Monday, October 14, 2013

Family History Jeannie wrote for us

The Lord has laid it on my (Jeannie Laudadio-Sasser) heart to write about the things that I remember, or that have been shared with me by relatives. 

James Vincenzo Laudadio was born in Bari, Italy, January 15, 1904. He came to the US October 15, 1920 at the age of 15 yrs. old (according to the naturalization record).  
We have no idea if he had relatives that he left behind.  We do not know the names of his parents or if he had siblings.  There are a lot of Laudadio's when I google for them.
We know that he came to America with his cousin Tom Mangini. (Aunt Jane raved ....more than once, that he (Tom Mangini) was the most handsome man she had ever seen.  She asked if we thought so too, but when we met him in CA, he hadn’t aged well.  I found that Tom Mangini was born in 1904 so was the same age as Grandpa Laudadio. According to Tom Mangini’s papers, he arrived in July, 1920. He died in 1983-1984 in CA.  His family did some family trees on, so there is lots of information, but everyone that would have remembered Grandpa Tony or them is dead by now.  There is a Mark A. Mangini that is a sound editor in N. Hollywood that may be related to us.  There is also a restaurant in LA with an Italian sausage sandwich named the Mangini for $7.95.  The place is well known for pizza too.  I have no idea if any of that is connected to us.  Tom Mangini became naturalized when he was 41 yrs. old.  They arrived on October 15, 1920 to New York (which would mean he was 16). If Uncle Bob was born in 1925-1926, he was only 21-22 yrs. old when he became a father.  Dad was born on May 23, 1928, so he was 24 yrs old.   I guess this makes sense....Dad was 22 when he married Mom and Grandpa died at 46 yrs. old on May 17, 1950.  So he would have been 24 when Dad was born.  Tom Mangini played banjo and moved to Hollywood (after Grandpa James Vincenzo Laudadio passed) and may have had something to do with movies.  If Mark is connected, his middle name I think is Anthony ( Uncle Chester said Tom was in Chicago with Grandpa (James Vincenzo) Laudadio when he died.  They remember following the ambulance to the hospital after Grandpa had the stroke.  Grandpa was 46 yrs old.  Uncle Chester remembers it vividly and was recalling it during our last visit.  
We visited “Uncle” Tom Mangini in CA, which would have really been a cousin twice removed.  A cousin, once removed to my father.  I was in High School at the time. I remember a fig tree in their back yard and they served meatballs with liver in them.  Who serves liver to kids???  Tom Mangini’s wife was named Frances I think.  

A story I remember is when my Grandpa would make my father hold a lantern or flashlight for him while he was fixing something.  My dad said that his father could have rigged up the light on something, but instead made my dad hold it.  It was to teach him something.  One night, the hammer head flew off and hit my father in the face breaking his nose.   Another story about my father hanging salami in the garage from the rafters:  I asked why he did that.  He said that his father did it and when he had asked his father, he said that his father had done it.....thus salami was hanging from the ceiling from our 821 Van Bibber house (this was already dried, store bought it was funny).  

‘Jimmy’ (James Vincenzo Laudadio) married my grandmother, Romulda Zarembski in approx. 1925 when he was 21, she was 18.  He died on May 17, 1950 (May 17 is my favorite day of the year, so I was disappointed to see that my grandfather died on that date), at 46 yrs of age,  just two weeks before my mom and dad were married on June 3, 1950.   Grandma was a widow at 43.  She wore black to the wedding and didn’t smile in the photos. Grandma Giuliano wore black in respect for her.  My parents considered canceling the wedding, but instead they pared it down.  I have receipts for things connected to their wedding.  My mother saved just about everything. Very sweet.   In the 1930 census, Jimmy listed that he was a laborer and “construction company.”  It looked to me like he may have owned the company.   They had Robert (Uncle Bob) in 1925 or so, Anthony Raymond on May 23, 1928, and Katherine on November 9, 1937 (est). I know Dad and Aunt Kay were 9 yrs apart.   
Grandma’s (Romulda AKA Amanda/Manda) mother, Helene  (I have her maiden name recorded somewhere), arrived in the US in 1905.  She was born in (about)1887.  She was approx. 18 yrs. old when she arrived in the US.  She met Walter (Watcaw) Zarembski, who was so enamored with her so he wouldn’t let her go (according to Uncle Chester).  Great Grandpa Walter Zarembski arrived in the US in 1906 and was born in (about) 1881; he was approx. 25 yrs. old when he arrived in the US.  They lived in Pennsylvania for a while.  Romulda was born in 1907 on October 19 in PA.  Anthony (Tony) Zarembski was born 2 yrs later in PA.  Then they moved to Illinois where the next 8 children were born.  Edward (third child) was born in 1911 in Chicago.  Mae, John, Catherine, Chester, Jane, Joe,  and Wally.  Anthony had 2 children:  Tony and Ted.  Edward married Arlene; I don’t think they had children.  John married Lilllian; I don’t think they had children.  Aunt Catherine married, but her husband abandoned her; he was serving in the military.  She never remarried, (the reason given was that she was Catholic).  She was a successful business woman until she died at 85 yrs of age, in the airport, while on a business trip.  She went to pick up her luggage and I believe her heart gave out.  Uncle Chester (never married) and Aunt Catherine lived with their mother, Helene. (I used Helene as my confirmation name).  Later in life, she had lost her memory and Uncle Chester stayed home to care for her until she died.  There were a few stories about her taking mail from neighbor’s mailboxes and hiding a coffee mug in her dress so Grandma wouldn’t take it from her.  Mae (I think one record shows Mame), came to live with Aunt Catherine and Uncle Chester after her husband died and Uncle Chester took care of her as well until she passed.  She also lost her memory.  I remember her sitting at the table in a pink sweater not saying anything.  Very sweet lady. She had married Ray Drazga and had a son named Ray, Jr.  Ray became a doctor.  He married and had children, but then left his wife to re-marry.  Aunt Jane said the family disowned him and still have a relationship with his wife and children.  After Jane’s husband, John Trawinski died, she moved in with Uncle Chester and Aunt Catherine.  Aunt Jane and Uncle John had a chicken ranch in WI.  They didn’t have children.  We visited there when we were children.  I remember Uncle John’s father was dying in the bedroom. He was 101 yrs. old.  I also remember that the chicken tasted very good.   We toured the chicken ranch.  It was neat, clean, spic and span.   Uncle Joe died at 35 yrs of age of Luekemia.  The doctors sent him home with a medication that should have been monitored, but wasn’t.  This had something to do with his death.  Aunt Catherine found another victim....a little girl in CA, whose parents joined Aunt Catherine in making sure this didn’t happen again.  They got the procedure requirements changed.  She was definitely a ‘get it done’ type of person.  
Out of 10 children of Gr Grandma Helene and Grandpa Walter, only 4 had children...and not too many.   Only 11 grandchildren.  Wally had 5, Anthony, 2, Mae, 1 and our Grandma had 3.  At the time of this writing, Uncle Chester is in his 90’s, Aunt Jane is 80 something.  I believe that Uncle John Zarembski might still be alive.  

