May 22, 1998

I wonder – on Sunday, Feb. 22, I went to church at the 7 a.m. Mass. I saw D.J. Tranchina go into the church. When Mass was over, I know that I was the first one out of church. But I did see D.J. still in church before I left. I made a “bee-line” to my car and Ruth and I drove straight to the Holiday Inn at a good speed, stopping nowhere. When I got to the Holiday Inn, I walked in and there was D.J. Tranchina standing at the door in the place; and he shook my hand. Does D.J. Tranchina have a twin, or did he fly there ahead of me – I wonder!


I’ve already written something about 600 people. Be careful when you are in my
company. Whatever you say or do – I may write about you in my “Recollections.”


I met Dr. Johnny Mula at Anthony Governale’s Barber Shop the other morning and he asked me how old I was. He told me he has been reading my column “Recollections” and that I talked about people in the early 1920s. I didn’t tell him my age, but I said: “Doc, I’m going to let you figure it out for yourself. Back in the ’20s, I was a little ‘bitty, bitty’ boy in elementary school and during that time you came to our school as a dentist for the State of Louisiana, examining our teeth. So you see Doc, I was a little boy when you were a big man.”


Do you know how to tell ladies from men now that they both wear pants? The one listening is the man.

This is a note to Anthony Governale – never tell a bald-headed man a hair-raising story!


Did you ever stop and think how lucky you are to be living in this country, the United States of America? You don’t have to carry a passport here to cross borders from one state to another, or account to anybody for anything as long as it’s legal. Every time I visit my father’s grave, I have the urge to kneel down and kiss it in gratitude for him to have the foresight to come to this country in 1907. Things were tough in Sicily in the early 1920s. In 1902, 1904, and 1906, there was a long drought and the people lost all of their crops.

My father was 25 years old when he decided to come to America. He had a wife and family; my oldest brother and sister were born in Sicily. My mother worked in a bakery shop. Between them they saved enough money for the trip. My father come over alone to this country, leaving his family behind. He could not speak a word of English. However, with help from my uncle, Charlie Bella, my father was set up in business. He sold shoe polish, shoe strings, work shoes and he also repaired shoes. He worked for one year saving his money so that my mother, brother and sister could join him here. This was not easy. It took determination and great will power to accomplish this goal.

When my mother arrived and set up housekeeping, immediately my father and mother acquired some chickens, hogs and a cow. They worked in the garden at night with a lantern, so that food could be raised for the family. The only things that they bought were sugar and flour. In those days there were no welfare, food stamps, project homes, social security or Medicare. My family survived by working hard every day and part of the night.

My father told us to go out into this world – go into business for yourselves, because working for the other man you can’t make it!

* The End *

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