Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Fall 2020

Page 1

Bob Pantano

John Nash

Charlie Ingui

JoAnn & John Vacca

Salute to Service


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100 Christmases by Dan Vanore

24_ROWHOME HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Stop & Shop at our favorite spots! There’s something for everyone on your list Support Local: Now more than ever

30_SALUTE TO SERVICE Our 2020 Blue Sapphire & WishRock Award winners JoAnn & John Vacca John Nash Bob Pantano Charlie Ingui Kenny Jeremiah Sonny Hill Brianna Mazzola Mike Raymond Jr. Dan Stevenson Jr.

48_HEALTH Coffee for a Cause Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House Fundraiser for children with dyslexia by Mark Casasanto


57_MENU Pumpkin Chili Courtesy of Jamie Flowers

80_GREEN SPACE Philadelphia’s Environmental Film Festival recap by Brenda Hillegas





88_WRITERS BLOCK National Grandparents Day True Italian explorers of life by Josephine B. Pasquarello

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

IBEW Local Union 98 Salutes Philadelphia RowHome Magazine’s

2020 Blue Sapphire & WishRock Award Winners Sonny Hill

John Nash

Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award

Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award

Charles Ingui (Soul Survivors)

Entertainment Award

Kenny Jeremiah (Soul Survivors)

(The Petal Pusher Florist & Decorators)

Lifetime Music Achievement Award Lifetime Music Achievement Award

Bob Pantano

John and Joann Vacca Local Business Success Story


Brianna Mazzola

Mike Raymond, Jr.

Dan Stevenson, Jr.




6_FROM THE PUBLISHERS Support Local Now more than ever

10_NEIGHBORHOOD NOIR Marianne & Amedeo (Skip) Pasquini on their wedding day, October 3rd, 1970. Congrats on 50 years!

12_HANGIN’ OUT Freddy, Antonio, Mike, Phillip, Mark, Dennis & Greg have dinner in honor of their friend Joe.


Paneling makes a comeback Courtesy of Cindy & Jackie

53_TIPS FROM THE PROS Workplace health & safety tips by Ron Rabena Chief Client Officer/ Allied Universal


A Cabin in the Woods by Mark Casasanto

Brett & Alyssa Tiagwad Once in a lifetime Water Works Wedding by Joseph Volpe



Matching chiles & wine by Vincent Novello

Local Band Spotlight Big Bleu Band by Matt Kelchner


96_PRESSED For the love of God, Hang Up! by Dorette Rota Jackson






ON THE COVER ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| All Great Accomplishments Begin with a Dream As part of our annual Salute to Service Program, Philadelphia RowHome Magzine presents its 2020 Blue Sapphire Award to individuals whose selfless dedication to the City of Philadelphia has left a positive impact for future generations to enjoy. Congratulations to this year’s winners! We look forward to a grand celebration in 2021 at our annual Affair to Remember XVI honoring John Nash, JoAnn & John Vacca, Bob Pantano, Kenny Jeremiah, Charlie Ingui & Sonny Hill. (*Missing from photo: Sonny Hill) photos by Andrew Andreozzi art direction by Omar Rubio


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020





Family owned & operated since 2004 Mission Statement Our mission is to preserve the traditions, showcase the neighborhoods and promote the local businesses that strengthen the economy and improve the quaility of life for all of us. PRESIDENT | PUBLISHER


Dawn Rhoades EDITOR









Andrew Andreozzi Phil Kramer Maria Merlino ACCOUNT MANAGER


Michael Rhoades CONTRIBUTORS Mark Casasanto Santina Pescatore David Cava Lou Pinto Joei DeCarlo Michael Rhoades Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq Marialena Rago Victoria DiPietro Jane Roser Larry Gallone Jade Rota Brett Jackson Debbie Russino Matt Kelchner Charles Sacchetti Maria Merlino Anthony Santini John Nacchio Geno Thackara Vincent R. Novello, Jr. Dominique Verrecchio Stephen Pagano Robert “Woody” Woodard Anthony Panvini Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc. P.O. Box 54786, Philadelphia, PA 19148 Phone – 215.462.9777 | Fax – 215.462.9770 | Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine and its contents are copyrighted. Content printed in the magazine may not be reproduced or reprinted, in whole or in part, by any other party without the expressed written consent of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. 2020 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.

The Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC has your best interests in mind. At the Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC it’s not just our job to help guide you to a future worth looking forward to, it’s our passion. The way we see it, putting you first means understanding your needs and making sure you get coverage at the right price.


LET’S TALK TODAY. John Ferullo 1636 S FRONT ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19148 215-468-4116





Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Life insurance is issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company or Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, Nationwide Is On Your Side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2020 Nationwide CPC-0435AO (09/17) 12071560

October / November / December 2020


Take Cover! re·sil·ience

| rəˈzilyəns | (also resiliency) noun the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness In the future, words like pandemic, social distancing, corona and lantern flies may be farfetched in our civilized world but in the year 2020, they served a purpose. Especially when shooting the cover for this issue – our 2020 Salute to Service edition. As we have been doing for more than a dozen years, it came time for RowHome to gather the prestigious winners of our annual Blue Sapphire Award. It was their time to shine on the cover of our final issue of the year. But the only thing shining that September day was the sun. Accompanied by gusts of wind that kept blowing our backdrop down every time our photographer Andrew and Art Director Omar attempted to set things up before our guests arrived. The blasts of air provided little respite from the blazing sun that beat down on them through multiple attempts to get things right. Then there were the flies. Omar, who drove four hours from Connecticut to be with us, thought they were stink bugs. But Andrew knew better. “Kill them!” he hollered out to Omar, who was dripping in sweat. But Omar refused to add a stench to the confusion. Apparently, the pesty lantern flies had not yet landed in Connecticut and Omar didn’t understand Andrew’s strange reaction to the swarms surrounding them. With only minutes to spare, we quickly switched gears and brought the whole thing inside Popi’s Italian Restaurant, thanks to our gracious and accommodating host, owner Gina Rucci. As you can see, this was no ordinary cover shoot. This was a cover shoot during a global pandemic where serious guidelines were dictated in order to accomplish our task. Our winners, who usually nibble on soft pretzels while waiting to gather for a friendly group hug in the final shot had to be photographed individually by our masked team – all adhering to social distancing guidelines. Instead of handshakes and well wishes, they had to wave at each other from across an empty room. Masks in place upon arrival, each was called into the empty restaurant (outside dining only during the pandemic) for their five minutes of fame. It felt more like school picture day than a magazine cover shoot but we pulled it off! The perfect pandemic cover photo! We raise a glass to the resilience of the human spirit. We thank all of our award winners for their endurance and congratulate them on winning the Blue Sapphire Award in a year that will forever be logged in the history books. These social distancing guidelines may restrict us, but they will never hold us back. Until we meet again! Stay safe. Stay strong. And be kind to one another. Our babies are watching.

photos by Andrew Andreozzi Dorette & Dawn River to River. One Neighborhood.

art direction by Omar Rubio hair / The Cutting Point makeup / Bella Angel guest Scheduling / Brenda Hillegas & Carol Vassallo location / Popi’s Italian Restaurant


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020


Philadelphia RowHome Magazine

To our Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Family You may have noticed recently that you can’t pick up a copy of RowHome at your favorite local shops. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, delivery of all PRH promotional copies to our local advertisers has been cancelled to meet safety guidelines. Many businesses were closed and those that remained open were not permitted to distribute magazines due to risks of multiple contact contamination. Since the guidelines went into effect in March, PRH launched a Subscription Campaign to get all of our readers on our mailing list. We are happy to say that we have tripled our readership and increased our exposure and reach over these last few months (city to suburbs to readers across the country and around the world!). Issues are safely mailed to our subscribers’ homes every quarter. From press to post office. This is the last quarterly issue of 2020. If you’d like additional copies, please contact us at so we can check our inventory and ship them to you. And please be sure to head to to sign up your friends and loved ones. A one-year, four-issue subscription makes a great gift for anyone who loves Philadelphia as much as we do. Advertisers: YOUR AD IS GETTING MORE ATTENTION THAN EVER! If you have seen our magazine in stores or your friends’ hands over the years, and thought about advertising your business on our pages, now is a great time to get on board. From our family-owned local business to your local business - let’s continue to support one another. You aren’t just placing an ad, you are joining the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network and representing your business among hundreds of local businesses throughout our

neighborhoods and beyond. Business Spotlight feature articles in print and news/updates on our social media pages or blog ( are an ADDED BONUS of ad placement in RowHome. At no additional cost to you! Just let us know when you have something to share and we’ll get your messages in front of our readers and your customers! But what if you want more than one copy? If you can safely share RowHome Magazine with your customers, we will gladly provide your business with a case (or more) of the latest issue. There is no charge for the magazines - PRH will cover the cost of your promotional copies (35 mags per case) as a courtesy to you, our valued clients. *There is a minimal processing fee for case deliveries from our mailing house, so if you’d like a case delivered directly, let us know so we can add you to the delivery list. Your case will be shipped directly from press to post office. The processing fee will be added to your invoice. It’s that easy! RowHome Readers. We are also happy to provide you with multiple issues of RowHome to share with your friends and family. Contact us for details. Check in with us anytime regarding our ad rates, promotional packages, printing dates, deadlines and issue themes. We’re available by phone, email or message us on social media. There is an ad for every budget starting at $100 for our Local Business Directory each quarter. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this very difficult year we are all experiencing. We wish you health, happiness and the love of family and friends as we rise to the tasks we face and triumph over every challenge. As always, we are stronger as one.

Dorette & Dawn g o h o m e p h i l ly . c o m



w w w . g o h o m e p h i l ly b l o g . c o m

River to River. One Neighborhood.




I got my RowHome Mag in the mail and I was so happy. This magazine just makes my day. It’s always a great thing to bring back wonderful memories when you’re so down. Patty Cally Phelan


2020 hasn’t been the best year for most of us. We do the best we can daily. One bright spot is receiving my RowHome Magazine. I read every article, check every ad. I’m never disappointed. The writers are so diverse and fluent in life. Wishes to Dorette, Dawn and staff for many more years of publication. Joan Young

Exceptionally Built. Eternity of Beauty.


I came across Jane Roser’s article about the one and only Horn & Hardart (Summer 2020). What memories it brings back! My mom and I used to go into Town once a week. We would shop and go to Horn & Hardart for lunch. I was a little thing and got a kick out of the way you put money in! You picked your food, then opened the door and there it was... your lunch! What a great article, Jane. Good memories of me and my mom. Miss her so much. Linda Ricciardi

1721 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.551.9070



This is the best apple cake ever! Thanks for the recipe! (Angelina’s Apple Cake / Summer 2020) Iveta Buonacuore

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Your favorite South Philly Father-Son real estate duo for all your real estate needs in PA, NJ and DE. 1608 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148 Cell: (calls and texts) 267-688-1449 | office: 215-334-3333 October / November / December 2020


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1. Elle Rhoades is hangin’ out with MomMom Dawn.

12. Joseph Lawrence Spera is hangin’ out.

2. Dawn is hangin’ out at Doc’s in AC with Danielle, Joanne, Nancy & Lisa.

13. Congrats to Kaitlin & Patrick - married in Colorado on 9/4/20! Photo by Paige Weber Photography

3. Joe Moderski, Vito Canuso, Carmen Nasuti & Joe Canuso hang out for dinner at Caffe Ida.



4. Anthony & Maria Lombardi, Lombardi’s Prime Meats, with grandson Vincent. 5. Nicolette Retallick & Anthony Curtosi. 6. Gianna & Alyssa Ioquinto on the beach in Wildwood. 7. Brenda & Crystal hang out at JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ. Read more about this community restaurant in our menu section. 8. Harry Alessi with granddaughter Alivia Alessi. 9. Eloise is hangin’ out with her brother Oliver. 10. Mike Casella is hangin’ out with RowHome on the beach.



11. Our road trip to Seaside Park included a stop at this beautiful bench on the Boardwalk “In memory of Danny Rocco,” Danielle’s father & beloved Seaside resident & businessman who started a family business on the boardwalk back in the day. Danielle Rocco DiNapoli, Nancy Hinkie, Dorette, Lisa DiFlorio Davis & Dawn Retallick Rhoades.

14. On The Corner Mark with Niya & Elias enjoy a relaxing late summer trail ride in scenic Blairstown, NJ. 15. Angela & daughter Blake swing through life at Dalton Farms. Photo courtesy of Lilyanna Sarah Photography by Natalie 16. Kaitlyn Ganci registered 22 fellow students as firsttime voters during her one-hour lunch break. Kaitlyn is the granddaughter of South Philly natives and Florida subscribers, Linda & Tony Ganci. 17. Luca Cambria enjoying his first summer on the beach in Margate City. 18. Sal Rota Sr., SLR Construction, is hangin’ out with his kids - Torianne, Talia, Jade & Sal. 19. GiaCapri loves Fall at Dalton Farms with mommy Jade and aunts Talia & Tori. 20. Freddy, Antonio, Mike, Phillip, Mark, Dennis & Greg have dinner in honor of their friend Joe.

4 12

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020














19 October / November / December 2020







aybe I should have titled this column, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” I have to be honest. For the first time in my soon to be 55 years on Mother Earth, I’d be hard pressed to tell you when winter became spring and spring actually became summer. As we prepare to come full circle and transition back into winter, maybe 2020 is best summed up in the words of the legendary Grateful Dead. “What a long strange trip it’s been.” One of the gratifications of living on the East Coast, at least for me, is the ability to enjoy the four seasons. Each with its own set of associated and crossover activities. Through most of late spring and early summer, I tried to live responsibly cautious but as normal as possible. Day tripping to the shore was part of the routine. Sun, sand, the ocean and plenty of space to call your own. Well, at least you would think. Although it’s a longer ride, Cape May is my “down the shore” destination of choice. It is, as advertised, Exit 0. Basically, at the edge of nowhere. Still, I enjoy everything about the quaint, Victorian resort, its neighboring towns and abundant beaches. Sometime in early July, while enjoying a rather peaceful day at Cape May Point, a family of six decided to drop anchor almost blanket to blanket on our little parcel of sand. Before I even heard anyone speak, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “They’re Italian.” She stared at me inquisitively as I continued. “Take note. Grandmom is in charge.” There we were, much too close for comfort. Almost immediately, I knew all four of the kids’ names, who wanted which sandwich and who immediately needed a schiaffo upside their head. Grandmom, God bless her, was trying to keep control of the annoying ado-


“What a long strange trip it’s been.”

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

lescents while the other adult tended to Lucia, the toddler. This crew was actually more distracting than an unrelenting greenhead fly. It was so bad that when I tore open a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, Giovanni, the oldest of the morta di fames, shouted, “I smell Doritos!” This, while laser locking onto my little blue bag of self-indulgence. Back off, kid. You obviously haven’t missed a meatball sandwich in months. Sensing my frustration – in a brief moment of solitude, when all the little pufferfish were at the waterline – Grandmom apologized for the behavior of the bambini. She went on to explain the drama in broken English. Her daughter flew in from California with il bambina to help her care for the three kids because, as she said, the parents of the trio were “disgrazia.” Ma aspetta un minuto, there’s more! Just when I thought my own little version of Beach Blanket Bingo couldn’t get any more bizarre, Grammy fired off one last piece of information in dueling languages. It went something like this: ‘Probably is a good, maybe u figlio [my girlfriend’s son] no play with a da kids. Imma so scared,

the parents, they come, they go, maybe they gotta da virus, too.’ Grazie milli nonna! You literally could’ve danced the tarantella on any stretch of beautiful beach but la famiglia just had to mambo over to me? Oh, mio Dio! That was the last time I touched the sand this past summer. Although this beach boy was bummed out, I refused to be held hostage to the house, the city and a waist-high sea of stupidity. Like Robinson Crusoe, we headed for the hills... “almost” as primitive as can be. Five days of serenity for three (and a chihuahua) with nature. Where the deer run free, the eagles soar high, the bears make life interesting and no one is trying to jones your Doritos. Hiking. Biking. Horseback riding. Dining and shopping the small, country charming, familyrun businesses that dot the backroads of the Pocono Mountains. Next time you need a quality breath of fresh air and a place to absorb the never-ending natural beauty and picturesque landscapes on the slower side of life, try a cabin in the woods.