I brought my kids and my mother to visit Uncle Chester and Aunt Kay in approx. 1991.  It was a fun trip.  We also visited Valerie (Uncle Bob’s first born), her husband and children.  Later Valerie divorced and moved in with Annette.  Bobby, Annette and Vicki (Uncle Bob’s wife) all lived together in an apt.  Uncle Bob and Aunt Vicki remained friends and neither remarried after they separated.  Bobby lived with his mother and sister until he married late in life (he was in his 40’s).  He and his wife moved to Bensenville and had a child.  I think this was approx. 2010 I think.  
A few years earlier (approx. 2003) Bill and I visited them.  During this trip Uncle Chester and Aunt Catherine told me more history about the family.  They had visited Poland and said they found that we had royalty in our background.  Aunt Catherine gave me a table cloth and napkins that Grandma had made by hand while she was mourning the death of her husband (I think her 2nd husband...Ray Noesges).    Catherine died approx. 2004 (I learned of her death when I was attending April and Oscar’s wedding in CA; Uncle Tom told me that he knew).  No one had contacted me.  I was told later, that Aunt Catherine was the one that kept the contact information, thus they didn’t know how to get a hold of me.   Uncle Chester and Aunt Jane are still living together as of this date in 2013.  I was able to visit them in December, 2010 just for lunch on my way back from Hippocrates Health Inst. in FLA.  There was a photo of an amazingly beautiful was Aunt Catherine.  She said that it was our Grandma that was the beauty though.   Uncle Chester (90+ yrs) is looking frail.  We cried, kissed and hugged.  I have always felt very close to him.  He is a very special uncle.  I still write letters to him and call them every so often.  I wish we could visit more often.  I was closest to Uncle Chester, Aunt Catherine and Aunt Jane.  He kept staring at me during the visit and apologized.  He said I looked so much like Manda it was amazing to him.  I see it too; especially as I age.  Wally married Judy; they have 5 children.  Wally is Dad’s age, so his uncle was born at the same time he was.  Debbie is Wally’s first born; is my age and has knee problems. I believe she is divorced.  She visits Uncle Chester and Aunt Kay often. 

Grandpa Walter Zarembski was a butcher that worked very long hours (per Aunt Jane). They were poor but they never really knew it as kids, she said. She was one of the younger kids; Grandma Noesges was the eldest.  Aunt Jane told me stories about when she met John Trawinski and how attracted they were to each other.  Great Grandpa Walter died in 1957 when I was five.  I think I remember him playing “war” ....a card game with me, on the screened in back patio of their home.  
The home had a basement.  I recall clothes hanging in the basement that looked like they were from the roaring 20’s (Aunt Catherine’s).  I remember the kitchen and the built in breakfast nook with benches to the table.  I remember that if I sat down, I couldn’t easily get up; it was crowded.  I’d have to ask adults to move, which of course, I wouldn’t do.  I remember one time Great Grandma Helene made ‘czarnina’ (we pronounced it Chininna), a polish soup made from duck blood.  I tasted it; Dad didn’t make me eat more. I googled it, the recipe is online if you want to make some! :-)    Great Grandma was usually busy in the kitchen and didn’t interact with us children, as I recall.  None of the adults interacted much with children, except to tell us what to do and how to behave. Except for Uncle Chester; he spent time playing with me, taking me to the park, playing cards, etc.  I was the first born grandchild so that holds the place that Corinne had with all of us.  I can imagine that David is like Uncle Chester in that way.  I think Great Grandma spoke Polish more than English (if any English at all).  I remember her 80th birthday party.  The kids ate and played together.  The children usually were shooed away from adults.  There was a story Dad told me about when Joyce was born, Great Grandma took him aside and said “that is enough.”  She had 10 children, but “shoes cost too much now,” she said.  
Grandma Noesges, (she remarried after my grandfather died), always said she had a bitter life.  The part that I saw certainly could be considered bitter.  She lost her husband  when she was 43 yrs. old., then she remarried to Ray Noesges and he died very soon thereafter.   She then saw her son (my father) die when he was 45 yrs. old.  Then later, her daughter got cancer at 40 yrs. of age and then she died when she was 53 yrs. old.  To bury 2 husbands and 2 of your kids, is bitter indeed.  She said this before she lost son and daughter though.  I think about being the eldest of 10 children and can see how that could have been very difficult.  There were hints that something else may have happened.  My aunt Kay and she didn’t along.  

