Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Final Day Of A Big, Beautiful Month!

Every day this month we've spotlighted a different accomplished Italian American -- men and women from all walks of life, from various eras pursuing a wide variety of endeavors and all making their mark in one way or another. Big, bold, vivid stories of people who helped make our country a better place -- who enlightened us, inspired us, entertained us and helped us gain a deeper appreciation of life itself. Thank God for each and everyn one of them. Viva Italia! God Bless America!


One Year Later, He Explains It All For You!



Italian American Heritage Month: Eddie Arcaro

Eddie Arcaro

If you found yourself atop a horse competing against Eddie Arcaro at a thoroughbred race course, you were up against the one jockey that was known as "The Master." 

Arcaro was a fierce competitor who took no prisoners. He rode five Kentucky Derby winners -- a record he shares with Bill Hartack -- a record six Preakness winners and six Belmont winners. The latter feat tied 19th century jockey Jimmy McLaughlin for most victories in the Belmont.

Arcaro racked up 4,779 wins, including a record 17 in the Triple Crown series, and six times atop the North American jockey standings in earnings. On top of all that, he won racing's coveted Triple Crown twice. And check out the legendary horses he rode: Hall of Famers Citation, Whirlaway, Kelso, Nashua, Bold Ruler, Sword Dancer, Hill Price, and Real Delight, among numerous other champions and standouts.

Arcaro spent his childhood in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, which includes the Kentucky cities of Covington and Newport, just across the Ohio River border between the two states. His parents, Pasquale and Josephine, were Italian immigrants and his father held a number of jobs, including taxi driver and operator of an illegal liquor enterprise during Prohibition. Arcaro was born prematurely, and weighed just three pounds at birth; because of this, he was smaller than his classmates and was rejected when he tried out for a spot on a baseball team. His full height would reach just five-foot, two inches.

Arcaro served as a mentor to a younger generation of jockeys. Earlier, in the 1940s, he was one of the co-founders of the Jockeys Guild, which sought to secure disability assistance for injured riders and guard the profession against abuses such as race fixing. Arcaro was president of the Guild from 1949 until 1961. 

He retired to Florida, where he played golf and served as a broadcast analyst for Triple Crown races for a number of years. Widowed in 1988 when Ruth, his wife of 51 years, passed away, he remarried and spent the remainder of his years in the Miami area. He died of liver cancer on November 14, 1997, at the age of 81. Survivors included his wife, Vera, and children Robert and Carolyn.
H/T World Biography

Monday, October 30, 2023

Seems Biden Isn't The Only One Who Tumbles . . .

It's Really Not Very Complicated . . .


Antisemitism: What You Need To Know NOW!

Dan talks to four experts about the growing threat of antisemitism: Cantor Scott Borsky, Rev. Gregory Quinlan, Dr. Pnina Mintz, and Charles R Goldberg. Don't miss this enlightening, relevant and thought-provoking conversation.

Italian American Heritage Month: Rosina Bonavita

Rosina "Rosie" Bonavita

The iconic Rosie the Riveter was actually Rosie Bonavita from Long Island, N.Y. The image represented millions of American women who replaced male factory workers during World War II and helped get the country back on its feet.

Rosina Bonavita was 21 when she first landed in the national spotlight. America was at war. Her fiancè was serving in the Pacific, and she was a riveter in a former GM automobile plant in Tarrytown, N.Y. In June 1943, she and her work partner set a speed record in building a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber.

Rosie the Riveter was a symbol of the millions of women defense workers during World War II. She also was a symbol for women's rights and a changing America. And her powerful image of a determined woman has endured over all these many decades.

But Rosie Bonavita never felt she was a symbol. She simply saw her factory work as a patriotic duty -- like selling war bonds, giving blood, and learning home safety in case her neighborhood got bombed. She never made a nickel off being called "Rosie the Riveter" and never drew attention to herself. She reflected the simple, hard-working, unassuming approach of so many Italian Americans who selflessly made lasting contributions to our nation

Our Italian mothers, and grandmothers before them, may have started out as seamstresses or waitresses or hairdressers or factory workers with dreams of doing something more. But today, thanks to their hard work and dedication, their Italian-American children, and their children’s children, no longer have to dream. We have arrived; we have succeeded and we are everywhere!

