Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dolores Rose on Clark's Summit



  I grew up in a small booming steel mill town in the fifties and sixties. Beside the Foundry and Copperweld, there was the” Glass House” and that is how my hometown got its name – “Glassport.”


 I grew up a city girl, I lived with my parents and younger brother in an alley behind the main street. At night, in bed, I could hear the streetcars, trucks, and cars going through town. I also heard the trains rumbling on the tracks, and sometimes, during the night, the whistle blew. The trains had a caboose back in the day, a man sat in the caboose, and he would wave to us when we waved.  I fell asleep to those sounds every night.


 When I turned seven years old, I got my first puppy dog, Skippy. He was all white and such a good little dog. He use to follow me to school and the nuns would make me send him back home, if I didn’t, he would have waited for me all day. I had him for a while, he was my best friend. I looked forward to going home after school, because I knew he would be there waiting for me to play with him. One day I came home and he didn’t come to greet me. My parents were sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me, they told me they had to give my dog, Skippy away because he had the mange. I was heartbroken, I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye, or hug him one more time. The grief is still inside of me and I still remember him wagging his tail when he saw me.


  Hemlock Alley was a great place to live. It was filled with kids playing dodge ball, riding bikes, playing tag, mumbly peg, or the guys stood at the corner of the alley talking or “watching the girls go by”. We girls hung out at the local drugstore, having vanilla or cherry cokes, sitting in booths talking about boys, their D. A. haircuts, dances, skating, hair, and clothes. In the summertime – Glassport Swimming Pool was “thee” place. Every day, usually 6 days a week I could be found there along with mostly all the other kids that lived in town.


   On Sundays all the stores were closed, it was truly a day of rest. We would go to church and either family & grandma would come for dinner at our home, or we would go to my grandmothers for dinner. It was either homemade gnocchi, ravioli, pasta, Braciola, with homemade bread. I didn’t care what it was because it was all delicious.   


 We didn’t have a sit down breakfast on Saturday or Sundays. Saturday we were on our own, and Sunday was always an early Italian dinner, usually around one o’clock.


 It was an innocent time. Moms didn’t have to work outside the home, they made homemade meals and baked cookies.  I remember my mom making homemade Eggnog. It was so delicious, made with one raw egg, milk, vanilla, and sugar, beaten with hand beaters until foamy. And - my mom made the best “eggs & toast” when I was sick. It was a 3 minute egg mixed with toast that was torn up in a bowl. Her Pastina soup would make any one better!  When I was a young mom and my boys got sick, I made the same things for them, and they liked it as much as I did.


  Our teenage “bad things” consisted of smoking, and the guys also liked to drink beer. We had our own “Fonz.” He use to ride on his motorcycle up to the high school every day at noon. The guys would gather around him and the girls would admire him from afar.


   Most of us after high school didn’t go to college. I went to Franco’s Beauty School in Pittsburgh, graduated, and worked as a hairdresser at Yolanda’s Beauty Shop. Guys who didn’t go to college went to trade school or went to work in the steel mills.


   I married at the age of 20 and had my first born at 21, and 3 more followed. My 20ty’s were “having baby” years. I had four boys between 1964 and 1971, with the two oldest being Irish Twins!


The time has gone so fast, I cannot believe I am now in my twilight years. It does not seem possible, truly, it doesn’t.


   I’m not complaining, believe me when I say I am thankful I have made it this far.  God willing and the creek don’t rise (as my dad would say), He will let me live to see my oldest granddaughter graduate from high school.


 


They call us “survivors.” They say that the day you are diagnosed, you are a survivor. I will just say that I have had cancer 3 times. The first time was in 2006, the second time in 2013 and was called a recurrence – of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, the fourth time in 2014, was called metastasized – stage 4, because it went to my right lung.


My oncologist says I am stable, not NED (no evidence of disease), but stable because I still have some spots on my right lung.  I am taking oral chemo pills to hopefully keep me stable or better yet NED.


The pills I take one week on, and one week off. The week on I am fatigued and in pain, but I push on because it is better than sitting at home twiddling my thumbs.  Working 3 days a week keeps me sane, and I am around people. I would not see or talk to a sole if I stayed at home. No one is around, the phone does not ring, (sometimes I wonder if people think I’m contagious) so I am very thankful for my work at the library.