Grandma  had a great smile and I remember her laughing, seeming to be having fun.  Jim reminded me of that; that is how he remembers her most.  She enjoyed the family visits.  We all went to the same church every Sunday:  St. John Vienny.  They built the church so the aerial view was shaped like a fish.  After church we always visited....most of the time at her house.  We would eat dinner and the kids would play outside.  The adults sat in the kitchen and talked.  This reminds me of us when we get together at Jim’s house; we sit and talk and the kids play.   Uncle Tom and Auntie Kay & their kids were there most of the times too, at Grandma’s house.  Grandma was always working, although I remember sitting occasionally to visit with the adults on Sundays.  She cleaned windows, floors, laundry, cooked.  When she visited us, she would do the same at our house.  She organized children to work, too.  She taught me how to wash a table “don’t bunch up the rag, open it up, like this”  “Sweep like you mean it.”  She was like a drill sergeant...not a mean one, but very strict and not gentle at all.  I always thought she was distant and had no idea that she loved us, yet looking back,of course, it is obvious that she loved us dearly.  She would threaten to spank us (“I’ll give you 5 fingers”...meaning an imprint of 5 of her fingers across our ‘butts’.....which is a word she freely used, but our mom didn’t allow anything but ‘dupah’), if we didn’t behave.  She never said she loved us, but I don’t think people did that with their kids & grandkids.  Unfortunately,  things like that get passed down from generation to generation.  We all try to do a little better than the previous generation and all too late realize that we have continued the same pattern.  

Grandma Noesges took us (a couple of times),  to downtown Chicago and allowed us to pick out a toy for Christmas.  It was very special and exciting.  We rode the bus to get there and then walked around downtown. 

On normal days at home, when she stopped working at the end of a long day, she would pull out her knitting.  She made booties (slippers) for us for years and years.  She kept all 14 of her grandchildren in slippers.   She taught me the pattern and I have made them on occasion for my grandchildren and children.  Race wears a pair I made for him.  We would spend the night at her house sometimes.  We would sleep on a large feather bed she would lie down in the living room.  (She called it the Pajina).  When I googled it, I found it under pajina feather beds.  I also found a song by John Denver called “Grandma’s Feather Bed”    He sang; “It was 9 feet high and 6 feet wide.  It would hold 8 kids and 2 hound dogs.  We didn’t get much sleep but we had a  lot of fun on Grandma’s feather bed.”  Wasn’t that the truth??!! ....well,  no dog slept with us and it wasn’t 9’ high.   

Grandma’s bitter life shaped her life.  She would say often that life was tough.  She was tough with us; made us tough/strong.  I think she believed if you coddled a child, he or she would grow up weak.  Evidently, my father asked for some spending money when he was young.  She admonished him saying why don’t you just steal it from the cash register like your brother does.  Obviously she was frustrated with Uncle Bob.  

I found a picture of my brother, Jim and she sitting close together.  They were both smiling.  What Jim remembers most is Grandma’s laughter.  

One year, I remember Grandma making homemade applesauce in the kitchen with me at our house in Leyden Township. I still remember the fantastic taste of it.  She was around a lot.  I’m glad she was so close to our family.  I’m glad she was around a lot.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her when my dad moved us so far away in 1967 to CA.  Heartbreaking, I imagine.  Then a few years later, Uncle Tom and Aunt Kay moved their family to CA as well.  She had Uncle Bob and his kids left in Chicago, but most of the family was gone.  She flew to CA to visit every so often.  

Long ago, before we were born, she and Grandpa owned a grocery store for a while.  She said she made root beer to sell in the store.  I know the entire family worked very hard as most families that came through the depression.  One time someone put too much of an ingredient (I think yeast?) and the entire batch exploded.  She said she was washing root beer from walls, ceiling....everything was covered.  Later, she worked in a bakery.  We had a constant supply of day old coffee cakes, pies, and cookies (the ones with the chocolate  in the center).  Grandma would freeze them.  I liked to eat them frozen.  I’d eat the vanilla part around the edges and then eat the chocolate last.  Yummmmm.  I didn’t like the pies or coffee cakes, but mom and dad did.  I remember them having coffee and the desserts while sitting around the kitchen table talking.  They got along so well (Grandma N, Aunt Kay, Uncle Tom, Mom and Dad).   

At her house, one day she was washing new slips and underwear after soaking them in tea or coffee.  She said that they don’t show through the white bakery uniforms if they are not white.  This was at her house that her husband (Grandpa Laudadio) and my dad built at 10733 W. Grand Ave., Melrose Park, IL 60164.   If you visit google earth, the picture is there.   Lots of memories in that house. 

