A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.
Speaking about my generation of younger cousins, just a little younger than Jeff and Mark and Joe & Joe, Jeff, and MaryEllen…whenever the younger cousins and I got together it was really such a treat for me. Of course, I had friends who lived in the neighborhood and as I became a teenager I made friends in other neighborhoods, but there was something different about getting together with my cousins.
1. I got to spend some weekends at Camille and Bobby’s house. Playing on the swings out back with Robert and Jennifer, or making up little shows in their basement, was just so good for me (as I look back on it). I remember Aunt Camille would sit on the basement steps and watch our performances. That basement was like nothing I’d ever seen before–it had a pool table, and air hockey, and a private room with Bobby’s shiny drum set. I remember Robert very quietly sneaking me back to show off the drums to me. We had to whisper. We stood in awe by them. I remember the gold records, framed, hanging on the walls, and Robert tapping his fingertips on the drum skins but not letting me touch. We had fun, and for me to get out of the city and be with cousins, it was just so good for me. I remember being in awe and so stimulated by everything.
2. Another little show was when Sharon and I rehearsed a song and dance from the movie Grease. Outside in front of Helen’s house. We did it day after day after day until we got it right. I remember Debra watching us every day…probably with her head in hands…and then Janet watching us perform…probably with her head in her hands.
3. Back to my cousin Robert. And neither of us is probably the best person to tell the story, but I remember we fought like wildcats once or twice on 10th Street. There was biting and clawing and cursing. I have no idea why we fought or what we fought over but I remember it took Jeff and Mary and our moms (at least) to disentangle us from killing each other. Funny how on one hand I loved going to see him and Jen, and then a few times on 10th Street we just out and out brawled.
4. Robert sent me the memory on Facebook, but we used to play hockey in Helen’s basement. On our hands and knees I think we balled up socks and used our hands to flick the “puck” into made-up goals. Soon, Jeff got involved and then we started checking each other into the paneling. We made so much noise and again, just roughed each other up to no end, but had so much fun even if Helen yelled at us from the top of the stairs every ten minutes or so.
5. One night, when I was in high school, I was hanging out on Oregon Avenue up the block from Cookie’s Tavern. (Mom, stop reading.) That’s where we bought our quarts of beer for a couple of dollars. I was there with a half a dozen friends, passing around beer, and just walking comes MaryEllen with some friends of hers who I had never met before. (Aunt Joanne stop reading) There may have been beer involved there too. Well, she froze in her tracks. Her friends didn’t notice and kept walked. And I remember becoming still to. We both stared at each other until she said, “What are you doing here?” I forget the rest of the dialogue but I vaguely remember an agreement that we’d each keep our mouths shut and let the other go about their business.
6. Greg Pratico drove me to all of my proms in a funeral home limo for free. Never had to pay him. (Mom, stop reading) And he always had a little beer on ice in the trunk. Not a lot. Just a few bottles in a bucket. He’d come all the way from Delaware County down to Philly or out to Wallingford when Sharon went to a prom with me (best looking girl at the prom, by the way) and Greg was just so reliable and generous. I’d literally call a week or so beforehand and it was never “I’ll see”…it was always, yep, I’ll do it, I’ll figure it out.
I’ll end with New Years Day which I think is such a common memory for everyone in our family. I loved it because all of the cousins were down on 10th Street at once, and I just so looked forward to walking to Broad Street with Cheryl and Joanne and Sharon and Debra and everyone. It was really just a truly awesome day for so many years. We’d walk back to Bepa’s for scissor-cut pizzas and to Helen’s for soup and I remember many of my uncles and older cousins draped all over Helen’s furniture, watching football, eating and drinking and laughing. Helen’s house was always so crowded on New Years Day, cousins laying on the floor. It was a minefield of Quattrones and Betteridges, and it was awesome.