2007 A Quick Review

Instead of focusing on losses this year, after all you all know how much I love my Dad and I think about him every day and miss him so much it hurts bad sometimes, I want to focus on what I gained this year!

  • Getting to meet some of the most wonderful little people I’ve ever known. All of the little waddlers were supposed to be out today, so I was trying not to think about needing my waddler fix. I walked into the toddler room, and there was one of the little waddlers! She was as happy to see me as I was to see her!

This is a photo I had of her taken on Dec 20th.

To quote Susan “cuteness dripping off the walls” for sure!!

  • Being able to get out in the woods in person with one my most favorite nature educators, birder extraordinare, and all around great guy Mon@rch!

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  • Continued and new blog friendships!
  • Continued and new in person friendships!
  • A bigger than before attitude of gratitude.
  • More patience with people, even though I still don’t suffer fools too easily.
  • A wonderful trip to Arizona with my Mom.

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Ruins at Casa Grande

  • Meeting my Mom’s California cousins, one for the first time, the other one for the second time.

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My Mom’s two cousins and Mom at The Desert Botanical Garden.

Now that Arizona is associated with my Dad’s passing, we’re planning a trip abroad. I’ve never been abroad, so this will be interesting. Certain to be good for blog fodder! I mean, we all know it’s all about the blog after all!

I know I’ve gained much more this year, but these are top on my brain right now.

Happy New Year everyone!


Enrico’s, More Yummies From Syracuse!

I’ve been searching for a good organic salsa in the jar for the past few weeks. The salsas I have been buying have lasted the entire week because they just didn’t totally make my taste buds happy. Until this week. I just went shopping on Friday night, and already I have almost devoured the entire jar of Enrico’s Organic Medium Salsa. I should have known to try Enrico’s in the first place because whenever I open a jar of Enrico’s spaghetti sauce for spaghetti squash I eat about 1/4 of the jar before the squash is done!

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Jar of Enrico’s Spaghetti Sauce

Enrico’s originated in Syracuse, NY and it is still being made in Syracuse, NY by the Ventre Packing Co. and is sold nationally and in some foreign countries. There was an Enrico’s restaurant in Syracuse for years. The restaurant actually came first, then the sauce. The history of Enrico’s Restaurant was found in the Syracuse Herald-American newspaper, Nov. 7, 1965.

By Evelynne Kramer

When Tony Visciglio first started in the restaurant business, he had a beer and wine license and $122. That was 1933, and times were rough.

Today Visciglio is the owner of Enrico’s Restaurant at 2301 Midland Ave., and he is considered among Syracuse’s most successful businessmen.

He is also executive secretary of the Central New York Tavern Keepers Association and director of the National License Beverage Association.

Tony is a short man whose smile betrays both warmth and vitality. Perhaps these were two of the qualities that spiraled his career from a busboy in the former Plaza Restaurant on E. Onondaga street to restaurant owner.

Visciglio, his mother, and three sisters arrived in the “New World” in 1920, when Visciglio was nine years old. They had come to join his father, who had come to Syracuse several years before. The family originally was from Cosenzo, Italy.

Visciglio attended school in Syracuse until financial difficulties in his family forced him to leave after a year of high school.

“I had to quit,” Visciglio said. “My family needed the money.”

At 14 Viscilgio had his first part-time job, and this was an exciting, if not glamorous, experience, he recalls today. That same year, a “promotion” was in line for him. He went to work at the Onondaga Hotel. His job – putting butter on the restaurant tables.

He also worked as a busboy and a room service waiter, and eventually became captain of the busboys at the Onondaga.

In 1926, Visciglio went on to work for the Hotel Syracuse. “I was a dishwasher there,” Visciglio said. And then he laughed. “I’m still doing that today.”

The 1930s were hard years for many Americans and apparently they were hard times for young Visciglio and his family. “I was doing everything I could to help,” he said.

Then, finally, Visciglio got his first “break.” He bought the former N. State Street Restaurant. “I had a beer and wine license and $122. Liquor licenses were too expensive.”

Matty Quinn, owner of the Moore-Quinn Beverage Co., gave him some furniture and equipment, Visciglio said. “He was a friend.”

After selling the N. State Street Restaurant in 1934, Visciglio bought the former Lincoln Inn on Schuler street.

A year later, he became the owner of the first “Enrico’s” restaurant at 2222 Midland Ave. That Midland avenue address remained the home of “Enrico’s until 1940, when Visciglio moved his business to its present address.

Looking back over his career, Visiglio thinks his success can be attributed in part to his family. “My wife worked with me for a long time,” he remarked.

