22g-Winter Break Update: Snow storm January 2016-One week later

The Great Snowstorm of January 2016-Sunset Park, Brooklyn one week later on January 31, 2016


Outside of Sunset Park on the 44th Street side, walking up towards 7th Avenue.

I finally got around to fulfilling the promise I made to myself at the start of this Winter Break.  This morning I was in the Sunset Park neighborhood to get my hair cut and colored.  A mani-pedi was also in the plan.  When I got out of the subway and saw Sunset Park I was amazed at how much of the snow from last week has melted.

Continue reading “22g-Winter Break Update: Snow storm January 2016-One week later”

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for Through the Byzantine Gate.

A special thank you to my friends at WordPress who have supported Through the Byzantine Gate.  Your visits and conversations are most appreciated.  I hope they continue through 2016 and beyond.  I encourage visitors and subscribers to visit their blogs.  Click on their names to navigate to their blogs*

 Norma of She Sews You Know
Antoinette Serrapere, Our Guest Contributor*
Carol of By Way of Thanks
April_n_Paris of Fashion Doll Diva
Morag of Wir Unst Family

and although he isn’t listed in the WordPress Annual Report I also thank

GP Cox of Pacific Paratrooper for his loyal support of every posting I’ve put up.

*Antoinette is a Guest Contributor.  The link will navigate you to her Page at this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

22g-Winter Break Update-Snow storm January 2016-Philadelphia, PA

Greetings from Philadelphia

I just heard from Cousin Rosina Coltellaro in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The snow storm provided some great photo opportunities for her this past weekend.  Here are some scenes taken from the building where she lives.

Rosina is the niece of my maternal Great Grandmother Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro.  You will be meeting her and Great Grandfather Nick Muro in the Spring when we begin our postings on the Muro, Aiello, and Marasco families.

Here’s the view of Washington Square from the entrance of the building where Rosina lives in Philadelphia.  This photo was taken at 8:30 p.m. just as the snow started to fall on Friday, January 22nd, 2016.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 23rd the snow was piled high by the curbs.  Again, this is a view of Washington Square.

This snow laden evergreen tree stands in the courtyard at the back of the building where Rosina lives.  Despite the cold temperatures, I notice that the trees in Philadelphia and Brooklyn did not have any icicles.  When Rosina took this photo the wind was blowing the snow off of the tree.  That is why you see the top  bending towards the left.

Twenty-four hours later, on the evening of Saturday, January 23rd, 2016,  Washington Square in Philadelphia glows in the combination of snow and the light from the street lamps.  Rosina took this photo from the 13th floor of her building.  Usually the view of Washington Square is a winter wonderland of snow laden trees.  Due to high winds the trees in the photo are bare.

–As told by Rosina to EmilyAnn in email of 1/26/2016.

Something to think about

Rosina’s emails to me about the photos contain two quotes in her signature line.  They give one something to think about.  I thought I’d share them with my blog readers.

“Let us remember…that in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.”

“Everything and everyone are interconnected.”

22g-Winter Break Update: Snowstorm-Brooklyn, NY- January 2016

The snow continues to fall.  It is still unearthly in whiteness and softness.  The snow continues to dance and swirl glittering in the light of the street lamps.  Neighbors who put out generous sprinklings of salt earlier have helped prevent icy patches.  Here is how the avenue looked at 4:55 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2016.



It is so still and quiet except for the sound of the clock ticking in my kitchen.  It’s a beautiful night to read a book and go to bed early.



I release these photos into the public domain.  I request a link back to this blog with a credit to EmilyAnn Frances May.

22f-Winter Break 2016 Brooklyn, NY


View of the church across the street from my apartment on January 23, 2016, 12:15 p.m.

The Northeast Coast of the U.S. is blanketed in snow as a storm works its way through our area.  Where I live the wind speeds are low.  The snow is dancing in the air before settling on the ground.  It is very quiet outside.  Time seems to have stood still since the sky is filled with cloud cover and a consistently soft light fills the day.  There is no way I can tell by looking at the sky what time of day it is at this point.


