It occurred to me that because I’ve been visiting my sister’s family in the City of Long Beach, New York, for so long, I should maybe write about life in Long Beach. Officially I’m still a resident of the Borough of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, though. I’ve gotten to know Wyoming quite well by now having lived there since April of 2006 and I still don’t know all that much about Long Beach. My parents were both from northeastern Pennsylvania and I’d visited the region quite regularly since my earliest childhood, until moving there a while ago. I’ve always really enjoyed the Wyomings. It’s an exceptionally picturesque region with extremely nice scenery. Wyoming and West Wyoming-they share a common zip code, 18644-are such an exceptionally nice little suburban region. There are a lot of local businesses, including stores, restaurants, doctors, hospitals and lawyers, within driving and even walking distance of my neighborhood. They have an exceptionally nice mall only six miles away. The borough is very close to both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. In northeastern Pennsylvania there are churches-Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox-all over the place. There are many towns in the region that literally have several churches on each street. I’d always been quite involved with Our Lady of Sorrows on Eighth Street, and St. Joseph’s on Sixth Street. The parish is now known as St. Monica’s. The churches, along with all the equally prominent secular organizations, contribute a lot to helping the poor, and to making things run smoothly in general. Having met quite a few exceptionally good people in and around the Wyomings I know that the borough’s residents are as good as any I’ve ever met although they can also be as offbeat a bunch of characters as one could expect. Considering that it’s the kind of small town where everyone knows other people’s business there’s the problem of too much gossip. On special occasions the borough’s representatives have parades and other events to commemorate whichever milestone is referred to. Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth President of the United States, even visited the Wyoming Monument, a landmark from the U.S. Revolutionary War. He was only the third United States President, besides Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt, to visit the monument. There are also a few drawbacks to life in the Wyomings, though. Northeastern Pennsylvania is a very mountainous region and winters are inevitably bitter cold with a seemingly endless supply of snow, rain and ice. Driving in bad weather is treacherous. Flooding isn’t so bad in the Wyomings but when it happens the surrounding boroughs are subject to quite a significant amount of damage. Because it’s so close to the Susquehanna River, fog is quie a major problem too. Because there are countless potholes in the roads driving even under the nicest circumstances is quite a chore. Wyoming Avenue and other roads have a lot of traffic congestion. Because of their history of coal mines, northeastern Pennsylvania typically has a higher than average percentage of deaths attributed to cancer. There is a lot of radon, as well as other carcinogens in the environment. Luzerne County in general is politically very corrupt. If I were the mayor of the Wyomings I should be determined to make the Wyomings as safe as possible from any excessive damage from flooding. I should also want to get something done about the potholes and traffic congestion, and to invest as much as possible into affordable health care. The wear and tear on people’s vehicles is an absolute nightmare. In spite of all the relatively minor inevitable drawbacks and inconveniences the Boroughs of Wyoming and West Wyoming are quite an interesting likable environment.
Mother’s Day went really well this year. Although my mother has been going so frequently to chemotherapy and getting physical therapy for the past few months we all had such a good time. Mary Anne came in on the bus for a few days. Neither Steve nor any of the kids was available. Recently Steve, Mary Anne, Bridget & Sam, along with other members of his family went on a trip to Europe with his mother Barbara. They will be there for a while. I gave blood a while ago at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston. It was my first donation since I gave blood there last December. Last Saturday morning there was another men’s meeting for the Guardian of the Redeemer Group at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, St. Monica’s Parish, in West Wyoming. Over the course of the past week Larry, Rose, Krissy Krissy Krissy, and Krissy Krissy Krissy’s daughter Natalie came to visit us from Massapequa. A few days after that Gary and Maria came in for a visit from Massapequa too. I’m always so very happy to see my Massapequa cousins. Memorial Day went really well too. I went to the annual parade on Wyoming Avenue and Eighth Street. Gino and Eric marched in it with the Cub Scouts. Yesterday I had such an interesting time. On Sunday I read in the Dispatch that Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, and his wife Rosalynn, were coming to the Wyoming Monument on Susquehanna Avenue to make a speech and to accept some awards. Yesterday I went to see them. It was so interesting. I heard their voices and saw them from a distance. Unfortunately it was so very crowded and it was raining but I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable experience. I parked in the Midway parking lot among lots of buses. I was forced to walk quite a distance but it was worth it.
