big Orange Box store.

The leaves on the Japanese maple are tenacious. Shriveled and brown, but still hanging on even through some gusty winds.

And because snow here is measured in feet and not inches, seemed like a good time to put out some Christmas decorations. The bells that line the walk are motion sensor and will play Christmas carols when you walk by. That's the theory. Hasn't been tested yet.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Yarn Bowl

I was searching the Interwebs looking at yarn bowls. A yarn bowl is a functional, decorative, nicety to keep your yarn ball from rolling all over the floor while your knitting or crocheting. Some are made of wood. Some are made from pottery. Some are rustic and some are whimsical. I was looking for a cat specifically a black cat bowl. (Surprise!) I didn't find one that tickled my fancy.

Looking around the house I did find the headless, chickie bowl candy dish makes a fine, substitute yarn bowl and fun, too.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Just the two of us home for dinner. Himself stopped at the fish market and brought a piece of swordfish home. I found an amazing recipe baked swordfish with grilled veggies. Delicious

2.  One of my beginning calligraphy students sent me a picture of the placecards she made for her Thanksgiving table. Made me smile to see her put her budding skill to work

3. Found one of my Girl Scout troop friends on Facebook.

4. A blog buddy sent a very cute virtual Thanksgiving card.

5. Roasted chestnuts as a special treat for myself and a remembrance of Dad.

How was your week?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

T Stands for Gender Reveal

I'm going to be a Great-Aunt in April. The Nephew and his wife are expecting their first child. There was a gender reveal party where the couple and the family would learn whether the baby was a girl or a boy.

This was the first time I had seen The Nephew's new home. So before the party officially began while guests were arriving, I got a grand tour of their cozy, little nest.

Gender reveal parties are new to me. Back in the day, pregnancy was called confinement. We pretty much stayed home after the 6th month and stayed in our Omar de la Tent-maker fashions. The Niece-in-law looked very cute with her baby bump and trendy clothes.

With the house decorated with pink and blue balloons, I thought the parents-to-be would open up a box revealing pink or blue balloons as I had seen on the Interwebs.

Pink and blue plates were on the counter for guests to load up with food. When all the guests had arrived, the cake was brought out and put on the table. That confused me. Dessert before dinner? Oh, well, life is short eat dessert first. 

A pretty yellow cake with 
He She What Will It Be? 
written on the top.

The couple cut the cake open to reveal pink frosting in the middle. The use of the cake was clever, and the little one is
 a girl! 

I had eaten most of my salad before I remembered to take a picture of the food. I had sausage, lasagna, salad, and a crust of garlic bread.

There was also Buffalo chicken wings, rigatoni and cheese, chips, veggies, and dip, and chocolate.

For a beverage, I had some Blackberry Ginger Ale.

And a nice visit with family and friends.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tiny Turkey Shaped Rolls

So with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, a lot of Thanksgiving recipes are hitting my Facebook feed. One attracted my attention: 6 Fool-Proof Ways to Shape Store-Bought Bread Dough into Holiday Table Showstoppers

The breads were really unique. I was enchanted with the Tiny Turkey Shaped Rolls. While out shopping, I added 2 tubes of the Pillsbury French bread to the carriage. One to try before Thursday and one for Thursday. The plan would be if the test batch didn't turn out quite right, I'd just bake the other tube of dough per instructions on the packaging.

Sadly, the directions for these breads are similar to directions given to contestants on the Great British Baking Show when they have to recreate one of Mary Berry's or Paul Hollywood's recipes. That is minimalist. No baking temperature or baking time.

To bake the French loaf, the temperature was to be set at 350o F. So that's what I used. The dough was supposed to be rolled out and cut into triangles. Easier said than done. The bread was to be laid in a mini-muffin pan with the long point of the triangle sticking up and resting on top of the pan. Four slashes were to be cut into the wide end of the triangle to form the turkey feathers. I couldn't find my mini-muffin pan. The muffin pan I have was too deep, but Ma had given me her muffin pan when I first got married. It's a lot smaller than today's standard size muffin pans so worked out okay. I baked the turkeys for 15 minutes.

My test flock didn't turn out too bad. They sort of look like turkeys if you squint your eyes and tilt your head. The recipe called for brushing the turkeys with an egg wash. I'll skip that step next time as some of the egg wash ran to the bottom of the muffin cup and a couple of the turkeys got stuck to the pan.

Fortunately for me, we'll be celebrating the holiday with just the four of us. No worries about company. My crew won't care if the house isn't clean, the meal is served on a paper plate, or the turkey shaped rolls look a little wonky.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since the sunroom is closed up for the season, my work area in the dining room doesn't give me a direct view of the birdfeeder to see what birds and critters are still romping about.

The squirrel trying to be a hog sat on the perch and closed the hatch to the birdseed.

Bedraggled morning glory vines. Chilly this week, but not col enough to freeze the water in the birdbath.

More tired morning glory vines.


Gusty winds took down a section of the neighbor's fence.

Bare naked trees

The meadow looking like the Upside Down

The Japanese Maple's leaves have turned from red to rust.

How does your garden grow?