Row Home Remembers  PRH Life



by Tony Santini

efore classic, retro and vintage became fashionable clothing, members of the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and Generation Xers referred to this apparel as “Hand-Me-Downs” or “HMDs.” This is not to be confused with “WMDs” (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Although, if you try to get young people today to wear HMDs, they would treat them with the same disdain as most people would treat WMDs. As the name suggests, Hand-Me-Downs were coats, hats, gloves, shoes, pants, shirts and dresses that were originally purchased for and worn

by your older siblings who then outgrew them and, rather than donating the items to charity or, heaven forbid, throw them out, your parents handed them down to the next sibling in the household. Gender be damned! Sometimes, this trickle-down effect went on for years with the same articles of clothing being passed from oldest to youngest. I think our parents may have invented the term recycling. A very dear friend told me that her wedding gown was converted to a Communion dress for her daughter and then again to a Christening outfit for her granddaughter. She says there is one more hand-me-down left in that chain and that is to make a Christening hat when there is a great-grandchild! Now, that is the ultimate hand-me-down. Another old friend said that being the oldest male child in the

family, he was free of the “leftovers” but he did put cardboard cutouts in his sneakers when the soles were worn down to holes!   You may have heard the saying, “Never judge a person until you walked a mile in their shoes.” Well, this is especially true if their shoes are a half-size smaller than your own feet, but you must wear them because it is Easter Sunday and you were not getting a new pair of shoes for one day. I was the oldest in my family so HMDs for me had to come from my cousins. Unfortunately, the cousins on my mother’s side were four boys so that made me the fourth person in the distribution chain. As a result, I never got any cool clothes from them. Now, on my father’s side of the family, the experience was more traumatic for me as those male cousins were much slimmer. In my youth, I was in the size category

that department stores like Sears and J.C. Penney affectionately called “husky.” The clothes that were handed down to me from my father’s nephews were sharp and stylish, but they never fit me. This would typically prompt a remark like, ‘Well if you would lose some weight, then maybe you could fit into all these cool clothes.’ Well, that never happened. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now, in my older age, I get “hand-me-ups” from my son or “hand-me-sideways” from other relatives and, when they don’t fit, I hear that same remark, ‘Well, maybe if you lose some weight, then maybe you can fit into all these really nice clothes!’ Well, that ain’t working out too well for me either. So, if you are a Millennial or Generation Z, I say, “Embrace your heritage!” Accept the Hand-Me-Downs for all their glory. Call them classic, retro and vintage and wear them proudly out in public. Maybe, some of your friends will even be jealous of your style and you will be credited with starting a new trend. PRH

October / November / December 2020


Row Home Remembers  PRH Life


George J. Piccoli Jr.


by Mark Casasanto t’s tough to process all that life has thrown at us in 2020. There have been many tragic situations in all walks of life and in all aspects of life. Some touched us. Some we thankfully avoided. But these troubled times do in fact surround us and truly affect us all to some degree. In August, I lost a friend who was one of the good guys. And although our children grew up and our recent interactions became far too few as life happened around us,

here’s a story to tell you just what kind of human being he was. Three or four of us “dads� coached our kids in various youth sports. Teddy Furia was the football guy. George Piccoli was the baseball guy. John A. Sacco was involved with all sports from the onset. I was the soccer guy. We all respected each other’s knowledge and commitment to sports. We supported each other and the kids we coached, not just “our� kids, along the way. During one particular baseball season at SEYAA, we had a youngster on our team who never missed a practice or game. But the poor kid never came close to hitting a ball because as Georgie said, he was “like Squiddly Diddly at the plate.� Jumpy, never set and basically all over the place. With our player at the plate, Georgie asked the umpire (it was either


Billy Mac or Gary at the time) for time out and had a discussion with him away from the batter. After the conference, the ump asked the child to get back into the box. When he did - and still holding time out - Georgie crawled into the batter’s box, wormstyle, set the player’s feet in position, then, as flat and still has he could be, held them. The ump said, ‘play ball’ and Georgie moved the child’s front foot forward in sync with the arriving pitch and each swing of the bat. This went on for a few pitches until the player finally got a piece of the ball. I honestly don’t remember if it resulted in a hit, a foul or just that one piece of the ball. It didn’t matter then and still doesn’t. It was a life lesson in dedication, coaching, commitment and leaving no player left behind. But it came as no shock to me. Just a few months before that, during soccer season, I got a glimpse of what this man was all about.

We were opposing coaches at the time. I was coaching a very good co-ed team and George’s team was in the middle of the pack of a fairly talented division. During halftime of our match that was already pretty much in hand, he asked me in private on the sidelines if we could possibly arrange a penalty shot for a player who had never scored a goal. He said we didn’t have to count it against the official score of the match. Without hesitation, we put it in play with the blessing of the referee. I discussed the specifics with my team and explained the lesson to be learned from it to a team of very competitive players who weren’t initially thrilled with the plan. It happened. We let the goal stand on the record and not only did a child walk away with a great memory and feeling of accomplishment, some very talented and hardened young athletes learned a valuable lesson in sportsmanship and doing the right thing. That is the George Piccoli I knew and respected. I’ll remember fondly traveling with the South Philly Strikers that entire first season of our existence to a city championship and especially during the craziness of traveling during a tropical storm to the Poconos for a Columbus Day

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

Tourney that ultimately got cancelled after we were all finally and safely checked into our hotel late on a Friday night. I’ll be able to smile at some of the magical moments both on and off the field as they are indeed memories that last a lifetime. I thank you for being a part of my family, especially my children’s lives, and thank you for allowing me to be part of your family, as well. Yes, the world will go on but it damn sure doesn’t change for the better without people like you in it. Although I’m not around this week to pay my respects properly, it is with hope that one day, we as the community to which you have given so much of your time and efforts, can honor you in a most deserving way. Rest peacefully, my brother. You fought hard and we are all better for having you in our lives. Our solace is that God must have bigger plans for you up above. PRH

I love you. My deepest condolences to the entire Michele Siciliano Piccoli / Peter Piccoli family and their many, many friends. #BeLikeGeorgie



The historic rebirth of one of Italy’s premier cafes

PRH Life

Nelson Perez Archbishop

oversees groundbreaking of St. Rita Place & Cascia Center Affordable Senior Housing coming to South Broad

Authentic Italian on-line market & restaurant Mail Order Gelato Award Winning Coffee Luxury Chocolate Italian Olive Oils DOP Salumi & Formaggi Bath/Beauty * and more

by Mark Casasanto


n partnership with the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, Catholic Housing and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS) broke ground in early August on an anticipated $18.3 million project. The long-awaited development at Broad & Ellsworth Streets will bring 46 onebedroom apartments to qualified seniors. Additionally, the ground floor of the complex will primarily be dedicated to a multi-purpose center, administered by the Shrine’s staff and Augustinian Friars of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. In keeping with the legacy of St. Rita, the vision of the Center is to promote a place of healing, reconciliation and community building through friendship, education and professional services. The new apartments, located on the second through fifth floors, will be available to income eligible seniors, 62 years and older, and will be accessible for people with physical disabilities. Social and laundry services, as well as a community room and food cupboard, will be incorporated into the residential

scheme to assist residents as they age in place. Plans also include a plaza with green space for open air enjoyment – all part of the neighborhood transformation and what is hoped to be the beginning of a new gateway to Center City. In his remarks, Archbishop Perez said he often visited the shrine while serving Philadelphia ministerially and wondered what was “going on over there” with the proposed construction site. “This morning, as we pulled up, they (nodding to a couple of workers on-site) were actually working!” he said enthusiastically. Among the dignitaries joining the Archbishop for the blessing and ceremonial groundbreaking in accordance with current health guidelines were Congressman Dwight Evans, Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and Mark Squilla, Joe DeFelice, Department of Housing and Urban Development, CHCS officials, as well as several development partners, neighborhood supporters and members of the O.S.A. religious community. PRH

1716 CHESTNUT STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 215.568.5600 W W W . G R A N C A F F E L A Q U I L A. C O M October / November / December 2020



Choose Hope Help Johnna help her daughter Alexis



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”


– Christopher Reeve

by Dorette Rota Jackson his past April, just one week before her wedding day, Alexis Gioia, 37, took a walk around her neighborhood and suffered a heart attack. She hit the ground so hard, she was unconscious. She fractured her jaw and laid alone until a good Samaritan found her, administered CPR and called 911. Alexis has been in a coma ever since due to a loss of oxygen that resulted in a severe brain injury. To further complicate matters, COVID-19 guidelines prevented her mother Johnna

Console from visiting Alexis for three months. She and Alexis’ fiancé Danny, who lives in Virginia, relied on the kindness of Alexis’ nurses to Facetime them as the only means to interact with her unresponsive daughter. Johnna Console, a former South Philadelphia resident (Annunciation BVM & St. Maria Goretti graduate), was living in Miami with her daughter Alexis, a federal employee, before this tragedy struck. Johnna’s South Philly friends since childhood have been looking for ways to “help Johnna help her daughter Alexis,” which includes a GoFundMe Campaign they organized to raise money to offset the mounting costs of her daughter’s care. “Our hearts are breaking for our dear friend and her daughter,” says Renee Mazza, who, along with Assunta Basile Bonanno, Barbara Avitello and Dee Aversa, organized the fundraiser and are working tirelessly to keep donors informed and updated about Alexis Gioia’s condition. “For those of you who may not know Johnna, she’s a wonderful, generous person; ALWAYS going above and beyond to help others,” Mazza says. “We really want to help her now that she’s in need. We would be appreciative if people would consider making a contribution, any size, to help Johnna with Alexis.” In addition to medical care, Johnna Console faces a crushing list of expenses as the primary caretaker of her only

child. Furloughed from her job in March due to Covid-19, Johnna is unable to return to work because of her daughter’s condition. Alexis remains in a coma in an acute rehabilitation facility in Miami where she was transferred from a nearby hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. “It was a challenge for Johnna to get updates on Alexis’ health because she is only permitted to visit during certain timeframes of the day and only on days when the facility permits,” Mazza explains. During a previous Facetime session, Johnna didn’t like the way Alexis looked and noticed her daughter was in an agitated state, Mazza said. “She questioned the nurses and finally got a doctor to check Alexis’ sugar levels (Alexis has Juvenile Diabetes). “Alexis’ sugar was highly elevated because she was not getting insulin!” “This is one of many reasons Johnna needs to be present for Alexis. Alexis can’t speak for herself. Johnna is Alexis’ advocate,” Mazza adds. “Understandably, Johnna’s focus is on seeing Alexis, making sure she is present for updates from doctors and staff, and spending quality time while making sure her personal needs are met.” Although Alexis is in a vegetative state, doctors told Johnna that because of Alexis’ young age, “anything can happen.” They said the first year of her care is crucial for any chance of recovery. Unfortunately, Alexis has to be moved out of the current acute

rehab facility due to insurance. Her only alternatives are a nursing home (where she will receive no rehabilitative services), or to go home with Johnna. Her mother wants to take Alexis home to give her the best chance of recovery. Your donations will help make this happen. According to Mazza, Medical Insurance will only cover some physical therapy. Johnna will need to move out of the 3rd floor condo where she currently resided with Alexis, to a ground floor residence. The acute rehab is showing Johnna how to do some physical therapy for Alexis, which includes cleaning her tracheotomy, changing her catheter and feeding tubes. The cost of moving, rent and caretaking is not covered by insurance. Nor is the cost of personal care items like bed sheets, diapers and medical care supplies. Johnna will also have to hire legal services to obtain guardianship of her adult child so she can make healthcare decisions on her behalf. This could cost in excess of $5,000. GoFundMe donations will go toward these costs. “Please keep Johnna and Alexis in your prayers,” her friends ask. “They have a long battle ahead of them.” “If you could support our GoFundMe by making a contribution and, more importantly, sharing our GoFundMe link with your social network, we would greatly appreciate it,” Mazza and friends ask. “We know money can be tight, so please know that even the smallest gift helps us get closer to our goal. Your donation can remain “anonymous” by selecting that option on the GoFundMe page.” To make a donation, please Search GoFundMe for Campaign Name - Help Johnna help her daughter Alexis – or follow the link help-johnna-help-her-daughter-alexis

October / November / December 2020



100 Philly



by Dan Vanore hat can you say about a house that has been a home for generations of family? Dozens of births, hundreds of birthdays, lots of happiness, some sadness, thousands of holidays, thousands of Phillies games, every Universal or Hammer horror movie that was on the tube and 100 Christmases! That’s the big one, of course. Christmas. It

holds so many treasured memories for me and many family members. Personally, I’ve experienced 60 of them and they all were glorious! Those are the feelings that keep me going through these terrible times – remembering a time when everything was better. This December, the house where I was born – the house that I live in now – has been in my family for 100 years! Since I was a kid, these walls have


always been my sanctuary. Nothing bad could ever come to me while surrounded by these bricks and I still feel the same way as a man. I’ve been thinking of this momentous occasion since my Uncle Anthony and I were talking about it about 20 years ago. We were going to have a big celebration - one family, in one home for a century! I thought that was pretty unique. Sadly, we lost my dad five years ago

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

and my uncle Anthony three years ago. A tremendous damper was put on the occasion because everyone from the original family that filled this house with such unforgettable love, warmth and laughter are now all together in Heaven. My great-grandfather Sam Tofani and my great-grandmom Mille purchased this house, 511 Queen Street, on December 20th, 1920. They had six children - my great uncles Pat, Gene, Anthony and Junior (Sam) – my great aunt Rosie and my grandmom Angie. I am proud to say that I’ve met and remember them all except for my great grandpop Sam and great-great grandpop Shibione Mastantuono, who also lived in this home. This was the house where the kids

PeterBUILT got married, had children and lived until they socked enough money away to buy their own home. At one point, there were almost 20 family members living under this roof – and only one bathroom! Grandpop Sam was a greengrocer and sold products from the store in the front portion of the house. He had a heart of gold and a soft spot for our armed servicemen and anybody going through tough times. From the stories my great uncle Junior told me, he constantly had a full kitchen of strangers that needed a hot meal and it drove his daughter, my grandmom Angie, crazy! One time, when my great grandpop Sam was down in the basement making his wine, a serviceman came to the door looking for something to eat. She sent him away because she thought people were taking advantage of her dad. When my great grandfather got wind of it, he sat her down and said, ‘Little girl, don’t ever do that again. If someone comes to this door looking for something to eat, you either feed them or give them a few dollars to get something to eat.’ At one point, my grandmom Angie met my grandfather Amerigo Vanore and they took the house over while my great-grandparents still lived there. They started their own family - my uncle Duke (Amerigo), my father Donald and my uncle Anthony. I was born into the family under this roof in 1959; my sister Angela in 1960. Through the years, there have been many children born into the family while living under this roof. The last was my cousin Lisa in 1975 – 45 years ago. These bricks are still here, reminding all of us about our family’s history. My grandpop Amerigo worked for The Pennsylvania Railroad as an inspector. Grandmom Angie worked as a welder. My uncle Duke worked for a trucking company, was a number writer and protector of the family. My dad was a self-taught television repairman who also stayed in this neighborhood his entire life. My uncle Anthony became a well-respected lawyer and my lifelong confidant. As a kid, I had the most unforgettable times with my uncles in this house. They helped mold me into the man that I am today (honorable mention goes out to my uncle Carlos from my mom’s side). As a kid and through my twenties, I spent

every waking moment here and loved being around them. It was truly a place where the entire family gathered, especially around the holidays! The week before Thanksgiving, my uncle Duke would have a Frank’s soda truck unload 20 cases of quart-bottles of soda and 10 cases of Little Nip Budweiser Beers down our basement. That delivery would last us through New Year’s Eve! What a great time, driving around South Philly with my Uncle Ant on Christmas Eve, picking up all the local foods for the next few days filled with friends and family members in and out of our house like it was Grand Central Station! We didn’t sleep much during those two days. We didn’t want to miss out on any of the happiness that was being dished out. I remember like it was yesterday, lying on the floor with my Uncle Ant and Uncle Duke late one particular Christmas night watching Going My Way. I turned to my Uncle Ant and said, ‘That’s it. It’s all over. How depressing.’ He turned to me and said, ‘Remember what I’m going to tell you because it’s true. The anticipation is always greater than the event!’ He was right. Those weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and then Christmas are the best days of the year. This year is the 100th Christmas that my family has celebrated in this legendary home. I told my wife Denise after last Christmas that I was leaving our tree up all through 2020 to commemorate what I think is a pretty cool milestone for one family. She wasn’t too thrilled with the idea but when she realized how serious I was about it, she relented. I don’t think I could have chosen a better year to do that because hope is what we needed in 2020! Memories never die. They are what we feed on to keep us going through the tough times. Of course, this story is more of a tribute to the people that made this house a home through those hundred years rather than the house itself. For me, this house still holds those memories. Many of the people who once lived in this house are now in Heaven, but I’d like to believe that this special year, on this 100th Christmas, they will all be there together, again. I’ll bring up all the chairs from the cellar, just in case. PRH

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October / November / December 2020



Beat the Heat…  PRH Life

The Heat of hot Peppers that is… Chiles are the foundation of all types of cuisine

including Mexican, Italian and Asian to name a few. These peppers add flavor and sweetness to dishes, as well as heat. Capsaicin is the chemical that gives these peppers their heat and that spiciness is soluble in alcohol. So the next time you fire up your meal with Chiles, remember that a fine glass of wine will soften the burn.