I get so involved that I forget about unpleasantness, until it is time for me to get up to get a drink, or go to the rest room – (I am unsteady on my feet and walk as if I have had a little too much to drink.)


God has been so very good to me. I pray to Him and St. Jude every day. St. Jude is the saint of the hopeless or impossible. I have other saints I pray to also but not every day.


 I’m thankful for the little things. You know how people try to make out dogs, dragons or cars from the clouds? I look for and make out angels. I have not only seen them in the clouds, but a lot of them here on earth.


  


 


 


 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day, my 50th!

  My family and I just celebrated a wonderful Mother's Day, the weather even cooperated!
I can't believe that this is my 50th year as a mother.
    I can still visualize the nurse placing this little bundle into my arms, and seeing his bright little blue eyes looking into mine, my heart melted. I felt this deep love along with apprehension, realizing that I was responsible for this precious life. We named him Ronald John, Ronald after my husband, John after my dad. Nick name was Ron Jon.
     Ron and I were in awe of our son, if he so much as made a sound we would both jump up, (I'm sure all of you who may be reading this and are parents know what I mean.) It ended up we jumped up a lot because he was colicky, he cried constantly, day and night. Poor little thing couldn't adjust to the formula until the doctor told us to put him on Carnation Milk diluted. That did the trick. Finally we could enjoy him the way we should.
    He was a happy little baby always smiling and he was smart too. Not only that, but he walked at 9 months! That's just about the time I gave birth to our second son, yes - Irish twins they call it. Ron and Brian are the same age for close to two weeks!
    When I was pregnant with Brian, I didn't know how I would be able to love him, I had so much love for our first, that I didn't think it was possible to have love for two. I remember asking my mother-in-law -" how am I going to love this baby?"  She said,  "it comes naturally, you'll see."  Of course she was right, I fell in love all over again when my 2nd little 9-1/2 lb., baby boy was born. Where our first weighed 7-1/2 lb. and was blond and blue eyed, this little guy was chubby and had lots of dark hair. So different, like night and day. He was not colicky and slept through the night almost immediately.
      Life settled into a happy routine for me. I became I stay at home mom and enjoyed every minute of it. I was a twin of Betty Crocker, I made homemade bread, pies, cakes, but mostly I enjoyed and  learned how to become a mom, and  loved every minute of it. I read to them, played with them and watched them play with each other. It really was almost like having twins. They made me laugh with their antics and worry when they ran a fever.
      Four years after Brian was born, I gave birth to another little boy, Douglas. I had gall -bladder attacks carrying Doug, and had to be hospitalized. They put me in a private room away from all the mom's that just gave birth.  I could here the other mom's talking, and one had a music box that played Toyland. I loved that song so much and was so happy every time it was played. I told Ron I wanted that for a gift when I gave birth, but I didn't get it until years later, many years later, but it still means so much to me. Doug was born in 1969, the same year that the man walked on the moon!  He was a delightful baby and so good. Ron Jon & Brian were always wanting to hold him and play with him. Two years after that I gave birth to our 4th little boy, Jeffrey David. He, too was such a good baby. I was blessed.
     I had complicated pregnancy with Jeff, I started to hemorrhage and had to spend time in the hospital again. While the doctor was examining me, he asked me what I thought was a strange question. He asked if I really wanted to have this baby! I was shocked that he asked me such a thing, I said yes, of course I want my baby. So he prescribed these pills that I had to take for the rest of my pregnancy. (years later I found out that the pills I took could cause thyroid cancer in girls that were born during that time and the mothers had to take the pill.) Then they told me that I had to stay on bed rest until he was born. Let me tell you, that was tough trying to stay on bed rest. We had just moved into our brand new home we had built, a two story and I was not allowed to climb steps!. My husband had to work, and I had to take care of my other 3 little ones. I was frightened that I was not going to be able to carry to full term. It was a scary time for me. I did carry Jeff though and he was born on time, the only thing is that I hemorrhaged afterwards also, which really scared me. To this day I hate the sight of blood.
    Not only all of that, but they induced me twice with Jeff. And then, I developed post partum depression, Gowd was I a mess!  At that time, people were ashamed to admit that they suffered from it. It was kept hush, hush. people were not aware of what caused it and looked at you strangely. I never told my mom because I was ashamed, but thank God for my mother-in-law. She came down everyday to take care of the kids, because I was in no shape to do so. It lasted from August until November, Thanksgiving to be exact. Depression is disabling, but I never wanted to hurt my baby like some women have done. Today post-partum depression is accepted, understood, and treated, thank goodness.
      After that ordeal was over, I was finally able to be a real mom. There is nothing better than being  mom to my sons. I would not trade them for anything. I was the first female in their lives and remained number one until each of them started kindergarten. Each of them fell in love with their teacher! Yes, I was heartbroken, now they wanted to share their cookies with their teacher instead of me, but hey, I still had them when they came home.
       It seemed like I just celebrated my 50th birthday, but - no - it is my oldest son who is 50. He is still lovable, and happy. His brothers all look up to him and each other. Sure there have been squabbles here and there, but when it comes right down to it, there is love.
          I truly think I was born to be a Mother and to this day enjoy it and treasure my sons.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Smells





SMELLS









Funny title for a blog eh? But just like there is - "What's in a Name? -" there is "What's in a Smell?"
It's not the best spring day, its not the worst spring day, but a day that I can open my window. As I do, I am immediately taken back home to Glassport, my hometown.
  The smell as I opened the window was that of the foundry,  where my dad worked, I can see the black lunch bucket he carried back and forth to work everyday. He usually walked the many blocks it took to get to work, sometimes he got a ride with a friend, but not often.
 Not a bad smell at all, but, oh, the memories that came flooding back in my mind! I visualized so many things all at  once, it doesn't seem possible that so many visions went through my head at the same time, but they did.
  I see my mom in the kitchen kneading dough to make homemade buns, the decorative glass bowl sits out, the one my mom made the salad in everyday for dinner, that bowl is in my china closet now, along with the red and white bowl my mom used in making her delicious biscuits. I treasure them.  (I wonder if, when I am gone my sons will remember - I should write notes to put in them so they know how special they are to me, along with my baby dish when I was a baby.)
 I see the produce store with Mr. Orlando sweeping out front with his hat on, and Mattie walking down the main street, smiling and waving at everyone, such a sweet guy. There's Mrs. Darling from Darling's Market, and her husband and son, Saul. The dentist, Dr.Raden, Dr. Cibric, who made house calls, Dr, Finemen, the eye doctor. I can hear the sound of the streetcar doors opening so we could get on or off  at the Paper Store. The fountain water changing colors at night. Islay's, where we got the most delicious ice cream cones, and mouth watering chipped ham.
 I can still hear the 4 o'clock whistle signaling the end of the day shift at the foundry, and us kids knowing that it was time to head home for "supper."  We didn't have frozen food back in the day, everything was made fresh (without antibiotics in the meat.)
 My mom always had a bowl of fruit for dessert on weekdays, on weekends there were pies, and cakes. I can't really remember mom making cookies except at Christmas time. I can see the clothes hanging out to dry, towels and all, there were no dryers back then.
  Yes, there is a lot in a smell, at least for me, and this I smelled when I opened the window this morning.
 