Great Grandma Maria Bellomo Guarino died in Italy before my Grandma Guarino-Giuliano came to the US.  The family owned sulphur  mines and vineyards in Sicily.  Aunt Rose talked about going out to the vineyards on horseback.  She told stories about twins dying; I assume they were my Grandmother’s siblings.  Someone in the family had TB.  That was cause for the family of my Grandmother’s fiance’ to call off the engagement.  My grandmother was heart broken.  While in Italy, she was a telegraph operator and ran the post office.  She was very smart and self sufficient.  Her brother Charlie married Evelyn, (who was called Poochie).  They lived in Chicago, had no children.  Once, when we visited, we were made to wait outside.  I think it had to do with Uncle Charlie teaching me to spin the lazy susan on their coffee table when I was small.  I gave it a hard spin making everything fly off.  Needless to say, Mom and Dad didn’t visit anymore.  Poochie had a reputation for coffee not ever being hot enough.  “You couldn’t make it hot enough for her,” per Aunt Rose & Mom.  Uncle Charlie was a barber and played the clarinet in the Philharmonic Orchestra in Chicago.  He had a wooden clarinet with a glass mouthpiece (Jim has it).  When he died, Aunt Evelyn brought it to our house in Leyden Township because I played clarinet too.  I have some of the music he wrote. entire notebook.  I also have his Barber’s license.   Uncle Charlie died in the storm that hit Chicago....they said the entire city “died,” in a sense.   People couldn’t get around at all; people couldn’t get to stores or drive, and they couldn’t bury the people that had died while trying to dig themselves out, etc.  That is how Uncle Charlie died, digging snow; his heart failed (that is what I remember).  He lived in Skokie; Mom and Dad left me to watch the kids and set out on foot to get to Poochie.   This was in 1966 or early 1967.  Grandma Giuliano’s sister Jaccomina (Jenny) was a tailor in Italy.  (Side note:) Aunt Jenny’s spaghetti sauce tasted different.  She put celery in hers.  Aunt Jenny wanted Grandma to get married so she could get married.  It wouldn’t have been right for a younger sister to marry before the elder sister.  When she was free to marry, she married a DiBernardo and had 3 boys:  Louie, Johnny and Joe.  I remember spending time with Uncle Joe.  He lived in Aunt Rose’s building on the 3rd floor on Beldon & Cleveland, in Chicago.  I’ve visited that building several times recently.  The smells and sounds, etc. bring back memories.  John recently met someone that lived in that building.  I think she cut his hair???  Not sure.  I used to ride up and down in the elevator so many times I lost count.  Uncle Joe lived in a dreary studio apt. with green cabinetry.  Both Louie and Johnny were very overweight; Joe was thin and had lots of acne scars.  I heard that Aunt Jenny was controlling and didn’t want them to marry.  One son got married to Jeanette or Louisa.  One is the mother and one is the daughter.  The other son died single.    Aunt Rose kept in touch with them.  John Laudadio may have their contact information.  They live in CA; Aunt Jenny had moved there.  There was a story of someone following someone to CA.  Someone was trying to get away I think; maybe the son that had gotten married.  Uncle Joe committed suicide I think.  It was kept quiet.  Uncle Tony knows some of these tidbits, although when I asked him, he said I remembered more than he did.  Uncle Tony moved to CA when I was around middle school age....maybe jr. high age.  He ran/owned a bar in Chicago.  He sold everything and had a few days to spend, so he and Aunt Alma stayed with us.  He painted our entire house (on Behrns Dr., Leyden Township), while he stayed with us.  He was/is a perfectionist.  Joy, Bill, Race and I went on a cruise with Uncle Tony (Dec, 2009) from Long Beach to Puerto Vallarta and back.  What a wonderful time we had.  Aunt Alma died while mom was living on Summer Wind in Santa Ana...I think it was the early to mid 90’s.  She died of cancer; I think breast cancer.  Uncle Tony became a postman in the Los Angeles area, then transferred to the Palm Desert area.  He retired from the post office.  Within the last few years, he stopped bowling...after some knee replacement surgery.  He was an excellent bowler.  He still dances.  Sometimes he is stiff, but after a dance or two, he is moving like normal.  He was born in 1925.  He still lives in the desert in CA.  We talk every few months on the phone.  

My Grandma finished business, (I assume the sale of the vineyard and perhaps sulpher mines),  in Sicily and then boarded a ship for the US with her baby sister in tow (Aunt Rose, born 7/20/1910).  Aunt Rose was naturalized in 1941.  My grandmother’s mother, Maria Belloma had married Angelo Guarino.  I believe Angelo had come across into the US through Canada.  Angelo was cared for until he died by my Grandmother.  She had to care for him while he stayed on the 3rd floor of their home on 72nd Ct.  He was a stroke victim confined to bed and a wheelchair.   It was about that time that Aunt Rose “ran away from home.”  We had always heard that story and imagined that she was a teenager when this happened.    Later I found out that she was in her mid-30’s when she did this, so I thought it was funny.  She did leave the care for their father completely on my Grandmother.  That is what they were referring to.  Also, the men were supposed to work and the women were to stay home until they were married.  Aunt Rose never married, so she would have been there all her life.   My grandmother had a tough life.  She had several miscarriages, then my Uncle Tony was born in approx. 1925, then my mom was born Dec. 25, 1928.  My mother was starving as an infant; for some reason, Grandma wasn’t producing milk.  Grandpa Giuliano went out and found a baby bottle, which was a fairly new item in 1928.  I wonder what they fed her.  If it was goats milk, it would be good, but if it was cows milk, that is suspected now to cause diabetes, which my mother had.   My Aunt Rose would say that my Grandmother didn’t love my Grandfather.  This hurt my mother.  Grandma met Grandpa on the boat on the way over to the US.  He was assigned to care for passengers that were ill.  My grandmother was ill and leaning over the side of the ship. (Side story:  When my mother went on a cruise, someone asked if she thought she’d get sea sick.  She said ‘no, my father was a sailor.’  Later, she realized that she took after her mother.)   Grandpa and Grandma married.  My grandmother felt pressure from  Aunt Jenny to marry.  Grandma was probably still mourning the loss of her fiance’ after their family broke the engagement.  Grandma was at least 25 yrs old.  Grandpa ended up cheating on my Grandmother.  My mother was hurt terribly by his actions and by what Aunt Rose would say.  Children see God the Father using the example of their earthly fathers.  My mother’s life probably felt unstable.  My mother had a hard time trusting.  