The Fraud That's Being Perpetrated NOW!


The Hour Is Late, America: WAKE UP!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Italian American Heritage Month: Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola

Thomas Anthony "Tomie" dePaola was an American writer and illustrator who created more than 260 children's books, such as Strega Nona. He received the Children's Literature Legacy Award for his lifetime contribution to American children's literature in 2011. He wrote and/or illustrated over 270 books, including Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola's Mother Goose, Oliver Button Is a Sissy, and 26 Fairmount Avenue. Nearly 25 million copies of his books have been sold. His paternal grandparents originated from Calabria, where he set his well-known book Strega Nona.

Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, and the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show Lifetime Achievement Award. The American Library Association honored him with the Caldecott Honor and Newbery Honor awards and the previously noted Legacy Award for "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

Pratt Institute and Georgetown University, among others, granted him honorary doctoral degrees. Pratt Institute, in 2012, named him "one of the top 125 Pratt icons of all time." In 1999, he was selected for the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.

Tomie dePaola lived in New Hampshire, and worked in a 200-year-old renovated barn. He died in 2020.

And Now, 'Mr Speaker' Speaks The Truth . . .

Tomorrow Night, LIVE on Facebook And 'X'


Saturday, October 28, 2023

We'll Just Leave This Here For Now . . .

The Wild Life And Tragic Death Of A TV Legend

Famed TV star Matthew Perry is dead at 54 -- way to young to die. Perry of course rose to fame on the TV show Friends which made him rich and famous, something he said he always wanted; something he was willing to do anything to attain.

But apparently it was all to much for Perry to handle. He had an addictive personality and became addicted to cigarettes, drugs, liquor, sex -- almost anything bad that you could become recklessly addicted to. Perry had several close calls with death and he was in and out of hospitals and mental institutions with a harrowing frequency. In his bestselling memoir Perry explains it this way:
I remember thinking: Man, no one taught me the rules of life. I was a complete mess of a person -- selfish and narcissitic. Everything had to be about me, and I matched that with a really handy inferiority complex, an almost fatal combo. I was all about myself from the time I was 10 years old, from that moment when I looked around and said, It's every man for himself. I had to be so focused on me just to keep myself together.

The above was written as Perry reflected on his misadventures and the analysis and therapies that followed. He remained reflective, he understood his demons; he just had the damndest time trying to overcome them.

From TMZ:
Perry was reportedly discovered dead in the jacuzzi of a home in Los Angeles’ ritzy Pacific Palisades neighborhood just after 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that first-responders rushed to the address with the call first reported as a cardiac arrest.

They added that no drugs found at the scene and no foul play is suspected.
Matthew Perry had so much to live for. But he was a troubled soul and his troubles could not be solved by drugs, alcohol, tobacco, rampant sexual escapades and cheap thrills. Sadly, for Perry, therapy (and he tried a variety of approaches including AA) didn't always work either.

May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing!

And Who Doesn't Like (or Use) Butter?


Prospects Lookin' Up For Trump In Georgia


PRES: (R) Trump 51% (+2) (D) Biden 49% ~~ (R) Trump 45% (+9) (D) Biden 36% (I) RFK Jr. 15% (I) West 5% — GOP PRES: Trump 55% (+45) DeSantis 10% Haley 9% Ramaswamy 7% Scott 5% 10/09-12

Italian American Heritage Month: Jennifer Preziosi

Jennifer Preziosi

Incredibly, Jennifer Preziosi, a fourth-generation butcher and sole owner and worker of Albanese Meats & Poultry  maintains a century old family legacy and runs the last butcher shop in New York's famed Little Italy neighborhood.  

