Last updated: February 17. 2013 3:59PM - 22 Views

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Early in March, I received a telephone call from my first cousin, Sadie Miceli MacDonald, who lives in Connecticut asking, ??What are you doing the weekend of April 2nd?? Without hesitation I responded, ??Nothing. Does that mean you are coming to visit??
??As a matter of fact, it does. We have been invited to a party in Pittston and are planning to attend. There are five of us coming.?
It has been a few years since we have seen each other.
There have been telephone calls, cards and short notes written and sent but the visits were fewer and fewer. I called my brother Joe and Aunt Rose and gave them the good news. It was now a question of the time of arrival.
A few days later I received another telephone call from Cousin Charlie who manages to visit Pittston once or twice a year relating his excitement. In that conversation, I stated that lunch would be at my house and to pass the word.
The next day there is a message on my answering machine from Cousin Grace asking if I was sure we wanted to do lunch at my house. ??There are now nine of us coming.?
Great, this was turning into a cousin mini-reunion. Cousins are very important in Italian families. The more cousins we have the better we like it. First cousins are listed next to brothers and sisters.
I know there are residents in the area who remember my cousins. You may have attended school with one of them, were playmates or friends, or remember them from church.
They are the children of Phillip and Philipina Spano Miceli, parents of eleven children all born in the city of Pittston and baptized in St. Rocco??s Church. They are: Nicholas, Cataldo (Ky), Rosaria (Sadie), Phillip, (deceased), Joseph, Grace, Carmella, Charles, John, and the twins Daniel and David.
Writing about my cousins brings back precious memories of the times spent together. Their house on Spring Court was always filled with activity. Aunt Phil made the most delicious bread, knew how to stretch a meal and anyone who walked into the door was welcome.
Her day began with mass at 7:00 a.m. at St. Rocco??s Church and each night before bedtime the family knelt on the kitchen floor in front of an altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his mother Mary to recite the rosary.
My thoughts of Uncle Phil are of him working in the garage that was attached to the house repairing some kind of motor. He was a genius at building and making things run.
In his young years he rigged up a short wave radio. When television was new he was thinking color and made a devise of green and blue to place over the screen.
In his vision for better opportunities for his family they moved to Brooklyn, New York in the early 1950s.
When Saturday, April 2, arrived all was in readiness. Promptly at noon, the cousins began to arrive.
There was much hugging, kissing, hand shaking, back slapping and laughter. The total number for lunch was 19. Conversation flowed easily with remembrances of loved ones passed, memories of family gatherings through the years, and reminiscing of things the way they were.
I asked Cousin Sadie what she remembered most about Pittston. Her reply was, ??I remember everything. Downtown and all the stores for shopping, the two movie theaters, the Roman and American, the guys hanging on the meters in front of the pool rooms, and of course the high school.
When I think of Pittston it??s about the house on Spring Court and the gang; Millie Casale, Mary Frost, Mary Dominick, Theresa Ardenti, John Butera, and Sammy Inglima, congregating on the corner of Oak Street every night.
Grace admits when returning to Pittston passes the homestead and it seems so small. ??I can??t image that thirteen of us lived there.?
Carmella remembered the Laurel Line trellis that crossed Main Street at the bottom of Oak Street and how at ten years old it seemed impossible to cross Main Street to go to St. Rocco??s School.
The afternoon wore on quickly and it was time for the cousins to move on to their next destination. Again the hugs, kisses and promises to see each other soon.
Cousin Sadie returned at 10:00 p.m. to spend the night with Chet and me.
Sitting at the kitchen table we began to talk and talk. We are the kind of cousins who throughout our lives have shared secrets, problems, disappointments, expectations, happy times, sad times, and every day living. It was 1:00 a.m., our eyelids were beginning to droop; there were a few stifled yawns when we decided to call it a night.
The next morning after a fast cup of coffee, Cousin Sadie was off to join her brothers and sisters. Chet and I sat at the kitchen table commenting on what a beautiful day it had been. I commented that I had one disappointment.
Earlier in the week while shopping, I purchased two nightgowns for my cousin and me that were very suitable for our age group. You know the kind, long sleeves, down to the ankles and up to the neck. I thought it would be fun to wear matching nightgowns for our slumber party. However, because of all the talk at the kitchen table we did not get to the nightgowns.
When I expressed my disappointment in not wearing the matching nightgowns, Chet commented, ??Thank God you didn??t wear them, I might have made a mistake and followed the wrong nightgown down the hall!?
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