I wanted to take this time to recognize one of my grandfathers, Angelo Pacifico
born in Amsterdam in February 27, 1919. He was a genuine man, the life of the party
and had, in my grandmother's words, an infectious enthusiasm for life.
My grandfather lost his father at the age of four, leaving his mother to
survive life in poverty with her six children. Angelo was very devoted to his
family and regarded his mother as his hero.
At just 17 years old, my grandfather held a town dance and raised $2000 so his
mother could have cataracts surgery. He loved telling that story,
stating that he even had $2 leftover to buy a bow-tie as he was always a snazzy
dresser and fantastic dancer.
Angelo served in the United States Navy during World War II. He served as a
radioman aboard the Pilot 104 and cleared the Italian harbors of Salerno and
Anzio for the landing of the first American troops.
Below is an excerpt my grandmother wrote for my grandfathers legacy. It is one
of my favorite stories about him because it is pure mischief and makes me smile
whenever I read it. He and his brother were very creative trouble-makers as children.
In addition to their Saturday treks to the theater, Jimmy, occasionally, said
to Angelo on a week day, "Let's go get some money for a movie." The two set off
from home right after supper, traveling their well known route. As they approached
the Presbyterian Church on Grove Street in Amersterdam, New York, Angelo stopped on
the sidewalk and began to cry, rubbing his fists into his eyes. Jimmy stationed
himself across the street, loitering nearby to watch the scene unfold. He was like
a teacher evaluating the performance of his student. In a short time, some kind
person, usually a lady, approached Angelo with comforting words, "What's the matter,
little boy. Why are you crying?"
"My mama sent me to the store to buy milk and bread. I tripped and fell of the sidewalk
and lost the money. I'm scared to go home without the groceries. Ma will whip me." As
if on cue, the woman reached into her purse, produced the cost of food, 25 cents, and
pressed it into Angelo's sweaty palm.
The boys would then head off into the direction of the movie theaters. Often times when
they did not have money for admission, they would sneak in. They finally gained
a reputation among the three movie theaters in town after being caught several times. The manager of the Rialto finally told the ticket taker to just, "always admit the Pacifico boys."
My grandfather had a great sense of humor and his laugh is still one of my favorite sounds. His stories remind me to work hard, put family first and live life to the fullest.
If you have any family members you'd like to recognize for their service please leave a comment