Sebastiano Giuliano was born in 1885 Syracusa, Sicily, Italy and immigrated to Canada then into the US through Niagra Falls. (Maybe) September 1913 was the arrival date. He was 28 yrs. old.  I seem to recall a story about Great Grandpa Guarino coming through Canada.  Not sure about this part.  Joyce says she found some of this documentation in Mom’s garage when she was passing.  Grandpa Giuliano passed at age 52 from stroke.  
Maria Assunta (Grandma Guarino-Giuliano) arrived May 14, 1920 and was 25 yrs. old.  She was born August 7, 1895.  She came through Ellis Island in NY.  The ship was Duca D Aosta and it left from Napoli.  This information isn’t certain.  
I remember stories of arguing.  Lots of family arguing at family functions.  There would have been Uncle Charlie, Poochie, Aunt Rose, and maybe Jenny.  Grandma and Mom  hated the arguing.  I’d never see Grandma argue, but Mom and she didn’t always get along.  One story I remember is Grandma left her spoon in her coffee after stirring it.  Lots of criticism ensued...I believe from Poochie and Uncle Charlie...maybe Aunt Jenny???  It seemed it was because they wanted to be perfect to fit into America.  That would be a lot of pressure when you consider having to learn a new language and having to make a living in a completely new country with nothing familiar.  An adventure on one hand to be sure, but could have been very frightening and difficult at the same time.  Grandma Giuliano died at age 67 of stroke in IL, in 1962.  I was 10 yrs. old.  
At one family function:
Uncle Tony and Mom (as kids) had a playful fight with a dirty rag they were tossing back and forth and the rag ended up in the spaghetti sauce.  I think they giggled through dinner.  
When I went to Hippocrates Health Institute in FLA, Dec 2010, I met a girl named Desiree Guarino.  She had the same build and look as Joy.  She was approx the same age as Joy.  Her family was from near Villa Rosa in Sicily.  Her father and I have concluded that we must be related.   Since her father was approx. my age, it was as difficult for him to trace Sicilian relatives as it was for me.  But there doesn’t seem to be much doubt.  Joy looked up and ‘friended’ Desiree on Facebook.  Look her up.  There are other Guarinos (In Italy) on her Facebook page too.  


My mother was dating someone that went off to war.  He wrote to her and began to share how much he enjoyed gambling/making bets.  Mom was going to have nothing to do with that.  She was too afraid of having a husband that gambled.  
She went out once and met Uncle Bob and I think was a little attracted, but ended up with Dad.  There is no way she and Uncle Bob would have been a match.  Dad took mom roller skating.  My Dad danced with lots of different girls and was in demand because he was such a good skater.  Mom was a little insecure...or maybe a lot.  But she was absolutely beautiful and Dad must have been smitten.  Mom learned to dance with my dad on roller skates.  The rest is history.  Mom was a good dancer without skates, but I don’t think Dad did much of that.  They were married on June 3, 1950. 

They had me on May 3, 1952; Jim 17 mos. later on Oct 3, 1953.  Then John 15 mos. after that on Jan. 8, 1955.  Then my mother had a miscarriage.  It was a boy they intended to name Jack.  He was missing a hand.  My mother asked the doctor if it could have gotten lost during the birth. My mother lost a lot of blood.  She was in the hospital a long time.  She almost lost her life.  My father had a hernia operation while we lived at 209 Blackhawk Dr. in Bensenville, the 3BR 1BATH house they built.  During the first 6 or so years of their marriage, they lived in a basement apt. in the same house on 72nd Ct. that my mother was raised in from birth.  Weird, after all the moving dad did with us to think that my mother lived in the same house from her birth until she was approx. 30 yrs. old and that Jim, John and I were raised from birth for a few years in that same home.  Grandma always got along with Dad.  She was very considerate.  When he walked in the room, she always switched to speaking English so as not to be rude.  There was a lot to respect about her.  I remember spending the night at her home one time and I was hungry and wanted some spaghetti.  I remember he not wanting to make it for me and it was evident that her legs hurt.  She had rheumatoid arthritis. She made the pasta.  I felt guilty about it until long after she was dead.  We found her Bible and looked through it after we became born again Christians (we were living on VanBibber).  Mom found the passage “ye must be born again” underlined.  This was exciting to us.  Catholics didn’t read the Bible...but Grandma was in hers.  We didn’t know this while she was alive.  

Mom and Dad bought a Pontiac....I think it was a 1950.  It was a Silver Cloud.....maroon and silver.  Beautiful.  While they lived on 72nd Ct, they saved up money to build the Bensenville house.  That is when my mother had the miscarriage.  She was shoveling some dirt in the yard, when it began to happen.  She was having babies so close, she was probably weakened.  
June was born Sep 26, 1958.  I remember a blue car we had being stolen from our driveway; later returned.  I attended Mohawk School (K, 1st and 2nd grades); Jim attended the same school.  Kay Stockwell, our neighbor was my First grade teacher.  She pulled out a bee stinger that I picked up while running barefoot in the lawn.  While I was in Kindergarten a HS girl from up the street asked if I’d like to be the mascot for Fenton HS cheerleading squad.  I remember that as being a lot of fun.  I loved gymnastics.  I learned the cheers and was bold.  I remember the other mascot being afraid to go out to cheer, so I’d lead the entire gym (both sides were cheering) because I was brave enough to go out there. I was only 5 or so.  I wouldn’t retrieve my pom poms though because I was sure that the large, noisy basketball players would run me over.  I was convinced that they couldn’t/wouldn’t see me.  I really didn’t think people could see me.  I wasn’t noticed by adults normally, I wasn’t talked to by adults.  I didn’t think I was invisible ......(well maybe I did), but I definitely didn’t think they could see me.  This was something I carried into my adult years.  When I walked into a room, I didn’t think anyone noticed.  ......I mean into my 40’s....I thought this.  Bill finally convinced me that when I walked into a room, I was noticed and that I should pay attention more to what and who was around me.  
In Bensenville, Mom and Dad had friends.  They had block parties.  We put on plays for the neighbors in the garage.  Dad passed a salad bowl for change for us after one play.  I was always the director of these plays as well as one of the actresses.  Jim and John were actors; it was fun.   One neighbor (Gary’s mom) had snap dragons in her yard.  My mom had all sorts of flowers and plants planted. Mom had morning glories growing up a telephone pole in our backyard.  Mom loved morning glories.  She also planted bulbs each year and dug them up each year.  She loved flowers.  We had a place for a swimming pool, but Dad poured sand there instead and then he built a monkey bar set with pipes.  We had a lot of fun.  Neighborhood kids were over all the time.  Mom said she would rather have us home and kids come over to play.  That was different that other moms who seemed to prefer having their kids elsewhere.  We had a place in the garage that Jim fell from and cracked open his head.  We also had a wonderful basement with radiant heat in the floor that used to be our big play room.  Jim, I think fell down the stairs and cracked his head open on the concrete floor.  The basement had a fireplace down there and also later a TV.  We watched Lawrence Welk and Jim and I danced to the music.
Dad had a bumper pool table in the basement too.  We had tons of toys.  Someone that owned a store had owed Dad money, so he backed his truck up to his toy store and loaded it with toys for us.  That is when we got those wooden rocking chairs that we still have. 