The Visciglio’s have two children: Linda, 18, a college student: and Anthony Jr., 14.

Visciglio’s hobbies-keeping his customers happy and helping others in any way he can.

I remember going to Enrico’s restaurant at 2301 Midland Ave. when I was in high school and it was yummy!

Old Enrico’s Restaurant postcard.

The mural that decorated the interior of Enrico’s restaurant (not shown on the postcard, unfortunately) was done by Syracuse-born artist Aldo Tambellini. As of 2006, the mural was in storage near Hartford, CT. Enrico’s was at the corner of Midland Ave. and W. Newell St. and when Anthony and Bessie Visciglio retired in 1986 the building remained empty. The brick building, built in 1923 by the Kenyon family, was first a department store (a 1929 city directory showed it to be the site of Albert S. Kenyon’s dry goods store), then an insurance agency and a supermarket. The Visciglios bought it in 1942 and the six adjacent lots for parking. All were sold to the city. The building was demolished in September of 1994.

Location of Enrico’s
Syracuse Herald American, Sunday, July 24, 1994, pg. C2

Recipe for Veal Casserole from Enrico’s
Syracuse Herald American, Sunday, October 23, 1994, pg. AA4

History of the bottling of Enrico’s Spaghetti Sauce. John Ventre, Jr., Tony Visciglio’s brother-in-law, cooked the first batches of Enrico’s sauce in the basement of the restaurant in 1938 after realizing people wanted to take the sauce home with them. One source said the recipe came from Tony Visciglio, another source said it came from John Ventre. The name Enrico’s came from John’s grandfather Enrico. John Ventre, Jr. invented the process of filling hot spaghetti sauce into a jar and sealing it. People used to place all of the ingredients in a can and put the can in boiling water. The Ventre Packing Co. is located at 6050 Court St in DeWitt. Mmmmm, I’ll be buying not only Enrico’s Spaghetti Sauce, but now Enrico’s Salsa, mmmmm!

Enrico’s newspaper ad
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, March 8, 1953, pg. 36


The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, March 8, 1953, pg. 36

Syracuse Herald-American, Busboy to Boss, Nov. 7, 1965

The Post-Standard, Neighbors Section, Page 4-City, July 28, 1994

Syracuse Herald-Journal, Metro B-1, Dick Case: Tony’s Place, Monday, April 11, 1994

Syracuse Herald-Journal, Old Enrico’s restaurant to be demolished today, Sept 22, 1994

Syracuse Herald American, Sunday, October 23, 1994, pg. AA4

The Post-Standard, Stars, Also is Back . . . Again!, Sunday, April 2, 2006, pg. 27

The Post-Standard, Saturday, Syracuse man who founded Enrico’s dies, August 5, 2006, pg. B-2

“Lightning Crashes, An Old Mother Dies. . .”

Is this freakin’ year ever going to come to an end? It’s bad enough my Dad passed, now my Aunt, who we found out had cancer last year, has passed as of 8:30 last night. I am so, so very sorry for my Uncle and my cousins and all of her grandchildren / great grandchildren, my Mom, my Aunts and Uncles, and everyone who is affected by this.

Perry Family Reunion
Aunt Jeanette is standing in the middle, her husband (Mom’s brother) is to her left.
By the way, my Dad is holding my Mom on his lap on the ground to Aunt J’s right.
And all of the children except my older brother and other cousin
are Aunt Jeanette’s, so she has a lot of grieving children (5, one wasn’t born yet) today.
And I was just a twinkling in my Dad’s eye.
I just realized, only four of the adults in this photo are alive today.

After my Mom told me the first thing that came to my head was “Lightning Crashes, An Old Mother Dies. . .” “I can feel it. . .” and I’m playing it right now real loud because I. Just. Need. To.

Total Sweetness!!

OMG!! This is the sweetest photo of my little friend at work that I have seen yet!! He discovered he could see me *above* the “schoolbus” instead of just looking through the “windows” and he was so delighted! And I was soooo happy I captured this I just had to share it!!!


Later on I was in his room calming down a little girl and when she was happy and cleared herself off my lap, he backed himself up to me and plopped himself down on my lap, not just once, but several times. It is too funny how these little people do this!

Christmas Flowers!

I surprised my Mom with this huge poinsettia plant last Friday. I bought it and left it inside her home for her to find when she got home from work. It made her very happy!


So yesterday I was taking photos of it, and got close to the center. There’s a lot going on there!

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She is growing her amaryllis again this year, and this is the first one to blossom:


And again I got close to the center, and was happy to see how intricate this is, too!


