Yesterday I drove out to Long Island to say goodbye to my Aunt Pasquina Lella. While losing someone to death is always sad, Aunt Pasquina lived 86 and a half years. Her life started in Bari, Italy and ended on Long Island, NY, USA. Aunt Pasquina and Uncle Tony (Uncle Tony passed last year) spent around 60 years together and had 6 children together. On any given Sunday you could stop into their home, (they welcomed everyone) for Sunday dinner and you would think it was Christmas by the amount of people and the amount of food, from the appetizers out before dinner to the coffee and cake at the end of the night.
I have a lot of really good memories from my childhood between Massapequa and Lodi. My cousins Dino and Linda were the 2 cousins I was probably closest with. During the summers Uncle Tony and Aunt Pasquina would drive out to Lodi and drop off Dino and Linda and they would spend a week or so with us. Occasionally I would go out to Long Island for weekends but that wasn’t as frequent because after my father died I was afraid to be away from my mother for any period of time. I learned yesterday that my cousin Diane would also come spend time with us as well but I don’t remember that. She was telling me that she didn’t want to spend the time by us because she’s a bit older than us (so naturally it would be a boring time for her) so when she came she would stay with my Aunt Anna who lived in the upstairs apartment in our house.
I do remember my cousin Patsy coming out one time. Patsy is also a bit older than us so his trips were less frequent as well. Dino, Patsy, and I went fishing in Garfield at the pond by the pump house and the trip ended with a fish hook so deep in my finger it took a trip to the hospital to have it removed. Ha, good times.
So while losing someone you love is always sad, it’s also time to remember all the good times you lived with the person and all the good times and memories you have because of the person. Yesterday sitting around the table with my cousins and talking about “the old days” and hearing stories was a happy time.
Aunt Pasquina will be missed by so many because of the love, generosity, and happiness she brought to everyone she met. I hope the Sunday tradition keeps on with her children (my cousins) and all the grandchildren.
Sad she is no longer with us, but happy to celebrate a long life filled with love.