We had a BBQ on the back patio and John rode his bike into it.  It burned his arm and chest.  It was common to rub vaseline or butter all over burns during that time.  So that is what happened.  

I was riding on the top of a large toy car and I think Jim was pushing it in a breezeway that we had between our garage and house.  A rock stuck in the wheel and I went flying forward and landed on my chin.  I had to get 6 stitches in my chin.  I remember them talking about being careful so I wouldn’t scare too badly.  

After Bensenville, we moved to Franklin Park.  The taxes reached 700.00 a year in Bensenville and that was just too much.  The Franklin Park house was at 2940 Lincoln.  While we rented there, I was in the 3rd and 4th grades; Jim, John and I attended Mannheim School.  It was a small 2 bedroom home.  We squished in the house and lived there for 2 years; most of our furniture packed in the single car garage.  Then Mom and Dad found the Leyden Township home and we moved there, but not until after Joyce was born Sep 21, 1961.  I remember the grey w/ red boomerangs formica top table with the curved metal legs.  In this house, Danny Tysland promised to sit down and wait for me to grow up and he would marry me.  I believed him until he married someone else.  He also used to hold my teddy bear up too high for me to reach. ...or was it June’s teddy bear?  I think it was June’s and he was teasing June.  He also shared stories about when he was in trouble and landed in jail, he ate candy bars very slowly as to cherish them.  I used to appreciate sweets the same after that.  I never gulped sweets down quickly any more.  I would savor my Halloween candy and ‘thin mint’ girl scout cookies all year long.  In this house,(Franklin Park), I think June was burned by a coffee pot that was on the kitchen table.  One time, Mom and Dad left us with a sitter, that decided that June should just cry herself to sleep.  I was so angry.  I was 6.  June had just dropped her bottle (Mom used to prop up bottles to feed us).  Anyway, I felt I was helping to raise June, I knew what she needed.  The sitter made me stay in the living room and not go into her.  I finally lied and said I had to go to the bathroom so I could pick up her bottle.  I was so angry that I told Mom and Dad and they never had her sit again.  It was against mom’s beliefs to let babies cry like that.  The girl they hired had parents that had lots of foster kids, so they felt she was experienced.  

In the Leyden Township house, we had 3 bedrooms.  One for Joyce, June and me.  We three shared a double bed.  Joyce slept in the middle.  After Dad finished a section of the lower level as a bedroom for the boys, I got my own room...and my own bed.  I was in 7th grade or so by the time that happened.  ...maybe 8th or 9th.  Mom bought blue flowered material and made draperies for the room.  I had weird thoughts ....I remember lying in bed making sure that my pajamas had no wrinkles or creases in them.  I feared that when I died, that there would be some wrinkles in the clothing that I was wearing and it would be like that for all eternity.  The socks we had were cotton; not stretchy, so sometimes they would crease on the bottoms.....drove me nuts.  I had to have them smooth. I think these thoughts began after I went to a wake....maybe Grandma’s.    I attended 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th at Westdale School; Jim and John were just a couple years behind.  I attended 9th grade at West Leyden HS.  Dad had attended East Leyden HS; I liked that connection.  
Mom was a perfectionist.  She had white carpet, white upholstered furniture (this was covered with plastic), and 5 kids.  Our house was always perfect.  There was no clutter, we helped clean every Saturday (heavy cleaning, like spring cleaning).  I am like her in that way.  I like a perfect house.  I told myself that people are more important, so I vowed never to make my house more important than my kids.  While I said that in my head, I still strive to have a clean house and would love a perfect house (still not accomplished, but it is still a desire).  I remember Mom joking around saying that Dad would come home and find that Mom would have spent the entire day cleaning a closet.   It wasn’t a joke though.  The house was falling down around her, but that closet would be perfect.  I walked in her footsteps.  I finally learned to straighten the entire house ....later even getting dishes done.  Then if I had the energy and time, I would go back and ‘detail’ something.  I remember making my stove so perfect, it looked new.  The rest of the house had clean laundry strewn everywhere (Daniel and David got into it).   

Grandma Giuliano came to live with us for  a while.  I was about 10 and Joyce was an infant.  We have a picture of her holding Joyce on her lap outside the back door of the Leyden Township house (11334 Behrns Dr., Melrose Pk, IL 60164).  She looked very old for her years.  She had beautiful, long, white hair that she always wore in a bun  on the nape of her neck.  Both she and Aunt Rose had this amazing white hair when they ‘greyed.‘  It was so gorgeous.  I’ve never seen that on anyone else.  Almost angelic.  One evening, she had a stroke and fell /sort of slid down the cabinets in the kitchen and her back was against the step stool that we had.  I remember ushering the smaller children out of the room...probably all of them, while Mom and Dad called an ambulance.  A while later I came home from school very upset because some boys were making fun of me and the knitted hat that I had made for myself.  They pulled it and I think tore the tie string.  (It was pink).  I came home to the news that Grandma had died.  I started crying.  I remember Mom putting her arm around me. 

