2020: H – April A to Z… Family Stories
I’m back in 2020 for my fifth year of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and as usual I racked my brain scribbling ideas on paper since the end of last April. It wasn’t until January, that the light bulb finally went off in scrolling through the 85+ of unfinished blog posts in my draft folder. Bingo… there was my A to Z topic…
Family Stories as told to me… mostly by my husband!
From the moment I married into this Italian family… I fell in love with their stories… their memories… and the family. My husband grew up in West Haven, Connecticut… where there was so much to enjoy as a young boy… especially a place known as Savin Rock… although long gone now. It somewhat resembled Coney Island… but was even larger when his parents, aunts and uncles grew up. They had stories… and I was always an eager listener whenever they told those stories… remembering, and scribbling down to preserve, just as I did with the family recipes that had once only been in their heads. 2020 has became the year I’m telling many of those stories… along with my husband’s memories to preserve for the generations to come. Many of those who told me their stories, are no longer with us… and I hope to keep their memory alive in these stories… as they are now my family also… and I love them all!
My previous years of A to Z Challenges are:
- 2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
- 2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
- 2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
- 2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
Come sit a spell and enjoy!
Having Snow Fun and more!
Sledding on Kneen Street in Shelton at Noni’s house
“I remember waiting for the bus after lunch…one day in heavy snow… Aunt Dolly got off the bus and announced that school was closed. School was in two sessions… she went in the mornings and I went in the afternoon. She would be getting off the bus… while I was waiting to get on for the afternoon classes; we lived on Sawmill Road at that time.”
Lots of snow sledding at my grandmothers in Shelton, CT.
Snowman building in West Haven!
Aunt Dolly helped build this big snowman with me!
“When my grandparents lived on 1st Avenue, I remember Dolly and I with Uncle Johnny built a really big snowman in the front yard. The balls were so large that we had to actually cut them in half to even pick up. You must have perfect snow to build a snowman.”
“It was usually my uncles who cleaned the driveway when my grandparents moved to 1st Avenue. Sometimes they cleaned with shovels, but often they liked to just drive their cars back and forth to pack the snow down. Uncle Gene (Cavallaro) sometimes came with the plow from his garage to help out when the snow was really deep.”
Uncle Johnny (Cambino) enjoying a snow day in Okinawa
In talking about the weather on TV…. “It seems like just yesterday when we went to see Johnny Poe play in his last game. I often went to the Thanksgiving football game with Johnny and Maggie to see West Haven High School play Hillhouse… it was always the last game of the season. One I specifically remember was when it was about 16 degrees… I was probably in eighth grade. Even as cold as it was, I never saw Uncle Johnny ever wear a coat – but he did carry a flask on those cold football games to keep warm. I don’t think he even owned a coat, but I guess he did for deer hunting in the winter as he often talked about the deep snow that they had to walk in.”
Freddie (left) with brother Johnny (right) Cambino, and friend George Froleck proudly showing their deers!
“Johnny, along with Frankie, Freddie, Marshal Carbone and George Froleck went hunting every year. It was standard for them… nothing stopped them from those yearly trips! On one hunting trip they were snowed in… and lost in the woods. The snow was almost waist-high, but Johnny, being the toughest and strongest, managed to get them out, he said. He took the lead and stomped down the snow as he plowed through… making the way for them to follow. Johnny always told that story and said, “I sure thought we were goners that time – thought for sure that they’d find us in the spring – dead. I don’t know how I did that, and if I wasn’t as strong as I am, I wouldn’t have been able to.”
“The picture above of Johnny and George Froleck with the large buck on the hood of the car was from one of their hunting trips. It was the time when Johnny shot the largest deer ever (about 260 pounds), and told me, “good thing I’m strong, as I had to drag that bastard through the snow all by myself.” In showing the photo to Aunt Nancy, she recognized the license plate as one from their garage (Marshall’s Garage); I guess they drove one of the garage cars to go hunting with.”
“One Christmas the family all chipped in and bought my grandfather a snow blower. I think he used it only once before he fell cutting tree limbs and hurt his shoulder… then the boys used it. My father often went down to help clean their driveway too.”
Nancy: “We did a lot of crazy things as kids growing up. My brother, Johnny, had a big black Lincoln car. I remember riding in a snowstorm once with him – going down big hills, sliding back and forth – and that was all on a quarters worth of gas – money was short!”
My father, holding the snowball, enjoyed snow while in the service!
“Whenever we had snowstorms, all the kids in the neighborhood brought their sleds to the side of I-95 to slide down the embankment alongside the highway… in the summer when the grass was high, we’d mash it down and ride down on cardboard. Once we had it really matted down… it was super slick. Living down from the factories near my house… there was always and abundance of cardboard thrown out. We had to make our own fun back then.”
“When it snowed… it was a free day from school… and we stayed out all day!”
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