Santo Lofaso came to America as a little boy with his father and brother.
His father returned to Italy and left my grandfather and his brother with
an Uncle in Easton Pa.
My grandmother Onofria Mussamelli came to America and lived with an older
sister .. who owned a grocery store on Mulberry Street, Manhattan N.Y.
My grandfather (who moved to N.Y. eventually) met and courted my grandmother in the back of that grocery store .. (had to have chaperones in those days) .. they married and had 11 children .. 8 survived .. 4 boys and 4 girls.
Grandpa had his own garden on Elderts Lane in Brooklyn .. fig trees ..
tomato plants (I remember when I was little I went with him picking the
red horned tomato worms off the plants and dropping them in a little pail
with poison of some sort) .. and yes he had a grape vine .. grew eggplant
.. peppers .. you name it he grew it .. and trees!
Grandpa and Grandma built that house on Elderts lane .. starting with the 2 car garage (to live in while it was being finished) .. he layed out the basement walls marking the windows and Grandma cemented in the blocks .. only she went over the window area's .. he just laughed and redid it .. as all Italian families the basement was the kitchen and a place for family get togethers .. They eventually had to sell that house and moved to Blake Ave. in Brooklyn .. (the city took it over for a subway) .. Grandpa worked for the sanitation department but was excellent with cement and bricks .. making a beautiful entranceway to their home .. the second house was smaller and he only had room for one fig tree ..but Grandpa planted a garden in an empty lot ..
I remember (as the oldest grandchild) him making brandy/liquors .. and man .. were they good .. lol .. when they were aged enough he would strain out the fruit .. let me taste them .. (hic!) and suck on the rock candy ..boy ..did I sleep good those nights .. and Grandma's cooking was great! I still make her zeppole's .. sausage and peppers .. viscotta's .. Christmas eve was great .. after midnight mass we'd all gather there .. and eat and eat and eat .. 8 children ..their spouses .. and over 24 grandchildren .. by that time I was married and brought my children there too .. Grandpa taught me how to do the tarantella .. and his cigars .. Palumbo !! the best thing he smoked tho was a pipe with cherry tobacco ..to this day (and I'm 71) when I smell cherry tobacco I look around expecting to see him standing there.
He belonged to the Holy Name society and walked with all the older men carrying the flags of the church when we had feast day and the parade .. all italians remember those feasts! and the pole covered with tar .. all the young men trying to scale that pole to win the prizes on top .. salami's .. provalone .. pepperoni's .. lol ..
Oh yes .. those days were wonderful .. I will never forget Grandpa .. and the wonderful man that he was.