View of the street towards the avenue.

Uncle Sammy was in New Jersey this week for business and got back home to Arizona on Friday before the storm here started.  We’ll be having our Family History review tomorrow and preparing new postings.  There is an amazing amount of newspaper ads, articles and advice columns for our use in creating a snapshot of the community our family lived in during the Great Depression.  There is so much available we have to carefully consider what to include and what not to include.  It’s going to be a tough call because too much will overwhelm the readers.  Would you be interested in links that lead to the other articles not used in the posting?  This would make it easy if you’re interested in exploring the topics on your own.

How is everyone coping with the winter so far?  How are things where you live?  The laptop I use in conjunction with my digital camera is in repair.  Since the snowstorm is affecting travel it’s going to take the tech another week or two to get back to me.  It’s ok since I can’t get to his location that easily right now.  I’m very grateful I have another laptop and an Android camera phone.


  Reproduction Tiffany lamp in my little reading corner. 

We had adequate notice via Weather.gov and local radio stations to prepare for this snowstorm earlier in the week.  I ran all around stocking up so that today and tomorrow I do not have to leave the house.  As I sat down to do my morning journal entry based on the daily topic in “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach I took pause to be thankful for the wealth that fills my life right here, right now.  The lamp and the vintage doily especially struck me as beautiful in the light and the quiet of the moment.


Close-up of the vintage crocheted doily.

The doily was a gift from my previous landlord, a 92 year old gentleman who served our country in WWII.  He is the son of immigrants from Southern Italy.  He told me this was one of his mother’s lace doilies.  She crocheted and bought similar doilies.  There were many surfaces covered by such doilies.  She felt it made the furniture look brand new.  My Grandma Josie used many doilies like this on her Depression Era furniture.  I see them whenever I take out the family photos from that period.  It is a good day for me to continue getting reacquainted with crocheting.  I cannot get into spending time to make something for the house.  My own crochet has taken quite a different turn.

Continue reading “22f-Winter Break 2016 Brooklyn, NY”

22e-Growing-up Italian-American: Of Barbie and Tammy dolls

Tammy doll circa 1963-65.

Uncle Sammy and I are easing into the New Year after a lovely holiday season.   After a week at their time share in Mexico, Uncle Sammy and Aunt Kathie are heading back to Arizona on January 8th, 2016.  I am gradually getting full use of my arms and hands back after a flare-up of tendonitis that started mid-November.  Exercises I learned in physical therapy, vitamin supplements (turmeric, magnesium, cod liver oil), ice packs, quiet time and rest have helped ease the discomfort throughout the holiday season.  I found that since I enjoyed the low-key quality of the celebrations I went to it was possible to put the discomfort out of my mind.  Another way I have coped is to recall happy times in the present and the past…

When I was 7 years old in 1960 Uncle Sammy bought me a Tammy doll.  That 7th birthday was quite an important one.  My paternal Aunt Pat and Uncle Alfred gave me a bubble cut Barbie.  I named her Anna Maria and drove Grandma Josie to distraction with my requests to learn how to sew little felt skirts and vests for Anna Maria.  I imagined her an Italian movie star who lived on the Isle of Capri.  Tammy had more of a back story than Barbie did so her world was more familiar and more everyday.

Tammy lived with her Mom, Dad, brother and little sister in Hollis, Queens.  Since I live in Brooklyn it wasn’t very difficult to imagine Tammy’s life and trips to New York City during Christmas time.  I had both Tammy and Barbie along with their carrying cases, clothes and accessories in 1980 when my parents separated and prepared for a divorce.  Mom came to me for money and I was hard put not to help her.   My Dad was dragging the details of a settlement out.  Mom was unemployed and I was working temp.   I didn’t have much to spare and in a panic I sold the original Tammy and Barbie.  Although I never said anything I was very sad that the physical connection to that part of a happy era in my life was no longer there.

Continue reading “22e-Growing-up Italian-American: Of Barbie and Tammy dolls”