I love how the petals sparkle!

Happy Holidays!!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas day!


from me and one of my little (distracted) friends!


Trains have always been a big part of my life because of my Dad. This post is disconnected, but the main theme is trains throughout my Dad’s life, and I *know* I’m missing a great deal.

Trains used to run at street level on Washington Street aka Railroad Street in Syracuse, NY for many years. Can you imagine working in one of the buildings with the train running through? Or staying in one of the hotels? I can imagine the windows rattling, the building shaking, and the smell of the smoke.

NYS Conservationist Feb 2007 pg 16
From the New York State Conservationist, Feb 2007, pp. 16-17
The original painting hangs in the lobby of a bank in Syracuse.

In 1935-1936 the NY Central Railway station was built on Erie Blvd. in Syracuse and the trains were elevated. There was a big celebration in the fall of 1936, and my Dad remembered his Dad taking him as a young boy to see the grand opening of the elevated train tracks and the first running of a train on those tracks.

421 - NYCRR Station1 - 300dpi
From the collections of the Onondaga Historical Association

In the summer of 2006 a gentleman came into the Onondaga Historical Association research center looking to write an article about the elevated trains, and of course I told him about my Dad. The article he wrote was due out in the Spring 2007 issue of Syracuse Engineer, which I received just shortly after Dad passed. I was sad I couldn’t show him this article which I kept as a surprise for him!

When I was a young teen we took the cog railway to the top of Mt. Washington, and on the way back down the train needed some repair. Right. In. The. Middle. Of. A. Very. Steep. Slope. We were all very scared.

From the Mt. Washington Cog Railway website.

The crew made it seem like it was no big deal, but being hung in the middle of a mountain at such a dangerous angle was quite intense. Needless to say, I’ve never gone back on that particular railway again.

While growing up we didn’t have much money, so my parents used to take us for a drive on Saturday or Sunday afternoons for entertainment. Gas was all of 29.9 cents. One of the places we went to was the freight yard in East Syracuse to watch the trains do their maneuvering. It was actually pretty cool to watch them unhook and reassemble cars and engines.


They were much more intense than this old postcard shows, but you get the idea.

One Thanksgiving my Mom, Dad and I went to Washington, D.C. to the Smithsonian and spent a great deal of time looking at the old locomotives on display there. Dad enjoyed himself explaining to me how the steam locomotives worked.

My Dad worked for Rotelcom laying fiber optic along railroad beds across the country in the late 80’s-early 90’s after he retired from the NY Telephone Company. I remember he spent a bit of time in Ohio. He would bring home discarded railroad bed artifacts every once in a while.

In 2005 my Mom and I took the train through the Verde Canyon in Arizona. I have to say, I appreciate watching trains more than riding them. It sorta makes me feel yucky to ride backwards. It was worth it to see nesting eagles and eagles in flight.

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A couple of years ago my Dad and my brother took a trip across Canada on the Canadian Railway. They were planning to go across the U.S. soon, and Dad was really looking forward to it.

On Friday I went to our local gardening store where they have a great model train display set up. My Dad and I used to travel around this time of year checking out the model trains at the various stores, including this one. I went into the store to buy my Mom a couple of Christmas presents, and something drew me to the trains, even though it was not easy doing it by myself. It was really cool, as always.









While it was weird being there without my Dad, it was nice to hear the familiar model train sounds, and to look at the intricate details.


This is my Dad hiking along the railroad bed in the fall of 2006 at Letchworth State Park.


He was happy being beside this railroad bed. He would have been happier to have a train go rolling by. He definitely instilled his love for trains into me. Except for when I have to wait for them while I’m trying to get somewhere in my vehicle.

What about you?  Do you like trains – real and/or model trains?

Huge Christmas Decorations

While I was in one of our cool gardening stores yesterday, I saw these humongous Christmas decorations and just had to photograph them!


I like the way the decorations reflect off of each other!

These are cool, too!


Wordless Wednesday

Aren’t these glasses too funny?

Beatrix Potter’s Journal: 2008 Wall Calendar

This is the other wonderful calendar I received, from Susan Wittig Albert for being a blog host for her blog tour. If you haven’t seen her post, you can view it here.

Beatrix Potter’s Journal 2008 Wall Calendar, a companion calendar to the popular book, Beatrix Potter’s Journal.

Beatrix Potter 2008 calendar

I love this calendar, too. And any Beatrix Potter fan or nature fan will enjoy this calendar, too! Thank you Susan! This was a wonderful and totally unexpected surprise in my mailbox!

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