Every family has a "tradition." It can be anything from food (the most common) to seasonal/holiday to something you or someone "always," does.
In our family & probably like yours 
In an Italian house that means a BIG Italian dinner
Call it what you will, spaghetti, pasta, or by its style or shape, lasagne, was accompanied by a hearty helping of meatballs, sausage, braciole... & a tossed salad with oil & vinegar.
Of course there is wine often in green tinted bottles.
Save room for coffee & cake too! 
(But that's for later. Like 20 minutes later after you eat)
Hey! But Wadda' 'bout da' chicken?
I don't what Paisan of mine created the Italian Sunday dinner but besides the 800lbs of pasta & enough beef & pork to feed a small village plus that huge bowl of salad &
hard crusty Italian bread which is great for making 
but someone thought they needed one more entree. 
I KNOW why not serve roasted chicken. WHY NOT?
What better?
The cow, the pig, and the chicken. All the farm animals on one plate. MANGIA!
Thank God there were no lambs.
Today keeping traditions alive seems harder to do. Sadly, many are lost with families at best only remembering or "knowing of," past traditions with little effort if any to renew them. 
Families don't get together as they once did. When the person passes away who the tradition centered or evolved around so often do the traditions themselves.
Every time I take a bite of Italian food I  see the faces & hear the voices of those who shared the table with me.
Whatever your tradition is do what you can to keep it from fading away.


There is so much content embedded in this blog especially the slide shows to your right & the media embedded with the posts below it could take up to 30 seconds to load it depending on your computer/speed.
Sometimes hitting refresh or scrolling up n' down a few times helps the content to load.
If you're looking at this on your mobile device some content specifically embedded slide shows
or videos may not be viewable.
I have been trying to solve this issue.
The blog is visually amazing when viewed on a lap or desktop. Click through the various posts
available as you continue to scroll below or in the
monthly archives in the right column.
After more than 7 years I rarely blog here
except to update posts however
EVERYTHING that can or cannot be seen are available here:

The Last One Left

At some point you or a sibling will be
"The last one left." 
You or they will be the only survivor of 
your immediate family.

There are 6 in my family. Parents & 4 kids. 
You could have 18 in your family. 
Eventually someone will outlive all the others.
It's (almost) a given parents will die before their children. 
In my family it was assumed I would most likely outlive the rest because of the age difference.

My parents were born in 1912 & 1915. 
My brothers Doug & Donald were born in the early '30s 
with my sister Diane in '40.  I came along in '56. 
By the time I was a year old my parents 
were now in their 40s. 
My brothers in their 20s with my sister near 17.

As "the baby," of the family you'd expect me to be around the longest. What you don't realize is it can happen quickly. 

Our mother died young at only 73 in 1988. 
Our father living the longest "thus far," died at 88 in 2000. 
Six years after he died my sister 
 diagnosed with Cancer died at 67 in 2008. 
By 2010 her husband George at 73 passed away. 
My oldest brother Doug was suffering from acute emphysema. 
He died at 78 just 2 months after George. 
(His wife Gloria predeceased him at 74 in 2006. His first wife Noreen died young at only 30 in 1965).

The immediate family quickly dropped from 6 to 2
including spouses we were 4. 
My brother Donald & his wife Barbara.
My wife Mary & myself.

Donald successfully fought prostate cancer 
many years earlier. He was in the clear after 16 years. 
However by 2012 cancer returned to other areas 
complicated by a host of additional health problems.
He died at 79 in 2014.

Excluding his wife & mine that left me 
as the last one in our immediate family. 
It is an odd experience when you are the last one. 
You are the only link to your family. 
Your family's legacy is left for you to carry. 

When you're the last one you cannot explain 
the vacancy or void. 
When you're the last one 
you'll understand what I'm talking about. 
If you are you already know...

At times being the last one isn't always easy.

Donald Tocci Memorial Video

The End of An Era

Pictured at the top of the photo are Loreto & Maria Cedrone with their seven children. 

A poor blue collar Italian immigrant  family, who like many came off the boat (Loreto, Maria & oldest daughter Annunziata aka Nancy seated to your right, came from the "old country,") to make a better life for themselves.

Clara (in wedding dress), was the last of the Cedrone siblings to pass away. Clara died this afternoon three months shy of her 96th birthday. 
 Her passing also brings to an end many family traditions. 
That generation stood for family. Family values. Family was everything. The good. The bad. The happy. The sad. All of it evolved around family and being Italian...FOOD!