NY Eater says that when you "step inside the store, and you’ll find a display case of bone-in rib-eye, whole chickens, and Italian sausages. Dangling from the windows and suspended poles, there are boxes of dried pasta and fake sausages . . . and a wall dotted with postcards, old photographs, and painted portraits." You'll be "overwhelmed by the dizzying number of trinkets, enough to fit in their own museum."

More from Eater: "Born and raised in Brooklyn, Preziosi began visiting Albanese Meats & Poultry at a young age, though she never expected to wind up as the shop’s owner. Still, she and Moe [Moe Albanese her great grandfather, who ran the store] became tight, especially since they lived close to each other, and he would come over to eat dinner, help with homework, and watch New York Rangers games. “We would just have fun together,” she says.

And from there, Preziosi eventually went on to own and run the shop that still stands today.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Italian American Heritage Month: Frankie Avalon

Frankie Avalon

Frankie Avalon can look back on a career that spans three generations of music, television and motion pictures. He feels his sustained career in numerous media is due primarily to the loyalty and trust of his fans. And he's remained close to his audience every step of the way.

Avalon’s years as a “teenage idol” led to a professional maturity that has served him well. He's now one of the busiest nightclub performers in the country, playing the nations finest supper clubs and often headlining top rooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. His motion picture career has already spanned some thirty films.

Francis Thomas Avalone was born in Philadelphia and enjoyed a typical Italian American childhood surrounded by familial love, neighborhood camaraderie and great food.  “It seems like every young kid in Philadelphia wanted to be a singer”, recalls Frankie. “I started as a musician…a trumpet player in the beginning. But, when I picked up the paper one day and read about Jimmy Darren who was from my own neighborhood and school, making a successful career for himself, I decided that I could do it just as well.”

Even before the age of 10, Frankie seized every opportunity to enter local amateur contests, winning one after another. On his own initiative he began taking lessons, and continued his musical studies long and hard through the years that followed.  Although he down plays the fact, Frankie Avalon was a child prodigy who was good enough to make guest appearances as a trumpet player on The Perry Como and Jackie Gleeson Television Shows (see below).

Frankie has a long string of Gold Record Million-Seller singles and albums. In 1959 alone Frankie had 6 solid hits that were in the top 40 and his music became one of the defining sounds of the “Pre-Beatles” Rock and Roll. Frankie’s 30 motion picture credits are quite amazing. Frankie’s starring roles in the highly successful “Beach Party” film series are perhaps quickest to recall. In “The Take” co-starring Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Albert and Vic Marrow, Frankie showed not only his dramatic ability, but also his capacity for working “against type”.

Tomorrow's The Day - Let's Go New Jersey!

Joizee? It's A World Unto Itself . . .


It Well Worth Watching -- And Refreshing!

I watched Sean Hannity's interview with Speaker Mike Johnson last night. Johnson comes across as honest, sincere and direct without being confrontational. 
But here’s the most important thing: he’s a fresh face, and at only 51 he appeals to a whole new generation. Note that he rarely raises his voice and remains principled but also amiable. He’s serious and focused without being pedantic or sounding like a policy wonk. You can understand him and what he says makes sense. This is refreshing. 
But he’s facing a huge challenge. Hope springs eternal! 
 God bless America!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Italian American Heritage Month: John Basilone

John Basilone

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, of Raritan, New Jersey, was awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his outstanding heroism at Guadalcanal. Later, during the Iwo Jima campaign, he was killed in action on D-Day, 19 February 1945. 

At Guadalcanal, where he was serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, he used a machine gun and a pistol to kill 38 of the enemy from his emplacement and earn the nation's highest military decoration. 

At Iwo Jima, GySgt Basilone again distinguished himself, single-handedly destroying a Japanese blockhouse while braving smashing bombardment of enemy heavy caliber fire. For his exploit he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. While at Iwo Jima he was attached to the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division. 

