March 30, 2000
It was not my idea to add any more to the text of this book, but grandson George (Mary) strongly suggested that I make current the events that have occurred since the completion of this text. Since this is the beginning of the New Millenium, I have adhered to his wishes.
With the early marriages of Rosemary, Sal and Jean, it is easy to understand how quickly our first 12 grandchildren grew up, pursued their college careers, and successfully obtained lucrative positions. Some of them have already accepted the responsibilities of marriage and raising a family. Those of them who have not married yet are either too young, or are just not ready to make this serious commitment. I commend them for their cautious deliberations during this “waiting” process.
As was alluded to at the conclusion of “my story”, one of 1995’s big events was the birth of our third great-grandchild, Emily, on June 20, 1995. It was exciting for both Gina and Nick, as this was their first baby, and for Joanne and Sal, as well, since this was their first grandchild. Of course, I savored my very special role as Great-grandma for the third time.
We were all fortunate to be on hand to witness Emily’s debut at a family reunion at Sal and Joanne’s house which I had arranged on July 15, to coincide with Jean’s vacation time that she was allotted by her employer, Royal Insurance Co.
One of the reasons for this reunion was to continue a tradition I had started some years back since 1983. I wanted to stage a very special 45th birthday celebration of Jean, Peter and Frank, just as I had done for Rosemary, Sal and Paul. Up until now, I was not able to arrange to get Jean here in Pennsylvania as she was always so far away — California, Hawaii — and I myself, was unavailable, since I was on duty taking care of my sister, Rose, in Holiday, Florida during her terminal illness of Alzheimer’s. So, technically, Jean had already passed the age of 45, and as for Peter and Frank, they had not yet reached the age of 45. However, these factors did not present themselves as barriers to me. I decided to have a party regardless and a very special birthday cake for the three of them as well. Accordingly, and with a bit of humor (the baker had a very puzzled look on his face when I verbalized my request), I ordered the following message as a part of the cake decoration:
TO JEAN – 52 – 7 = 45
TO PETER – 41 + 4 = 45
TO FRANK – 37 + 8 = 45
All of this nonsense was a complete surprise to our three offspring and we all enjoyed watching their impressions of the whole thing. It was light-hearted fun.
It was on this special occasion that the original hand-written text of my story (consisting of four journals) was presented to Jean. I am giving this to her because she was the one who instigated the whole idea (quite innocently, I might add.) It seems that on Mother’s Day, 1995, she presented me with a beautiful journal. She said at that time, “Mom, I know you like to write. Whenever you get thoughts and ideas, just jot them down in this journal.” At that very moment, the idea was born that perhaps the reflections and recollections of my life might be interesting reading for our family. Of course, one journal would hardly be big enough to cover my life story, and so I purchased three more to complete the narration of events and information.
Thanks to granddaughter, Gina and son, Frank, the text has now been duly processed on the Internet. It is now available to all our family, so that they can duplicate and safely keep for themselves and their family members the loving memories I have expressed within these pages.
And so there it happened – on July 15, 1995 – a three-in-one celebration: 1) A brand new great-grandchild, Emily; 2) A triple birthday celebration and 3) the presentation of a book of memories of the Vecchio and Pappalardo families, to be enjoyed and shared by all our family.
After my sister’s terminal illness of Alzheimer’s and eventual death, I had to begin to make plans once again to get my belongings out of storage, and to establish my own home, so that I could enjoy once again the independence I had experienced before this whole Crisis began. Financially, I was not able to afford the luxury of Greentree Drive, since I had already expended my own personal reserve funds toward the high cost of necessary nursing care for my sister. However, with patience and time, I would eventually succeed in obtaining an apartment within my price range.
Meantime, through the generosity of paid air tickets by my “Florida Gang” – Mary and George, Jean and Rick, Denis Ann and Alan – as well as daughter Jean in Hawaii, I have traveled and continue to travel to the warm spots of Florida and Hawaii for comfortable warm periods of hibernation and rest. Up until 1996, I maintained a little furnished “studio” apartment at Ann Stack’s in E. Stroudsburg, to accommodate “my own private space” in between my visits to Florida and Hawaii. Ann’s residence was conveniently located close to Sal, Peter and Lisa, allowing me to enjoy many family events and get-togethers.
