Merry Christmas!

“Home for Christmas”

“This is meeting time again.  Home is the magnet.  The winter land roars and hums with the eager speed of return journeys.  The dark is noisy and bright with late night arrivals–doors thrown open, running shadows on snow, open arms, kisses, voices and laughter, laughter at everything, and nothing.  Inarticulate, giddying and confused are those original minutes of being back again.  The very familiarity of everything acts like shock.  Contentment has to be drawn in slowly, steadyingly, in deep breaths–there is so much of it.  We rely on home not to change, and it does not, wherefore we give thanks.  Again Christmas:  abiding point of return.  Set apart by its mystery, mood and magic, the season seems in a way to stand outside time.  All that is dear that is lasting, renews its hold on us:  we are home again…”

–From Home For Christmas, by Elizabeth Bowen.

“Glade Jul” (Happy Yule-Danish) by Viggo Johansen.  Public Domain.  Wikimedia Commons.

Season’s Greetings 2018

During this month of many joyous and festive holiday celebrations, we wish you all the gifts of

***Good Health
      now and always.

With thanks for your continued support and interest in our family history journey,

–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May
Co-editors and researchers, Through the Byzantine Gate


Joyous Angel Collectible by Avon
from the collection of the late Emily Leatrice Serrapede’s keepsakes

Our Family Circle: 2018 Holiday Season in Linden, NJ

lindencityhall Menorah 12818

Holiday Season 2018 began in Linden, New Jersey last Sunday, December 2nd, with the lighting of the Menorah on the first day of Hanukkah.  Last night the festivities continued with the lighting of the Holiday Tree outside of City Hall on North Wood Avenue.  The holiday events scheduled throughout December are meant as focal points to bring the city people together and share our spirit of good cheer.  For a newcomer like me, who has lived here 4 1/2 months, the friendliness and informality of Linden has created a sense of closeness to my neighbors and the officials.

lindenholiday lindenhighachool 12718

Prior to the start of Friday’s event, a band played traditional carols as the group gathered together in the slightly above freezing temperatures.  At 6 p.m. the event opened with an inter-faith prayer that asked for blessings upon all peoples along with the provision of their needs.  This was followed with performances by the very talented choral and dance groups composed of Linden High School students.  What impressed me was how well behaved the gathering was:  the acapella singers could be clearly heard as the townspeople respectfully listened to the young people who sang so well.  The dance groups also performed with poise that was, I am sure, the result of many weeks of dedicated practice.

lindenhol7day ciryhall 12718

linden cityhall tree mayor armstead 12718

The tree lighting was officiated by Mayor Derek Armstead as the stage darkened and everyone waited for the burst of colored lights to illuminate the cold, clear night.   In the photo, the Mayor is the fourth person from the left, looking towards the tree. There were also horse drawn carts to take people on a ride around the area.  Later refreshments were available at the recreation room of City Hall.

lindenholiday 2a

lindenholiday 12718a

lindenholiday 3a

Across the street, the Raymond Wood Bauer Promenade was transformed into Wonderland with a display of colorful lighting arrangements.  There was also a fire blazing for bystanders who needed to warm themselves.

The closeness, the interaction of the Mayor Derek Armstead with the townspeople as he mingled with the crowd, the well behaved attendees and the intimacy of the gathering were very special to me because it created a real and living link to the new city I live in.

I send out a big THANK YOU to Mayor Armstead, his staff, the volunteers, the performers, the students and the cultural activities committees that made this event possible.

The version in Italian is for all my cousins by blood and by marriage in Italy…I’m using Google translator so please overlook any errors…


Questa versione in italiano è per tutti i miei cugini di sangue e per matrimonio in Italia … Sto usando il traduttore di Google quindi per favore trascura gli errori …


L’Holiday Season 2018 è iniziato a Linden, New Jersey, domenica scorsa, il 2 dicembre, con l’illuminazione della Menorah il primo giorno di Hanukkah. Ieri sera i festeggiamenti sono proseguiti con l’illuminazione dell’albero delle vacanze fuori dal municipio di North Wood Avenue. Gli eventi festivi programmati per tutto il mese di dicembre sono intesi come punti focali per avvicinare le persone della città e condividere il nostro spirito di allegria. Per un nuovo arrivato come me, che ha vissuto qui 4 mesi e mezzo, la cordialità e l’informalità di Linden ha creato un senso di vicinanza ai miei vicini e ai funzionari.

Prima dell’inizio dell’evento del venerdì, una band suonava canti tradizionali mentre il gruppo si riuniva nelle temperature leggermente al di sopra dello zero. Alle 18:00 l’evento si è aperto con una preghiera interreligiosa che ha chiesto benedizioni a tutti i popoli insieme alla fornitura dei loro bisogni. Questo è stato seguito con le esibizioni dei gruppi di cori e danza di grande talento composti da studenti della Linden High School. Ciò che mi ha impressionato è stato il modo in cui si sono comportati bene: i cantanti di Acapella si sentivano chiaramente mentre i cittadini ascoltavano rispettosamente i giovani che cantavano così bene. I gruppi di danza si sono esibiti con un po ‘di pazienza che è stato, ne sono certo, il risultato di molte settimane di pratica dedicate.

L’illuminazione degli alberi fu officiata dal sindaco Derek Armstead mentre il palco si oscurava e tutti aspettavano lo scoppio di luci colorate per illuminare la notte fredda e limpida. C’erano anche carri trainati da cavalli per portare persone in giro per la zona. I rinfreschi successivi erano disponibili nella sala ricreativa del municipio.