Son of an Italian-born father, he spent nearly six years in the U.S. Armed Forces, and was a sergeant at the time he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation accompanying his Medal of Honor was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

The story about the 38 Japanese bodies comes from PFC Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, who was in the same unit with Sgt Basilone on Guadalcanal. 

"Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food," PFC Phillips recounted. "He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japs lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun but also using his pistol." 

Gunnery Sergeant Basilone's buddies on Guadalcanal called him "Manila John" because he had served with the Army in the Philippines before enlisting in the Marine Corps. 

He was one of a family of ten children. Born in Buffalo, New York, on 4 November 1916, he went to St. Bernard Parochial School in Raritan and enlisted in the Army at the age of 18. After completing his three-year enlistment he came home and went to work as a truck driver in Reisterstown, Maryland. 

In July 1940 he enlisted in the Marine Corps in Baltimore, Maryland. Before going to the Solomon Islands he saw service at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in addition to training at the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia; Parris Island, South Carolina; and New River (Later Camp Lejeune), North Carolina. 

Following World War II, GySgt Basilone's remains were reinterred in the Arlington National Cemetery, and in July 1949, the USS Basilone, a destroyer, was commissioned in his honor at the Boston Naval Shipyard. 

Medal of Honor citation:

"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area. Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."

MLB, NFL, NBA: Yeah, We're Talkin' To YOU!

Don't Miss This Important Event!


He Said It Better Than We Ever Could!

How DUMB Can 18 - 34 Group Be? Huh?

And the 35-49 group ain't much better! We're talkin' millennials and Gen X here! Thank goodness for Baby Boomers -- now our nation's wise elders!


Fantastic! It's Worth Watching The Whole Things!

The Whole Glorious, Big, Long Month!


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

OMG! NEVER More Relevant Than RIGHT NOW!

'Affordability?' Nah, . . . Murphy Could Care Less!

New Jersey State Senate Republican Leader Anthony M. Bucco and Senate Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon slammed Governor Murphy for avoiding real issues like the affordability crisis in New Jersey after a new report ranked New Jersey as the worst state on the 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index.

Sen. Anthony M. Bucco and Sen. Declan O’Scanlon slammed Governor Murphy for avoiding real issues like the affordability crisis in New Jersey after a new report ranked New Jersey as the worst state on the 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index. (Pixabay)

“Governor Murphy’s failed progressive priorities have hampered New Jerseyans with some of the highest tax burdens in the country. It is indefensible that Governor Murphy and Trenton Democrats continue to avoid the real issues while everyday New Jerseyans suffer under the crushing weight of the cost-of-living increases created by those very progressive policies they support,” said Bucco (R-25). “Democrats in Trenton have moved in lockstep with Governor Murphy to approve his extreme progressive wish list while squandering billions of dollars that could have been used to lowered taxes. Now, only when it is politically convenient will Democrats beg Governor Murphy to stop toll tax increases after rejecting Republican budget proposals that would have stopped this.”

The 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index, prepared by the Tax Foundation, reported that New Jersey has one of the highest property tax burdens, the highest-rate corporate income taxes, and one of the highest-rate individual income taxes in the country. New Jersey also levies a progressive inheritance tax.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority unanimously approved a 3% toll increase that will start January 1, 2024. This would be the fourth time since 2020 that tolls have been increased in New Jersey. Turnpike commuters will now be paying close to 50% more in tolls starting in 2024 than when Murphy first took office.

“If Republicans had been in charge, none of the toll increases that are draining more than $1 billion from road users every year would have happened. Our Republican budget proposal had enough budget revenue to allow for proper road improvements without piling on unnecessary taxes like this onto drivers,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “Instead, Trenton Democrats enabled the Murphy administration to recklessly spend money on pet projects like a French Arts Museum in Jersey City, a private swimming pool in Deal, a Dominoes Club, and artificial turf cricket fields. While Governor Murphy avoids the real issues that impact New Jerseyans every single day, Republicans stand ready to address the affordability crisis in New Jersey."