The latter part of 1995, daughter Jean informed me that grandson John fathered a little girl, Subhadra, our 4th great-grandchild, while living in California. She was born on August 22, 1995. Her mother Jennifer Novotny was not in agreement to marry John, but chose, instead to live at home with her mother and a male friend whom she has known for quite some time. Since Subhadra’s birth, Jennifer and male friend have borne one or two children. I had the opportunity of visiting Subhadra with grandson John several months shortly after her birth. It was a cordial visit, and the baby was beautiful. I have not seen her since.
Between the time of Mary and George’s wedding in August of 1987, and Gina and Nick’s wedding in October 1990, our family was informed that Denis Ann (Rosemary) was to be married to Barry Stewart in a very private ceremony. The marriage lasted for some years, but apparently there were some problems that arose, which necessitated an amicable agreement of divorce. Fortunately, there were no children involved to complicate the situation.
Since 1990, our lives have been enriched with more weddings of grandchildren and the births of great-grandchildren. Our fourth grandchild to marry was Jean (Rosemary) to Rick Horvitz in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on July __, 1996. It was a beautiful wedding performed in the tradition of the Jewish faith. The reception, which followed, was very festive and friendly with many interactions. Jean and Rick presently live in Boca Raton, and own and operate an exotic bird store. Jean is attending law school and expects to graduate on May 21, 2000. As an aside, George (Mary) also obtained his civil engineering degree while already married with two children, as well as working full-time in a local engineering office. These are examples of ideals and responsibilities, which can be achieved with perseverance. I must mention here that all our kids and grandkids have pursued very lucrative careers and have become successful in their chosen fields. We are very proud of their accomplishments.
Since Jean and Rick’s marriage, their first baby, Samantha (our seventh great-grandchild) was born on October 29, 1998. They have enjoyed parenthood, watching Sammy doing the interesting things babies do, and now, with experience behind them, they are awaiting addition number two sometime in August of this year.
On September 1, 1996, our fifth grandchild to marry was Danny (Joanne and Sal). He and Yatta (Weber) were united in marriage in Maryland, and like Jean and Rick, were married in the tradition of the Jewish faith. It was a beautiful ceremony, as well as the reception, which followed. Danny and Yatta had the good fortune of knowing each other all during their years together at Penn State. Some years later, both were in agreement to “tie the knot”. While we were enjoying the wedding, we were also very mindful of the advent of our fifth great-grandson Tony (Gina and Nick) who was scheduled to make his debut at any moment. He was conveniently born on September 8, 1996. How wonderful to have shared both of these beautiful events. But now to add more good news. We have just been informed that Danny and Yatta, who live near Columbus, Ohio, have become the proud parents of a little girl, Renna, born on February 25, 2000. Needless to say, we are overjoyed to welcome our eighth great-grandchild to our ever-growing family. Now, we are awaiting great-grandchild #9 (Jean and Rick) in August of this historic New Millenium.
On October 13, 1997, we heard the good news that Mary and George were blessed with a baby girl, Anastasia, our sixth great-grandchild. They were more than ready to welcome the new life style and demands of a little girl after having handled two active, growing boys. George and Sal are already attending parochial school, and are adjusting to it very well. Stasia is sweet, a well-adjusted 2 year old and loves to sing, which makes me happy, a music lover.
In 1997, still without a residence of my own (yet enjoying my travels and visits with my family) I was fortunate, finally, to have had the opportunity of securing a lovely 1 bedroom apartment in Bethlehem, the Christmas City. It is conveniently located near Michele, Frank and family (8/10 mile) and SS Simon-Jude R.C. Church (1/2 mile). I must express my deepest thanks to Michele and Frank for being the ones responsible in the procurement of this beautiful little “nest” on my behalf. The location is ideal – one block from the local bus, which connects to the nearby malls and stores. But the crown jewel for me is that our building is in view of the beautiful, scenic South Mountain on, which is perched, the Star of Bethlehem. It is illuminated each night until midnight, so that all can enjoy the beauty and the glow it radiates silently. In addition, the Lehigh River can be seen when the trees are bare of leaves. It seems to me that God has given me the very scenes we all enjoyed while we were living in the valley in Shawnee. To top off all of this is the minimal rent, which I pay. This is a premium opportunity given to those who are on fixed incomes, like myself. Moving day took place in late November of 1997, with a full family of helpers, as well as Frank and Michele’s good neighbor, Jimmy Villani, to assist me in the cumbersome task of moving. I am grateful to God for all He has done for me. I am truly a happy camper. Of course, I miss the proximity of being close enough to be with Sal, Peter, Lisa and families as well as friends I have known in that area for many years; however, I manage to spend time there for extended visits from time to time. By car, it is only 40 minutes away. I have been happily settled in my own little place these past 2 ½ years, and enjoy living in it in between my visits to Florida and Hawaii. It is a great feeling to find it there waiting for me whenever I return from my travels.
