Cosimo and Anna Maria Serrapere at their 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner in 1959.
Have you ever gone to an old school luncheonette, family owned restaurant in the neighborhood or a famous eatery where photos of families and celebrities from yesteryear hang on the walls? As a child I sometimes wondered who these people were. It was easy to identify the famous people because they always autographed their photos. Since most of the other photos lacked any captions my curiosity was never satisfied. I wanted to know the story told by the photo and why the people in it looked so happy. Of course once the meal was brought to the table, I forgot all about things like that since I got caught up in the present, the good food and the conversation going on around me. If I persisted in being a pest about the photo, an Aunt or Grandparent would give me a nickel or a dime so I could busy myself with selecting a song from the jukebox.
Antoinette Serrapere has shared a family photo with me from her Grandparent’s Wedding Anniversary celebrated in 1959. The family got together at Angie’s Pizzeria in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania for an afternoon dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Serrapere gave a copy of the photo to the original owner of the Pizzeria. When Angie sold the establishment to the current owners, the photo remained on the wall. It is still there today. I thought it would be good to share the photo with our blog readers. Every picture tells a story and so does this one. Thanks to Antoinette’s help the story behind the photo and details about some of the family members appear in this posting.
Who’s who in the photo
Please refer to the corresponding numbers in the photo to meet the Serrapere family members.
1. Cosimo Serrapere
2. Anna Maria Serrapere
5.John “Itsic” Serrapere
6.Louis “Toots” Serrapere
7a. Gennaro “Gennery” Serrapere
7b. Tony, Gennery’s baby son
9.John (John “Itsic” Serrapere’s son)
12.Angel Serrapere (Antoinette’s older sister)
16.Maryann, Coco’s sister
17.June (wife of Ralph Serrapere)
18.Rosemary (Antoinette’s Mom)
19.Audrey (John “Itsic” Serrapere’s wife)
20.Aunt Lucy Polito
21.Aunt Angeline (Antoinette’s paternal Aunt. Her Dad’s sister.)
22.Liz (Uncle Toot’s wife)
24.Coz Serrapere (also called Cosi. Son of Louis “Toots” Serrapere).
25.Helen, wife of Gennery.
26.Frankie (Cosi’s brother)
Some details about the people in the photo
–Cosimo Serrapere immigrated to the United States from Agropoli, Italy in the early 20th century. He worked at the Westinghouse Air Brake Company in Wilmerding. Cosimo and Anna Maria were Antoinette’s maternal grandparents.
–Ralph legally changed his surname from Serrapere to Serrapede. Genealogist Anthony Vermandois has confirmed with me by email that Serrapere is a variation of the original surname of Serrapede. But, it is a variation that occurred after some Serrapede family members arrived in the United States. The name of Serrapere is not attested to in Italy.
–Louis is known as Uncle Toots to Antoinette and her family. He created an antipasto salad for Christmas Eve dinner one year. It is now a part of the traditional holiday meal for the family.
–Gennery is still living and has many memories of Wilmerding when it was a company town. Gennery also has an extensive photo collection of the Serrapere family.
–The baby Gennery holds in the photo is his son Tony. Antoinette says that when she was growing up she was nicknamed Toni. When she was with her cousin Tony it got confusing when the relatives called out to either one of them!
–Rosemary was Toni’s Mom. She loved to make ceramics. Toni remembers a ceramic Christmas tree complete with lights and many plates with Santa on them that her Mom made and painted.
–Liz, wife of Toots Serrapere, loved to dance.
–Cosi Serrapere is also known as Coz Serrapere. He went to Hollywood in the 1960s and had small roles in many films. One was “Lady in Cement” with Frank Sinatra. Coz appeared on the popular 1960s game show called “The Dating Game.” He is still active in show business. Coz appears around the Pittsburgh area as a Dean Martin tribute artist.
Where is Antoinette in the photo?
Now that you have met the Serrapere family of Wilmerding, you may be wondering where Antoinette is in the photo.
Well, she’s not in the photo because she was a baby! Antoinette told me she was born around the same time as her cousin Tony.
I think it’s great that after all these years we can come together and through the power of the internet and the medium of this blog to tell some of the story behind this photo.
Angie’s Pizzeria in Wilmerding, PA
Now that you know a little about the photo, you can discuss it with the locals if you should ever stop in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. Angie’s Pizzeria is located at 111 Middle Ave, Wilmerding, PA 15148. The phone number is 412-829-7663.
The 50th Wedding Anniversary Photo of Cosimo and Anna Maria Serrapere used courtesy of their Granddaughter Antoinette Frances Serrapere.
Angie’s Restaurant and Catering Facebook Page
Street View of Angie’s Restaurant-Google Maps
Coz Serrapere’s Facebook Page
Coz Serrapere’s Salute to the Pittsburgh Steelers-youtube