Monday, March 2, 2015

Living With Cancer

          Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3 is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day - This cancer is not the kind you want to have if you have to have cancer at all. The only drug that attacks it is chemo.
         There are so many different kinds of chemo that are used, it depends on the type of breast cancer you have. People receive more than one drug at a time usually, along with steroids, anti-nausea meds and who knows what else that they are pumping into your veins. 
           It usually takes about four hours, during that time I would talk with Ron, we would talk to others in the room, or  look through cancer magazines. There were sometimes that I would take a nap and Ron would go exploring the floor.If my appointment was in the mid-morning, we would still  be there when they served a light lunch. I sat in a recliner, but Ron had to sit in a regular chair. The nurses were very kind, and if they were not too busy they would make us laugh. At one treatment Ron and the nurses sang doo wop songs, they had the whole room involved. It was a nice session. Some people had their treatments in private rooms while they were in bed. When a person was finished with Chemo the nurses would make a big deal out of it and gave out a diploma to show that they got through the treatments.
          The type of cancer I had/have is the same kind of cancer that Robin Roberts had, Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  I was diagnosed in October, the 17 of 2006. After many tests, scans, x-rays, MRI's - I had  a lumpectomy on Nov. 27, 2006. I really wanted a mastectomy, but my doctor told me that I didn't need one. They told me it was a very early cancer, with no lymph node involvement. I was Stage 1, grade 2.  I remember so vividly the one doctor telling me that this was just a bump in the road and I could go on and live my life after my treatments and radiation. I believed him.
           I had to have 5 very strong treatments of chemo followed by 33 rounds of radiation. I had a very scary side affect after my first chemo treatment. My white blood cells crashed, it actually went down to zero, which is bad. This happened three days after the treatment. I was running a fever and called the doctor who told me to go to the emergency room. At the hospital I was put into a private room and everyone had to put on a  mask and gloves before coming into the room. I didn't have an  immune system to combat any germs that might be floating around. Thank goodness for Neulasta, it somehow works in bringing the white blood count back up. After that we had to drive to AGH the next day after treatments so I could get the Neulasta shot. There were no problems with my count after that. I am not sure if that is the correct spelling of the word.
         I was relatively healthy at the time I was diagnosed, so I was able to work during treatment plus continue to exercise. Pretty much my life went back to normal after it all was done, except I had to have a pacemaker put in for Atrial Fib that I developed caused from the radiation treatments.
        Two years after I had to have a radical hysterectomy. I came home with a catheter that I had for a week. Not very pleasant and I could not wait to get it out. Otherwise everything went well with the operation and no cancer was found,
       I have not felt carefree or normal since having cancer, I have been robbed of those wonderful days of waking up feeling normal and carefree. Sure, there are days when I don't think about it as much, but not a day goes by that I don't. All I have to do is  look in the mirror if nothing else.
         5-1/2 years later my doctors told me I was on my way out. They considered me in permanent remission and they didn't want to see me for a year - a whole year! I was thrilled, I actually believed them. Finally I could start making plans for the future, my doctors told me I had it licked. That was in December, 2012.  I felt the lump in January of 2013 (same breast-recurrence) and on Feb.27, 2013  I had a mastectomy. Recuperating this time was hell for me. I had drains, pains, and too much time by myself except for visiting nurses. After I healed from all of the above, I had to go through 6 rounds of Chemo, this time with side effects, I had abnormal bleeding, I was extremely fatigued and had a hard time moving around. Treatment lasted from March until August 2013. It was nothing like the first time.  I actually had to take a leave of absence from work because of fatigue and off and on pain. I was really weepy this time, I don't know if it was from losing a breast or the fact that the cancer came back.  As I started to heal mentally and physically,  I started to  think," now I will be ok  - it's gone, no lymph node involvement, clear margins, they got it all out, and I made it through all the treatments - I'll be okay now."  WRONG -
        I was having a CT scan for another issue when the doctor told me that the CT scan showed the spot on my lung had gotten a little bigger from the last time I had a CT scan. I didn't even know I had a spot, no one ever mentioned it to me. So to make a long story short, that is how I found  out by accident that the breast cancer went to my lung. Even though it was devastating to find out, I was fortunate that the CT scan for another problem showed that spot was larger. 
        There it started all over again, I had to go to a pulmonary doctor and surgeon, I had to have a biopsy of the lung. The biopsy came back negative, even though the pet scan showed differently. I have to say I truly did not think it was cancer because of my so called gut feeling and the results of the biopsy. But my pulmonary doc explained it to me this way. "a pepper can look so perfect from the outside, all red and shiny, but when you cut the pepper open, you see that it is rotten by the core."
So this past August of 2014, I had a cancerous triple negative breast cancer nodule removed from my lung. I have seventy percent lung capacity and still have 3 spots on my lung at this time, but am now taking oral Chemo to hopefully shrink the spots and keep the cancer at bay.
      The last CT scan showed activity in the frontal part of my skull, so I had to have another test to see if it was cancer. I was really beside myself, even though my doctor said that radiation would take care of it, I didn't want it to be cancer.  I had that test this past Thursday and found out today, Monday that it is not cancer. God is so good to me and I am so very thankful. I am also thankful for all who pray for me. It is such a comfort.
       I'm living a new normal now. Cancer has taken its toll on me. I have chemo brain, *(yep it really exist) I have a hard time with my balance, and I walk like I'm drunk. Plus the fatigue, joint and back pain stop me from doing the things that were so normal to me before. Like going to a bookstore and browsing through everything at my leisure, going shopping - I really miss shopping, both grocery and department store. I am thankful that I can still go to work at a place I love and enjoy, I am still able to attend the grand kids activities and do what Ron loves most, go out to eat.
        Ron does the cooking now, lets face it - he does mostly everything. He is so good to me, he never complains, but yet listens to me complain- which I do a lot, trust me. I get upset because I can't walk right - climb steps as if they were mountains, if I want to work in the kitchen I have to sit on a chair, and the HERNIA.
       BUT- I am so thankful for what I do have, for my family, my life - yes my life - I am still here and try to make the most of the day I have been blessed with.
                       I am blessed in so many ways that I have no right to complain at all.