On any given Sunday Clara pictured below was in the kitchen like her mother & sisters before her filled with family & food.  

Notice the small photo pulled from a 1960s 8mm movie. I swear it's the same pot she was using some 40 years later.

The links to the videos below will more than wet your appetite.
Beyond tables filled with food, the home was filled with laughter.

Everyone talking if not YELLING all at the same time. Often times they were the same old stories you heard 100 times before but enjoyed hearing once again. Clara loved to cook & we loved eating what she made. Pasta to cookies, string beans to salad,  chicken to rabe'. You couldn't have enough of it & if you were lucky (as I was) you didn't leave without leftovers. 
Clara's Sunday Leftovers 1080p (p for Pasta)

But you also left with memories. Memories of a family that started from nothing. That endured hard ships. A family that stood tall. Proud of who they were & what they became.

The first photo at the top of this post does not exist. There are no photos of the family together. The image was created from several photos to create a family group shot. Today they are once again reunited.

My mother died in 1988 when I was 32. 

Today, November 24th 2013 I am 57. Clara having two daughters often referred to me as the son she never had.You don't often get a chance at a second mother. She was much like one to me & a grandmother to our kids who never really had an (Italian) grandma. 

The memorial video linked below has about 30 seconds of dark screen. There is a dialogue box detailing how she & Dan met.
However, some devices/browsers don't see the dialogue. If you don't, just cue past that to about 7:00.

She & Dan also became our youngest child's Godparents seen here the day of his baptism:
Dan Marini
Clara often said she was too old. She said she'd never see him graduate high school. But she did. 

It was this time of year, Thanksgiving 2009 where she & Dan (who passed away 3 years prior) were featured in the local paper after I discovered Dan's local Quincy Christmas Parade footage:

I had 32 years with my mother with almost as many with Aunt Clara who was as close to a second mother as you could be lucky to have. She, my mother & the rest are now reunited. 

 Something tells me there's plenty of sauce on the stove, more meatballs than you can count, with endless bowls of spaghetti. That would truly be heaven.
Clara The Movie 1080p
Clara Marini's Fresh Gnocchi's!
Clara's Sunday Leftovers 1080p (p for Pasta)
Italian Sunday Dinner 1080p (Pasta Vision)
Italian Sunday Dinner HD
Food, Wine, Song. Italian!
Italian Christmas
Abudanza Marini Style, 8mm Home Movie
Aunt Clara's
Clara Marini Making Pasta at 93
Clara Marini 8mm Pasta
Clara Marini Cooking Pasta 8/23/09
Clara Marini's Macaroni

Claras on:
Clara Meets Dan 1080p (Paisan Vision)
Clara's Punch 1080p (Punch Vision)
Aunt Millies 1080p (Pasta Vision)
Dan Burns His Backside (HD)
Clara's Horse Story

I found just weeks after Clara died an early/mid 1980's audio cassette. No one knew they existed. They were never heard by anyone. We assume Clara may have listened to them, but they could've been recorded then stored away & forgotten.
I wish I'd found them before she passed away.
Thanksgiving. Listen to all the food coming out of the kitchen & that's just the "little something," to hold you over: 
Dan singing the songs he sang to Clara when they were courting: 

How To Use Or Read This Blog

Scroll this page to view posts. 
You can also view older posts by scrolling all the way down the right side to the Blog Archives. Click a month & then any of the posts within that month. 

The slideshows to your right direct you to the web sites where all the photos & mp3's are available to download for FREE.

This one page contains everything:

For many today, family is only family by name. First cousins don't know one another. Aunts & Uncles are strangers. No one talks anymore. Sorry, posting is not the same as talking & it can not compare to visiting with family.

The further we get away from being with family the more distant we become & the less family becomes "family."
This may or may not be true for you, but it is becoming the norm for most. 

We live in a bubble, wrapped up in our own lives. Everyone's too busy. REALLY? Your grandmother who raised 8 kids, cooked from scratch, cleaned by hand, and probably drove hours one way to see family somehow wasn't too busy.

You're not too busy to talk or visit. It's just a convenient excuse for most to be busy.
 Someday this bubble will burst. How refreshing that will be.

