Shopping with my “Dolly”

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Shopping for food with my Grandmother was a delight for this young boy.  Whenever we went shopping our first stop was the meat market on Fourth Street. The butcher inside the shop would always greet “Gelsomina” by her Italian name and she would respond to him. After exchanging salutations she would start to view the cuts of meat the butcher had on display.  She would start at one end of the counter and finish viewing at the other end of the counter.  The butcher would wait patiently until she looked up and speaking in Italian would ask to see a particular cut of meat.  He also spoke Italian so he understood Grandma’s request and he would show her that slice of beef.  Grandma Jessie would than tell him how fatty the beef was and that she wanted beef not fat.  He would look at the slice of beef and explain that beef needs fat for flavor and this was an excellent slice of beef. Sometimes if my Grandmother shook her head and waved her hands if she preformed this ritual the butcher knew to place the slice of meat back in the counter other times she might give it another look then nod approval and the butcher would know to wrap it up for Grandma Jessie. I found this exchange fascinating. With all of the yelling and hand gestures I was sure they did not like each other but that was not the case.

On one visit I was surprised that the butcher had some rabbit on display. I was very fascinated by these little bodies without heads or tails but with four legs.  At first I did not know just what they were and so I asked my Grandma Jessie.  She looked at the tray of rabbits and trying to think of the English word for rabbit gave up and just told me the Italian name for rabbit. I did not understand the Italian word and looked very confused. The butcher leaned over the counter and told me that they were rabbits.  He then asked my Grandma if she was interested in a rabbit.  She moved back to the section of the counter with the rabbit bodies and took a closer look. She then shook her head no and said the rabbits were too skinny.  The butcher picked up one of the rabbits and showed it more closely to my Grandmother. They talked and talked and I did not understand what was being said but we ended up having rabbit for dinner.

Even though Grandma had fruit trees and wonderful gardens in her yard we would sometimes need to stop at the produce market for something special.  A cantaloupe, watermelon, or maybe some other fruit that was not available from her garden might be on her list.  She would look, feel, hold and inspect the item and if it met her level of approval it would be purchased.  If not it was returned to its place on the rack. Grandma would complain to the produce man if the fruit was no good and ask when the good stuff would arrive. He of course would tell her that she was viewing the best produce anywhere in San Jose. Yes they were friends also but it sure was fun to see them argue about his products.

I am so old that these were the days when milk was still delivered to your door so the purchase of milk was not necessary. With our meat and produce we would then head into the grocery store.  Mayo Market (my Godmother’s store) was the place my “Dolly” would purchase items like coffee, pasta, can goods, and other household items.  Shopping was fun with Grandma Jessie.  Whenever we went to the Mayo Market I would visit my Grandma Mayo and my Godmother.  I would head into the house for cookies and milk and lots of hugs and kisses.  Any kind of shopping with my Grandma was a great adventure with every day different and always something needing to be done. I never had as much fun as the time I spent with my Grandmother Jessie, my “Dolly”

Darn, before I knew it my family returned from their vacation in Des Moines Iowa and they took me away from my grandma’s house.  Back to the home of my childhood, back to my brother and sisters, back to mom and dad, back to my room, and of course back to my chores. My princely days were over and I was swallowed up into my family. They all talked about the wonderful time they had and all the relatives they met. They talked about my Grandma Mary and my namesake Grandpa John. They just talked and talked but deep down I knew that the time I spent with my Grandma Jessie was the best thing for me. If only I could do it now for just one more time.

Just a small note:  The real reason I was left behind was that this is a short time after the death of my Uncle Sam and My Grandfather Sam.  Grandpa Sam was Grandma Jessie’s husband and I was there to help my little “Dolly”.


Little Problems

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I am very sorry but I am experiencing problems at this time.  The photos taken at the reunion are on another website and I do not know how to download or transfer them to wordpress.  If anyone can help me please contact me asap.  I have written the blog on the Giudicessi Family Reunion but can not place the photos into the writing.  Please have a little patience with me.

The Annual Casolary Family Gathering

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Each year for a very long time there has been an Annual Casolary Family Gathering. I first attended the Casolary Family Gathering when I was dating my soon to be wife Monica Casolary. The first event I attended was not known as the Annual Casolary Family Gathering. The name came much later in time but the Casolary’s always had reasons to gather and enjoy the company of brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins and friends. The Casolary clan as I knew them comprised of the following: Harry (aka Doc), and Mary or dad and mom; daughters and sisters, Mary, Monica, Donna, and Michele; sons and brothers Joe, Mark, John and Ricky. I also remember two grandmothers Christine and ? .