Matching Chiles & Wine

Mild – Zinfandel Slightly hotter – Beaujolais Hot – Light Sparkling Wine Fierce Hot – Off Dry Riesling (You can always have a cold beer to help with a face-melting hot pepper.)

Wine Recommendations ❚❙❘ REDS

❚❙❘ ROSE

SHANNON RESERVE Cabernet Sauvignon - $16


6TH SENSE Syrah Lodim - $16

ROSE OF Pinot Noir - $20

FELINO MALBEC Mendoza - $16



RAYMOND RESERVE Chardonnay - $14

LOS VASCOS Cabernet Sauvignon - $13

FREY Organic Blend White - $11

SECOLI VERONA Corvina - $10

LAFAGE NOVELLUM Chardonnay - $13


RIMAPERE Sauvignon Blanc - $13 LAURENT MIQUEL Solas Viognier - $13 …and remember “Never save your good wine for tomorrow!” For more information contact Vincent Novello Vincent Novello has been making his own wine since 1997 and has competed in and judged the annual Vendemmia. His 2008 Brunello took first and second place in the competition. Today, Novello serves as the Vendemmia’s contest director.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020



Bets, Bites, Blackjack & more!

by PETE LONGI Rivers Casino Philadelphia Interim General Manager photos courtesy of Rivers Casino Philadelphia photo of Mian by Christian Giannelli for Rivers Casino Philadelphia

While 2020 has been a difficult time, normalcy has slowly returned and that’s putting energy back into the casino. Sports in full swing, games on the big screen and fans placing wagers at BetRivers Sportsbook have helped liven the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s return to indoor dining means two of our popular restaurants - Jacks Bar + Grill and Mian - are serving up savory apps and sit-down dishes. Since reopening our doors in July, Rivers continues to offer your favorite slots as well as table games including blackjack, roulette and craps. And parking is still free! As always, the Rivers Clean Team continues to work around-the-clock to keep the casino safe and sanitized. As new information becomes available, Rivers Casino is committed to updating procedures in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. For the very latest health and safety protocols, plus more information about BetRivers Sportsbook and all of our dining menus, please visit

BetRivers Sportsbook

This fall, Rivers Casino Philadelphia added eight self-service betting kiosks just in time for the NFL season. The new additions increased the total number of betting kiosks to 33, allowing guests to

skip the counter lines and have more convenient access to place wagers on their favorite teams. Betting kiosks were added not only to the BetRivers Sportsbook, but also to various locations throughout the casino floor, which further promotes social distancing and provides guests with quick and easy ways to wager on every sport that’s back in action.

Jack’s Bar + Grill

Right next to the sportsbook is Jack’s Bar + Grill, a classic American fare restaurant that offers guests amazing waterfront views and a wide-ranging menu. Jack’s features favorites like the Liberty Bell pretzel served with beer cheese and spicy mustard, and a crab cake platter that includes two housemade crab cakes served with garlic mashed potatoes, a seasonal vegetable and Cajun aioli sauce.


Mian’s authentic, quick-service Asian cuisine offers a variety of rich flavors and fresh ingredients. Guests can enjoy delectable dishes such as pho soup, shrimp fried rice and General Tso’s chicken. Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.



Authentically delicious Asian dining.

Classic American fare with a unique twist.




October / November / December 2020





Make your list, check it twice And make sure you support Local! Now more than ever Whether the holidays include a small get together with friends and family or new celebrations with the people under your roof, the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine business network is filled with places to make the 2020 holiday season a memorable one. Here are some unique gift ideas from our friendly neighborhood businesses for everyone on your list. Many offer curbside pick-up, delivery and ship nationwide.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

Gran Caffe L’Aquila

1716 Chestnut St / 215.568.5600 / Gelato 4-pack shipped Nationwide Italian Gelato Champion Stefano Biasini’s world famous gelato, shipped anywhere in USA. $48 plus S&H.

Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House

903 S. 9th St /215.627.2586 / Sfogiatelle Gift Box- shellshaped Italian pastries filled with a ricotta cheese mixture plus citrus peel accents. $50-$80 Holiday Coffee Gift Box includes two pounds of Holiday Blend coffee, 2 bags of biscotti & chocolates. Prices vary. Various coffee and gift subscription packages, as well as gift baskets and boxes, are available. Shipping through the US is available. Prices vary.

Cedrone’s Flowers

800 Lombard St / 215.629.9858 / Christmas hurricane centerpiece with red roses, berries, baby’s breath & candle. $69

Vertical Tasting of Italian Coffee

Try three award-winning roasts that tell the story of the difference of Italian coffee from north to South Italy. Three coffee bags & coffee education sheet for $39.99.

The Cutting Point: A Total Image Salon

Chef Mitzi Jackson

Spice Blends by Chef MJ are a one-stop shop for seasoning all your favorite dishes. Flavors: Veggielicious, Sex on the Beef, Kickin Chicken, Seafood Bang Bang Set of four - $48 or $12@ (plus $9 S&H)

17th & Oregon / 215.389.8100 / Like us on Facebook / Follow us on Instagram The focus this season is on your eyes! Make a lasting impression with these amazing products from Grande Cosmetics. They make the perfect stocking stuffers for yourself or anyone on your list! GrandeLASH MD - An awardwinning lash enhancing serum infused with vitamins, peptides & amino acids to promote the appearance of naturally longer, thicker looking lashes in 4-6 weeks. GrandeBROW – a revolutionary brow enhancing serum infused with vitamins, antioxidants & amino acids to promote the appearance of fuller, bolder brows in just 6-8 weeks.


Authentic Italian Gift Box Experiences Award winning Italian Specialist Riccardo Longo has prepared a series of themed gift experiences that will transport your senses to various regions of Italy. Prices start at $39.99 plus S&H.

October / November / December 2020


Pezone Cello

Maxine’s Uptown Boutique

D. Olivieri Jewelers

4 2nd Ave / Pitman NJ / 609.254.5630 / Facebook & Instagram / maxinesuptownboutique Call for shipping! Bunch of sage bundles (smudge) with rose petals (colors of chakra) on a tray. These have been clearing negative energy and restoring balance for thousands of years. $12. Gucci Soho handbag (modeled by Rachel Cahill). Maxine’s also carries Kate Spade and other designer styles. There are at least 100 different bags at any given time in the shop. Prices vary. Intention Candles: Anxiety Relief, Prosperity & Love. You can always set your own intentions, too. The candles have flowers, herbs & a number of crystals in them. $24.99

2523 S. Broad St / 215.336.1130 / 25% off all Bulova Watches, now until Christmas. 25% off all men’s & women’s designer style, 14k gold chains & bracelets, now until Christmas. Layaway is available with easy payments.

The Petal Pusher Florist & Decorators

Christmas specials include a winter silhouette ($60), snowflake centerpieces ($65 & up) & Thomas Kinkade Heroes ($85).


A twist on the traditional limoncello with a wide selection of seasonal and year-round flavors. Pumpkin spice available now through end of October. Chocolate mint and eggnog available through December. Visit for a list of places to pick up a bottle. Prices vary.

Sponsor a wreath to honor a Veteran

The Chapel of Four Chaplains and Wreaths Across America have partnered to raise funds for “Operation Philadelphia.” Sponsor wreaths for both Arlington National Cemetery and a local hero. You will be able to pick up your wreath(s) from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Friday, December 18th, and Saturday, December 19th.

Ten Pennies Florist & Events The Philadelphia Zoo America’s oldest zoo (opened July 1, 1874) is right here in our city. With strict COVID guidelines in place and advance ticket purchases required, the Zoo is a safe, year-round space for an outing! Gift a membership or treat yourself. Prices/membership levels vary.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

1921 S. Broad St / 215.336.3557 / 800.248.3557 / Fruit and Gourmet Basket. Whole pieces of fruit with gourmet goodies in a wicker basket. $75 Exotic Romance. Elegant upscale arrangement in a tall vase of hydrangea, purple dendrobium orchids, large white callas, red roses, with dusty miller, curly willow & monstera leaf. $150. Red & White Poinsettia Basket. Nothing says Christmas quite like the poinsettia, in a wicker basket with a holiday bow & pine cones. $50

And don’t forget to stop & shop at our local spots for even more ideas! Enjoy fabulous foods for your holiday table, decorations, pampering, goodies-to-go or gift certificates for your family and friends to use now or later. Always check availability and safety protocols before you head out!

❚❙ Antney’s Grub

Prime Meats

❚❙ Caffe Ida

❚❙ New York Bakery

❚❙ Cannuli’s Sausage

❚❙ Noir Restaurant

❚❙ Catholic Gift Shop / National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia

❚❙ Chef Beth’s Pink Garlic Events

❚❙ Chick’s Philly ❚❙ The Beer Peddlers ❚❙ George Washington Wood Bed & Breakfast

❚❙ G iovanni’s Catering ❚❙ G iunta’s Prime Shop ❚❙ Glow Lab ❚❙ Hot Hands Studio & Spa

❚❙ Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House / Rivers Casino Philadelphia

❚❙ The Kitchen Consigliere

& Bar

❚❙ Pastificio Deli & Homemade Pasta Co.

❚❙ Pasquale & Anna Scioli Designer Menswear & Custom Tailors

❚❙ Pat’s King of Steaks ❚❙ Penrose Diner ❚❙ Philly’s Nail Spa ❚❙ Popi’s Italian Restaurant



❚❙ Rosewood Bar ❚❙ Rudi’s Formal Wear ❚❙ South 9th St. Italian Market

❚❙ South View Pizza ❚❙ Stogie Joe’s Tavern ❚❙ The Original Tony Luke’s

❚❙ Lombardi’s All are members of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.



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by Rebecca DeSanta Many of us spent this past spring and summer indoors, distracting ourselves with endless Zoom calls, streaming services and the quest to start a proper loaf of sourdough bread. Now our corner of the world is starting to dabble with reopening, just in time to embrace that fall bucket list that never quite gets finished! While consuming pumpkin spice flavors and wearing a flannel shirt to buy a pumpkin puts me in the fall mood, the season just isn’t complete without an evening spent hearing a good ghost story. And there may not be a better group of storytellers than Grim Philly ( As part of my bachelorette party in February (pre-COVID), we went on a Dark Philly Adult Night Tour. I love history and ghosts and the bawdy twist to this tour couldn’t have been more appropriate for the evening. Our saucy tour guide fit her role perfectly, transporting us back to the scandalous days where brothels operated across the street from Independence Hall. Grim Philly


Congratulations to Nick Contino on his successes in Hollywood!

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

tours are well researched and as historically accurate as possible. Our guide is herself a historian and I was impressed with her in-depth answers to the questions our group posed. I learned so much about Philadelphia that isn’t taught in school and, even though I didn’t see a ghost, I received more than a few chills as we walked the Historic Mile. With a variety of tours that run all year long, Grim Philly is a great limited capacity, socially distant activity for the whole family - during the day that is. At night, their adult tours cover the city’s historic ghosts, serial killers, cemeteries and witches. They even have seasonally themed tours (like the 21+ Nightmare Before Christmas tour) and haunted pub crawls. Grim Philly is running limited tours right now. They are 100% open-air, distanced and with no-touch check-in. All guests must wear a mask to participate. If you’re not quite ready to venture out in a group, Grim Philly has launched a radio talk history podcast, History X www., that shares stories from beyond Philadelphia. PRH



HONORS INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR SERVICE TO OUR CITY we as humans under one sky grounded by the same energy force that keeps us clinging to the earth must shine as one people to light the paths of our children Choose hope. Always choose hope – Dorette

photos by ANDREW ANDREOZZI art direction by OMAR RUBIO

RIVER TO RIVER. ONE NEIGHBORHOOD. October / November / December 2020 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 29

SONNY HILL Founder of the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League / Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame member Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award


Q&A Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A Western Cowboy from going to the movies and watching Westerns.

Q: What was your first job?

A: Shoe shiner Q: What was your favor-

Q: What’s the best

them or changed their life.

advice you ever gave?

Q: Who is your Phil-

A: Remember where you came from and reach back to help others who are coming through.

Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile?

A: “Back in the Saddle Again” by Gene Autry

Q: What will you

adelphia-based idol?

A: NBA Hall of Famer Guy Rodgers of Northeast High School

Q: What lesser known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia?

A: The Betsy Ross House Q: Can you tell us

ite pastime as a kid?

remember most about the summer 2020?

A: Playing halfball

A: The Covid-

Q: What’s the best advice

19 pandemic.

anyone ever gave you?

Q: What do you consider

A: I learned from

your happy place/favorite place in the whole world?

Q: What’s your favorite

A: The feeling of people

A: Home fried potatoes

telling me that I touched

with onions and chicken

my family to respect your elders and have great manners.


to the NBA including Joe “Jellybean” Bryant; his son, the late great, Kobe Bryant; Buck Williams; Maurice Lucas; Rasheed Wallace; Richard “Rip” Hamilton; Kyle Lowry and Marcus and Markieff Morris. In 1969, Hill started his broadcasting career. To date, he has 51 years in the business and has spent the last 34 years at WIP Sports Radio hosting his own morning show called “The Living Room,” which airs on Sunday mornings from 7am-10am. Sonny is truly dedicated to the craft. He hasn’t missed a show in 34 years, of which he’s extremely proud. Sonny Hill has developed many great relationships with past and current players over the years. The game of basketball has afforded Sonny the opportunity to reach more than one million youngsters through his lifetime and he says, “It means the most to me when former players come up to me and say that I changed their lives or even saved them from death.”

something that not many people know about you?

A: My full name - William Randolph Hill, Jr. home-cooked meal?