The Real Charlie Browniest!

video video
Was I the inspiration for Charlie Brown's Christmas? How similar good ol' Charlie Brown & I look.
Video 1:
Tell me those aren't the very words that I'm speaking in the (silent) 8mm movie clip.
Video 2:
Same Hat. Same Coat! 
Video 3:
Without question my wife (her mittens whipping around) was the inspiration for the skating scene when they fly into one another...

Happy 90th Birthday Christine (Cedrone) Gentile

Christine (Cedrone) Gentile celebrated her young 90th birthday this weekend. I was thrilled to be invited (along with my wife Mary, Aunt Clara & her daughter Linda). We met so many relatives I'd only heard about and many I never knew.

Christine's father was my grandfather's brother, making her my mother's first cousin. To add more confusion to the family mix, her (late) husband, "Chubby," was my father's first cousin.Chubby's father & my grandmother (my father's mother) were siblings.
Christine Gentile's 90th:
Christine Gentile 90th Birthday HD
Watch the 90 second movie:
Christine Gentile Birthday "Movie," 1080p You can also watch or download the full 10:00 video from the Internet Archive:
To download it to your PC/Mac or Mobile Device. Right click or save this link to your hard drive:
If anyone has problems downloading it let me know at
Here are our two oldest relatives. Cousins Clara (Cedrone) Marini 95 & Christine (Cedrone) Gentile 90:
Clara & Chris 90th Birthday Party HD


The same pot! Insert, 8mm still from a 1960's home movie. Larger image is a screen shot from 2009 camcorder video. It's the same pot. It's truly the (golden) fountain of youth.

Color Corrected Pasta? WATCH:
2010: With new High Def camera's here is Clara making pasta in HD. Or is that HP? Hot Pasta:
Clara Marini Pasta

2009 Videos:

Both are featured below & linked here. These were recorded August 23, 2009. Part two shows Clara in 1959 making home made pasta, & we see her 50 years later still making Sunday dinner:
Clara Marini Cooking Pasta 8/23/09
Clara Marini Pasta Part Two


This 8mm was film by Ed Mahoney Looks like
Homemade Gnocchi's are on the menu:

Clara Marini's Fresh Gnocchi's!
8MM & TODAY! Picture in Picture, or is that Pasta in Pasta?!:
Aunt Clara's Pasta
Here's the alternate version:Clara's Pot of Pasta

What's new is old. 2011 HD video converted to 8mm!

Enjoy a meatball 'sangwedge:"
LIVE! At Aunt Clara's

Clara will tell you it is HER sauce which was Aunt Millie's (now discontinued). The woman behind Aunt Millie's knew Clara. She tasted Clara's, loved it, then made it slightly different calling it her own!

Recorded June 11th 2011:

Recorded Holidays 2011. Clara's Stories:

Clara once rented the 2nd floor apt of a Hawthorne (NY) home when she & Dan married.
The landlady's daughter in law asked what Clara was cooking....
Aunt Clara Aunt Millie
Typical Sunday Dinner:

Clara's Sunday Leftovers 1080p (p for Pasta)

Take a bite out these videos. Clara talks about how Aunt Millie's became a popular spaghetti sauce & then dig in to Sunday dinner.

Clara & Aunt Millie HDThumbnail

Thumbnail Italian Sunday Dinner HD

Italian Sunday Dinner MANGIA! HD Thumbnail

Everyone's Pregnant!

When Janet Marini was born my mother sent two cards. One written by her for her parents.
(Click on the images to enlarge them or go to the link at the bottom to view/download them):

The other telling of the women in the family who were also expecting. Their sister Ann would soon give birth to Marie. Niece Fran Camilli to Joyce, & sister in law Edna Cedrone was four months pregnant. Edna? Pregnant?

If you can't read it download the full size image. She says, Edna thought she was "change of life," so she went to Dr. Rogan & he told her she is 4 months pregnant. Harry is so happy. He doesn't make her do anything.

Harry & Edna were unable to have children. Harry was the only Cedrone sibling without children & as you can see in the note, he was so very happy. That child would've been a first cousin & most likely their only child. Edna must've soon miscarried. I never heard my parents or of anyone talking about this. Anyone who knew of, or remembered her pregnancy has since passed away.

They adopted one child, Helen, some twenty years later & because of their age had to fight the system to do so. The courts assumed based on their age they wouldn't be able to raise a child properly or would pass away before being able to do so. Helen was about 13 when Harry died. Edna passed away two years later. Afterward Helen moved in with cousin's Vilma (Tougas) & Virgie (Cantor).