This has not been double checked for mistakes, so there are probably many - just ignore or correct what ever you feel like doing -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chrostmas Without Santa


Christmas without Santa
Growing up in the fifties was great. Our mothers did not work and that gave them time to make delicious meals and deserts for their families. We didn’t know how blessed we were to have that.  In today’s world it is far and in between that Mom is able to stay home to take care of their kids. Today some parents work from home and can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak,
Christmas was an exciting time for me as a child. I could not wait till Santa came to our house. I was a firm believer and no other kid could tell me different.  After all, I left cookies and milk out for Santa to eat, and carrots for the reindeer, the next morning when I came downstairs there were just crumbs, the milk was gone along with the carrots. That’s how I knew Santa was real.
One Christmas Eve after I was already in bed, company came to visit my parents, and they woke me up with their laughter. I came down the steps stopping at the bottom landing and asked my Mom if Santa had come yet. She said no, but I asked if I could look. She reluctantly said ok, so I walked through the kitchen feeling shy because the company was sitting all around the kitchen table and I felt everyone was looking at me, though no one said a word. I walked into the living room and saw all of the presents.   I said Mommy, he did come, he did!  I asked if I could open up my presents and was told just one, so I sat on the floor and grabbed a present. Looking down to open it, I saw my name written in my Mom’s handwriting. I looked up at her and said “Mom, you wrote this, this is your handwriting.”    My heart broke when I said “You’re Santa” and she said yes.
But at least one thing stayed true – celebrating Jesus’s birthday. As I got older one of the most favorite parts of Christmas, was going to Midnight Mass. Listening to the beautiful Christmas hymns being sung by the choir, seeing the little baby Jesus in His manger and singing with the choir to Silent Night. Afterward my friends would come to my house for a while and we would exchange gifts between us.
                  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SOMETIMES

Sometimes it is easy to forget the reality of life. Sometimes no matter how much we want to forget we can't. When I am with my family or around friends, I find it easy - I find it easy to forget that there is a box of Chemo pills on my dining room table waiting to be opened.  Yesterday and today was easy. Yesterday was filled with my grand kids basketball games, and lunch with dear friends we had not seen for awhile, it was a fun filled day. So it was easy to forget about the box.
  Today, Sunday has also been a fun day. After church and eating a delicious breakfast at Zatolla's, we picked up two of our grand kids to stay with us for a couple of hours while their parents were busy, driving them back to our place we made  a stop at Starbucks where they each ordered large Double Chocolate Frappuccino's. They were so happy and could not stop thanking us. For those of you who have grand kids, doesn't it make you feel really good inside to know you made them happy? Starbucks has captured all ages it seems, except for my husband who is not crazy about it, but I myself love the Peppermint Mocha during the holiday seasons.
  Any how we continued home where they helped their Pappy rake up and bag leaves. After that we had potato chips and they drank the rest of their Starbucks while we watched The Christmas Story. We never get tired of that movie - Anna sat beside me and Elizabeth was all curled up in her Pappy's recliner with a blanket, her chips and drink - it was a really lovely way to spend the afternoon.
    Today our oldest granddaughter turned 14, she was born on Thanksgiving day and that is when we celebrate her birthday. When we took the two girls home, we were invited in for dinner and to sing and share delicious ice cream cake with our birthday girl. A great way to end the weekend.
   But - when we got back home and I walked into the dining room, seeing the box brought me back to reality. Facing reality is hard!! It is hard for a lot of people in different ways. This box is my reality. Like I said, reality for me is difficult to face, but I can't run from it.    That is why I am so thankful that I am able to forget about it for hours. And that's what I was able to do this weekend.
   I have decided not to start taking the chemo pills until the day after Thanksgiving in case they make me sick - I sure do not want to ruin Thanksgiving, So I am going to have to look at this box every day, maybe I will even get up enough of nerve to open it instead of waiting until the last minute. We'll see - 
   But in the meantime I wanted to wish all of you a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving surrounded with loving family, & friends or just each other. I am very thankful for all of you - for your prayers and caring.
   It will be strange this year with our youngest not being with us as he is on duty from 7 to 11- but one of us will get a plate of Thanksgiving food to him. I pray that God keeps him out of harms way and his guarding angel watches over him and all of the other men and women that serve and protect us. 