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images


eferred to as “The Mayor of Basketball,” at 84 years young, Sonny Hill’s impact on the game of basketball has spanned more than seven decades. Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Sonny attended Northeast High School, where he played guard on the basketball team. After graduating in 1955, he competed in two years of college ball at Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio, and later played in the Eastern Professional Basketball League for 10 years. In 1960, Sonny founded the Charles Baker Memorial Summer League. In the off-seasons, the Baker League was a platform for basketball stars to show off their talent and skills. In 1968, the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League was created. It served as an alternative to the street life and other known violence in the city for kids and young adults. The Sonny Hill League has seen its fair share of stars who eventually made it

CHARLIE INGUI Founding Member / The Soul Survivors Lifetime Music Achievement Award



rowing up in the age of street corner harmonies in New York, it’s a reasonably safe bet that Charlie Ingui and friends did their fair share of singing their way through school. In fact, it was through one of those mutual singing friends that Ingui found an unexpected opportunity in the early ’60s. He headed over to neighboring Ozone Park to trade some licks with a group that was looking to replace a singer and never looked back. With Kenny Jeremiah already in place and Charlie’s brother Richie soon to follow, the keystone of what would eventually become The Soul Survivors had been cast and set. After bouncing around the club scene in their native New York for a few years, a trip south on the Garden State Parkway became a game changer. The Soul Survivors were becoming the must-see club act in Atlantic City. As the vast majority of their Jersey Shore following were Philadelphians, it wasn’t long before the group headed into the city that would eventually become its musical home port. “We were making a lot of noise,” Charlie Ingui says regarding their early days in Philadelphia. After

Q&A Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a baseball player or a singer. Perhaps a singing baseball player!

Q: What was your first job? A: At the age of 11 or 12,

like many of my friends in the neighborhood, I sold Javelle Water (bleach) door to door.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

A: Playing games like stickball or stoopball.

Q: What’s the best advice

appearing on Jerry Blavat’s Discophonic Scene as a last-minute replacement, “we just kept getting invited back and we didn’t even have a record.” Admittedly, Ingui is not quite sure how the introduction process actually went down with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff but most of it centered around Blavat. With the power of the pen, the upstart songwriters provided the fuel with “Expressway to Your Heart” that propelled The Soul Survivors to what was their only major hit. Conversely, it also marked the beginning of the legendary musical genre known as The Philly Sound. The band was hopping... literally. Playing every hop and prom imaginable. They eventually hit the road and in a short period of time went from a street corner group to local club band to a bona fide national touring act. It was a dizzying pace. After three years of maddening activity, the boys decided they had enough. Richie and Charlie remained in New York and didn’t return to Philly until 1974. Sans Kenny Jeremiah and with a revamped lineup, they reunited with Gamble and Huff. The result was a new album on TSOP Records that produced a Top 100 Hit on the R&B

charts, “City of Brotherly Love.” For more than 40 years thereafter, the Ingui brothers nurtured the legacy of The Soul Survivors to audiences worldwide. Their last performance together took place at The Kimmel Center in November of 2016. The night resonates as a bittersweet memory for Charlie Ingui. It was Richie’s birthday and they performed a medley of Philadelphia-inspired hits in tribute to the Marian Anderson Award recipients: Patti LaBelle, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. During their set, Charlie popped a peek at the honorees’ box and “no one was sitting!” Backstage, Patti LaBelle remarked, “Keep it up. There ain’t too many of us left.” Just two months later, Richie Ingui died suddenly. Charlie frequently performs with founding member of The Hooters, David Uosikkinen, on a project that highlights essential Philadelphia-based music called, In The Pocket. “I’m just happy I’m able to still move and sing,” he says with sincerity. Still, as we move closer to a new year, he ponders the state of live performances. Will acts still want to perform? Will audiences want to come back? “I know one thing,” Ingui concludes. “We gotta keep the music going.”

anyone ever gave you?

A: At home on our

A: Get it in writing.

farm in Maryland.

Q: What’s the best advice

Q: Who are your Phila-

you ever gave?

delphia-based idols?

A: If you want a career in music,

A: All the people who have made

be sure you’re passionate about it.

Q: Favorite song from way back

and continue to keep Philadelphia music alive. They are my idols.

that always makes you smile?

Q: What lesser known landmark

A: “Just a Gigolo” by Louis Prima. Q: What is your best memo-

would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia?

ry from summer 2020?

A: The Barnes Foundation.

A: Having the time and opportu-

Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you?

nity to reach out to old friends and to speak more often with family.

Q: What do you consider your happy place/your favorite place in the whole world?

A: I’ve always been a big jazz fan. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

A: Any kind of seafood with pasta. October / November / December 2020


KENNY JEREMIAH Founding Member / The Soul Survivors Lifetime Music Achievement Award



t the peak of the Doo-Wop Era, a little-known group out of New York, The Dedications, scored a minor hit with a cover of “Why Don’t You Write Me” by The Jacks. Holding down the second tenor harmony on that recording was a former bank employee named Kenny Jeremiah. In rather rapid succession, with the departure of The Dedications’ baritone singer followed by the group’s lead, Jeremiah would soon find himself trading vocals with brothers Charlie and Richie Ingui. After kicking around for a while, audiences started to take notice. The band was now self-contained and Jeremiah quit his job at the bank, only looking back about a year later to open a bank account with the same boss he quit on. He never worked a daytime job ever again. The Soul Survivors were born. Memorial Day Weekend, 1966. Atlantic City. Their sound was soul with a rock edge. They were decked out in clothes from the village - Tom Jones shirts, tight white jumpers and platform shoes. After playing to only a couple of people on opening night, the word spread like wildfire - there was a new exciting group in town. After making waves in Atlantic City, by October of that year, they were playing Tony Crow’s club, The Living Room, at 13th and Locust in Philadelphia. As the act began to evolve and find its balance, Jeremiah admits Richie and Charlie possessed the pipes that he lacked – “the beautiful voices.” To compensate, he found his niche in being more of a visual performer. Inspired after seeing Little Richard perform at The Paramount in New York, it wasn’t uncommon to find Jeremiah climbing stage drapes, walking bar tops and tossing money from venue cash registers – all in the name of entertainment. The audiences, especially in Philly, ate it up. The Soul Survivors had found a home. Still without a record on vinyl, a last-minute call to appear as a replacement act on Jerry Blavat’s The Discophonic Scene would change all that. With repeated appearances and new management in tow, the band signed with Crimson Records, in which Blavat was a partner. After an introduction to a young pair of local songwriters – Kenny

Q&A Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A Singer

Q: What’s the best

Gamble and Leon Huff – life would never again be the same. “Expressway to Your Heart” was released in 1967. It was the band’s only major hit but it also essentially rooted The Sound of Philadelphia for Gamble and Huff. As the Soul Survivors pressed on, however, Jeremiah would soon choose to drive in a different direction. By 1969, his tenure with the group had come to end. While he was off exploring other avenues, the disco craze danced its way into the musical mainstream. Jeremiah would soon climb the stage stairs, this time as the featured male, replacing Jesus (Jason) Alvarez in the group Shirley & Company. In 2017, he and the founding members of the Soul Survivors were inducted into the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame. Ever the entertainer and showman, he loves performing with his new band Jeremiah-Hunter, or just keeping it small as part of a duo or solo act. Creatively, he continually releases new music via YouTube and iTunes. In the end, along the many different twists, turns and detours on the highway of life, Kenny Jeremiah will tell you that through it all, he remains “happy where he’s at.”

A: Spending time with my

advice you ever gave?

family, wherever we are.

A: Give thanks to God for

Q: Who are your Phila-

every day of life. Each day lived is truly a special gift.

Q: Favorite song from way back

delphia based idols?

A: Bobby Rydell, Lee Andrews

A: Playing stick ball and roller

memory of summer 2020?

& The Hearts, Teddy Pendergrass (I covered several of his songs), The Spinners, The O’Jays, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, Dick Clark, Jerry Blavat & Mr. Saturday Night - Bob Pantano!

skating with friends on the block.

A: Getting offered a job to

anyone ever gave you?

perform after being out of work from February 28th to July 17th.

Q: What lesser known land-

Q: What’s the best advice A: In the entertainment biz, nothing is impossible and no one is indispensable.

Q: What was your first job? A: Stock boy at Robert Hall clothing store

that always makes you smile?

A: “Good Vibrations” by Brian

Q: What was your favor-

Wilson & The Beach Boys. Still considered a masterpiece today.

ite pastime as a kid

Q: What is your best


Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you?

A: After 60 years of performing all over the world, I still get nervous right before I step on stage.

mark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia?

Q: What’s your favorite

Q: What do you consider your

A: I suggest The Philadel-

A: Ravioli with chicken

happy place / your favorite place in the whole world?

phia Music Alliance Walk of Fame on Broad Street.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

home cooked meal?

meatballs, sausage and homemade marinara.

JOHN NASH Former GM / Philadelphia 76ers Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award



magine being an elementary school boy, already filled with a love of sports, walking into the Palestra for a Big Five game for the first time. The atmosphere entices all five senses – the bands playing, the electricity of the crowds screaming, the smell of popcorn, the St. Joseph’s Hawk flapping. The first time a basket is scored, the crowd throws streamers onto the court (when you could throw the streamers!). You can’t resist the allure and can’t help but fall in love with Philly sports. For John Nash – a young boy from Drexel Hill – that love turned into a lifelong career. “I had the chance to rub elbows with Hall of Famers and do what I love for a living,” Nash says. Nash’s career is steeped in Philly basketball tradition and the Philly basketball family. He worked in the Sixers ticket office and saw a path to his ultimate goal to be an executive of a pro sports team. He worked for the Flyers (when they won the Stanley Cups), the Philadelphia Blazers of the World Hockey Association, University of Pennsylvania, the Big Five and served as the Assistant General

Q&A Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A professional base-

ball or basketball player.

Q: What was your first job? A: A Bulletin carrier. Deliv-

mater) upended the heavily favored DePaul University in the NCCA playoffs. His color commentator for that game was Howard Eskin. The Philly basketball family is tight. They look after each other as a family. That family atmosphere is unrivaled anywhere. “The most fantastic thing was to be able to work with my friends – Jimmy Lynam, Matt Goukas, Billy Cunningham and so many others in the Philly basketball family.” Nash says they used to gather at a local establishment on City Line Avenue. “When that door opened, you never knew who was coming in next. Here comes Jim Lynam. Door opens. Here comes “Speedy” Morris (former Roman Catholic, LaSalle University Men’s and Women’s and St. Joseph’s prep coach). Door opens. Here is Herb McGee (longtime Philadelphia University coach). It was a who’s who of Philly basketball.” Today, Nash is retired and dedicates his time to his other passions – his family, his grandchildren and horse racing. He owns thoroughbreds and races at Delaware Park in the summer and at Parx in the winter.

anyone ever gave you?

ally, I had a near hole in one!


A: Don’t give up. Pro

Q: What do you consider your

Can you tell us something not many people know about you?

sports can get you discouraged but don’t give up.

Q: What’s the best

happy place/your favorite place in the whole world?

A: Out in the pasture walk-

advice you ever gave?

ing amongst the horses.

A: Don’t quit your job until

Q: Who are your Phila-

you have another one. Of course, I violated my own rule!

ering was easy. Collecting – not so easy.

that always makes you smile?

Q: What was your favor-

A: Bobby Darin’s

Q: Favorite song from way back

A: My middle name is

delphia-based idols?

A: Jack Ramsey, Richie Ashburn, Johnny Callison, Wilt, Dr. J, Charles Barkley – I could go on...

ite pastime as a kid?

“Mack the Knife.”

A: Baseball. Baseball

Q: What lesser known land-

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2020?

mark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia?

A: I’m waiting for it! Actu-

A: Jim’s Steaks

was my first love.

Q: What’s the best advice

Manager of the Sixers when they won the 1983 World Championship. Nash was promoted to Sixers General Manager when Pat Williams left the organization; a position he held from 1986-1990. After leaving the Sixers, Nash was GM for the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), the New Jersey Nets and Portland Trailblazers. He orchestrated a nine-player deal which, at that time, was the largest in NBA history. “I enjoyed being able to call NBA general managers. The ability to call Jerry West, Red Auerbach or Bill Russell was incredible. These were people I idolized when I was a kid,” he says. Nash also served as Executive Secretary of the Big Five and was inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame. After his time in the front offices, he transitioned to an outstanding broadcasting career covering Big Five games and was the Sixers post game analyst. Jim Lynam, former Sixers head coach and Sixers television analyst, is one of his closest friends. Nash had the privilege of announcing for one of the all-time great Big Five moments when Lynam’s St. Joseph’s Hawks (also Nash’s alma


Norbert. I took a ribbing for that. *As a note Norbert also is the middle name of Harry Kalas

Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

A: With all the great places to eat in South Philly – Linguine and Clams.



October / November October / December / November 2020 ROWHOME / December 2020 MAGAZINE ROWHOME 33 MAGAZINE

| 33

BOB PANTANO Host, Saturday Night Dance Party, 98.1 WOGL Entertainment Award



f you don’t believe that music is the secret to staying young, just ask Bob Pantano. It’s kept him going all his life - from an early stint as club DJ through several decades as the host of the longest-running on-air dance party in the nation. Whatever else happens during your week, once 7PM rolls around on Saturday night, you can turn to his Dance Party on 98.1 FM/WOGL for good times and good tunes to pick you up. What is it about his something-for-everyone party mix, exactly? “The secret to our success is that we’ve created a musical brand, a Bob Pantano brand of music,” the perennially upbeat host explains. “It’s a combination of classic soul, disco and dance music of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s just the evolution of a brand of music that I’ve created. It’s the music to keep you moving, to keep you on the dance floor. We call it The Rhythm of Your Life.” The phrase is no exaggeration for the countless people who’ve shared the good times since he first hit the airwaves in 1977. As fun it was to run a standard radio show, though, connecting face to face proved to be what it’s really about. The show has been done for live audiences ever since 1982, traveling through parks, arenas, casinos, theaters and any other venue that’s suitable for a fun time. His run has included such highlights as emceeing the dedication of the Art Museum’s Rocky statue and hosting names from Donna Summer to the Village People.

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: Professional golfer, professional baseball player and professional DJ/radio host. You know how that worked out. The rest is history.

Q: What was your first job? A: I used to work bingo halls and grocery stores at my parish school in South Philly.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

A: Playing sports morning, noon and night. Every kind of game we played in South Philly – hardball, softball, wall ball, wiffle ball, stickball, half ball.


While it hasn’t been the same in 2020 (because, of course, what has?), Pantano’s approach is to stay both careful and hopeful. “In two words: no dancing,” he laments when summarizing the state of life under Covid-19. “But,” he adds, “the show has prevailed every week on the radio and through the app, and I hear from people all over who tell me their Saturday nights would not be complete without us.” What else would you expect from the personality that’s been making people happy across the region for more than four decades? As long as there’s an audience for a party, Pantano will be happy to keep spinning tunes until the program makes it to 45 years, the golden 50 or beyond. Whether it’s the big milestones or just thinking about hopeful post-pandemic plans in the meantime, he explains that the exact details aren’t what’s important. “I want to get back to the party action as soon as possible,” he says simply, not concerned with where and when, as long as it’ll be safe. “I’d just like to have the biggest celebration imaginable, with live entertainment and - of course - people dancing everywhere.”

Any kind of games we could play in the street or the parks.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

A: Stay extremely focused and never give up.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever given?

A: Go for your dream and do it on your own.

Q: What’s a favorite song from back in the day that always makes you smile?

A: “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel,” by Tavares, which is the Saturday Night Dance Party theme song. That’s my life. My life is a Saturday Night party. That gets you going. And when you hear people scream when they hear it, you

know you’ve created a sound.

Q: What’s your best memory of summer 2020?

A: Seeing people finally enjoying dinner and coming out to the restaurants after being in isolation for so long.

Q: Who are your Philly-based idols?

A: Take a walk down the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame and look at all the plaques. They’re all my heroes.

Q: What lesser-known land-

Q: Tell us something no one knows about you.

A: I’m a news junkie and a wannabe journalist. I watch news 24 hours a day.

mark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia?

Q: What’s your favorite

A: St. Mary Magdalene de’

A: I like anything tra-

Pazzi Church on Montrose Street. It’s the oldest Italian Catholic church in the USA.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

home-cooked meal?

ditional Italian. Chicken Cacciatore, Veal Scallopini. I like the traditional dishes.

JOHN & JOANN VACCA The Petal Pusher Florist & Decorators Local Business Success Story Award



ersistence, exceptional customer service, a high-quality product and a willingness to change with the times. We treat everyone like family and truly enjoy interacting with clients on a personal level.” John and JoAnn Vacca’s secrets to success have kept their family-owned and run business, The Petal Pusher Florist and Decorators, operating for more than 50 years. Through the 1980-1982 recession, the 2006 economic crisis and now COVID-19. They stayed open (for phone

and online orders) during the recent shutdown, assisting clients with orders for birthday flowers or ‘just because’ bouquets. “We wanted to help keep people’s hopes alive,” JoAnn explains. The South Broad Street florist has not only, dare I say, blossomed, but has assisted others along the way. “John has helped other flower shops get started with their businesses. He’s given them advice, taught them where to source their stock from...We’re a community and it’s important to keep a community thriving,” JoAnn says. That sense of community has been incredibly important to the Vaccas, especially as the landscape around them changed over time. John purchased the building on South Broad Street in the late ’60s as an investment property; he hadn’t planned on opening a shop there until the florist he’d been working for got wind of his purchase and fired him, misunderstanding John’s intentions. So, John renovated the building, opened his own shop and moved into the apartment above it. The Petal Pusher is a true family business. JoAnn started coming downstairs to help out and soon became the point person interviewing brides to be. “I’ll sit down with them and ask what their tastes are, get an idea of their likes, dislikes and their personality. I’ll show them photos for visuals, which helps narrow down their choices. Succulents are very popular for weddings, so are wildflower bouquets with different greenery - seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, brunia - we will also make jeweled bouquets. We once made one entirely out of


Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave?

Q: As a child, what

A: Do not be envious of anyone. Treat everyone with respect.

did you want to be when you grew up?

Q: Favorite song from way back

A: A Doctor

that always makes you smile?

Q: What was your first job? A: Painting addresses

pearls shaped like flowers.” A true family business, the Vacca children grew up working in the shop (they’re now both pharmacists) and their son-in-law currently helps out with deliveries. Their design team creates custom arrangements for occasions like weddings and funerals or gifts like gourmet and fruit baskets. Some of their many best sellers include lovely sunflower arrangements, traditional bouquets of red roses and vases filled with enchanting blue hydrangea, crème roses, white lilies and alstroemeria. But it’s John’s unique specialty pieces that are the piece de resistance. He’s created cars, motorcycles, boats, drum sets, slot machines - all out of flowers and are spectacular in their precision and magnificence. “They’re very complex and time-consuming,” JoAnn says. “He puts all he’s got into them; he’s very creative.” Over the years, much has changed. Many of the original funeral homes on South Broad Street and the florists that delivered to them have closed. Customers used to look through photo books to choose flowers, now everything is online. Client tastes have shifted from large, elaborate floral arrangements to simpler ones. But the Vaccas, much like flowers themselves, have adapted to their environment over time. “A lot of people say, ‘What a great job you have. It must be so much fun working in a flower shop.’ It’s a lot of hard work. There’s manual labor involved, you have to carry buckets of water, unpack boxes of flowers daily - everything is on a timed schedule. It’s incredibly hard work, but you know what? It’s absolutely wonderful,” JoAnn says.

Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols?

A: Kobe Bryant, Bobby Clarke. Q: What lesser known landmark would you recommend a tour-

A: “My Girl” by the Temptations

ist visit in Philadelphia?

Q: What is your best memory

A: Franklin Square.

on sidewalks.

from summer 2020?

Q: Can you tell us something not

Q: What was your favor-

A: Vacationing at Ocean City with my grandkids.

many people know about you?

ite pastime as a kid?

A: Playing stickball.

Q: What do you consider your

Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

happy place/your favorite place in the whole world?

A: Work hard to succeed.

A: Bahamas (Atlantis).

October / November / December 2020

A: I’m shy. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

A: Chicken Parm!


Philadelphia RowHome Magazine

2020 WishRock Awards 2020 WishRock Award

presented annually to young dreamers whose passion to succeed has inspired a new generation of believers by BRENDA HILLEGAS

From the time we published our first issue in 2004, Philadelphia RowHome Magazine has honored people who have changed lives for the better. For us. For our neighborhoods. For generations of families. For years to come. Every year, we present these individuals with our Blue Sapphire Award to thank them for their selfless dedication to our City. In 2012, we decided to honor talented youngsters who aspire to the same commitment as their seasoned mentors. We call it the WishRock Award. It is a reminder that all great accomplishments begin with a dream.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself in five sentences or less.

A: I’m a singer born and raised

BRIANNA MAZZOLA “No one will ever truly understand your vision for your future better than you.”


ative. So, playing with makeup, sketching outfits and painting or coloring. I also love to bake.

in Philadelphia who moved out to LA to pursue my music. I’ve had the pleasure of being a Mouseketeer for Disney’s Club Mickey Mouse, singing Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night, and more recently, signing with a label and releasing original music!

Q: What is your favorite song? A: Oh nooo haha! This is always

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Aside from singing, dancing

A: I’m typically with them all the

and acting, I love anything cre-

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

such a hard question for me because I can never truly pick just one, but today I’m gonna go with Déjà-Vu by Beyoncé.

Q: What do you and your family like to do together?

time so we love having a chill movie night, going on hikes and even

taking spontaneous road trips!

Q: Do you have any special traditions unique to your family?

A: One of my favorites is our homemade stromboli and pizza nights! We all make our own pizza or stromboli and watch movies.

I think with everything that has happened this year, it has really allowed for a lot of personal growth in my life and I would love for that to continue!

A: One teacher who has made a

lasting impression on me would be my high school chemistry and anatomy/physiology teacher – Dr. Michael Bell from Roman Catholic High School. He is a very kind soul and has had a very positive influence on the moral values I hold as well as my work ethic.

Q: What are some of your favorite places in Philadelphia?

Q: Name a person in history you

A: My favorite place is

would like to have dinner with. Why?

grandma & nonna’s house!

A: I think I would choose Frank

Sinatra because I have really enjoyed his music all of my life and I’d like to get to know more about him and his life experiences.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: As far as my future goes, I don’t have any set destination in 10 years. I just want to have music out and a career that I’m proud of and that touches and influences people in a positive way.

Q: Name a teacher who has made a lasting impression on you. Why?

A: One of the first teachers I ever had, and one of the most monumental women in my life, would be Cindy McCord. She was my first-ever vocal coach and she brought out the confidence that was hidden inside me and truly allowed me to love the art.

Q: Name a person in history you would like to have dinner with. Why?

A: Hmm… It’s hard to pick because I have so many people in different categories, but someone I would love to have dinner with would probably be Stan Lee. I love Marvel and am a huge fan so I would love to pick his brain… and maybe get a comic of my own, haha!

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that has made you the most proud.

A: It’s not your typical accomplishment but I think an accomplishment about myself that has made me most proud would be my authenticity and being true to myself.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is working on achieving their goals?

A: My only advice in follow-

MIKE RAYMOND JR. “Never give up, even when the odds seem stacked against you.” in five sentences or less.

A: I am a multi-instrumentalist currently studying jazz guitar performance at Temple University.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: My hobbies are mostly musicrelated. I always enjoy discovering new music of a variety of genres, as well as writing music. I also enjoy nature…taking walks in parks and scenic outdoor areas.

Q: What is your favorite song? A: My favorite song changes very often as a musician, but right now I really enjoy the song Desafinado, written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. family like to do together?

A: I often enjoy meals with my family as well as watching movies and traveling when possible.

to someone who is working on achieving their goals?

A: Never give up, even

when the odds seem stacked against you, and always ask for help when you need it.

Q: What is your favorite memory from summer 2020?

A: Vacationing to Wildwood

with my family, as well as playing a studio session back in August with my band Black Noise.

Q: What do you look forward to in the next year?

A: In the next year, I look for-

ward to performing with other musicians again, both for live shows and to record some of my original compositions.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: My hobbies include working out, playing guitar and hanging out with friends and family.

Q: What is your favorite song? A: Summer, Highland Falls by Billy Joel

Q: What do you and your family like to do together?

A: My family and I like to head down the shore and go out to eat within the city.

Q: Do you have any special traditions unique to your family?

A: We don’t have any special traditions other than celebrating Christmas, Easter, etc.

Q: What are some of your favorite places in Philadelphia?

A: The Prep, Lincoln Financial Field and the Capital Grille.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: I see myself working as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist).

Q: Name a teacher who has made a lasting impression on you. Why?

A: Mr. Paul Morrissey because he would make sure all of his students were comfortable and understood the topic before moving on. He was also very personable and hosted a great work environment.

Q: Name a person in history you would like to have dinner with. Why?

A: I would like to have din-

traditions unique to your family?

ner with George Harrison from the Beatles because I love his music and he is super talented.

A: One tradition that my fam-

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment

ily takes part in is donating toys to Toys for Tots and, as of the past few years, holding a charity concert for the children during their breakfast with Santa.

Q: What are some of your

Q: What is your favorite memory from summer 2020?

the Performing Arts, Chris’s Jazz Cafe,and Villa di Roma.

A: My family and I took a spon-

Q: Where do you see

that has made you the most proud.

A: Winning back to back PIAA 6A State Championships with my Prep brothers. Those days were the best days of my life.

Q: What advice would you give

favorite places in Philadelphia?

to someone who is working on achieving their goals?

A: The Kimmel Center for

yourself in 10 years?

A: In 10 years, I see myself

Q: What do you look forward

as a music educator passing along the gift of music to others, as well as continuing to perform and compose.

to in the next year?

Q: Name a teacher who has made

A: My hopes for 2021 are growth.

a lasting impression on you. Why?

Q: What advice would you give

Q: Do you have any special

ing your goals would be to do it your way as authentically as possible because no one will ever truly understand your vision for your future better than you!

taneous road trip from LA to Philly and back just so we could be home with the rest of our family for a bit! It was truly my favorite moment this summer!

that has made you the most proud.

A: Being selected to join Temple University’s top jazz band this year. It is an amazing opportunity to be performing under the instruction of Terell Stafford and in the company of many other phenomenal musicians.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself

Q: What do you and your

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment

in 2020 and am currently attending East Stroudsburg University. I also play football for ESU along with having played for SJP.


A: Don’t lose focus on your end goal and don’t forget how far you’ve come already.

“Don’t lose focus on your end goal and don’t forget how far you’ve come already.”

Q: What is your favorite

Q: Tell us a little about yourself

A: When I went to Sea Isle with

memory from summer 2020?

in five sentences or less.

best friends of mine from Prep.

A: I’m from South Philadelphia,

Q: What do you look forward

particularly in the Pennsport Area. I graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep

October / November / December 2020

to in the next year?

A: Definitely football.




Andreozzi Photography


Andrew Paul - Photographer “QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR LESS” (484) 614-1952 38

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020



Since we can’t be together in person this year to celebrate our 2020 Blue Sapphire and WishRock Award winners, a virtual toast will have to do. Raise a glass to the extraordinary people featured in this issue.

Take a pic and tag us on Instagram @rowhomemag or use #bluesapphirecocktail! INGREDIENTS ➜ 1 oz. blue curacao ➜ S prite* ➜ 2 oz. vodka DIRECTIONS Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the ingredients, in order, topping it off with Sprite. Stir and serve with a straw. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. *For a less sweet drink, regular seltzer water will do.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Blue Sapphire Award 2020

Honor Roll

River to River. One Neighborhood.


Dei Lynam, Comcast SportsNet / Media Award

Carl Arrigale, Neumann Goretti Basketball Coach / Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award

Chubby Checker / Lifetime Music Achievement Award

Kenny Bonavitacola, Fashion Designer / Fashion Design Award Jane Golden, Founder, ED of the Mural Arts Program / Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award / The Arts Kitten Hayward, Boxer / Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Tom Piccone, A&P Kitchens / Local Business Success Story Award Russell Thompkins, Jr., The Stylistics / Lifetime Music Achievement Award Vittoria Woodill, CBS 3 / Media Award

2018 Bob Shannon, Quaker City String Band / Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award Bobby Rydell / Lifetime Music Achievement Award Leon Huff / Lifetime Music Achievement Award Lombardi’s Prime Meats / Local Business Success Story Award Steve Highsmith / Media Award

2017 The Phillie Phanatic / Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Ed McBride, President, EOM Athletic Association / Service to Community Award

Dee Dee Sharp / Lifetime Music Achievement Award Anthony Messina & Frank Sangiuliano / Pastificio / Local Business Success Story Award

2016 Jim Donovan, CBS 3 News Anchor, Consumer Reporter / Media Award Billy Paul, Grammy Winner, R&B Soul Singer / Lifetime Music Achievement Award Frank Olivieri, Pat’s King of Steaks / Local Business Success Story Award Vai Sikahema, Co-Anchor NBC 10 Today / Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Dr. James Moylan / Service to the Community Award

2015 B E E F / P O R K / P O U LT R Y / V E A L / L A M B / P R E PA R E D F O O D S

Kevin Dougherty, Administrative Judge for Court of Common Pleas Trial Division / Service to Community Award Merrill Reese, Announcer for the Philadelphia Eagles / Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Lady B, Philadelphia hip-hop DJ / Entertainment Award Patti LaBelle, GrammyWinning Queen of Soul / Lifetime Music Achievement Award

Anthony, Vince & Vincent “Three generations; a team that is a cut above the rest.”

For a complete list of winners over the years, please visit www.gohomephilly. com/blue-sapphire-awards

1801 Packer Avenue / Philadelphia, PA 19145 P: 215.940.2211 / P: 215.334.1212 / F: 215.940.2210 Photo by Andrew Andreozzi

October / November / December 2020





Construction & Improvements LLC


Licensed and Insured


215-669-7248 215-260-0748

PANELING makes a comeback courtesy of FETTERMAN DESIGN GROUP

2 New Homes in


Once upon a time, bringing focus and interest to a room meant adding color. We now have numerous options to create interest and intrigue.


Tax Abatement.


Robin Mitchell Certified New Home Specialist Office: 609-822-4200 Cell: 215-266-8334 40


• 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, large garage, decks galore, storage space, fenced yard, still time for Buyer to choose interior finishes. Only 3.5 blocks from the beach.

Only 1 left!

This decorative feature adds character and texture to contemporary homes. It offers a sophisticated feel without the expense. Rich, exquisite and easy on the budget. Available in a variety of riveting shapes and sizes, wood paneling can also add appeal and dimension to any room. Designed with thin wooden pieces, create larger square blocks, triangles or rectangular shapes as focal points of interest to your living room. Or use it to fashion a headboard in a small bedroom. Layer pieces in a diagonal pattern to add height to any room. Millwork has extended its reach from crown molding and

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

baseboards to wood paneled walls and signature accents.


Decorate large spaces with smaller patterns without impacting the size of the room. Use larger prints to make smaller rooms feel more expansive.


If adding a bold dark color, use a flat finish for a decadent feel and to hide imperfections. No matter what color or pattern you pick, always remember to have fun! Need help with a decorating project in your home? Give Jackie and Cindy at Fetterman Design Group a call. 856.264.6816. Fetterman Design Group is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

GET MORE AT SIENA PLACE HUGE NEW 3-4 bedroom townhomes starting at $495,900

Largest townhomes in Packer Park • Abundant green space Private garage & ample street parking • Easily accessible Convenient to FDR Park, airport, Walt Whitman Bridge & more! DECORATED MODEL HOMES OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Monday, Thursday thru Saturday 11–5 | Sunday 12–5 2300 Hartranft Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 between Penrose Ave. and 26th St.

