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

Mar29th2019

Aerial View of Pescasseroli & Opi

by  Phyllis Zeck

Pescasseroli Italy Del Principe

Pescasseroli, Italy

This winter I was looking for some images to purchase for the walls of our new home. I bought these panoramic photos of the towns of Pescasseroli and Opi. After having 11×14 prints made I bought new frames and hung the photos in my bedroom. They look wonderful. The photo on the left is the birth town of my great grandparents Cesidia Elvira Tranquilla Ciolli (1867-1939) and Pietro Giovanni Del Prinicipe (1853-1922). The photo below is the town of Opi where my great great grandmother Filomena Ursitti was born in 1837.  Filomena married Don Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli and they raised their family in Pescasseroli. 

Opi Italy

Opi, Italy

While I was looking for photos I came across the website Life in Abruzzo. If you plan to visit Italy this site has some info about the community of Pescasseroli and things to do in the town. The writer mentions Salvatore, the owner of the B&B via Della Piazza, at the end of the article.

 

 
 

Mar17th2019

Italy’s Alpine Soldiers

by  Phyllis Zeck

Pescasseroli alpine soldiersSeveral years about I wrote a post about Italy’s Alpine Soldiers (click link to read). Last November I received a message from Francesco Gentile who lives in Pescasseroli. He wanted to share the news that there was to be a special ceremony for the fallen soldiers of World War I. Medals were given to the soldiers heirs. The photo above was taken at the town hall where 43 medals were laid out in preparation for the ceremony. There are about 15 medals that Francesco and the community are unable to find relatives for.

One of the soldiers Pasquale Di Nella is a great uncle to my cousin Vickie. Vickie’s great grandmother, Bibbiana Celestina Ciolli, was the sister of my great grandmother Elvira. Another soldier Giuseppe D’Addezio is the brother of Francesco’s grandmother.  A third soldier who was honored is Paolo Del Principe. Francesco doesn’t know who Paolo Del Principe’s heirs are and I’ve not been able to find a link to Paolo in my research. Pasquale Di Nella

The medal to the right honors Pasquale Di Nella. He was killed about 1918. It’s wonderful that Pescasseroli honored the soldiers who lost their lives for our freedom 100 years ago.

 
 

Jan13th2019

Bernice’s Manicotti

by  Phyllis Zeck

Standing L to R: Lois, Lorraine, Helen, Bernice (in black dress), Marion & Grace. Seated: Grandpa Charles Bihler (Bernice’s father) & Paul

Bernice Dorothy Bihler is Joe Del Prinicipe’s mother. Joe shared his mother’s Manicotti recipe with me and said that he recently taught his granddaughter how to make it. Joe’s mother Bernice and Bernice’s father Charles Bihler are in the photo to the left taken approx 1950. Also in the photo are Bernice’s sisters. The photo below is Bernice’s mother Augusta Voss Bihler.  Thank you Joe.  Lori and I hope that Holly makes this soon!

From Joe:  Below is a recipe handed down from my mother for my favorite Italian pasta dish. It is not a quick and easy recipe to produce, but I have always found it to be well worth every minute of prep time while enjoying the fruits of the labor, or maybe it is from enjoying the wonderful glass of sherry while I was making it.   

Augusta Voss

Marion, Augusta Voss Bihler, and Lois. Approx 1926

Manicotti – Meat & Cheese filled 
Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Pork
1 lb. Italian Sausage – casings removed
¼ Cup Cream Sherry
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
¾ cup Grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano Cheese
15 oz. Light Ricotta Cheese
2 ea. 4.5 oz Sliced Mushrooms

3 cans 6 oz. Tomato Paste
2 cans 14.5 oz. Diced Tomatoes
1 ½ Cup Water
¼ Cup Cream Sherry (Optional)
2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
2 tablespoon Oregano
1 tsp Salt

Manicotti Pasta – 14 Shells
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese Grated

Add olive oil to large 12” skillet, heat over medium heat. Add ground beef, pork, sausage, and mix in garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and cream sherry.

Stir frequently until brown and drain. Add parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and mushrooms to meat mixture. Mix thoroughly. Set aside while making sauce.
In a large mixing bowl mix diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cream sherry, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, water, and cream sherry (optional – sometimes I prefer to just drink it).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Using a 14” x 10” baking dish, place a ¼” layer of sauce on bottom.  Using the meat mixture, stuff each pasta shell and place in baking dish until all shells have been filled. Mix leftover meat mixture with remaining sauce and spoon evenly over pasta shells.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes.
Remove from oven and increase temperature to 375 degrees.
Remove foil and place shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over top of shells.
Place uncovered baking dish back in oven for 15 minutes or until cheese begins to brown slightly.

 
 

Nov17th2018

I Will Love You Forever

by  Phyllis Zeck

Today is a very difficult day for my family and friends.  My brother passed away this summer and today would have been his 69th birthday.  Robert Gilbert Winike was the oldest of eight children born to Corinne and Robert.  Our father passed away when Rob was 20 years old.  Rob helped guide his siblings through life giving them strength and confidence as they forged their paths.

Rob was the first to move to Portland and one by one brothers and sisters followed him.  Many of us settled in the St Johns neighborhood where we raised our children who affectionately nicknamed Rob “Poppy”.  The Winike clan continued to grow. As my nephews and nieces arrived I realized that my siblings were the best gift my mother and father ever gave me. We leaned on each other as our children grew and we offered love, support, and guidance as our babies maneuvered through the bumpy road toward becoming adults. We made sure that family gatherings happened frequently.  With a clan like ours those parties were filled with stories of our childhood, teasing, laughter and love. Then, in the blink of an eye, there was a whole new generation of children and Rob became a grandfather.  The 1985 photo below is of  Rob, Lori, Janie, Paul, myself, Holly, Grandma Corinne (her grandchildren) and Steve.

Family was one of Rob’s greatest joys in life.  Rob loved to tell stories of his youth.  Until the age of 10 he lived in Chicago and was surrounded by Del Principe & Ciolli families, most of them living within a few homes of Rob, our parents and our grandfather. In 1958 our parents along with grandpa Gilbert and the 4 oldest children moved to the suburbs of Villa Park.  Janice was the first sibling born in Villa Park. 

Rob thrived on helping others. His service to the church started when he was a youth and lasted his whole life. When his children were young Rob would coordinate overnight shelters at his church so the homeless had a place to sleep.  Rob had a deep religious conviction, which helped comfort him through many of life’s good and bad times. Rob and my sister Holly are my daughter Ashley’s godparents.  Rob and his wife Judy are my granddaughter Abby’s godparents. 

Rob was an example of a Christian who used his faith and relationship with God to grow as a person.  He went through ups and downs and particularly during the lows in his life he leaned into his faith to improve his life and change for the better.

Rob and I shared the excitement of establishing this family history blog. He contributed so many of his memories to countless blog posts for which I will be forever grateful.  Rob was a gifted and talented writer.  Some of my favorite memories of researching and blogging with Rob is the time we audio recorded several interviews with Auntie Phyllis.  When you get lonely for Rob’s voice and laughter, click on one of the interviews. Click here to listen to one of my favorite posts.  This always brings a smile to my face. To hear more audio interviews click on the Category column in the right for “Vincent Family”.

Lindsay, Robin, Tyler, Rob & Judy

I feel the heartache daily of saying goodbye to this wonderful man and will for a very long time to come.  He has touched us all in different ways and for myself and Ashley there are endless memories of fun adventures that fill us with contentment and happiness.  We try to find peace rejoicing in the knowledge that Rob is in Heaven and watching out for us all, just as he did in life.  Rob will forever be deeply and dearly missed.

 

 
 

Apr22nd2018

Our Lady of the Angels Fire

by  Phyllis Zeck

On December 1, 1958 a fire broke out at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic grade school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.  92 children and 3 nuns were killed. The fire started in the basement and spread quickly through the school reaching many combustable substances which accelerated the fire. Jean Gallo, one of my mother’s best friends, had two children who survived this fire.

My mother had two close friends in high school who were sisters.  Their names were Jean & Teresa Spotts.  Teresa married August (Gus) Russo and they had two children, Barbara and Michael.  They lived near Berwyn.  Jean married Frank Ernest Gallo and they had four or five children; Frank Jr, Sam (Sandy), Anthony, and Theresa.  

My brother Tom told me the following details about mom’s close friends.  “Aunite Jean lived in the Del Principe apartment building at Harrison & Oakley while her husband served in the military. Everyone in the family loved Jean and Theresa’s father. The last time we saw the Gallo family was probably Christmas 1970.  We took 2 cars to their house in the south suburbs.  Rob & Janie took one car and mom took most of us kids in the other car.  Uncle Frank had a split level in a very nice neighborhood.  He stayed in the kitchen cooking Italian food the whole time.” Frank Sr passed away in 1973.

Tom continued, “Jean and Frank’s oldest son Frank Jr and his brother Sam survived the horrible school fire at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic school. Frank was 9 and in the 4th grade. Sam was 7 and in the 2nd grade. The boy’s father was a paratrooper in the Army Air Force and he had taught Frank Jr and Sam how to jump from trees and roofs, which is why Frank as able to survive the fire”.

If you click this link and scroll to Room 210 you will read the following:

Frankie was hospitalized overnight with minor burns and for observation of minor injuries. “A kid in my room jumped up out of his seat and hollered, ‘smoke.’ And smoke started coming through the cracks in the door. Our nun was writing on the blackboard. She told us to open the windows and start praying. Then everybody started running toward the windows because they couldn’t breathe. She just stood there, cool as a cucumber.” Frank said that after seeing several boys jump, he pulled himself onto the window sill, sat down and slid off, falling 25 feet to the hard ground below. “I felt like my back was broken. I crawled along a while and then got up. A lot of them couldn’t get up.” Firemen found Frankie sitting on a curb in shock, and had him taken to the hospital. Frank passed away on May 8, 2011.

Brother Sam Gallo age 7. Sam escaped without injury from his first floor classroom.  Neighbor Alice Tarsa took him into her home until his parents could get him. 

Tom also remembers “The church was rebuilt and is still open.  It’s 3 miles from the house where mom and Auntie Phyllis grew up.  The last Del Principe to live in the house was Uncle John and his wife Jeanette.  One of the most painful memories of Our Lady of Angels tragedy is that most of the children were taken directly to the county morgue which is where Jeanette worked. 65 children were taken directly to the morgue.”

Jean Spotts and Frank Gallo Gus RussoThe photo to the left is Auntie Jean and Frank Gallo’s wedding photo. My mother Corinne is second from the left.  Jean’s sister Teresa is between Jean and my mother.  I have two more photos of the bride and would love to forward these three photos, which are in excellent condition, to Jean or Theresa descendants.  Unfortunately we’ve lost touch with the Gallo and Russo families.