Italian American Heritage Month: Marge Roukema

Marge Scafati Roukema

She came out of nowhere to score an upset victory in one of New Jersey's most important congressional districts and then went on to serve 11 terms in the House of Representatives working across party lines to advance  broad based legislative initiatives. When she retired, Republican Marge Roukema was the longest serving woman in Congress.

A former schoolteacher, Roukema (pronounced ROW-kih-mah, the first syllable rhyming with how) was first elected to the House in 1980, four years after her son Todd died from leukemia at age 17. That wrenching experience, she said, motivated her to become active in politics and inspired her nearly decade-long effort to pass legislation allowing people to leave work for extended periods to care for newborn babies and deal with family medical issues without fear of losing their jobs.

Roukema was born Margaret Scafati on Sept. 19, 1929, in Newark. Her father was an auto mechanic, and his parents had immigrated from Italy. She received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Montclair State College in 1951 and did graduate work there. She taught high school history and government in Ridgewood, N.J., and from 1970 to 1973 served on the town’s Board of Education. She was also an honorary board member of the National Organization of Italian American Women.

In The Face Of Barbarism, A Steely Resolve!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

An Urgent Message: Support Israel NOW!

From Biden's Spokesperson: Absolutely Unconscionable!


Italian American Heritage Month: Rollie Massimino

Roland Vincent Massimino

Rollie Massimino coached for 30 years at the NCAA level. His name was synonymous with the best the game had to offer. Fittingly, in 2013 he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Massimino began his coaching career at Stony Brook where he compiled a 34-16 record in two years. His next stop was at Villanova, where he spent 19 years as the Wildcats' coach and amassed 357 wins. Massimino's 1984-85 Villanova team defeated conference rival Georgetown in the NCAA championship game in one of the greatest upsets in tournament history. In addition to the national title, Massimino's teams won five conference championships and received 12 NCAA tournament bids. He went on to coach at UNLV and Cleveland State for nine years and then finished his career at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida. By that time he had earned more than 800 victories as a college coach.

But it's at Villanova that Massimino really made his mark, established his reputation and became truly legendary. He treated players as family and to Massimino, la famiglia was everything. As his son noted at Massimino's memorial mass at Villanova: "He always made our family feel special, even when he was a high school coach making $3,600 a year. We had love, each other and pasta. What else could any family want?”

Massimino was a demonstrative coach and his rumpled presence courtside was part of the allure of Villanova basketball during one of it most triumphant periods. Massimino coached seven seasons at Villanova after the national championship, further cementing himself as an icon of the community and as a nationally known leader in his sport. Jay Wright, who was hired by Massimino as a Wildcats assistant in 1987 and served seven years by his side went on to coach two national championship teams for Nova. 

Rollie Massimino was much more than a coach Indeed, he was a mentor, teacher, friend and inspiration to those whose lives he touched.

Is A Reawakening Occuring? We Hope So!

Vote For These Candidates To Protect Our Coast!


Monday, October 23, 2023

Amidst Growing Antisemitism, Biden's Worried About Muslims!

Italian American Heritage Month: Carolyn C. Porco

Carolyn C. Porco

Carolyn Porco ios one of the world's most renowned planetray scientists.  She is primarily known for her work and breakthroughs in the exploration of the outer solar system, beginning with her imaging work on the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
She is a distinguished, recognized expert in planetary probes and leader of the imaging science team for the Cassini probe which is presently in orbit around Saturn.
Porco continues to be active in the presentation of science to the public as the leader of the Cassini Imaging Team. She is the creator/editor of the team's CICLOPS website where Cassini images are posted, and she writes the site's homepage ,"Captain's Log," greetings to the public. 
Carolyn Porco is also a popular public lecturer and speaks frequently on the Cassini mission and planetary exploration in general. She has presented at such renowned cross-disciplinary conferences as TED (2009, 2007) and PopTech (2006, 2005). She also appears frequently in the media; as of 2016, she is a StarTalk All Stars host. Porco is also is the CEO and President of Diamond Sky Productions, LLC.
On top of all that, she is the recipient of many awards and honors, including being named as one of the 18 scientific leaders of the 21st century by The Sunday Times of London.
Porco was born into an Italian working-class family in New York City in 1953. She grew up alongside four brothers in the Bronx. Her interest in astronomy came about during an adolescent spiritual quest, which led her to study eastern religions and philosophy.
Quite simply, Carolyn Porco has made the mysteries of the universe understandable to millions of ordinary people.