SIENAPLACE.COM | 215.339.5390 BROKER COOPERATION IS WARMLY INVITED & APPRECIATED. All prices and features subject to change without notice. Please see sales consultant for details.




Starting at $960,000


Model mid-October by appointment only

Call today for a private tour! (215) 551-5100

Barbara A. Capozzi, Esq.

14 custom townhomes coming to 3320 South 20th Street in beautiful Packer Park nestled within the Reserve, Villas and Regency in Philadelphia. Construction has started - still time to choose colors, finishes, kitchen cabinets, flooring, interior doors, hardware and more! Standard luxury features included in starting price: -3200 + Sq.Ft of luxury Living -Full Ten Year Tax Abatement -Lower level / a few select lots will have full lower level -2 car garage, with interior entrance into home -5 stop elevator (lower level to 4th floor w/ four person capacity) -Sub Zero / Wolf appliances -Kohler faucets and fixtures (mirrored & lighted bathroom cabinets*) -Porcelanosa European kitchen cabinets, hardwood flooring & tile throughout* -Dual Zone HVAC (two separate units) -Large Andersen 400 series windows -Interior sprinkler system (hideaway heads) -Ample sound and weather insulation -Large fiberglass roof deck, plus deck off kitchen (2nd fl.), deck off master (4th fl.) -Solid core interior doors* -Booster water pump for added water pressure -Generous allowance to Closet Works in order to customize large closets* -Smart Living technology for lights, security cameras, WI-FI and cable ready* -68+ hi-hats throughout -3 BRs, 3.5 baths + lower level can be 4th BR *BUYER SELECTS

Visit our onsite showroom to see all options/selections. 3320 S 20th St., Philadelphia, PA 19145 WWW.PACKERPARKNEWHOMES.COM

Keller Williams Center City

Selling in Philly Team

3310 South 20th Street 215-551-5100 (office) 267-973-0848 (cell) BCAPOZZI@KW.COM



Renaissance Estates Renaissance Estates (work in progress).




ou’ve heard it many times. The three most important factors for people looking to purchase a home Location. Location. Location. Those factors perfectly fit Renaissance Estates. The 14-home development is located in Packer Park on 20th Street between Packer and Pattison Avenues. They are comfortably nestled within the Reserve, Villas and Regency developments in South Philadelphia – the perfect place to raise a family. “We are in the safest section of the city,” says Renaissance Estates developer Barbara Capozzi, Esq. “We are next to FDR Park (which is undergoing a $200 million upgrade) and in one of the most convenient areas of the city.” Residents of Renaissance Estates are within walking distance of the Stadium District. Imagine not having to navigate a parking lot after a game or concert, and no need to race to the Broad Street Line before it gets crowded! “Ten minutes to the airport and less than an hour drive to the Jersey Shore,” Capozzi adds. These custom, high-quality homes feature five floors of liv-



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

ing space with an elevator stop on each floor (which comfortably holds four people). Buyers can customize all cabinetry, flooring, closets and more, and enjoy brand new Sub Zero / Wolf appliances and Porcelanosa kitchen cabinets. Your home will be unique to you. Additional space for relaxing, work and play is found on the large fiberglass roof deck, as well as decks located off the 2nd floor kitchen and the master bedroom. Capozzi notes that the current pandemic has influenced what people are looking for when it comes to buying the perfect home. “With people working from home and kids home from school, they want more space. Especially space that can be used for home and office.” Having that space inside a city as diverse and exciting as Philadelphia is hard to come by. You can literally have it all at Renaissance Estates including a two-car garage and a full 10-year tax abatement! Tours are safe, private and by appointment only. Call (215) 551-5100. Barbara Capozzi / Renaissance Estates is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

THE PHILLYDREAM DIFFERENCE Let us help you find your Dream Home! Mario Tropea Jr. & the Dream Team

Serving the Philadelphia Real Estate Market for 40 years We understand the market. That is why most of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers whose trust we have earned. Our agents live in the same communities where we do business. This is our home. We want it to be yours, too. It is our privilege to share our knowledge with you.

honesty. Buying

integrity. Selling

Rental Properties

Property Management

respect. Full-Service Serving Realty Services Philadelphia & New Jersey

Keller Williams Realty

1601 W. Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 Office: 215.389.2222 | Mobile: 215.783.3698 |


Fluid Motion Anthony Fanelli builds more real estate ties through his H2O Realty Group



aving logged a considerable amount of time in the casino industry prior to his 2005 entrance into the mortgage business, Anthony Fanelli possesses a wealth of knowledge on taking risks. In mid-September, the 53-year-old yet again realized the benefits of going all in by opening H2O Realty Group. “I value being able to be along for the journey as people make their homeownership dreams a


reality,” Fanelli said of his vocation. “Through this new venture, I’m even more excited to advocate for them and encourage them to look forward to their futures.” Helming the brainchild at 1924 E. Passyunk Avenue, he is heightening his connection to South Philly, his native turf and the area that has proven the most influential in helping him to be a standout salesman. Licensed to assist the masses in multiple states and poised to add Delaware residents and aspirants to the mix early next year, Fanelli loves


the prospects of further tackling the housing market, which, depending on where one investigates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, can be either a playground or an arid desert for professionals. For the accomplished individual, holding the former opinion will carry the day. “I believe this business is all about being personable and accessible,” he offers. “There’s certainly hard work involved in establishing yourself, but it’s not all about what licenses you have and the like. In many ways, your success depends largely on being nice and being honest. Also, and this should go without saying, you need to answer your phone.”

In addition to himself, Fanelli notes that eight staffers are in place to initially guide business operations at H2O. Adamant to avoid being dubbed a “clichéd agent,” Fanelli says he and his team will make sure that no stone goes unturned in helping people feel great about the home-buying process. Pledging honesty and a tireless approach to accommodating everyone, especially South Philadelphians, the man who specializes in aiding first-time homeowners wants to further not only his profession’s integrity but also the joys of calling a space one’s own. “My brain is always moving because I feel everyone should have a piece of the pie,” he says of securing the perfect abode. “With H2O, I’m intending to build relationships rooted in trust and satisfaction. People are looking to buy a lifelong dream. How could anyone think about anything other than giving them a full com-

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

mitment as they’re doing so?” As the rest of the year unfolds, Fanelli is looking forward to celebrating not just the completion of his 15th year in the real estate world, but also his 25th wedding anniversary with wife Sherri. As the proud father of 30-year-old Alexa and 22-year-old Gianna, he also knows that having a loving home resounds as a key component to nurturing a positive outlook on life and his quest to match dazzling spaces with eager clients will only intensify as H2O Realty Group becomes a fixture in the real estate community. “I’ve been all about helping people to excel since I started,” Fanelli says. “It’s going to be fun to see what opportunities arise to make more people happier.” For more information, visit PRH H2O Realty Group is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

Anthony Fanelli

W W W . H 2 O R E A LT Y G R O U P. C O M Specializing in residential sales and first time home buyers.

ANTHONY@H2OREALTYGROUP.COM 215-558-6161 Main Office

175 Strafford Ave, Suite One, Wayne, PA 19087 Philly Office

1924 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148


oe J


LaFiora The Difference is in the Details

wner and proprietor Joe LaFiora of Painting of Distinction is the man to see if you want to bring out the beauty inside or outside your home. LaFiora was born and raised in South Philly, 9th and Ritner, with the ambition of becoming a schoolteacher. But there was a small painting company at the corner of his street. He started working there and a few years later, launched his own painting business. LaFiora

never thought that 28 years later, he would still be doing it. LaFiora loves the diversity of the business. He enjoys being in a variety of places for each job with every project requiring unique details different from the last. He loves his customers and the challenges they sometimes offer his company. For the last 28 years, Painting of Distinction has acquired most of its jobs through word of mouth and recommendations. Specializing in both residential and commercial work, he says he is grateful for the reputation his company has earned


through the years and pays it forward by supporting other small businesses in the community. Like many local businesses, Painting of Distinction has gone through some hard times, LaFiora says, but he keeps his focus on the most important aspect of his job – his customers. “A person’s integrity is worth more than any dollar you can make,” he says. With those words, he has literally put his money where his mouth is - before and during this pandemic - by telling any customers that may have fallen on hard times to just

pay him when they were able. With colors and trends changing as often as the seasons, LaFiora says it’s his priority to make every customer happy. What’s trending these days? Grays and earth tones are popular picks. Faux finishes are always a favorite and no easy fete to accomplish. “When we do the faux painting, we try to let customers know what the finished project is going to look like, but they still have to trust us,” LaFiora says. If the customer doesn’t like the finished product, they don’t have to pay. After 28 years, Painting of Distinction’s customers are still loving the end result. LaFiora says he has gotten to know a lot of people through the years, includ-




| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

ing local celebrities like TV news reporters Monical Malpass and Pat Ciarrocchi. Most recently, LaFiora completed a project around the bar area at Popi’s Restaurant in South Philadelphia. “For [people] to continue to call you, you have to do a good job. You must pay attention to detail. Every little thing has to be perfect or as close to perfect as possible,” LaFiora explains. “I am proud of every job I do and my integrity is more important than the money. I want to make sure people are happy and tell other people what kind of job I do. I really care, and if needed, we’ll go back several times to assure the customer is satisfied.” PRH Painting of Distinction is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

On the



15 years of experience as a full time realtor working throughout the Philly area with a network of incredible clients. Most of my business is “Word of Mouth” from past very satisfied clients.

y Phill

My “Hands On” approach sets me apart - taking fewer clients at a time ensures that you have my undivided attention throughout the entire Buying and Selling process. EIGHT Time Winner “Five Star Professional” as seen in Philadelphia Magazine.

Jeanne Polizzi REALTOR ®, SRS

Certified Relocation Specialist International Presidents Elite Club

(C) 215.767.7814 (Efax) 267.937.1919

NEWLY RENOVATED SPACIOUS AND STUNNING HOME FOR SALE IN DESIRABLE EAST PASSYUNK! Be the first to view this gorgeously renovated “top to bottom”. 2 Bedroom / 2.5 bath home with finished basement and extra large patio. Proudly offered for sale at $440,000! Available for showing in mid-October!

Don’t wait, “Just Call Jeanne” for your own private showing


PAINTING OF DISTINCTION INTERIOR • EXTERIOR Office: 267-930-3420 w w w . fac e b o o k . co m / faux pa i n t

Faux Finish Specialist

Joe LaFiora

Jeanne Polizzi REALTOR ®, SRS (C) 215.767.7814 (Efax) 267.937.1919

“property still under contract, photos are not an exact representation of the finished product.

October / November / December 2020



Superior Physical Therapy delivers the highest level of professional care in a compassionate and friendly environment. 2547 S. Broad St., Phildelphia, PA 19148 Phone: (215) 462-3303 | Fax: (215) 462-3304

Coffee for a Cause

Findlay Plastering

Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House serves up a helping hand for students and teachers in the fight against dyslexia Ornamental / Conventional Plaster Venetian Plaster / Veneer Plaster E.I.F.S. / Stucco Vinyl Siding Installation

267-246-5566 Instagram- @findlayplastering


30 years experience serving Philadelphia & South Jersey

Frank Fioravanti Termite Specialist 215-768-1804

“We Rid Your Pests So You Can Rest”

Pest Control Frankie Bugs, He’s the Best!

Serving PA and New Jersey areas - Roof System installation - Modified torch down - EPDM rubber - TPO - PVC - Roof coatings - Shingles - Metal & maintenance 30 years of Experience Owner: James Evans III

Free estimates

by Mark Casasanto It was an otherwise dreary Saturday morning in late September, a few days before National Coffee Day. The weather, however, was the last thing on Anthony Anastasio’s mind. In a year like no other, he was mere hours into a daylong effort marking the end of countless hours of carefully coordinated planning. He, like many of his neighboring merchants in the Italian Market, were finally reemerging, post the highs and lows of coronavirus. With staff busy pouring free coffee in exchange for a donation to benefit Anthony’s Coffee for a Cause, Anastasio paused for a few minutes to shed some light on the roots of his philanthropic passion. Now in its third year, he is the driving force behind an all-day fundraiser that commences with coffee and ends with a pasta dinner - al fresco. “It was an opportunity to celebrate National Coffee Day and bring our community together while raising awareness about dyslexia,” he says. Anastasio would know. He credits an alert teacher for recognizing the signs of dyslexia when his daughter was a kindergartner. Since then, he has made it a mission to support teachers and children with training, reading devices and overall awareness. “Dyslexia is very prevalent, yet a still silent reading disorder,” he laments. “I wanted to take the negative stigma, not just for my daughter but for all children, and turn it into something positive.” Through many collaborative efforts, Anastasio’s charitable endeavors provided audio books through an iPad app called Learning Ally and


John Findlay

more importantly, training and instruction for teachers. “The ability to train teachers on how to teach children with learning disabilities like dyslexia is important because it becomes sustainable as more young educators grow into the profession,” he says. In part, it’s why Our Lady of Hope Regional School in Blackwood, New Jersey, was chosen as this year’s beneficiary. The school’s commitment to improving reading literacy amongst all students, including those with dyslexia, made the decision that much easier for Anastasio. “Catholic schools have been known to show extra compassion, patience and a genuine interest in each child’s development. We have experienced it firsthand at OLH.” The private, four-course pasta dinner, (plus an unexpected 5th course courtesy of a new, neighboring restaurant) was a complete sellout with 150 guests. In what turned out to be the perfect autumn evening on South 9th Street, this year’s fundraiser netted more than $5,000 for the cause. The new high was even more impressive considering the very cautious nature of social distancing and a world where seemingly everyone is trying to responsibly navigate the status quo. “It’s amazing, actually,” Anastasio notes. “These are difficult times on many different levels, yet the support from our partners, my staff and the community has been unwavering. I seriously can’t thank everyone enough.” PRH Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

We look forward to serving all your roofing needs 48

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020


Dr. Richard Dittrich o my family of patients, I started my practice in the early 1970s while training in OB/GYN at Jefferson University Hospital with rotations at Methodist Hospital. During this time, I met my mentor, practice partner and soon-tobe closest friend, Jack Jenofsky. Together we delivered thousands of babies. I learned about the warmth and caring that a community can offer. Through my many years of practicing in South Philadelphia, my life has been enriched by providing care for my patients and subsequently following many of you to South Jersey to continue your care. The rewarding experience that I have had over 40 years of practice will never be forgotten or duplicated. Taking care of three generations of patients has been my ultimate honor and privilege. Sharing your joys and sorrows has made me rich with memories and full of compassion for all of my patients. Although this may sound like a farewell letter, it is not! I am thrilled to inform you that I will be transitioning to Jefferson University Hospital and will continue to provide care for both my GYN and Wellness Center patients. I have accepted a position at Jefferson’s Marcus Institute of Integrative Health to see patients at their main campus in Center City and at their Division of Integrative Medicine in Villanova. These new practice sites are

Dr. Richard Dittrich 1313-1315 Wolf Street Philadelphia. PA 19148

full of new technologies and innovative therapies which I will be a part of. In addition to providing patient care, I will also be teaching in their new Integrative Medicine Fellowship program. As many of you know, I developed the Aesthetic and Wellness Center out of the need I recognized for something beyond traditional medicine for many of my patients. This relatively new field of integrative medicine has become an exciting addition to traditional medical care. Joining Jefferson’s Marcus Institute as Director of Rejuvenation and Hormonal Therapies provides me the opportunity to continue my practice, along with teaching and pursuing my passion for integrative care. Although exciting for me, this decision was not made easily. All of the turmoil of the last year, particularly the troubles that have presented themselves with the Covid-19 virus and the requirements necessary to create a safe environment for my patients, my staff, my family and myself have made practicing as a single practitioner extremely difficult. I look forward to continuing your care in a safe and stable university environment. Please join me for your future appointments and continued care. I can be reached at my office numbers of 215-465-3000; 215-465-9600 or 856-435-9090 during this transition. Calls will be answered or returned by members of my staff. Joyce, who you all know and have learned to rely on, will continue as part of this transition. Thank you, looking forward to seeing you soon, and God bless. PRH



