"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."

Mar28th2016

A Chance To Hear Auntie Phyllis Laugh Again

by  Phyllis Zeck

Phyllis Vincent

Phyllis, Gilbert, & Corinne

Gilbert Del Principe and Bertha Reher married in Chicago on 27 Nov 1926. Phyllis Elvira was born in 1927 and my mother Corinne was born in 1931. I now realize that Auntie Phyllis was named after my 2nd great grandmother Filomena Ursitti.  

Mom and Auntie suffered some traumatic events early in life. They were both with their grandmother Elvira at Christmas Eve Mass when Elvira passed away in 1939. And they were both with their mother Bertha when she passed away at home in 1947. Auntie Phyllis was 19 and mom was 16.  Auntie Phyllis would soon marry Richard and leave Chicago to settle in Connecticut. Auntie had 5 children and mom had 8 children. This equaled plenty of grandchildren for Grandpa to spoil.

Mom and Auntie tried to see each other often and I have such fond memories of vacations with my cousins. Calling each other on the phone was a luxury for mom and Auntie that our children would not be able to comprehend. Long distance calls were very expensive and once the sisters started chatting there was no stopping them. When my aunt and mother got together those two ladies laughed and talked non stop.  I can still hear them as if it was yesterday. 

Phyllis Vincent Corinne Winike

Sisters

In 2011 my brother Rob and I recorded an interview with Auntie Phyllis. I had just begun my genealogy research and knew Auntie Phyl had some great stories to tell. I recently played those files and found myself laughing out loud and smiling. What a great idea we had and why hadn’t we thought of it earlier so we could have recorded our mother!? Click the link below to listen to part of the interview. This is the 1st audio clip in our series. To listen to the other interviews, click on the box titled “Vincent Family” in the categories box to the right.

Click below to listen to Auntie talk about how her older cousin Elvira (Snookie) gave Auntie Phyllis a bike she had outgrown. She tells us how grandpa taught her to ride it. We also discuss childhood illnesses (my mother had scarlet fever) and a lesson auntie and mom learned about washing the dishes in a timely manner.

 

 
 

Feb8th2011

Home Movies

by  Phyllis Zeck

Corinne with Bobby and Mark

When I was a child Grandpa Gilbert was in charge of the movie camera.  It was expensive to buy the film and have it developed so you had to choose what you were going to record very carefully. Summer Sunday nights were movie nights.  It was always the same routine.  My father insisted we have barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs with corn on the cob and watermelon for desert.  Sunday was his one day off and mom always made sure his day was special.  Daddy would tumble the charcoal brochettes into the grill and pour on lighter fluid.  He’d toss in a match and with a “whoosh” the flames ignited.  Then the lid went on the grill.

 

 

Joseph Rachor (Papa Joe) and Grace M. Norder Winike Rachor

  While he waited for the coals to get hot, Daddy and Papa Joe would play horseshoes.  We’d watch from our swing set as the game commenced.  Daddy at one end of the yard, Papa Joe at the other.  Papa Joe would take his stance, one leg straight, one leg bent.  He’d rock back and forth 3 or 4 times as he brought the horseshoe up to his chin.  He’d take aim, pull his arm back, and let her rip!  The horseshoe slammed into the metal post with a clang and spun around a few times before coming to rest.  The dirt beneath the horseshoe flew up then floated down.  They never got tired of that game. Papa Joe was daddy’s step father.  He and daddy’s mother lived in an apartment on the second floor of our home.  Papa Joe worked for 7-UP.   I will never forget their classic slogan “You Like It – It Likes You”.   Nobody could tell a scary ghost story like our Papa Joe!

Cousins Toni and Gina

Grandpa would send someone out to his garden to pick tomatoes for the hamburgers.  There is nothing in this world like the taste of homegrown tomatoes.  Grandpa used to eat them like an apple.  He’d take a little bite so some of the skin was removed.  Then he’d take the salt shaker and pour on the salt.  Now a large bite, and tomato juice dripped down and around the tomato.  Delicious! After the dinner dishes were done Grandpa would pull the projection screen out of the closet and open the tri pod.  He’d pull the white screen up and latch it over the black hook.  Then he would set up the projector at the kitchen table.  We’d pull down the shades and the kids would clamor for seats on the benches around the table.  Grandpa would order that the lights to be turned off and the movie began. Of course there was no sound in those bulky older movie cameras but Grandpa was giving us instructions as he filmed us.  Run around the tree in the front yard.  Jump up and down.  Girls “brush the hair out of your eyes” and my arms along with my sisters flew up to our face to brush our hair back.

Some of my siblings and me

Then we hear the inevitable “snap”.  The film broke.  We’d all groan with a collective sigh and Grandpa would order that the lights be turned on.  He’d get out his splicing kit and lickety split, he’d have that film spliced and back on the projector.  The lights were turned off and we continued watching the movies. Several years ago my sister Lori and I collected that old film and we took it to a videographer and had the movies put on mini DV tapes.  I’ve added those movies to my iMac and now I can splice the movies to my hearts content. Click below for a 3 minute video of the Winike and Vincent (Auntie Phyllis’ Children) families.

 
 

Nov2nd2010

Gilbert & Bertha

by  Phyllis Zeck

Gilbert Del Principe and Bertha Reher were my grandparents.  They met when grandpa was driving a taxi and he’d stop by the restaurant where grandma worked to have coffee.  After dating for 2 weeks they were married!

Bertha was born on April 22, 1901 in Hamburg, Germany.  She arrived in New York on November 30, 1904  on board the ship “The Blucher” with her mother Caroline and her brother Henry.  I can’t find any record that her father, August, ever joined the family in the U.S.   After Bertha’s mother died Bertha went to live with her Uncle Henry and his wife Hattie.

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