  God bless you     Dee

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lemonade - redone

When was the last time you bought a glass of lemonade? How about from children selling it by the cups on the corner?
With a little table, a pitcher of ice cold lemonade, cups, and a little box to hold the change ,the children holding up signs saying lemonade - 25 cents.
They were all excited, jumping up and down, trying to get the attention of the people driving in their cars. Some had short hair, some braided, or long and curly or just straight. Glasses or not, these little girls were trying to grab our attention, and they sure grabbed mine with their impish smiles.

As I pulled over they all tripped over each others feet trying to get to me. Did I want a glass of lemonade? Did I just want one glass? Looking around to the back of my jeep confirmed what I knew, no one else was in my Jeep but me.
These little girls must of thought I was really thirsty! I just bought one glass of lemonade, it was so cold and refreshing.

Seeing the happiness and excitement on their faces made me think I should of bought two glasses even though I paid more then the asking price of a quarter, and that made them laugh and smile even more while saying thank yous.

This lazy hot day of summer and lemonade made me think of how fortuante these little girls were. They could stay at home instead of going to a day care center, or a babysitter, as is the norm these days, because it takes 2 paychecks to make it work for most families.

Those of us who grew up in the Fifties were fortunate to have our mom's at home, to be able to walk to the local pool, or ride our bikes to the end of town and back.
After dinner we would take baths, get clean clothes on,and take long leisurely walks in the evening, We would walk down to the " Honor Role" where the water fountain changed colors.
There we would meet other kids and sit around and talk kid stuff. Like, what time are we meeting at the pool, did you see so and so take that dive off the diving board? Her name was Phyllis and she did double twists off the high dive. Everyone was in awe, mostly the rest of us just held our nose and jumped off!

I think back on how all of us took that for granted, just like we took for granted the high tower Isaly's ice-cream cones that we were able to buy for ten cents. It was for sure living in the Happy Days or Mayberry, USA.

From the time I was 4 I lived in a alley. When I looked out my bedroom window I saw the house next door, If I reached out the window far enough I could touch it with my hand. Growing up in an alley was fun. Our friends lived right next door or just a couple of doors down, So close we did not have to call them on the phone, but just holler their name from the porch.

Dodge ball, Hopscotch, Hide n Seek, riding our bikes, playing Mumbly Peg,(I had my own pen-knife!) catching fire fly, playing cowboys and indians, were just some of the games that I played with the kids.

We did not have air-conditioning in those days .When it was really hot and humid, my dad would sleep downstairs, and when he would, I would. Sometimes he would sleep on the recliner on the porch, I did not want to get bit by bugs , so I stayed in our living room and slept on the floor. Doors wide open, windows too and not a one was ever locked. 

The back entrance to the fresh meat market "Darling's Market" was across the alley from our house.
My mom would send me to the store and I entered through the back entrance where Mr. Darling and his son, Saul would be butchering the meat. Mr. Darling would always have a old stogie hanging out of his mouth, while Saul would have a cigarette hanging out of his. It always smelled of fresh blood but once you got into the main store it smelled good. 

My mom would send me to the store with her grocery list, and I always hoped I would have to buy from the meat counter, where a guy named Jim worked, he was a bit older then me, but that didn't stop me from falling madly in love with him. My heart would do flip flops when he would wait on me, even though I was about 13 or 14 and he was about 20 or 21. he left the store and entered the service.( Before he left we had a sweet goodbye kiss, He probably forgot it right after, but I remembered it .)

I thought nothing of eating fresh steaks & lamb chops a couple times a week. We had Orlando's a fresh produce store across the street from Darling's Market, where I also shopped for my mom. Then there was the chicken store, they had fresh killed chickens that they cleaned, and you could buy chicken hearts also.
I loved how my mom made chicken hearts. She got her frying pan out and put some olive oil in it and after it was hot she would put in the chicken hearts and season them with salt and pepper - DELICIOUS! I can't find them anywhere except sometimes in a whole chicken. Of course it is an organ meat which is supposed to be bad for your cholesterol. But we ate Liver worst back then also and it was not suppose to be good for our health, it was delicious though.