NJ: Heed This Positive, Uplifting Call!

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Magnificent Colors Of Autumn!

And Now, Halloween In New Jersey . . .


Italian American Heritage Month: Leon Giglio

Leon Giglio, aka Mandrake

Leon Giglio (1911 – 1993), better known by his stage name Leon Mandrake was an Italian-American magician, mentalist, illusionist, escapologist, ventriloquist and stunt performer billed worldwide as Mandrake the Magician.

Giglio/Mandrake was often referred to as the Dean of Magicians, the last of the great masters to be classed with Houdini, Thurston, Dante, Alexander, Blackstone and the greats of the past century. Mandrake encountered and entertained every strata of society, including the Royals, politicians, philosophers, artists, scientists, inventors, writers, hippies and hobos, carnival people, racketeers and confidence men. His opinions and views of life were taken from the entire spectrum.

In American and British societies for psychic research, Mandrake had been a consultant and field expert in detecting fraud, collusion, chicanery and subterfuge in all forms of occultism and in evaluating deceptive practices, delusions, superstitious belief or unsubstantiated claims in the field of extra-sensory perception. He sought out and studied the work of every well-known mystic, practitioner of the occult or pseudo-science and leaders of occult cults.

They've included Oriental mystics, psychic readers, national and foreign fortune tellers, mind readers, palmists, phrenologists, sand diviners, crystal ball readers, faith healers, fertility cultists and spiritual mediums, as well as those who practice voodoo or black magic. Mandrake's prime interest was in the activity of the subconscious mind, including mnemonic controls, habit patterns and emotional behavior. He shared in bringing hypnosis out of the entertainment stage and into practical usage as an aid in dentistry and certain nervous disorders. He debunked a great many popular theories and suppositions regarding the little-understood presentation of what it is, how it works, and its practical value.

Many of today's top illusionists site Mandrake as their inspiration and he remains a touchstone among masters of the art of magic.

A Polish Halloween? Well, Why Not?


Saturday, October 21, 2023

Remembering A Loving, Effervescent Spirit

My sister, Lenora, would have been 84 years old today. So, since she is no longer here, here are some things about Lenora that I want to share with you in her memory.

Lenora's full name was Lenora Nancy Cirucci and she later became Lenora Annibale after she married Frank Annibale. Lenora was very proud her name. She liked the fact that her name was distinctive and, except for a brief time in high school, she never answered to a nickname. It was always Lenora.
Lenora's middle name was taken from my paternal grandmother, Annunziata (Nancy) Santone Cirucci. Though Lenora always pronounced her married name as Anna-Bell, the correct Italian pronunciation remains Anneebalay with the accent on the nee and the final e. But the name has been Americanized to AnnaBell. If you knew Lenora, you knew that she was very proud of her Italian heritage. 

Lenora was a pre-war baby who arrived in 1939 and she actually remembered the air raid drills in Camden during the war and recalled my father working as a civil defense officer during those times. Since she arrived seven years before my birth, she had plenty of time to be celebrated and pampered by my parents as the "only child." But Lenora was never over-indulged or spoiled. Nonetheless, it must have been quite an adjustment when, at the age of seven, she took on the responsibility of being an older sister.