2007:  Toward the end of Grandma Mary’s life, she had an extraordinary trust in God.  She was not afraid to die.  She trusted Him completely.  She had an amazing prayer life.  She was a friend to everyone.     She and Kay would be out shopping and say “this looks like my Jeannie,” or “my Jan” .
1963-4:  We started to take vacations as a family when Joyce was about 2-3.  We took a trip to Springfield, IL.  When we drove, we would recite the musicals that we had watched.  We knew all the words and sang a lot. Joyce and her girls did this too I think.  Singing and music. Jen, Joy and I would sing.  Jen and Joy could harmonize and it was so pretty. .....well, on the trip to Springfield,  we stayed in the Lamplighter Inn and used their indoor swimming pool that had an island in the middle of it with a palm tree (I think it was all plastic).  We had a lot of fun.  Joyce was car sick, so we often had dried on, wind swept, throw up along the side of our station wagon.  Our next trip was to Upper Michigan.  Copper Island.  Then we drove to FLA one year.  I remember having quite a bit of fun on these trips.  Jim stepped on a jelly fish in FLA and his leg looked like he had elephantiasis.  Our next trip was to CO.  Joyce stopped getting car sick. 
Mom was afraid when there was no ground/or land on the side of the car (we were used to flat IL).  One time she was snuggling closer and closer to Dad because there was nothing on the right side of the car.  She looked over this particular time and there was nothing on Dad’s side either.  Mountain driving.  She loved the mountains.  (except for that part).  Then, we drove to CA to move there.  

The draw to CA began when Dad was watching the Rose parade.  He called Uncle Tom and they challenged each other to get sitters and go to ck out CA.  He didn’t want to keep moving furniture from 3rd floor apts. to 3rd floor apts. on icy addition to having to dig the truck out before going to work.    

We moved to CA in 1967 and stayed in a hotel on the side of the freeway for a couple of weeks.  TV Motel.  There was absolutely nothing to do and Mom and Dad were out looking for houses for a couple of weeks.  I had a book from our encyclopedia and enjoyed reading it.  But!!!  We had 5 kids cooped up in a small hotel room for weeks.  Not fun.  Finally, they settled on a house for  $28,650K.  Dad asked me if he should get it. I thought it was very cool that he was thinking this through and talking about it with me; at 15.   I said yes....I was probably influenced by staying in that motel!  He offered a little lower and the agent was indignant.  She said that isn’t how it is done in CA; Dad told her to make the offer.  He got it for the lower price. 
Dad got involved with the Catholic church again by moving catechism trailers for them.  Mom was in the church choir again.  Dad sat on some kind of board for the Catholic church too.  

Ann May and Dorothy Hypes lived on Van Bibber (we bought 821 Van Bibber in Orange CA).  This would change our lives.  Dorothy Hypes had a friend named Charlotte Pardee.  Dorothy and Charlotte used to keep their houses model homes.  My mother fell in love with their did I.  My mother always desired to have a perfect home.   They used the talent they had and offered to clean and decorate my mother’s home if they could talk to her about Jesus.  My mother said sure, “I’m Catholic, just don’t try to convert me.”  My father gave them some money  (I think it was $50, which was a lot in 1969), to buy some decorations and they went to work.  Earlier Ann May bought as a gift the white milk glass container they used as a sugar bowl so Mom wouldn’t have to continually refill the small sugar bowl.  This bowl is broken, but I have it.  This was part of the decor.  With the money Dad gave Charlotte and Dorothy, they bought some blue green grapes (oversized), some silk floral arrangements and I remember an orange pillow for my room among many other decorations.  The colors were blue-green, w/gold, orange and yellow accents.  We had 2 rocking love seats that were olive green.  Dad chose rocking love seats because we were short; our feet could reach the ground, whereas in normal seating, at times, they wouldn’t.  I remember lots of rockers in our home; June rocked constantly.  When I came home from school, I was drawn to the dining room table where Charlotte asked me if I wanted to know if I would go to heaven.  I said no one can know that.  She said “if I can show you in the Bible where it says you can know, would you believe it?”  I intuitively knew the Bible was truth, so I said yes.  She showed me 1John 5:11  This is the record that you can know that there is eternal life and this is in His son Jesus.  ....I believed.  She was used by God to lead our entire family to the Lord between Jan. and March.  In January, Mom came to the Lord.  On Feb 19, I got baptized, and March my father rounded up the end.  Dad and Mom started looking at other churches.  Jim had been bold enough to complain about mass.  Dad repeated some concerns at the Catholic board meeting.  A man stood up and asked “Were you in mass on Sunday?” in a critical tone.  Dad said “no, but we visited several churches last week.”  That was the end of his relationship with the Catholic Church.  Except, I was still teaching catechism classes, but they were the communion classes for first grade children.  I wanted to teach out of the Bible; the church didn’t allow it.  One child protested saying they didn’t want to go into the dark closet for confession.  So, I resigned; they wanted me to go as well.  We attended Christian Center and there is where I was baptized, but shortly after this, Jim came home with news of a church called Calvary Chapel.  He reported that there were hippies, Lonnie Frisbee delivered an amazing message and there was rock and roll music.  He went home to tell Mom and Dad that the church had hippies and a hippie pastor.  They asked if this would be a place he’d take his he and I went.  Mom and Dad attended on a Sunday with all of us.  Chuck spoke. The bulletin said to introduce ourselves in the line on the way out.  The next Sunday, Chuck remembered all of our names.  Later Kay told us that Chuck had come home and said that the nicest Italian family came to church.  The rest is history there.  Normally everyone wants to be friends with the pastor and his wife.  My mom and dad, being Catholic were not used to that.  We stayed away from the Priests in respectful way.  My mother and dad did the same with Chuck and Kay, and they ended up being friends.  Dad became head usher and was entrusted with the construction project.  Mom was the camp registrar and helped in the office.  She accompanied Kay for speaking engagements and would get Kay out of the crowd when she needed to go, etc.  I remember lunches with Kay and Mom and occasionally Jan.

