(Above, from left to right: my uncle Rich, my father Dennis, their cousin Tommy, and uncle Rege)
My fathers side of the family came over from the region of Abruzzo in Italy. My great-grandfather Gaetano (which was almost going to be my name) and his wife Isabella came over to the United States and settled in Crabtree about 20-25 minutes from here. Crabtree was and still is the definitive Italian town in Western Pennsylvania. Their children were Yolanda, Gina, Amedio, and Secondine which is my grandfather. Secodine married Marie Steligo my grandmother and they had 5 kids. Kathy, Regis, Richard, Jerome, and my father Dennis. My father would say that his dad, Secodine would tell him how since Crabtree is a patch town, about 90% of the houses were duplexes. This means 2 families to a home. Near where we lived, there was 5 families and about 52 children were born within 2 and a half homes. Families with names like Trumbetta, Mangini, Arquillo, Garfola, Elda. They brought over their culture with them, working incredibly hard. My grandfather would work as a mechanic in the day, and come home to a line of cars that would come to the garage at his home and work even more. Even after that he would make extra money being a musician in a band playing the clarinet, saxophone and a scholarship for the oboe. Another characteristic brought from Italy was being sufficient along with the family by raising their own chickens and growing large gardens as well as canning what they grew. My dad would joke around saying they would use sauce as toothpaste. Money was tight, which is why my grandfather worked so much, so we enjoyed all of the little things in life. They had great value to them. Some examples of this was playing sports in the cow fields and fishing in the pond right up the road on a farm, the fellowship being around a close knit family, incredible food like Rizzos and Carbones which are still there today and more successful than ever, and the great fireworks every year. The culture and ethics from Italy have made quite a mark in western PA, and most defiantly in my family and in me.