Glendale Executive Plaza – Suite 306 1000 Whitehorse Road Voorhees, NJ 08043

October / November / December 2020



for Frankie

Good Things Never Die d i r e c t i o n s t r e at m e n t . c o m

by Theresa Collins BA CADC Facility Director/Primary Therapist Directions Outpatient Centers


Stephen King wrote, “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.� Finding hope in recovery and during the journey toward freedom from active addiction can sometimes feel like an impossible feat. Hope is the thing that comes and goes but never dies. Finding hope in others, in a program, in each other, in a support system, in family, is the very thing we are all seeking. Increasing hope in the journey of recovery could be found by making a gratitude list, seeking therapy, spending time with loved ones and friends or indulging in the healthy pleasures that life has to offer. Good things never die but sometimes the journey to recovery can feel hopeless. There is support out there and finding the right fit can sometimes be the very thing that fuels the hope you are looking for. Directions Outpatient Centers has always been a family center, built with family, and settled on a little corner in South Philadelphia hoping to be a place that can radiate hope in the community. A place where so many people have started their recovery journey and have built their life on this foundation of hope. On June 25, 2020, we lost a family member not to addiction but to a tragic car accident. Francis (Frankie) Chivarelli worked as our nurse. He was a successful alumnus of Directions, the nephew of the owner of Directions, a father and a pillar of recovery hope in the com-


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

munity. He was funny, kind, good hearted, loved animals, loved his family and served his community. If you are around recovery long enough, it is easy to become callous to the losses but you continue to drive hope into the community. You make sure the losses are not in vain and the few that make it on the other side will continue to speak openly about their journey to continue to help others. Losing Frankie was unlike any loss that anyone in our company and recovery community have felt. But we will never stop spreading his story and hope behind Frankie. Losing him will not be in vain. I implore you to live like Frankie. Fight for hope and fight for your dreams. Never give up. He never did. Anytime you feel hopeless in this journey to recovery remember there are people out there that are sacrificing every ounce of their being to make sure there is a place filled with love and hope for you to jump start your own recovery process. When all else fails, think of Frankie and think of finishing his run for him. Directions is here to bring hope because good things never die. PRH Directions Outpatient Centers is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network. Contact: Directions Outpatient Centers 2300 S. Broad Street | 877.228.2073

Brighten stained teeth with whitening, bonding or veneers

❱❱ Repair worn or broken teeth with crowns or veneers ❱❱ Restore teeth with strong tooth colored fillings ❱❱ Replace missing teeth with a dental bridge ❱❱ Permanently replace missing teeth with dental implants

Call t patie oday — nts w n elcomew e!




etic p tions fo r roced ures


Voted Top Dentists in South Philadelphia Keeping you smiling for over 30 years Drs. Steven A. Moskowitz and Kenneth S. Donahue invite you to make an appointment for a whiter, healthier smile.

1517 Packer Ave, Philadelphia (Across from Chickie’s & Pete’s) 215.462.2424


TIPS from the PROS

NUMBER from Theft Courtesy of the CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg

With the dramatic increase in identity theft, what can be done to protect your Social Security number (SSN) from these would-be thieves? Here are some ideas.

Do not carry your Social Security card with you.

Your parents were encouraged to do this, but times have changed. You will need to provide it to a new employer, but that is about it. ❙ Know who NEEDS your Social Security number. The list of people or organizations who need to have your number is limited. It includes: ❙ Your employer. To issue wages and pay your taxes. ❙ The IRS. To process your taxes.

Serving the Community since 1937

❙ Your state’s revenue department. To process your state taxes. ❙ The Social Security Administration. To record your work history and track future benefits. ❙ Your retirement account provider. To enable annual reporting to the IRS. ❙ Banks. To enable reporting to the IRS. ❙ A few others. Those who need to report your activity to the government (investment companies, for example).

Vincent C. Gangemi Jr., Supervisor Vincent C. Gangemi, Founder (1915-2005) James L. Guercio, Funeral Director (1954-2016)

w w w. G a n g e m i F u n e r a l H o m e . n e t

Do not use any part of your Social Security number for passwords or account access. Many retirement plans use your Social Security number to enable you to access their online tool. When this happens, reset the login and password as soon as possible.

Do not put your Social Security number on any form. Funeral Pre-Planning Available Relieve your loved ones of future responsibility for funeral expenses


Handicapped Accessible

Unless a business has a legal need for your number, do not provide it. Common requestors of this number are insurance companies and health care providers. Simply write, “Not available due to theft risk” in the field that requests your number. If the supplier says they need it, ask them why.

Do not note your full Social Security number on any form. If you are required to give out your number, try marking out the first five numbers (i.e. xxx-xx-1234).

Do not put your Social Security number on your checks.

If requested by the government to place your number on a check to apply a payment, simply put the last four digits on the check.

Never give your number out over the phone or in an e-mail.

Remember to periodically check your credit score with the major agencies to ensure your data has not been stolen. Once stolen, it is often difficult to get a new SSN issued.

The CPA firm of David M. Spitzberg is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

TIPS from the PROS

WORKPLACE Health & Safety Tips

courtesy of RON RABENA Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal

Workplace safety accidents and emergency situations can happen in any environment, in any industry, at any time. While our workplaces are often protected by devoted police and security officers and efficient alarm systems, each individual must also take an active role in maintaining a safe work environment. Staying consciously aware of your surroundings and recognizing potential hazards will significantly reduce risks. Even the smallest daily tasks, such as cleaning up minor spills and washing your hands, can make a huge difference.


Develop and communicate a safety and health policy to employees of all levels. ❙ Recognize employees for safe and healthy work practices. ❙ Establish and communicate a company emergency/disaster plan to all employees and make sure everyone, including new employees, is educated on the plan.

able to everyone to routinely clean and disinfect common areas.  ❙ Wash your hands thoroughly and often—for at least 20 seconds—to help prevent the spread of illness.  ❙ If you come across a chemical spill and cannot identify the substance, do not touch or move it. Barricade the area and report the spill.  ❙ Keep combustibles such as wood, paper and trash, away from all heat sources.  ❙ Keep adequate stock of supplies such as batteries, a First Aid kit and flashlights on hand in case of an emergency. ❙ Become familiar with the people in your immediate work area to easily identify an individual who may not belong there, is acting suspicious or in a threatening behavior. ❙ Keep a list of emergency contacts and information for employees and clients and police, fire and paramedic departments.

❙ Have cleaning agents availRon Rabena is the Chief Client Officer at Allied Universal Security Services. He can be reached at

October / November / December 2020



& RDER LAWO Power of Attorney, Living Will, Last Will & Testament What You need to Know to Protect Yourself & Loved Ones


Q: Under what circumstances would a legal guardianship be needed? A: Unfortunately, the unthinkable can happen at any moment. Take for example, the sad story of Alexis Gioia, a 37-year-old woman tragically injured a week before her wedding. (see pg 18) For the most part, guardianships are a last resort and are needed for individuals who become disabled or incapacitated and are unable to make and communicate decisions. The individual’s needs dictate the type and duration of the guardianship. The Courts prefer limited guardianships and will order the least restrictive alternative available. When there is a total disability and/or incapacity, the Court will appoint a guardian to make all decisions on that individual’s behalf. Q: How can we anticipate or prevent the need for a potential guardianship in our life? A: There are several documents

that you can execute now to prevent the need for your family members to seek a guardianship. The most effective document is a Power of Attorney which is a document in which a person [“principal”] designates another person [“agent”] to perform acts or exercise powers on their behalf. The POA can be broad to cover almost any act or power or can be specific to allow the agent to conduct one transaction on behalf of the principal, such


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

as purchasing a property. The POA can be effective immediately or can become effective upon the principal’s subsequent disability or incapacity known as a Springing POA. A Healthcare POA designates an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal in the event their physician concludes that the principal is incapable of making their own medical decisions. This is somewhat different from an Advanced Directive, more commonly known as a Living Will, which allows an individual to decide whether to accept, reject or discontinue medical treatment at the end of life. For a Living Will to become effective, your physician must conclude that you are incompetent and are in a terminal condition or in a state of permanent unconsciousness. I strongly suggest that each of us should have a Power of Attorney, a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament. The POA and Living Will take care of your decisions if an unexpected incapacity occurs and the Last Will and Testament insures that your assets are distributed pursuant to your wishes. Once again, Frank DePasquale has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 2020. He heads DePasquale Law Offices, 2332-34 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. P: 215.755.4410. Email him at or visit

Tony “Papa Luke” Lucidonio Founder, 1992

39 East Oregon Avenue Philadelphia, PA 215.551.5725 Get the real taste of South Philly online:





ustic Cake “Miascia” (Mee-ush-ah) is an Italian bread pudding that has origins in the Lombardy region of Italy. It’s the perfect comfort food and is simply made. This dish has been served for generations in homes, restaurants and the many bed and breakfasts in the villages and towns surrounding Europe’s deepest lake, the resort of Lake Como. The Lake was first launched as a popular retreat for aristocrats, celebrities and wealthy people in Roman times beginning in 49 BC under the rule of Julius Caesar. It has not lost its charm attracting tour-

ists, politicos, film stars and has been the site of many popular movies. Mom often cooked in an Italian-freestyle and knew finding stale bread in our pantry was inevitable. It was Grandma who taught us never to waste food. She had grown up in Milan, the Capital City of the northern region of Lombardy, a major leader in the Renaissance Age and the second largest European City after Paris. Grandma would draw on her roots and Mom followed in sync making simple foods undeniably into a feast of tradition and to others a sense of food fantasy.


There were four basic answers. (1) Garlic Bread: Slice it open, inside face up - toast in the oven topped with oil/garlic/oregano. (2) Bread Crumbs: Grind and toast them. (3) Croutons: Cube

➜ 3 cups (or more) day old Italian Bread

or firm white bread with crusts removed, torn or cut in 1-inch pieces ➜ 2 1/2 cups milk (enough to soak) ➜ 3 large eggs, whisked or beaten well

and toast in oven; add to salads or to thicken soups. (4) Bread Pudding: Dice it, soak it in milk, adding fruits and baking in oven for a very rustic, ever-popular treat from Lake Como Italy.

INGREDIENTS ➜ 2 sweet apples, cored & finely chopped ➜ 2 firm, ripe bosc pears, cored & finely chopped

➜ 1 /2 cup raisins ➜ 1 /2 cup sugar

➜ 2 oz. butter, melted ➜ g rated rind of 1 large lemon/orange (option: substitute 3 tbs. juice)

➜ 1 tsp of vanilla extract


In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for about an hour to soften it. Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F). In a medium bowl, mix the fruit, raisins, sugar, vanilla, lemon rind and eggs. Drain off any milk that hasn’t been absorbed from the bread and stir to break the bread up slightly. Thoroughly stir in the fruit and egg mix. Transfer to 9-inch springform tin to be served as a “cake.” For “pie style,” place ingredients in 9-inch baking dish after brushing the sdes with a little of the melted butter. Top with a generous amount of sugar. Bake until golden and cooked through (50 minutes to 1 hour). Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in baking pan


if you used a springform tin. Remove and let cool. Serve warm with your choice of a dusting of sugar or cinnamon or enriched with dollops of whipped cream, Italian mascarpone or vanilla ice cream. Step it up with a homemade vanilla sauce* or creative versions of other flavors like rum, bourbon and caramel. *Vanilla Condensed Milk Sauce. In a small sauté pan over medium heat add sweetened condensed milk, 1 tbsp. of milk, vanilla and butter. Mix until heated through and becomes silky. Turn off heat and leave on the stove. When bread pudding is ready, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle liberally with the vanilla sauce.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

COURTESY OF JAMIE FLOWERS licensed clinical social worker




A little sweet and a little savory, pumpkin chili is the ultimate fall comfort food. For many of us struggling with pandemic-related anxiety and depression, healthy comfort food is the coziest way to nourish the soul and the body. Make it for yourself as an act of self-love, or for your family and friends. You can drop it off on their doorstep to keep social distancing along with a note about why you’re grateful for them. My mom always made chili for celebrations when I was a kid and I choose to celebrate every day as an adult. This recipe is adapted from my mom’s recipe and updated to make it friendly to vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. I hope you enjoy it!


A toast to the past with a taste of the future. PEZONE CELLO is a traditional Italian liqueur with a modern row home grown flair.

For purchases visit us at PEZONECELLO.COM or call us at (267) 374-7590

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 1 Hour (in the Instant Pot), Yields: 12 cups INGREDIENTS ➜ 2 tablespoons of chili powder ➜ 1 tablespoon of cumin garlic, minced ➜ 1 tablespoon of oregano ➜ 2 poblano peppers, de➜ 1 tablespoon of salt seeded & chopped ➜ 6 cups of water or broth ➜ 1 jalapeno pepper, de(veggie or chicken) seeded & chopped ➜ * If you prefer a meaty ➜ 1 cup of carrots, chili, add 1 pound of

➜ 1 small onion, minced ➜ 3 (or more) cloves of

peeled & chopped

➜ 1 cup of corn ➜ 1 28 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes

➜ 1 cup of lentils (I like red but any kind will work)

➜ 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

browned ground turkey or beef and one additional cup of water or broth ➜ 1 14 oz. can of pumpkin puree ➜ 1 15.25 oz. can of black beans ➜ 1 15.25 oz. can of kidney beans


Place all of the ingredients except pumpkin puree and beans in the Instant Pot and set to soup mode. At the end of cook time, release the steam, stir in the pumpkin and beans. Taste your chili and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with dairy (or non- dairy) sour cream and shredded cheese (any kind you like, but I prefer cheddar cheese or Monterey jack), avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce, tortilla chips, cilantro, scallions and/ or cornbread… feel free to add anything else that you like with your chili. Don’t forget to take a pic and tag @PhillyFoodMoms on the Insta and let us know what you think!

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello 6th Sense Syrah Lodi $16

October / November / December 2020




For much of my life, midway through Christmas morning, my family would pack up our duffel bags and drive from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to visit my Dad’s parents who lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia. That night, we would have Christmas dinner at my Grandmom’s and my PopPop’s house. The main course of Christmas Day dinner would be ravioli made by my Grandmom.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH ➜ 1 tablespoon of olive oil ➜ 4 cups of flour ➜ 4 eggs INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING ➜ 15 oz. of ricotta cheese ➜ f resh nutmeg ➜ 3 tablespoons of grated ➜ f resh chopped parsley parmesan cheese ➜ s alt and pepper for seasoning DIRECTIONS FOR DOUGH

Pour flour onto a wooden board. Sift flour into a mound in the center of the board and then make a well in the center. Break eggs into the center of the mound and pour oil into it. Beat it with a fork for about five minutes until eggs and oil are mixed into the flour. With the fork, blend flour into the eggs until the dough becomes a ball but do not use all the flour. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Add more flour if needed. Let it rest under an inverted bowl for 20 minutes.


Mix the Parmesan cheese into the ricotta cheese. Season it by adding grated nutmeg, parsley, along with salt and pepper.