The sixth wedding of the “grandchildren series” was Sal (Sal and Joanne) and Tram Nguyen. Sal had been living in Hauvre de Grace, Maryland, while holding his position with the GAP. Tram, who lived nearby was taking courses to complete her degree in Business Administration as well as working at a local bank. Tram is from a Vietnamese family, and is the youngest of eight children (7 girls, 1 boy). She was the last daughter to be married. The wedding took place on November 6, 1999 in Bel Air, Maryland at St. Margaret R.C. Church. The wedding was beautiful and Tram’s family members were most cordial and hospitable to all of us in attendance. Prior to the wedding, Sal was transferred to California by his employer. This necessitated the need to locate close to his area of business (Ventura). Accordingly, Sal and Tram were successful in purchasing a home in Oxnard, California, as well as being able to find a buyer for the town house, which Sal had purchased while living in Maryland. All of these details, plus getting married, was no easy task, but in the end, all went well.
The seventh wedding of our grandchildren was a repeat performance for Denis Ann. Her marriage to Alan Partis took place on December 4, 1999 in Boynton Beach, Florida in a beautiful outdoor setting called the Brazilian Court. The day was a perfect one for such a beautiful event. Rick (Jean) officiated at the Ceremony as a certified Notary Public to seal the vows of marriage, which was then followed by dinner, soft music, and much camaraderie and interaction.
Alan and Denis Ann had the good fortune of meeting on the Internet. Following this introduction, both took enough time to meet and really learn about each other’s personality, characteristics, etc. After a reasonable length of time, both were assured that they were ready to spend the rest of their lives together as man and wife, and we, as family, concur with their commitment of love and marriage. Alan is employed in computer technology and Denis Ann is Manager of a very busy seafood restaurant. They are living in Boynton Beach, not too far away from Jean and Rick. Fortunately, both married sisters and spouses are able to visit one another quite often. Alan and Denis are planning a delayed honeymoon to Italy sometime in May of 2000. Enjoy the beauty of Italy.
Now we are awaiting the more weddings to take place this year of the New Millenium. Granddaughter, Kathleen (Sal and Joanne) who is also our godchild, is planning to marry P.J. McIntosh in June. Kathleen just completed her master’s degree in library science and is presently employed in a public school district near Reading, Pennsylvania. We are looking forward to this beautiful event which I believe will be taking place in an outdoor setting in the Stroudsburg area. Outdoor weddings are still very popular, transcending its own natural beauty to the beautiful event of matrimony.
In addition to Kathleen, granddaughter Danielle (Rosemary) is planning to marry Randy Ehlers in September of this year in Manayunk, Pennsylvania. Randy and Danielle have known each other for many years, and are more than ready for marriage. Both operate a small grocery store and delicatessen in Manayunk, and have been watching the business grow with much satisfaction and hard work. Rosemary (our # 1 kid) likewise operates a delicatessen in Manayunk. We are proud of the three of them, and their abilities to build up a good rapport with a very demanding public while negotiating the many tasks involved to feed hungry customers with their culinary demands. Needless to say, we are all looking forward to these beautiful events that are yet to happen. We all join together in wishing them life’s very best.
Below is a chart of the marriages of our grandchildren and the detailed information of the great grandchildren involved:
- Mary (Rosemary) married to George Walter Tedder III in August of 1987
– George IV – March 26, 1993
– Salvatore – January 11, 1995 (Sal)
– Anastasia – October 13, 1997 (Stasia)
- Denis Ann (Rosemary) married to Barry Stewart
- Gina (Sal and Joanne) married to Nick Mistishen in October of 1990
– Emily – June 20, 1995
– Anthony – September 8, 1996 (Tony)
- Jean (Rosemary) married to Rick Horvitz in July of 1996
– Samantha – October 29, 1998 (Sammi)
- Danny (Sal and Joanne) married to Yatta Weber in September of 1996
– Renna – February 25, 2000
- Sal (Sal and Joanne) married to Tram Nguyen in November 1999
- Denis Ann (Rosemary) married to Alan Partis in December of 1999
- John Giuffre (Jean) (No marriage) Jennifer Novotny
– Subhadra – August 22, 1995
I must say at this time how efficiently today’s parents can manage their professional jobs while taking care of the many responsibilities of bringing up a family. In our own family, Mary and George, Gina and Nick, Lynn and Peter, Michele and Frank, Lisa and Paul (while he was living), Jean and Rick, and now Danny and Yatta — all seem to know how to budget the time necessary to accommodate the many tasks involved in raising children. They are to be commended and deserve praise.
