Hi, I am Sam Famoso. I have been asked by Ann to write a guest blog on my recollections of my grandparents Katie and Sam Famoso. I am the son of Frances and John Famoso and the oldest of Katie and Sam’s three grandchildren. My father John was Katie and Sam’s youngest child. My grandfather came to this country from Cardito, Italy on the Nord America which departed Palermo, Sicily in 1901. He came with his mother Anna Pirolli, sister Rose (Columba) and brothers Biagio and Alfonso. They docked in New York City on October 28, 1901. His father Giovanni and brother Luigi had previously come to the United States. They settled on 109th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue, a section of upper Manhattan known as Harlem. My grandmother was born in America and was proud of being an American of Italian descent.
At first, my Grandfather was a tailor. He then became a barber which ultimately allowed him to purchase the barber shop concession in the Harvard Club in Manhattan. My Grandparents were married on October 16, 1910. My wife Palma and I chose October 16th as our wedding day 61 years later. This made my Grandmother very happy and proud. My early recollections of Grandpa were our Sunday walks from 109th to 125th Street. By the time we got to 125th Street, I was too tired (as I was only about 3 years old) to walk back. Grandpa would always hail a cab but I would only ride in a new cab never an old one. Thus, started my lifelong fascination with the automobile. Grandpa would tell my father that at 3 years old I knew every car on the street by name.
When we moved to Astoria in 1948, my Grandfather would pick my sister and me up from school every Friday afternoon. As soon as we got home, I would have to get a haircut whether I needed one or not. When I was about 8 years old, I finally pleaded with him to give me one every 2 weeks. He reluctantly agreed. After dinner there was always a card game which lasted into early morning. After the game, my Dad would drive Grandpa home to Harlem as my Grandma was alone.
My Grandma was the best. She didn't come with Grandpa on Fridays as she really didn't care to go out unless she had to and only with someone else. I remember my mother telling me about one time after I had come home from the hospital after emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix and colitis. The doorbell rang and who was at the door but Grandma. My mother couldn’t believe it and asked who had come with her. Grandma told her that I was sick and she had come on the subway by herself because she had to see me. When I was about 12 years old, Grandpa was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia and also suffered some small strokes. He passed away in March of 1959.
My Grandma had moved to the Bronx to live with her daughter, my aunt Anna Famoso Squitieri. I have vivid memories of Grandma making her homemade cavatelli and sending my aunt on the subway from the Bronx to Astoria to bring me the most delicious cavatelli ever. This became a regular thing and boy do I miss them!