August is quite a busy birthday month for my kin. This coming Friday will be Mary Anne’s birthday so she, Steve & Bridget came in this past weekend for a party. It was on Saturday. Neither Michael nor Sam was available. They both had to work. Uncle Frankie, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Jim & Benjamin all showed up. Although Aunt Lauren got very badly hurt a while ago, she seems to be doing quite well so far. At least it’s good to see that she’s already back on her feet & partying. Benjamin’s been getting very big & talkative lately. I think he’s around nine years old now. Uncle Jim’s birthday was on Sunday. Fran wasn’t available though. She spent her birthday, August 2, in Canada with a friend. They both showed up yesterday, after a visit to Uncle Frankie’s with souvenirs for us. As always the cuisine was exceptionally good but entirely too fattening. Steve & I even went to Antonio’s in the Midway to get pizza & chicken wings. Their prices have gone up unfortunately. It’s still quite a really good place though. We haven’t been to Sizzle Pie in Kingston in quite a while. As always Mary Anne & family made their predictable pilgrimage to Weggmann’s. They don’t have one in their part of New York & everyone’s really crazy about it. Of course Steve made sure he took a few people on his plum inevitable jaunt to Jitty Joe’s. Alas I wasn’t available. That was the night I went to 7:00 p.m. Mass at O. L. Sorrows. Yesterday was Gary’s & Maria’s twenty~ninth wedding anniversary so I made sure I sent them an e mail congratulating them. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in their wedding party. Today’s Autilia’s birthday too. She’s cousin Lanfranco’s wife. Unfortunately the air conditioner in my car hasn’t worked for quite a long time so I shall have to ask Frank Gubbiotti to fix it for me very soon. There’s quite a major heat wave going on right now. We also get extremely violent rainstorms, with thunder & lightning, on a regular basis lately. A man even recently got killed by lightning at Pocono Downs Racetrack recently. This past week O. L. Sorrows held a blood drive. I really wish I could have donated blood but I already gave a donation too recently.
This past weekend was quite active. St. Barbara’s annual feast, held at St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter, started on Friday night. I didn’t bother to go on the first night though because of the torrential downpour. We’ve been getting quite a lot of electrical storms & heat waves lately . I went on Saturday afternoon after I lectored at 4:00 p.m. Mass at O. L. Sorrows (I lectored at St. Joseph’s at 8:30 Mass last Sunday too) . It was a really nice time. I made sure I entered the raffle, as always. I got a root beer ice cream cone too. On Saturday morning I went to the monthly lay Carmelite meeting. It’s always at 9:00 a..m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Little Flower Manor on South Meade Street in Wilkes~Barre. We always welcome new people who are interested in joining us. Sr. Mary Robert & Msgr. Grimaglia were both there. It went quite well. On Sunday St. Monica’s annual bingo game was held at O.L. Sorrows Church on Eighth Street in West Wyoming. Because I always used to help when I was active in my old Knights of Columbus council 794 in Lindenhurst, N.Y., I made sure I called Tom a while ago to ask if I could help. He got me helping Mike & his wife in the kitchen. I spent most of the time selling soda & other drinks after that. I ate a hot dog with chili & later I ate a wimpie. Unfortunately unlike my old K of C council they didn’t have any knishes. They’ve never heard of them around here. I got some cake & a beer too. I even ended up going to the local Price Chopper for some Diet Pepsi. Unlike last year Uncle Frankie couldn’t go this time because he hasn’t been feeling so well. The Catholicism series, on Tuesday nights, has been going quite well so f ar. Br. Patrick, of the Oblates of St. Joseph, does a really good job of things. Daren’s birthday was on Saturday. She died of suicide a few years ago. I made sure I sent a card to her mother, Grace. Yesterday I got an answer from her.
