Velma Grassi Ford who came to the reunion, is the sister of Mary Louise Michel who also attended with her husband. Their father was John Grassi and worked in the factory. He was a brother of Mary Nevy, David’s wife and of Louise Pisaneski. They lived in South Cumberland. We used to have Mary Louise and Velma to our house to spend a night or a weekend. Mother loaned our piano to them when we no longer used it (mainly me, Viola) And they returned it to us when their mother died. We were married and had four children when mother offered it to us. We arranged for the factory truck to deliver it to Lorcom Lane, our house from 1951 to 1961. Our kids took lessons and when Barbara’s daughter Kristin at age four would enjoy it and write little pieces and put paper numbers on the keys. So we gave it to Barbara who refinished it and Kristin became quite a good pianist, the pride of her teacher.

Guess who taught Nonnie to make a hospital bed? Me, the nurse. Dad used to say “I like the way Viola makes my bed.” I would frequently change the newspaper dad kept on the floor by the bed where he would spit phlegm he coughed up. Gross!

The first house we lived in was on Lamont Street catty-corner from the factory. It was a large two story building. The first floor was used as storage for the factory. Mother walked up the dirt street hill to St. Mary’s Church. In 1926 we moved to Wilmont Avenue. Then I started first grade at SS Peter and Paul. The factory truck moved us and we went in Dad’s car that had Izenglass windows that snapped in and out. (forerunner of plastics and celluloid). When Cumberland built to overpass near the factory they torn down the old houses and built low cost housing which remains today.

Dad was a very religious man and so when he drove us to school daily on his way to the factory, he attended daily mass along with the schoolchildren. I was already married and living at Lorton when I learned that Thanksgiving was not a Holy Day of Obligation.

One time on a Sunday in the middle of winter Wilmont Avenue was a sheet of ice and quite steep. Dad had mother and us kids walk down the hill, slipping and sliding all the way. Then when we were all safely at the bottom and out of the way he started down the hill in the car slipping and sliding most of the way. Mother was praying and all of us anxiously watching and hoping he would arrive safely, then off to church we went.

Another time he had left the car idling while he rushed into the house to retrieve a forgotten item. When he retuned he found the car had gone down the hill, across Fayette Street and came to a stop at the edge of the wooded hill. After that he had the factory carpenter make wooden blocks to put under the wheels.

On frequent trips from Cumberland to Vintondale some roads were not paved going up the mountains and we would get stuck. Others would help get us going again. Cars over heated on hills as late as 1939 and there were roadside springs where drivers could add water that had boiled out. At first windshield wipers had to be turned by hand but then later they wipers worked off the vacuum from the engine and would slow down going up hill and speed up going down the other side. There was no heat and no defrosters. On one trip to Vintondale the windshield started to freeze up so we turned around. Then and Dad would get out frequently to clear the ice so he could see.