Another piece of unknown family history found...on the back of a greeting card.
On a lighter note, Clara wrote on the inside of the card what she received:

My parents sent a dress. My Grandparents a dress, blanket & $5.00!

Your Last Post (For Now)

The blog, photos & videos were created for the families of
the Cedrone - Tocci family (& all those married into the family), of Pleasantville NY including selected footage, photos & documents of & provided by the Marini's of Quincy Ma.
It was produced so we could remember the many who have passed away, but to also remain connected as family. Everything featured here which includes every link to all of our online media is provided to every family member for whom I have an email address.

In the end your life does not evolve around how many facebook friends you have, or that someone
" liked,"your post, or tweet. In the end there is only family.

When this post was first written August 2010 with a quick video produced in December (below),
the # of hours invested was about 2000-2500. Updated April. 2012 the hours of the last 4 years were re-calculated adding to that the hours currently spent. While it may be hard to believe the time invested is now approaching 4000 hours.
This doesn't account for the additional time archiving all the data. This was a daily project over four years.

Click the link below which takes you to the one page which links everything.
The volume of online content is staggering. Overwhelming.
The content as of today is just over 4000 photos, almost 200 documents,
1600 videos for an estimated total of over 5500 forms of media
showcased over 10 blogs, 3 youtube pages, with additional video & photo links.
Your LAST Video
Unless new, possibly rare images, 8mm film or vhs videos are uncovered I've done all I can with restoration, video production & documentation.
This one link will take you to EVERY THING
This link is also featured within the link above but to access ALL videos quickly & easily click here:

Lastly get creative when restoring your past. Objects should be digitally preserved too. These are my " bronzed," shoes. Bronzing was a fad where infants shoes were preserved in bronze, mounted or glued to a plaque or as bookends. They were a novelty keepsake of your first pair of shoes .

My father most likely "bronzed," these. The shoes are glued to the base. Don't know what adhesive he used but they're still on there decades later. The base is ceramic. It looks like a napkin or letter holder which he then sprayed " bronze."
ed the shoes "bronze."

Save Your Orignal Video & Film

I cannot tell you how many times I've been told original 8mm film
or VHS tapes were thrown away.
You had them transferred to DVD so who needs all these old tapes & films taking up space. Besides you don't own a VCR or an 8mm projector so why keep them?
NEVER throw away your originals. Even if you have no interest in transferring them someone else may want to archive family history.

If anything happened to your digital copies, game over, memories lost. Most reading this do not back up or archive their media. If you lost your disc or it becomes scratched, as long as you have your originals you can have them re-transferred.

If you had 8mm movies transferred to VHS in the 80's or 90's, but you still have the original film have them transferred digitally.
Years ago all they did was project the film onto a white board then record the 8mm film with a camcorder.
Your original film looks superior to this transfer.

Unfortunately DVD will soon mean Dated Video Discs. CDs are now like the records they replaced. We are quickly becoming a disc-less society. Within a few years the DVD will be like the VHS tape it replaced.

However, transferring movies/videos to the DVD format is the norm (for now). While the format will someday be antiquated it's the medium available. There should never be more than TWO hours of video on each DVD or you will greatly lose quality.

But you can also stay ahead of the techno curve. It's also worth having them converted to Quicktime files. All that means is you'll be able to play them on your computer, mobile devices & tablets.

You'll have them available anywhere without the need for a DVD player. The quality is often better. You can easily back them up dragging the files to your hard drive.
Most consumers can also stream content from their mobile devices to their TV so you can watch them just as you would a DVD.

Stacking & packing.
Rewind your videotapes. Store them standing up with the tape on the bottom. Film should be stored stacked but only a few on top of each other. Unless you have shelves devoted to your media don't "preserve," them in plastic bags. A card board box will do. Do not seal the box.
If a film reel has an odor of vinegar it is going bad. Do not store it with the others. Have it professionally cared for.

Store your media in a room or closet away from sunlight, humidity & extreme temps.

Remember too it's not just electronic media that should be archived. Here's my mother's Easter Bread recipe, written by her. Follow it & enjoy it:

If you need advice about how to back up files (VHS, DVD or Quicktime) to your hard drive, or what transfer service to use, average cost, etc, email me: