It was a cold, 46 degree autumn day on October 28, 1925 when my mother was born to John Michael and Amelia Genève Vito in Hazleton, PA. My mother was added to the population of the United States during a time that saw Calvin Coolidge as President and Al Capone's takeover of the Chicago area in bootlegging. The United States Census was 115,829,000. Milk was 22 cents for a half gallon and was delivered to her parent's home. Both my mother's parents had come to the United States as Italian immigrants looking for a new life and met each other in the United States. Italy, after World War I, was the first country in Europe to become...
It was a cold, 46 degree autumn day on October 28, 1925 when my mother was born to John Michael and Amelia Genève Vito in Hazleton, PA. My mother was added to the population of the United States during a time that saw Calvin Coolidge as President and Al Capone's takeover of the Chicago area in bootlegging. The United States Census was 115,829,000. Milk was 22 cents for a half gallon and was delivered to her parent's home. Both my mother's parents had come to the United States as Italian immigrants looking for a new life and met each other in the United States. Italy, after World War I, was the first country in Europe to become fascist under Benito Mussolini. My grandfather owned his own coal delivery business and drove a truck that delivered coal to his customers. Five years after the birth of my mother, my uncle, John Vito, Jr. was born. My mother and her brother grew up during the Great Depression and their parents divorced before her teenage years. My mother completed Hazleton Senior High School during World War II and earned her diploma in June, 1943. Her high school year book's theme was centered around the U.S. Navy. Both teachers and students left the school to fight in World War II. During her school years, my mother loved to skate at a roller rink called the Comet with a group of her friends and had a reputation of being a very sweet and "swell" gal as well as a good English and Science student. However, Math was not a strong subject and my mother could be a bit talkative once in awhile in class!
Once my mother graduated, she and her mother worked at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay in support of the war effort. At that point in history, the Coast Guard Yard's effort involved repair of vessels including submarines, buoy manufacturing, production of canvas work for the coast guard and building over 300 small wooden boats annually. Additional work done in the yard included the construction of the largest cutters ever built there - the 255' cutters Mendota and Pontchartrain. The yard employed 3,100 civilian workers during World War II. My mother worked in the business office as a clerk/typist and attended "Navy Day" when it was held. It was there that my mother was introduced to a young, handsome sailor named Eugene W. Bowen by her mother. They fell in love and wrote to each other constantly throughout my dad's time of service in the Navy. They married on May 5, 1944. My dad was honorably discharged from the Navy on December 17, 1945 after the end of World War II.
My parents set up housekeeping in Baltimore and my dad went to work as a salesman for Taubman's auto parts store in 1946. I was born on August 5, 1949. Our little family moved and lived briefly in Dover Delaware and my dad worked as a store manager at Western Auto. My mother took care of me and kept house in their rancher that they purchased in Dover. When we moved back to Baltimore, my dad worked as a manager in the Taubman's auto parts store chain. Once I turned 13, my mother went back to work and enjoyed her time in retail sales especially at Stewart's Department Store on York Road. This was the era of charge-a-plates, shopping bags and hatboxes. Stewart's was an emblem of sophistication and charm and class. It was a wonderful place to buy your clothes. The brilliantly white brick store had an elegant restaurant, The Terrace Room, and decorative touches like a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with fiberglass curtains and murals of Homewood House, the Washington Monument and the Federal Hill skyline decorating the walls inside. My mother, over time, was promoted to floor manager and enjoyed that role very much. My mother was able to continue working at Stewart's until asthma forced her to retire from full-time work in 1980. In March 1983, Stewart's on York Road closed their doors for the last time.
During the time of my mother's employment at Stewart's, Hi Gear purchased Taubman's in 1968. My dad continued working at Hi Gear and was promoted to District Manager with oversight of stores in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area. He retired in 1987.
My parents were able to take a trip across the United States during these working years which they enjoyed very much. That trip was cut a bit short by my mother becoming ill with perhaps some type of cold or flu from which she recovered. In 1984, their precious granddaughter was born to her proud parents, Jerry and Cindy Huesman. Both my parents did their best to wonderfully "spoil" their granddaughter. Times with Kim were some of their happiest.
Upon retirement, my dad was free to pursue an interest in computers. Both he and my mother enrolled in computer classes at Essex Community College. My mother had a strong interest in word-processing. My dad's interest grew and he took a part-time job there in the homework lab. My mother occasionally assisted. They both enjoyed their time at the community college. Life in retirement was centered around family and their time at the college. It was during those years that my mother began to show signs of dementia. My dad resigned from his job when he was 84 to devote time in caring for my mother who increasingly needed more care. In time, health issues came to the forefront for both my parents and they eventually entered Charlotte Hall Veterans Home so that they could both have the medical and other care that they required. My parents were married for over 66 years when my dad passed peacefully during a nap from this earthly life to his eternal home with God on January 11, 2011. My mother joined my dad in God's kingdom on July 14, 2012. She too passed quickly and without pain into God's kingdom. Rest in peace mother. May my gracious mother always be joyful in God's presence.