Rita Errico was the first cousin of Josie Muro Serrapede. Josie’s daughter Emily Leatrice was 5 years younger than Rita. The girls lived on the same block and grew up enjoying a very close relationship that went beyond being cousins: Rita and Emily were sisters-in-spirit and best friends in fact all throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Much of this was due to the very close relationship between Josie and Rita’s Mom, Elisa Scotti Errico. Elisa was Josie’s maternal Auntie and had played an important role when Josie moved to Brooklyn from Wilmerding.
Emily’s relationship and contact with Rita and her other close cousins, the D’Agosto sisters (Lillian, Martha and Emilia) changed after her engagement. Little by little her fiancé, Frank, and future in-laws made incremental demands on her focus and attention so that by 1953 when she gave birth to EmilyAnn, she no longer had the energy to put the effort into keeping up with her side of the family. Because of this there was a fragmentary quality to the stories, anecdotes and memories Emily shared with EmilyAnn about her closest cousins. Many details were glossed over but in the omission is the sense that Emily kept the best of those happy times to herself lest Frank and his family repeat themselves about who had priority over who when it came to visiting relatives.
The overview which is presented here of Rita is the best that can be done with the limited facts. We have compiled what Emily shared with us into what we hope is a cohesive combination of memory and research results. Should any members of the Errico or Bishelany families have additional information they may contact us and we will post an update at a future time.
Pedigree chart for Rita Errico.
Rita Errico was born on November 23, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York. She was the youngest child of Vincenzo and Elisa (nee Scotti) Errico. Her parents and older siblings lived in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania close to the Muro family until the early 1920s. The family relocated to Brooklyn before 1925 and rented the apartment in a two family house owned by Vincenzo’s brother Francesco. The Erricos lived on 65th Street in the Italian-American community of Dyker Heights.
Rita’s siblings were:
Theresa Errico Granese, b. 1914
Concetta Errico Garafola, b. 1915
Annette (a/k/a Antoinette) Errico Mancuso, b. 1916
Matthew J. Errico, 1918-1991
Frank Errico, b. 1920
Anna Errico Mancuso, b. 1921
Filomena Errico Rabaglia, b. 1923
Rita Errico Bishelany was:
–First cousin of Josie Muro Serrapede
–First cousin 1x of Emily Leatrice Serrapede and Junior (Sammy)
–First cousin 2x of EmilyAnn
We have presented in-depth consideration of the Errico family prior to the mid-late 1940s in earlier postings. These postings are available using the following links:
44-The Errico Family-From Wilmerding to Brooklyn 1920-1930
73-Serrapede Family in Brooklyn-Our Losses Our Gains 1940-43 Pt. 1-4
EmilyAnn’s Family Story: How Mom’s memories of Cousin Rita became a part of my life
Mom and Dad had a beautiful bedroom suite. It was the one part of the house that expressed Mom’s decorating sensibility and remained constant throughout the years my Dad and paternal Grandparents influenced the changing character of the other rooms in our house, especially when we had our own leather importing business. My paternal Grandparents thought that a comfortable and welcoming image was created by Colonial American decor that would be remembered by clients visiting from South America. Mom’s eclectic mix of Asian, French and Western influences became limited to her own room. I will describe the beautiful furniture and how Mom created a place of quiet retreat there some other time. Right now I want to focus on the times when Mom conversed with me those afternoons I sat in the chair by the bed and she rested under the covers. The bedroom was the one place where the clutter Dad accumulated was not present. There was a harmony in the décor and restfulness to the room that expressed Mom’s priorities and sensibility.
Continue reading “76f-Errico and Bishelany Families of Brooklyn, NY: Rita and Joe get married (late 1940s)”