This past Tuesday night, at 7:00, I went to St. Anthony of Padua’s church in Exeter for the first night of Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series on EWTN. During the day , each Tuesday, it’s at St. Monica’s Parish. It’s always at St. Barbara’s at night. Br. Patrick, of the Oblates of St. Joseph, was in charge. I sat at an empty table. A little while later a very nice young girl sat right next to me & introduced herself as Mallory. Since I have a lot of trouble with contextualizing, I entirely overlooked, at first, the fact that I see her at 8:30 a.m. Mass whenever I go to St. Joseph’s on Sunday. I can never help noticing her there. Surprisingly she’s not even Catholic. At the end there was a question & answer session. Yesterday I went to O. L. Mt. Carmel’s church on William Street in Pittston to give blood. My appointment was at 4:00 but, being compulsively punctual, I showed up at around 3:00. Unfortunately I forgot to remind them that it was for a double red cell donation so that’s probably not what they did. I was happily stunned to see that it was all over within about six minutes instead of the usual twenty minutes. The last time I was supposed to give blood I was entirely too ill with the flu. By now I’ve been going quite frequently, for such a long time, that the northeastern Pa. blood drives that several phlebotomists & I have gotten to recognize each other quite well. Amber, who was one of the ladies who showed up, reminded me that we’d already met before.
Today would have been the ninety~fifth birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty~fifth president of the United States. Kennedy was the United States’ first Catholic president. He was also the youngest man ever elected to the office. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. His was the fourth presidential assassination. Today is also Burt Koza’s birthday. He was my eighth grade history teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, New York. My niece Bridget’s birthday was on the 27th. She’s fifteen. My parents & I talked to her on the phone for practically a half hour. My cousin Gino’s birthday was on the 25th. My parents, Uncle Frankie & I all went over to his party on Saturday afternoon at around 4:00. Besides him, Michelle & their three kids, Aunt Helen, Michelle’s both parents & her family, as well as friends of theirs were there. My parents were the first to leave. Uncle Frankie left a few hours later. He only lives two doors away from Gino. I left very late at night. A splendid time was had by one & all. I only drank two beers, Miller Lite, & a cup of Captain Morgan rum & Coke. Because of that Gino made me let him drive me home. His father~in~law followed us. Yesterday after 8:00 a.m. Mass at O.L. Sorrows I got ready to go to the big annual parade we always have in the Wyomings for Memorial Day. Gino & his son Eric marched in the parade with Eric’s Cub (B0y?) Scout troop. I was a bit surprised, on two separate occasions, when a couple of people said hello to me by name . I didn’t recognize either of them. It was a really nice time. The parade went from Shoemaker Avenue in West Wyoming down Eighth Street & into Exeter by way of Wyoming Avenue.
- Alas I can’t remember the exact date but it was on a nice spring day in May 1992 when I first joined O.L.P.H.’s Knights of Columbus Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. Those were such exceptionally happy times for me. I even joined their Fourth Degree. I met some exceptionally good people there. Now I’m in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pa. Unfortunately I have yet to become an active member of my current council but I always want to make sure I renew my membership each year. I make sure I read the council’s newsletter & the Columbia each month too. I have always been quite proud of my membership in our Order because we help the Catholic Church, neighborhoods, hospitals & in general contribute quite significantly to the common good. Today my parish, St. Monica’s, will be sponsoring a blood drive at the O. L. Sorrows Church in West Wyoming from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. I can’t donate blood though because I’ve been sick for about the past five days with a very mild flu. I’ve gotten headaches & a cough. I’ve also been taking medication. Soon, though, I shall be back to normal. Then I can give blood again.
Last night I went to the St. Monica’s men’s group meeting at O.L. Sorrows parish. The women were also there for their group’s meeting. We met in the sacristy & they met in the church’s hall. It was quite a nice short meeting. I was especially pleasantly surprised when one of the men recommended that we try to start a bowling league. I’d always especially enjoyed the days when cousins Larry, Gary, Java & I used to bowl with the Knights of Columbus’ St. Jane Frances de Chantal Council’s league in Wantagh, New York. We’d always had such an especially nice time back then. If this proposed league is going to work out we shall have to make specific arrangements about whether it should be only for men or co~ed, since the ladies may be interested. We shall also have to get a specific minimum number of people involved because we shall have an obligation to meet the bowling alley’s requirements for that & other things. After the meeting ended we held our usual fifty~fifty raffle. I drank a can of beer & ate a donut.