One of my earliest recollections (maybe I was two or three years old) is of Lenora fussing over me and combing my hair. My parents were 33 and 40 years old when I was born and, at that time, that was considered a rather advanced age to have a newborn. So, a lot of the responsibility of caring for me and
watching out for me was thrust upon Lenora. She was a very loving and protective sister and she continued to watch out for me even into her final days. Shortly before her death, she said to me: "I can't leave. I need to take care of you." I assured her that she cared for me and loved me more than any sister imaginable and that she needn't worry about that anymore.

Many mothers and daughters have difficult relationships.This was not the case with Lenora and our mother. It helped that my mother was a calm and patient woman who always listened and always understood. This special relationship with her mother endured through Lenora's teen years and into adulthood. Even after she married Frank Annibale, this relationship continued. Wisely, Frank was not only tolerant of the relationship but he eventually grew as close to my parents as Lenora and I were. We were all privileged to be the beneficiaries of their unconditional love.

When Lenora gave birth to her own daughter, Danielle, she began to establish the same relationship with her daughter that she enjoyed with my mother. And I can fairly say that Danielle now has the same relationship wiuth her own daughter, so the story has continued. 

To say that Lenora was vivacious would be an understatement. She had the ability to talk to anyone about anything. On some level she understood that everybody wanted to be recognized and she had a knack for making everyone feel special. If a person was particularly shy or diffident, she took it as a challenge to get that person talking, to draw that person out of his or her shell. And she nearly always succeeded. I always told her that she should have run for office because she had a way of attracting people and making them feel good.

But Lenora had no desire to make this her life's work. In fact, she sometimes complained to me that it was a responsibility to always be "on," to always be expected to be the life of the party. I explained to her that she had raised expectations and people expected her to meet those expectations. If she wasn't smiling; if she wan't engaging; if she wasn't effusive, they knew something was wrong. So, on those rare occasions when Lenora wasn't feeling up to it, she quietly withdrew. Most of the time, these periods were brief. But they gave Lenora a chance to catch her breath and spend some time with herself. And, believe it or not, there were days and there were moments when Lenora actually enjoyed being alone. She really didn't need the audience quite as much as they needed her. But still, she never let them down.

Lenora had a great deal of personal pride. I think she got this from my parents who continued to look their best and carry themselves with a certain bearing even into their eighties. Lenora never left the house unless she looked her best. She believed that being well groomed, putting on your makeup and getting dressed up would not only make others feel good but it would make you feel better about yourself.

She loved fine clothes, jewelry, the nicer things in life. It's not that she was overly showy about it. There was nothing shrill about the look that she put together. It was natural. It worked for her and it attracted others to her. If she couldn't look her best, she didn't want to be seen. That was not just a matter of personal pride but also, because on some level she was a very private person as well. She never, ever wanted to be viewed as an object of pity. The mere thought of that was abhorrent to her. And she shied away from burdening others with her own problems. She felt that people have enough of their own problems and also that talking about adversity or illness or disappointments was a downer.

Lenora wanted to talk about happy and beautiful things -- vacations, clothes, dining and so forth. In her own life, she had the remarkable ability to compartmentalize. She could take the unpleasant things that might be happening and just put them aside -- simply put them out of her mind, if need be. For her, this proved to be a remarkable blessing but she simply looked upon it as pragmatic.

And then there are so many other things. She loved children -- boundlessly! --all children. She dotted on her grandchildren and on her grand nieces and nephews. She loved sports and was naturally competitive in an open, healthy and balanced way. She adored elegant, cushy environments. She was a generous tipper and consequently was known to and looked upon favorably by many in the service industry. Having grown up in a political family, she kept herself thoroughly informed on current events and was quite political. For all the eating out she did (and she ate out a lot) she was a surprisingly good cook who could whip up one of her favorite dishes in an instant. Her pasta sauce (gravy) was incredible and she made the most wonderful crispelles (the Italian version of crepe). She loved to go to the movies and the theater. She had opinions on most everything and wasn't shy about sharing her views, though she was always more tactful than I.

You could write a book about Lenora and maybe, someday I will.
But that's enough for now.