Joanne, Rosemary and Jean have not been overlooked as to their achievements. Their role as mother took place at a time when mothers, most of the time, remained at home as full-time homemakers, chauffeurs, and care givers. They handled plenty of pressures and endless tasks, with sometimes little time on hand to resolve what had to be done, but somehow of other, things progressed anyway. As for Jean, she basically was attached to the Krishna temple in Los Angeles for many years. Grandson John was raised and educated within the confines of the temple, starting at a young age. Now both of them are living their lives independently. At present, John is living with his mother in Hilo, and is pursuing a license in the field of massage and is enjoying his choice of career. Jean has earned her license as an outstanding life insurance agent and is employed by the Royal Insurance Company and doing very well. So, to all of my family, hats off to all of you for doing such a great job, raising our beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As an added thought, I must commend and honor families whose daughters our sons were most fortunate to have married. Jean and Jim Murphy, Carol and her late husband Ken Matthews, Ronnie and her late husband, Ray Frey, and Betty and Bud Waddington. They have extended themselves in so many generous and unselfish ways to love, encourage and support the families of their children. I like to feel that Dad and I were also a part of this unique support system. Each of our sons has found his perfect mate as wife and mother, and we have inherited four very special daughters-in-law, who will always have a special place in our hearts.
Thank you, Lord, for all the many blessings You have given to each and everyone of us, and may we follow in your footsteps as we interact with one another in our journey of life.
Postscript: Since this is my final phase of the original book I have already written, I would suggest that each of you keep a number of blank pages at the end of this text, so that you can record future events which you feel are noteworthy.
Good Luck! When I turn 100, I will be looking forward to all that you have recorded and will enjoy every word!
Love and Peace.
* * *
I confess to having asked Grandma, or GGMA, to write a brief epilog. Kind of: to catch us all up to date since the last writing. After all, it had been five years since the last chapter was written and many exciting things had happened in the life and times of Mary Pappalardo. And my gift to all of you is to have committed it to the computer era before Grandma leaves for her next journey. We really like being part of the travels of Gulliver, I mean GGMA. I can tell you first hand that she under exaggerates a lot of what she sees. Grandma is a person that always has a nice thing to say about everyone. On occasion, I have seen her somewhat frustrated at trying to find the right words to say to not offend or degrade another person.
I just wanted to tell all of you how fortunate I am to have GGMA in my life. The lives of Mary, myself, and each of our children are inexorably blessed to have had her with us all of these past seven years. Mary Pappalardo is a blessed woman and is to be praised for all that she has done in her life. Each of us, whether we are direct descendants of her or not, we are now part of her life.
Often Grandma reflects on how good the Lord has been to her. And you know what, I believe her. I enjoy watching her walk with my daughter, as they go off to share a cup of juice or coffee and watch Barney, in GGMA’s room. Or how integrated she is in the lives and formation of my two rebel boys. It seems that they both know that to defy GGMA is something that they really don’t want to do. Or before supper, how she will go into the family room and play the piano. Or how she walks in the rain to the grocery store, because she wants to. We are all so fortunate to have her in our lives.
Mary and I have been doubly blessed for the past seven years to share our lives and home with GGMA. She has helped us to grow in so many ways; they are innumerable. Even when GGMA is not here, her room is. Plus the fact that our children will have vivid and fond memories of GGMA for the rest of their lives. I often reflect back to the time that I spent with my Grandmother and Great-grandmother. Those were very good times. I am here to tell you that I really enjoy having her in Gainesville.
I’m not going to ruminate for very long, or belabor my love for Grandma. I just want her to keep coming to Gainesville for as many of those next twelve years as possible. And the rest of you “Johnny-come–lately”‘s; get your own GGMA!!! I’m not trying to be selfish; I just like having her around.
George Tedder III
April 3, 2000