Dall’altra parte della strada, il Raymond Wood Bauer Promenade è stato trasformato in un paese delle meraviglie con un’esposizione di luci colorate. C’era anche un fuoco ardente per gli astanti che avevano bisogno di scaldarsi.

La vicinanza, l’interazione del Sindaco con gli abitanti della città mentre si univa alla folla, i partecipanti ben educati e l’intimità del raduno erano molto speciali per me perché creava un legame reale e vivente con la nuova città in cui vivo.

Invio un grande GRAZIE al Sindaco, al suo staff, ai volontari, gli studenti e ai comitati di attività culturali che hanno reso possibile questo evento.

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 greeting

When the harvest time
riches strew our way,
Let us all rejoice
on Thanksgiving Day.

To all our family, friends and subscribers–
Thank you for your understanding, enthusiasm, support and positivity.

May your Thanksgiving Day provide you time for quiet reflection and remembrance of all the good things past and present, along with a joyful anticipation of what lies ahead…

–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May




Victorian Thanksgiving Postcard
Public Domain
Free Vintage Illustrations (website)


All Hallows Eve 2018

I am taking 3 days off to do a self-retreat beginning All Hallows Eve and continuing through All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  I will not be answering calls, emails,  Facebook notices or blog comments.  During this time I will pray for the departed while a candle burns in my home.  I am  working from home this week and able to set aside 15 minutes each sunrise, afternoon and sunset for prayers and remembrance of the departed.  In the deeper, quieter times of night I shall spend some time on reflection and recollection these three days call us to.  I will also be doing a partial fast so that I slow down and truly focus on the presence this time of year creates and is waiting to remind us of:  the links between life, death and the hereafter.  If any family or blog friends wish to have me include one of their departed family members in the remembrance please contact me by email no later than the evening of Tuesday, October 30th.  You may also comment here.  The comment will remain private and not processed for public viewing.  This invitation is extended to anyone of any background or faith.

On a lighter note, here is a poem about the lighter side of Halloween and the Jack O’Lantern.

With love to all my family and friends,  and peace be with the spirits of our Beloved Departed.

Halloween 2018 my book house vol 6 pg 33

My Friend Jack
by Rick W. Cotton

 Jack comes every year to visit me,
And his grin just makes me smile.
Nearly toothless, he doesn’t care.
He happily laughs all the while.

 Eyes glowing in mirth and merriment,
He makes this time of year happy.
Though he’s not much in conversation,
And he has no repartee snappy.

 Jack just stays for a few weeks
Every year when the leaves turn yellow.
He’s as welcome as he could possibly be.
He’s quite the fun old fellow.

 Now the sun goes down and the moon comes up,
And the costumed monsters come calling.
Light a candle to get Jack going!
Fast! The eventide’s falling!

 All Halloween night he sits with me,
Grinning to greet the neighbors
‘Til his candle’s gone and he goes to sleep.
These are hours that I truly savor.

 So long old Jack, tomorrow’s November!
We’ll see you again next year!
When you come to visit from the pumpkin patch,
We will all be waiting right here!


“My Friend Jack” by Rick W. Cotton

Mr. Moon and Jack O’Lantern
from My Book House, Vol. 6, pg. 33

Father’s Day 2018

Father's Day 2018 image

Father’s Day Prayer of Remembering

Fatherly love brings wealth to living

Remembering this we go forth in giving

Fathers young, fathers old

We remember you all

As life unfolds.

~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~

In honor of the patriarchs of our family lines this Father’s Day, 2018.

Serrapede Family
Luigi Serrapede (b. 1815)
Sabato Serrapede (1814-1893) 
Gennaro Serrapede (b. 1867)
Sabato Serrapede, Sr. (1900-2002)
Vincenzo Ruocco (b. 1810)
Antonio Pappalardo (b. 1820)
Nicola Pappalardo (b. 1816)
Alessandro Patella (b. 1800)
Pietro Marino

Muro Family
Nunziante di Muro (b. 1825)
Pietro di Muro (b.c. 1842-1883)
Nicola “Nick” Muro (1882-1966)
Raymond “Raimie” Muro (1925-2007)
Americo Marcele “Igo” Muro (1924-2012)
Albino Muro (1925-2002)
Peter James Muro (1913-1992)
Louis Muro (1914-1999)
Francesco Scotti (1807-1887)
Carmine Scotti (b.c. 1846)
Fabio Di Giaimo
Fabio Di Giaimo (Jr.)
Giambattista Di Giaimo (b. 1576)
Domenica A. Di Giaimo (b. 1602)
Costabile Di Giaimo (b. abt. 1715)
Pietro Maurano
Antonio N. D. Di Giaimo (b. 1738)
Giuseppe di Giaimo (b. 1770)
Francesco di Giaimo (1806-1866)

Aiello Family
Angelo Aiello
Vincenzo Aiello (1829-1912)
Angelo Aiello (1864-1936)
Eugenio Pujia

Marasco Family
Riciotti Marasco (1894-1917)
John Marasco (1916-1987)


With love,

Sam Serrapede, Jr.
EmilyAnn Frances May
Sunday, June 17, 2018


Note:  We have included the fathers of the women who married into our patriarchal bloodlines.


“Father’s Day Prayer of Remembering”

Vintage Image



Mother’s Day 2018

Roses Mother's Day 2018

On Mother’s Day we remember
our Mothers, Grandmothers , Great Grandmothers and all the matriarchs of the
Serrapede, Muro and Aiello Families
especially our Emily Leatrice., Josie, Rose, Letizia, and Emilia.
With love, gratitude and thanksgiving.
We wish all our family and friends a day of happiness and recollection as we recall all
the goodness, strength, encouragement and life-giving power of the love our Mothers
gave us.
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May
Public domain Victorian era image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy