Greetings to all! I hope everyone who celebrated the holidays–be it Easter, Passover or Spring–had enjoyable get-togethers with family and friends. My own Spring break is doing me a world of good. The week before Easter a very nasty virus came back to visit me and I was determined to get over it for good this time. By resting and eating only light meals I was better by Good Friday. I also got out into the sunshine and took long walks on Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Tuesday, April 18th. I took photos to capture the beauty I found in the flowers and trees I saw during each walk.
Each time I went out the flowers looked more beautiful as the days of sunlight and warmth increased. The peak of this beauty was on April 18th when the warmth of the sun filled the air with a floral fragrance that mingled with that of the earth and the grass being trimmed in some gardens.
I hope you will enjoy these photos and give permission for them to be circulated and re-used so long as a link back to this blog is provided. They provide good examples of the simple abundance to be found in the midst of our everyday lives.
I will be checking in to catch up with all my WordPress friends. Postings will resume in 2 weeks.
Afternoon walk on Holy Saturday, April 15, 2017
Clouds and sun alternated in the late afternoon but that did not take away from the bright, cheerful colors of the daffodils and tulips in the gardens I passed. I loved the idea of creating an Easter tree decorated with eggs and pastel colored ribbons like the one I saw in a garden I passed.
Uncle Sammy and I thought that we would collect memories and anecdotes about Rose, Nick and their family. We first mined our own memories and then reached out to our relatives. The portraits that emerge sometimes diverge and at other times intersect. Although this posting consists of small, simple details we think it tells us who Rose was, how she handled the responsibility of raising 11 children, and why she was a beloved Grandmother and Great Grandmother to all the Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. We also see a glimpse into how strong Nick and Rose’s desire was to improve their language skills, knowledge about current events and encouraging their children to get a good education.This posting was finalized in November of 2015.
Pedigree chart of Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro.
Rosina Aiello was born on April 24, 1896 in Martirano, Italy to Caterina and Angelo Aiello. She married Ricciotti Marasco in the mid-1910s. Ricciotti and Rosina had one son, John, born in 1916. Ricciotti served in the military for Italy during WWI and died in battle on September 5, 1917. Rosina remained a widow until Nicola Muro went to Italy to propose marriage sometime in early to mid-1921. Nicola’s first wife, Letizia, passed away February of that year leaving behind 5 small children. Rosina and her son John arrived in Wilmerding Pennsylvania in November of 1921. Shortly after that she and Nicola married.
Rosina was called Rose after her arrival in America.
Christmas morning I went to mass at the National Cathedral. My Uncle Sammy (who is my Mom’s brother and like a brother/dad/godfather and best friend to me), recommended I make the cathedral the focal point of the trip to Washington, DC. He told me there is such a feeling of sanctity and history in the Cathedral that I would not leave without feeling uplifted.
He is right. Not only did I feel uplifted, I was inspired. The choir had the voices of angels. The clergy, laymen and lay women at the service conveyed such dignity and joy. I also felt the good will during the exchange of peace at the service. Episcopalians, and Catholics too, exchange a sign of peace before the Eucharist is given. In Brooklyn, it is a very anemic exchange. People wave to each other while some make a peace sign and nod in your direction. I’ve noticed in my parish most people only shake hands with those they know. At the National Cathedral on Christmas Day not only did I shake hands with all those near me, I had a few people hug me, too. The warmth was very tangible. I felt as if I’d received an energy transfusion.
At 1:30 p.m. there was a recital given on the grand pipe organ in the cathedral. The selection ranged from The Nutcracker Suite, to modern carols like “Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella” and culminated in a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”. Two organists were needed to handle the four keyboards on the cathedral’s grand pipe organ for this last piece. They are both young men in their late 20s-early 30s and so very talented. As I watched the large screens placed throughout the church so we could see the organist I was so taken by passion and joy on their faces. It brought such a feeling of happiness and joy that moved me to tears. Again, other people nearby were responsive and just as moved by the recital as I was. Strangers, we smiled and hugged and wished each other well without any reserve and without any analytical thoughts about who is this person and what are the thinking.
I think this was what I had come looking for: that spontaneity and ability to feel with and for other people. That it happened during the service and recital at the National Cathedral during Christmas day brought home the meaning and significance of this holiday that I haven’t felt for many years. For me 2017 will be not only a New Year, but one with newer way of looking at what the real gifts of Christmas are all about every day of the year.
From my photo album
The National Cathedral, Washington, DC, Christmas Day 2016
Main entrance of The National Cathedral.
Wishing all who celebrate these Holy Days a blessed All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
All Hallows Eve is a night celebrated by Trick or Treating and telling ghost stories. The deeper meaning is found in the approach of Winter, the season of cold, stark landscapes where nothing grows. It is a time poised between the end of the season of growth and the season of rest. It serve s as a reminder of the growth and decline that precedes the renewal of Spring.
Autumn is shading into Winter as the days continue to grow shorter. The chill outside drives us indoors. Flowers no longer bloom, trees become more bare as the days go by. The bounty of summer has been harvested and preparations for sustenance during the winter months continue. There is a lull that calls us to think about the cycle of growth that has passed in the current year. During this time it is good to part company with laptops, cell phones, tablets and find company in the memories of loved ones who no longer live with us in this world.
I have found that this time dedicated to the beloved departed has a powerful effect upon renewing our memories of those who have taught us, loved us and inspired us. Although they are physically gone, we revive their good examples within our hearts and minds. In a way we are renewed. The influence of our loved ones can once more be felt in the world as we do our best in memory of them.
–EmiyAnn Frances May
–October 30, 2016
The illustrations used here come from My Book House, edited by Olive Beaupre Miller.
In this posting we consider the stories we have learned about the death of Ernest Muro, son of Nick and Letizia Muro. Ernest was 1 year old when he died. The official record of his death is in direct opposition to the cause we learned about during research and family discussions. To help you understand the relationships discussed in this posting we have outlined them in this section.
Ernest Muro was the son of Nicola and Letizia (nee Scotti) Muro. Ernest’s siblings were:
Ernest is related to EmilyAnn and Sammy. Ernest was:
- Sammy’s Uncle (through Josie, Sammy’s Mom).
- EmilyAnn’s Great Uncle (through Josie’s daughter Emily Leatrice).
Ernest’s sister Josie was:
- Sammy’s Mom.
- EmilyAnn’s Maternal Grandmother.
In our previous posting we reviewed the safety issues that surrounded the use of horses in an urban environment in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. We also considered the manner in which pedestrians utilized the pavements and streets. The automobile eventually eclipsed the use of horses by the 1920s. Pedestrians were made aware, through public safety campaigns, that the street was for vehicles and the sidewalk was for people.
George Westinghouse ensured that Wilmerding had a mass transit system within the town when it was first built. Yet even as the 1920s began, there were small companies within Wilmerding that still used a horse drawn cart as a means of transport. As we researched the children of Letizia and Nick Muro we learned about their next to youngest child, Ernest. The family never spoke about him and we were ready to accept the story which official documentation gave about his death. That was until we interacted with other relatives at Ancestry and compared family stories we heard. This is how we learned that Ernest’s death may have been hastened due to an accident caused by a horse drawn cart. Continue reading
Uncle Sammy and I decided to include brief entries whenever possible about the towns near Wilmerding. During our visits to Pennsylvania we sometimes went to visit these towns because relatives lived there. The towns were very close and at times it seemed like one flowed into another. This was because of the closeness the relatives maintained and the frequency of their visits.
The towns of Turtle Creek Valley: Pitcairn
Pitcairn Street Scene, circa 1910.
Public Domain. Image courtesy of Monroeville Historical Society.
Map of Pitcairn, circa 1901
Pitcairn started as a village where a railyard was constructed near Turtle Creek. It was incorporated as a village in 1894. The town had a major switching yard for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Population peaked between 1910 through 1940. After this time there was a decline in the ability of the railroad yards and shops to provide employment.
My Mom, Emily Leatrice and me. Early 1954.
April 21, 2014
Cool and clear
I’m looking at one of the refrigerator magnets I bought for you back in the early 2000s. It looks brand new. You always took such good care of even the slightest trinket or bauble I gave you.
This magnet has a the quote, “There’s a special way a mom can gently fill each day with love.”
I’d like to add that even memories of a wonderful Mom can bring that love back into the present.
Everytime I see this photo I’m reminded of what you told me happened when you delivered me at Shore Road Hospital. When you heard it was a girl you began to cry. The doctor thought you had wanted a boy. You yelled at him and let him know in no uncertain terms you got exactly what you wanted, a little girl of your own.
Later on, you and me would have some colorful exchanges, too. Especially when I was a teenager. But little of that comes back to mind when I see this picture.
The way you held me and the stories you told me about my childhood reinforced that. True, sometimes we were like a rainstorm on each other’s day but like the rain the problems cleared up.
I just needed to take this time to remember you always were and will always be the most important woman in my life. There’s so much emphasis today on asking little girls to find role models amongst people they don’t know like politicians, celebrities, authors and artists. But for me it’ll always be you.
Remembering you a little bit past the date you were born into this world, April 18th.