I felt rushed into marriage.  Steve was hanging around our house and my parents encouraged it.  My brothers had told Bill in school that I was getting married, so he stopped coming around.  Although, at one point, Bill said “it looks like I’d better come around more; I’m losing my girl”....then he didn’t come by or call for 3 wks.  Steve and I argued all the time.  It wasn’t a match.  People at church were asking Mom and Dad when we would marry.  Then they sat me down and asked to know the wedding date.  Maybe they just liked how much Steve knew about the Bible.  We were babes in the Lord and Steve had studied it all his life and we hungered for the Word.  So they respected that about Steve.  I went along with it all.  There were other dynamics at work here:  First of all I had determined that I was not attractive.  No one had ever said I was pretty or anything similar.  (Later in my 50’s I asked my mother why; she said she didn’t want me to get a big head).  Attraction was never returned by any one that I liked at school.  Bill went out with another girl while we were dating.  I determined that no one would ever want to marry me.   If I didn’t marry Steve, I’d look back when I was 35. or...85.... thinking I should have taken him up on his offer.  I ignored the fact that there were several suitors that were attracted to me....but none of them interested me.  
Another part of the dynamic is that my mother had a rule that I couldn’t leave the home without being married.  Even if I was 35....I couldn’t move out.  She and I didn’t get along at that time.  I couldn’t handle the thought of living at home forever.  That was the custom of close foreign families.....we had other customs too.  Some of which were very nice.  We weren’t a typical American family and I liked that.  We had Italian/Polish roots.   Mom was Sicilian, Dad 1/2 Polish and 1/2 Italian so those customs spilled over.  When I earned money, I signed my cks over to my mother.  Earlier, when babysitting, I’d bring money home and then the boys would ride to the store for bologna and bread for lunch.  (After we moved to CA, we were waiting for real estate to sell in IL, so were short on money).  It was a good lesson even if Dad wouldn’t have allowed us to get that short of money.   We didn’t get allowances.  Dad provided a roof over our heads, food, etc.  Later he made a deal with me (10th grade).  He would buy all the material I wanted and shoes and purses as long as I sewed my own clothes.  I had the greatest wardrobe while I was in HS.  

I was told when I married, to never come back.  This was, I’m sure a lesson to handle my problems on my own.  I imagine they were told similar things to let them know that they couldn’t leave their commitment and go back home to Mom and Dad.  I was an adult and should not bring my troubles back to my parents.  “Don’t hang your dirty laundry out for others to see.”  I ended up keeping all the troubles to myself.  

I do remember going home to visit after I returned from a brief honeymoon.  Everyone shouted “Jeannie’s here!”  That was such a surprise.  They missed me.  I had no idea they would miss me.  It is a very special memory.    

I prayed almost without ceasing for my children as we all do.  The biggest fear was that they wouldn’t have salvation.  I couldn’t bear that thought.  I begged and pleaded with God relentlessly.  I had no mercy on God’s ear!  Mom did the same.....begged God for her children’s needs.  

Joy leaving to move back to CA was very difficult.  I thought she’d be home with me for several more years but instead she said she wanted to go back to CA and attend Calvary Chapel HS.  I can’t say that I blame her.  I still miss her terribly.  I was depressed for several days.  I normally don’t get depressed.  I wouldn’t tell her until years later.  I wanted her to be happy.  I want what is best for her.

My father asked my mother to move from IL to CA.  My mom freaked out.  My father didn’t ask her to do this until after her mother had passed and her brother (the only family) had moved to CA earlier.  So that seemed fair.  But, my mother had lots of fears about CA and I imagine that there was a huge concern about starting another business over again.  My mother often had objections to investments that my father made as well.  She just had fears. I never saw investments that my father made go bad.  I saw that they took work.  Rentals, etc.  The move must have been very difficult on my Grandmother.  The Zarembski’s are still upset!  They said they are going to ask him what he was thinking when they see him in heaven.....moving all of us away from family.  They blamed my mother, but I told them that she did not want to move....she saw CA as having lots of topless bars and lots of divorces and didn’t want to raise her kids there.  But my father didn’t want to work in the snow and bad weather of Chicago anymore.  He was adventurous.  It was probably in his blood, considering that his father moved from Bari, Italy when he was a teen.  

“I LOVE YOU”  wasn’t spoken much if at all.  I don’t recall the first time anyone said that to me.   Mom  told me that we don’t know what love is, because we are too young.  I don’t remember Grandmother’s telling us they loved us.  BUT Grandma Giuliano brought us chocolate bars and was nice to us all the time.  Grandma Noesges spent a lot of time around our family.  I didn’t come to know how much she loved us until years after she was gone.  My mom and dad never told us.  We were supposed to know.  It was very obvious...looking back.    Kids try to please parents; parents are very proud, but don’t often express it, if ever.  Everyone is trying to do a good job; better than their parents, but don’t always succeed.  In some ways they do.  Everyone seems to have to overcome some issues from the past, so they are dealing with those as they are trying hard to raise kids the best way they can.  When it comes down to it, I think I’m proud of all of us.   We were and are so blessed.  

Health issues:   TB affected my Grandma Giuliano’s life and who she married and couldn’t marry.  (Side note):  Mom had a spot on her lung even though she never had TB.  The early deaths from strokes made us rush and rush through life.  We all thought we didn’t have long to live.  Americans rush anyway; the Laudadio’s increased the speed.  If we wanted to marry, we’d better hurry.  Children?  We’d better hurry.  Nice home, vacations, nice car, hurry....  Then to add to this, after becoming born again Christians, we were told that Jesus could return at any time.  If I wanted a baby, I’d better get to it!  I really didn’t think Daniel would see his 8th birthday. This part affected Jim, John and I.  I think it was different for June and Joyce.  

1 comment:

Maria said...

I didn't know that you posted this. What a great synopsis of the history. People we don't know or haven't really heard about. Very sweet of jeannie to write it all down for us.