Back then the doctor made house calls, and our doctor was Dr. Cibrick, He came to our house much to often. My mother and I had Hepatitis together, I had pneumonia. My mom always got bronchitis from smoking. His back door opened into the alley, katty corner from our home, so he did not have to go far. When I married , we got a beautiful lace tablecloth as a gift from them that I have to this day. 47 years later, (now 51 as I once again critique this) I still have a lot of wedding gifts, the people are gone who gave them to us, but the gifts are remembrance of them.

Sunday's we would travel to Swissvale or Greensburg to visit my grandmothers. We would visit my aunts and uncles or else they would visit us. On my mom's side no matter who you were visiting or if you had them at your home, there would always be a game of ,"Check-Check" (poker} being played while polka's played on the radio and cousins running in and out of the house. They played after we all ate a good home made Italian dinner.

Holidays my dad and mom would make pizzals by hand on the stove,. my mom would make the dough, and my dad would take care of the iron, knowing just when to turn it. It was a long tedious job, but they made dozens and dozens of them. I think they enjoyed doing it together.To be able to taste one of theirs again would be heaven sent. Today of course, people make them with an electric iron and it goes so much faster.

My mother and her best friend Clara would get together and make the Italian Bow Knots, Nut and Apricot rolls, and other Italian Cookies. When my Grandmothers were still able to bake, the CHEGETS and other originals delicacies would be made. I am ashamed to say, except for very few traditional cookies, I do not carry on the traditions. I do make the Christmas Eve Italian Spaghetti and Erika, my one daughter-in-law now carries on that tradition.

I was 8 years old when my brother Dominic was born, and from that day on till I married, I shared a bedroom with him. I did a lot of babysitting back then, I baby sat whenever I should of had a babysitter!  He was such a cute little boy with his curly dark hair and impish smile, everyone loved him.

Going to Catholic grade school meant that we had to go to 8 o'clock mass every morning. We had to sing and sing the songs in Latin. We did the Mass of the dead - Requem Eterna - the Mass was not only song but said in Latin at that time, and the priest always had his back towards us except when he said the gospel. We girls wore babushkas to Mass, at that time no girl or woman could go without a hat on or wear a babushka.  If we were going to go to Communion, we had to fast all night up until we received Communion. we packed our breakfast and ate it in class after Mass. I don't think anyone at all fasts before taking Communion today, I know I don't but again I don't eat anything in the morning.

A couple of times in the winter when the snow was heavy, a few of us girlfriends would skip morning Mass and go down to the football field where we would goof around and make snow angels in the snow, then we would go back to church when we thought Mass was over, of course we always got in trouble with the nuns because either we were late or got back early and that told them we were not at Mass.

On Wednesday nights at seven o'clock, our class was to sing at Adoration Services. I always had to babysit my brother, because my dad had a firemen's meeting and my mom went to a poker game. If my mom won she always gave me a tip!. Well, anyhow the kids that I hung out with knew that I babysat on that night and they would all come to my house. My brother would be in bed and us kids would have such fun playing Spin the Bottle. I fell in love with Tom then, he was so cute and kissed good and long, (lol). It was all innocent, We were just young kids having fun. Who ever spun the bottle and who ever it landed on would go into our kitchen and up on the landing that went upstairs, that is where we would kiss, and when we were done, we went back in the living room where the game would start up again!
They all had to leave at the time when Adoration services would be finished at church, so they could get home on time. We would write excuses for each other and give them to the nuns the next day. 
I was the only one with a true excuse, and my parents never found out what went on at our house on Wednesday nights from 6th grade till we graduated grade school in 8th grade!

Father O'Hara was our pastor, He baptized me, Gave me First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Married me.

My grade school years were fun and innocent, no day cares existed, neither did pre-school or kindergarten. Today is so different, most mothers have to work, kids are in day care, and doors are locked. Some children like the Lemonade girls are lucky to stay home but they are far and in between.





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Dee's shared items

SO MANY THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

This time of year makes me think of all of those things I have to be thankful for - - - -
my husband
my children
my grandchildren
my health
my freedom
always thankful for friends made