The Casolary clan was a wonderful group of people that I was lucky enough to join. I became a member because I feel in love with and married Monica Casolary. This act of marriage made me a member of the clan and with the birth of my two daughters my place in the clan was secured. I noticed that over time the clan just grew and grew larger and larger. Once someone became a member they did not lose their status. Each person would be a member of the clan for the rest of their life. The person could choose to become a less active member but once a member they were always welcome back into the clan.

I for one was part of the elite in-law group of the clan. This group was responsible for adding new blood to the family. Today this group consists of the following people. James Heath the husband of Mary Casolary and the longest member of the in-law group. We all have lots to thank James for as he was the first to join and it was he who had to forge the path that most of us in the in-law group choose to follow. Arlene married Joe Casolary and entered the clan before myself. I soon after Joe and Arlene married asked Monica to become my wife. Lucky for me she said yes and we were married and I too became a member.

John Casolary married Terry, Rick Casolary married Felicia, Donna Casolary married Brian, and Michele became Cindy’s life partner. Will all of this activity you can see how the clan grows. Children of the couples added to the clan and as you can guess they will find life partners and then they too will add more people to the clan. At this moment in time the total number of children that were added to the clan by the original eight Casolary children were 2+2+3+2+1+2+1 or 13 children. Grandchildren are still being created so at this time I will not try and identify the number.

Some of my Cousins

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Me, My Uncle Charles, Cousins Henry, David and Gary

Dinner with my Cousins!


A visit with some cousins!

I was driving down the freeway when my cell phone rang. I answered the call and much to my surprise the call was from Ginger, my uncle Charley’s special friend. After our normal greetings she asked if Marti and I would like to join uncle Charley and she for dinner. The reason for the dinner was that my cousin Gary was down from Sacramento and uncle Charley felt it would be a good time for all of us to see each other. She went on to inform me that my cousins, Henry and David my uncles sons, Gary and maybe my cousin Donna who is one of my uncle Dominic’s children might attend as well. I was very excited as I had not seen these cousins in over a decade. I let Ginger know that I would call her back but that I had to check with Marti as she was at work and I was unsure of her departure time.

I ended the call and quickly called Marti. As normal, I left a message on Marti,s phone asking her to call me back asap. Within the hour Marti returned my call and after a brief discussion we discovered we could meet everyone for dinner that night. I explained to Marti that in addition to uncle Charley, Ginger and my cousins Henry, David Gary and possibly Donna that they were bringing their partners as well. Henry and his wife Kathy and David and his wife Debbie, Gary and his special friend Cara would all be there. Marti informed me that she could be home soon enough for us to attend. I was happy and after ending the call with Marti I called Ginger back and let both her and my uncle Charley know that we could attend. I was already excited but now my thoughts turned to my cousins and what they would be like.

That night we all meet at a small restaurant in Carmel Valley. Wow what fun! I was not the only man with gray hair. Henry looked just like he did years ago except for some gray hair, David looked very much the same except he was sporting a goatee with a little gray, and Gary looked the same except he seemed much taller and had a little gray around the temples. Uncle Charley looked great as usual, I only hope I can look and act half as well as my uncle.

What fun we had. Marti talked with the ladies and I talked with the guys. We visited for the evening reminiscing about things from our past. We had a lively discussion about my current Medicare enrollment. Can you believe grown men would have a discussion about Medicare. We talked about how Marti and I meet. I explained about the large number of losers I meet looking for Marti. I explained about the lady who asked if I was a US citizen as well as a few of the other ladies I meet. We were all laughing and enjoying the moment. It was so nice to be together with my cousins without the event being the death of someone we love. We talked about a lot of other things.

We talked about our siblings our other cousins and our aunts and uncles. It sure is great being in this great Italian family. All to soon it was time to leave and end the party. My insides were doing flip flops. I was so happy to have started to rebuild the family ties yet I was sad to be leaving the party.

On the drive home all I did was talk to Marti about my cousins. We talked (maybe it was just me talking) all the way home. In fact, we talked late into the night. Wow what fun I had. I just wish you all could have been so happy.