As I look back through the years, my memory is clear and vivid. Other bits and pieces were recounted by my sisters and brothers to me. She entered our family before I was born.
My eldest brother, Tony, was going to bring home his prospective bride. Momma and Poppa were anxious for him to take a bride and settle down. He prepared my mother with a description of Margie so she would know what to expect. He told Momma she was not exactly a beauty, since of her eyes were crossed, and some of her teeth were missing. My mother exclaimed, “as long as she is a good girl, that is all that is important.”
It was a Sunday, and all the preparations were underway. She was coming to dinner today. Everyone was to be home to greet her and make her feel comfortable. The best linens were put out, the menu carefully planned and all was ready for the important guest.
There was an old song popular at that time, which could have been their song. A refrain was “I met my million dollar baby at the five and 10 cent store.” Margie and Tony met at Woolworths Department Store. She worked the counter, and Tony ate lunch there.
It was after mass this Sunday and the children played outdoors, men strolled up and down the street, chattered with neighbors, while the women were home preparing the Sunday meal as usual, the scrumptious dinner to be had early in the afternoon. The lazy, quiet day was interrupted by an unusual sound. A motor could be heard even before it entered our street. Could it be? Yes, it was a shiny maroon car. It was a DeSoto, a new DeSoto. This was the early 1930s, and not many people had cars. She did, and she drove up to the curb in front of our house. As she stepped out of the car, it seemed like she was Cinderella stepping out of a storybook. The description surely did not fit the one Tony gave to Momma.
She was beautiful with dark, shiny, black hair with the bluest of eyes. Her skin seemed translucent and creamy white. When she smiled, her face lit up, and instantly she captured your heart. That was Margie. Needless to say, she was as wonderful as she looked and would be part of our family before too long. My brother was enthralled with her, but he was also enthralled with softball. He proposed to her and made it clear they would have to marry when he did not have a ballgame. She would have married him anytime even if he said it would have to be between innings.
I was born during their courtship. They were my godparents at baptism. I was 4 years old when they married. I was the youngest of eight children, and I was thrilled to be going to a wedding. A special dress was designed for me by Madame Josephine, and this was a great day for me.
Margie was the first daughter-in-law in the family. Momma and Poppa adored her. When Momma was so ill, it was Margie she called for. Margie came to soothe her and patiently attended her needs. When we gathered for holidays and other happy occasions, our family would always sing. She was always honored by the family singing the old song, “Oh Margie, Oh Margie how you can love. Oh Margie, Oh Margie heavens above, you make my poor heart jump with joy, etc. etc.” She would also save a dance for Poppa when they would do the mazurka together.
She and my brother also gave me a title at 5 years old Aug. 9, 1937. I announced to the neighborhood I had become an uncle since a baby boy was born to them. I thought if it were a girl, I would be an aunt. I was only 5, and it made sense to me.
She always treated me special. I felt like a princess spending time with her. She let me play with her beautiful blue velvet slippers with the white furry pom-poms with heels so high I felt grown up. She took me to great places to eat, the special Jewish deli where we love to nibble on the kosher pickles and the Chinese restaurant where she would always give me her fortune cookie. How I loved her.
Margie was the only one in the family to celebrate 100 years of life. She was the last of all the sisters, brothers and in-laws. She was a treasure.