Uncle John Mitterando's Biography
(written June 2001)
These are a few memories I can remember. I was born February 24, 1925. I don't remember being born, but I know I was born on New York Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. Grandpa lived two blocks away on Walnut Street. They lived upstairs with Aunt Molly and Uncle Nap. Uncle Jule and Aunt Chet lived downstairs. Uncle Ralph and Nutch not far away. Pop moved us to East Orange for a year. He worked for Con Edison in The Bronx, so we moved there to Fuller Street. We all went to P.S. 12 a mile away.
I remember Marie had to see we all went off to school. Our principle, Dr Candon, was connected with the Lindbergh kidnapping case. Pop bought a 1932 Nash for work. He built a wooden bench to fit in the back seat for us to sit on. Once he drove us to New Jersey and Ellen sang the same song all the way home "Boys and Girls Are Lincoln." Pop belonged to the Foresters of America and campaigned for LaGuardia for Mayor of New York.
Marie met Charlie Ceo. She would take me to watch him play baseball and mom sent me to watch Marie! (I was a brat then.) Pop met some friends from Connecticut (Calandrelli's). Ellen and I spent our summers at their home. Their son, Joe, taught me to play the guitar. We also spent summers at Aunt Frances' home in New Jersey. I played with Philip and Stanley.
I remember Mom sent us by trolley car to Fordham and Arthur Avenue to Biscard's Butcher for skinny sausage. Then we went to the freight yard for Pop's grapes to make his wine in the cellar. He met the Carpenteirs and Gumba Sabatelli and they would play cards for wine.
Pop decided to move around the corner in DiNapoli's house. Sonny and Bill went to work for Western Union delivering telegrams by bike. Dolly had a few boyfriends. Bobby was born in 1939. Mom would buy the "Hit Parade" every week. At night we would sing all the old songs on the piano. I remember Pop bought a 1938 Plymouth like new.
Gumba Sabatelli found a two-family house on Lafayette Avenue and Pop bought it. He rented upstairs to the McDermott's. Next-door were the Anzalones, the other side the Planticohs. There was a midget auto race track two blocks away. I can remember Sonny getting into the crib with Bobby. We went to P.S. 36, one mile away.
Margie met Pep and Ellen met Al. Dolly met Jack Lao, and they were married. She lived around the corner and had Laurie. Bill met Sadie and Sonny went with her sister Norma. I went out with her younger sister Marie. Sonny got engaged and worked in New Jersey.
We went to War on December 7, 1941. Charlie was the first to be drafted. Bill went in 1942 in December. He married Sadie. Sonny went into the Air Force in 1943. Al went into the Navy in 1943 and Pep in 1943. I came home one night and Pop told me Sonny was killed in an airplane over New Mexico, March 27, 1944. After 11 days they bought his body back home to The Bronx. He had the first military funeral in The Bronx. He was buried in St. Raymond's Cemetery with honors.
Charlie married Marie. They lived in Park Chester. She had Irene and Janice. Bill, Pep and Al came home in 1945. Margie married Pep in 1946 (Carolann's my Godchild!) was born in 1947. Dickie in 1948. They lived in a Quonset Hut, then they moved to Castle Hill Avenue over the Deli. Judy, Ron and Michael were born there. Then Pep bought the house on Norton Avenue. Jill, Kim, Wendy, Jodie and Cheryl were born there. I married Jenny in 1947. I lived in Pop's house. We had Johnny Boy and Thomas on Lafayette Avenue. Ellen and Al married in 1948 and lived on Castle Hill Avenue. Joyce was born in 1954, Skipper in 1958. Dolly married Bill Ingenito in 1958. She had Dale, Billy and Robin. They lived on Quimby Avenue. I worked for Bill setting tombstones. I also drove him crazy!
Mom and Pop moved to Mastic Beach. Bobby went to William Floyd Elementary School and graduated from Center Moriches High School in 1958. I remember his room in the attic at 36 Knapp Road. We all built the famous "Screen House." Mom loved it more than the house. I started to play music nights at the Silveredge, Paradise Inn and Idle Hour. I called Dolly many nights to sing with me then. She wouldn't go home.
I was divorced in 1955. Bob and Judy were married in 1961 and I was their best man. I met Jessie at the Idle Hour and fell in love with her. She made me stop going out! We were married in 1956 and lived on Castle Hill Avenue. Mom came in to see Ellen in 1958. She had a stroke and she never could speak again. Randy was born the same day. I built my house in Mastic Beach in 1962. Bobby built his home in 1963. They had Robbie, Ellen, Nancy and Billy-John.
I commuted to the Bronx for three years from
Mastic Beach. The bridge was fifty cents then. Jessie found a job and
I started working for Durable Fuel Oil Company in Mastic Beach for
five years, then I became employed with the Mastic Beach Fire Department.
Randy met Mary in 1986 and they were married in 1988. They lived here
on Knapp Road. Steve was born in 1993. I retired in 1995. Andrew was
born in 1998. Well that's some of the memories I have of my life. There is a lot more. I can't remember it all now. I am 76 years old and intend to keep going, so enjoy my memories up till now.
Love Uncle Johnny