Cut off one-sixth of the dough and save the rest in the bowl. Put the dough through the pasta machine with the rollers set at their widest setting. Fold the dough into thirds, lightly flour the dough and roll it back through the rollers on the machine. Narrow the rollers by one notch. Feed the dough through only one time. Reset the positioning of the rollers and feed the dough back through them. Repeat until you reach the second to last setting for the rollers. Cut the dough into rectangles measuring two inches by four inches. Do not throw out the scraps of the dough. Place 1 or 2 spoonsful of filling onto the rectangle, then fold the dough over the stuffing and crimp the edges together. Cut off another sixth of the dough and knead the scraps from the last set of dough into the current set. Roll the remaining dough through the machine and continue to fill the small rectangles until all the dough is used. Freeze the ravioli until it is time to cook. Makes approximately four dozen.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Secoli Corvina - $10 58

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

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➜ 1 whole chicken ➜ 9 cups of water ➜ 4 medium carrots,

peeled & chopped

➜ 3 stalks celery, 267.439.0779


ion, chopped ➜ 2 tablespoons olive oil ➜ 2 teaspoons salt ➜ 1 teaspoon pepper

➜ 1 /2-pound small

cut pasta such as shells or ditalini ➜S mall head of escarole, washed & chopped


In a large pot, add whole chicken and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for two hours, skimming off any foam. Add additional water as necessary. Remove chicken and debone it. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Strain broth and remove as much fat as you like. In the same pot, add the olive oil and chopped vegetables. Sauté them until golden. Add strained broth and chicken back to pot and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper. In the meantime, cook pasta according to directions on the box. When cooked, drain and add to soup. Add chopped escarole and heat for another 5-10 minutes until greens are soft.


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INGREDIENTS ➜ 1 /2 peeled on-


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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

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➜ 1 four-pound

Round Roast

INGREDIENTS ➜ 2 teaspoons kosher

➜ 1 /4 cup extravirgin olive oil

➜ 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

➜ 1 tablespoon

chopped fresh thyme leaves or flat Italian parsley leaves

salt or 1 teaspoon regular salt ➜ 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ➜ 1 clove of garlic, minced ➜ 2 cloves garlic, sliced into slivers


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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

Preheat oven to 450°. With a sharp paring knife, make small slits in roast and place a sliver of garlic in each. In a small bowl, combine oil, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme or parsley, salt and pepper. Rub all over top, sides and bottom of roast. Place roast, fat side up in roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. Roast for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325° and roast 1 hour 45 minutes more for medium, or 2 hours for medium well done. Remove from oven and let rest on a wooden board 15-30 minutes before serving. With a carving knife, slice thinly. LOMBARDI’S PRIME MEATS IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME MAGAZINE (PRH) BUSINESS NETWORK.

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Rebuilding Pride one Soul at a Time by BRENDA HILLEGAS


My best friend Crystal and I recently spent a weekend in Red Bank, NJ. We didn’t have much on our agenda but one place we made time for was the JBJ Soul Kitchen. The non-profit community restaurant, run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, serves both paying and in-need customers. Everyone is welcome; no one is turned away. There are no prices on the menu. A $20 donation is suggested for your three-course meal (no tip - staff members are all volunteers). And if you can, please donate a little extra to help a customer who may not be able to pay for their meal. Meals are made from farm-to-table ingredients and the on-site garden. The week we were there, choices included taco salad or summer minestrone soup followed by a main course of Hawaiian chicken, chili lime pepper pork (or tofu) loin, or shrimp sage pesto pasta. Dessert was chocolate marble cake. Kids eat free (dish of the week was chicken teriyaki). If you can’t visit, support the restaurant by making a donation on their website (www. to help purchase meals for people in need. T-shirts, coffee mugs and Soul Seasoning are available online, too. The JBJ Soul Kitchen also has a Toms River location. If you’re passing through either town, you can order your meal to go! The JBJ Soul Foundations ( is based in Philadelphia and has worked to break the cycle of hunger, poverty and homelessness since 2006. Their mission - rebuilding pride in one’s self and one’s community one soul at a time.

2531-35 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19148

October / November / December 2020


PRHTHE MENU Pink Garlic is an exclusive Private Event Culinary Concept that takes ordinary products and gives them an identity: Food with an Attitude. Clients and food get personal as this unique experience brings the art of high end catering to an exciting new level. Chef Beth has no limitations on an exceptional eatable array or location. From coast to coast she has traveled to create memorable events with customized menus and a one of a kind personal experience for her clients. PinkGarlic ||

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harcuterie is a French term for a branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products. Who doesn’t love the idea of relaxing at home with the finest selection of meats, cheeses and a glass of wine! What makes these boards so fun is that I have no idea how a board is going to look until I start placing my tasty selections. Before you start arranging your board, begin with a list of ingredients instead of an exact plan for placing your items. This board can serve four as a meal or eight as an appetizer. One of the most important aspects of a board is choosing where you will shop. I used ingredients from DiBruno Bros. and my local ShopRite. I also used a standard-sized cutting board to make sure everything fit nicely. There are four basic ingredients of any charcuterie board: Meats, Cheeses, Crackers and/or Bread and Accompaniments. Meats can be as diverse as you like. Some are selected for their flavorful pairings but I chose what we know and love. I used prosciutto (a flavorful and salty cut of ham) and DiBruno Bros.’ Saucisson Sec - a French version of salami flavored with garlic and black pepper. These meats work nicely because they vary in texture and thickness.


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When selecting cheeses, experiment with texture. I used two soft and two hard: fresh Mozzarella, Brie, Prima Donna and Manchego. These also vary in flavor profiles: mild, buttery, nutty and zesty (respectively). For crackers and breads, consider what will pair best with your cheeses. Something strong like Prima Donna needs a mild cracker. Brie benefits from a cracker with a stronger flavor. I used Crostini (you can make your own by toasting fresh bread with olive oil or purchase it like I did) and Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps in “fig and olive” flavor. Not pictured - a fresh Baguette to soak up honey and jam leftovers. My favorite part of the board - accompaniments! Jams, jellies, spreads, olives and nuts are great options. I chose classic green pitted olives, honey and Dalmatia fig spread. Accompaniments should accent your previous choices and work to bring the board together. Fig jam and brie are a classic pairing. Honey and manchego are not commonly paired but surprisingly delicious! Discover pairs by experimenting with new accompaniments. There you have it! Have fun creating but more importantly, eating. Prendre Plaisir (Enjoy)! PRH




Build your own Mimosa & Champagne Flutes


Whether you are having mimosas for brunch or champagne with your charcuterie, my new concept will make your soiree a bit more fancy! I created the Bubble Board because my “Mimosa Mafia” gang likes to mix and match flavors, spices and purees with their bubbly! When it comes to drinking Champagne, Prosecco or sparkling wine (expensive or not), a Bubble Board is definitely a fun way to gather and connect on any level. A Bubble Board screams fun. Having my friends come over for brunch and watching them build their own flute just makes me happy with all the laughter and ideas they come up with! I also make an upscale addition to almost every cocktail event for my company Pink Garlic and my clients enjoy it more than I enjoy constructing one! The best part about a Bubble Board is that there is no limit to options; just use your cocktail imagination. This may be a bit taboo to your bottle and people may shun the idea because some bubbly bottles are beautiful just the way they are...but you be the judge. Start off with your favorite bubbly! Select a beautiful base! Fine china, wooden slabs or a silver platter will do! You’ll need a “Rimmer” for

your glass! Examples: honey, simple syrup or a citrus rub. Buy or make some fresh fruit purees. My favorites include white peach, fresh blueberries, raspberries and mandarin orange segments. Juices are a plus for mimosas - orange, guava, cranberry, pineapple or pomegranate! Spice it up! Rim your glass, then dip into brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, five spice, pumpkin spice, vanilla powder or just sugar! You can add a little glitter by using metallic flakes or colored crystalized sugar. Here are even more ideas if you want to get fancy and take your Bubble Board up another notch! Add some bourbon and apple cider juice for a fall cocktail. Purchase flavor pearls. They are little droplets of happiness like fruit caviar, in all flavors and colors - orange, raspberry, fig, even a balsamic will be fantastic! Don’t forget garnishes like crushed dried tea flowers, edible flowers, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks or sugared frozen grapes! Personalize and stylize your Bubble Boards, invite some of your favorite people over and live the glass!

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Cheers! Chef Beth

www . therosewoodb ar . c o m

1417 Shunk Street


October / November / December 2020

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The muffuletta bread originated in Sicily centuries ago. The muffuletta sandwich is said to be created in 1906 in New Orleans, Louisiana, by a Sicilian deli owner who immigrated to the U.S. It is usually served cold but many people enjoy it toasted. John Tenaglia (John’s Custom Stairs) is happy to share his recipe with our readers and recommends getting your bread from local New York Bakery. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS ➜ 1 large loaf of bread with ➜ 1 /2 cup green olives an 8-in. radius (I go to ➜ 1 /2 cup black olives New York Bakery) ➜ 1 /2 cup kalamata olives ➜S lices of provolone ➜ 1 /4 cup curled black olives ➜S lices of mortadella ➜ 1 /4 cup hot banana peppers ➜S lices of salami ➜ 1 small onion, diced ➜ S lices of hot sopressata ➜ 3 stalks of celery, diced ➜S lices of prosciutto ➜ 1 /4 cup olive oil DIRECTIONS

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Los Vascos Cabernet - $13

In a large bowl, mix together all olives, peppers, onion and celery (this is the olive tapenade). Drain the juice thoroughly. Add a quarter cup of olive oil and let the mixture chill for about an hour. Slice the bread at about 1/2-inch thickness and gut each piece to make a pocket for the olive tapenade. Use it generously on both sides. Then, start with one layer of provolone on the bottom part of the bread, followed by a layer of mortadella, salami, hot sopressata, prosciutto. Reverse the layers starting again with the hot sopressata to the provolone on top. Carefully place the other piece of bread on top without spilling the olives. Press on a cutting board with heavy weight on top so that the sandwich compresses for about an hour or two. Can be served toasted or as is. Continue with the rest of the loaf to make muffalettas for the whole family!

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Fractured Poetry is the brilliant new album by South Philly singer-songwriter Tony Mecca. Ruminations on lost friends and disappearing love are at the forefront of this eclectic broth that is loaded with powerful urban street rock, dark balladry and stark social commentary. Of course, there are still a few laughs waiting in these tales of love, passion, humility and the beautiful blue collar experience.

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

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Brand Name Designer Suits from Italy Sports Jackets • Pants • Dress Shirts Ties • Cashmere Top Coats Custom Alterations for men & women 1744 E. Passyunk Avenue 215.334.0990 DIRECTIONS ➜F ill a shaker with ice ➜ 1 1/2 shots of vodka ➜ 1 /2 shot triple sec ➜ Splash of lime juice ➜S hake ➜P our into a martini glass

using a strainer. Garnish with a lime wedge.


October / November / December 2020


PRH Brides Guide

Brett & Alyssa Tiagwad

A once in a lifetime Water Works Wedding by Joe Volpe

H 68

ello, Philadelphia and happy fall to all of our Brides Guide readers! The weather is cooling down and the leaves are changing. Fall is one of our favorite seasons and I am excited to share with you one of our Water Works weddings that we hosted last year. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alyssa and Brett about their gorgeous Mill House Deck wedding. I am happy to share their story with you.

How did you meet? We met at a house party in Philadelphia a few years after college. I went to the party with a girlfriend, which unbeknownst to me, was Brett’s house. We had some time to talk and exchange phone numbers and not long after, we were out on our first date. How did the proposal happen? Brett owns a drone business and has a lot of clients throughout the city. He told me that Cescaphe had contacted him to set up a meeting to discuss potential

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

footage of their venue, Water Works. He wanted me to come to the meeting to help him figure out the best shots beforehand. He took me to the gazebo section and told me to watch his new drone as it took off so that he could get the ‘right angle’ for the shot. I watched as the drone took off into the sky and did a circle around the gazebo. As I turned around to ask him how it looked, he was down on one knee. He also captured the entire proposal on video from the drone. Why did you choose a Cescaphe Wedding?

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to get married at Water Works. When I heard that Cescaphe had taken over the space a few years prior, it was a done deal for me. I have attended and been in the bridal party of Cescaphe weddings and there is no one that does it better. I knew that I would have nothing to worry about when it came to the big day! What was your favorite part about wedding planning? I really loved everything about wedding planning. I am a ‘planner’ by nature, so the entire process and picking

out every detail was exciting for me. All my vendors were beyond wonderful to work with and they made the entire process seamless. What was your favorite part of your wedding? This is a hard question, because I really loved everything about my wedding. But walking down the aisle with my dad and then walking into the reception with my new husband was a rush of excitement that only happens once in a lifetime. What did you do to make your wedding day extra special? Brett and I worked together to

make sure every detail of our wedding meant something to us. The pastor who married us was the same woman who performed the services for his mother’s funeral so that was very special. We also included little details throughout the night. What advice would you give to future brides and grooms? Everyone says how fast the day goes, but it is not until your day comes that you understand that statement. You will blink and the entire day/night will be over before you know it. So, take in every moment as much as you can. Brett and I both left our cell

phones in the hotel suite, which I think every bride and groom should do to be present in the

moment. Everyone you love is already in one place, so there is no need for your cell phone!

CESCAPHE Credits Client Development Associate: Betsy Shoustal

Event Coordinator: Kate Kwieci’ski

Event Manager: Jackie Stallmer

Maitre D: Dan Fleishmann and Franco Sarnese

Head Server: Elsa Puci


Cescaphe is a member of the PRH Business Network.

Ever keeping his eyes focused on the latest wedding trends, Cescaphe CEO/Chef Joseph Volpe is recognized as the area’s leading authority on ballroom bliss. With his innovative approach to the most important celebration of your life, his award-winning Cescaphe Ballroom, Tendenza, Vie, The Down Town Club, The Water Works and The Lucy combine a captivating ambiance with exquisite cuisine for an unforgettable experience. Visit or call 215.238.5750.

VENDOR CREDITS Venue: Cescaphe Water Works Florist: Beautiful Blooms Band/DJ: BVT Entertainment, DJ Gaetano & Michael Romeo

Invitations & Stationery: The Papery of Philadelphia Photographer: Emily Wren Photography Videographer: Willow Tree Films

Transportation: Cescaphe Trolley Dress Designer/Dress Shop: Monique Lhuillier/Nordstrom Menswear Designer/Shop: Russell’s Custom Tailors, Montreal

Makeup: Carly Giangiulio @makeupbycarlyg

Day of Coordinator: Amber Perry, Lady in Waiting

Hair: Victoria McGee & Amber Carey @mane.tamed

Fireworks: Celebration Fireworks Inc.

October / November / December 2020

Food Trucks: Philly Fry


t ing a r b e l Ce ARS!


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TIPS from the PROS

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“The Unusual Is Our Specialty”

Spicy Shades of Autumn

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2515 S. Broad Street / Philadelphia, PA 19148

Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup

My two favorite eyeshadow palettes scream Fall. The first is Too Faced Pumpkin Spice Eyeshadow Palette™. This palette is baked with 18 scented, warm and spicy shades that wrap you in the cozy, sexy warmth of the season. Rich, creamy colors in a variety of finishes make transitioning your look from daytime to nighttime as easy as (pumpkin) pie! What I like most about this palette is that it complements any color eyes or skin tone.

Burnt Sienna

Another favorite is the Urban Decay Heat Palette™. This smokin’ eyeshadow palette includes warm browns, burnt oranges and rich sienna colors. It has a mix of coppery mattes, metallics and shimmers with endless combinations. Each shade delivers velvety texture and richly pigmented color. Again, this palette captures the rich hues of Autumn while giving you a variety of color options.

The layered look

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Don’t be shy about experimenting with colors. Why pick one eyeshadow color when you can have two or four? To rock this 2020 Fall makeup trend, use one to three eyeshadow shades on your top lid; don’t forget to highlight your brow bone and use another color under your bottom lashes. This is a surprisingly easy way to add a lot of complementary colors to your look.

Tips from the Pros

Whether you’re a makeup beginner or a beauty pro, grab your favorite Fall palette and create. If you don’t know anything about applying eyeshadow, you’re in luck because you can watch online demonstrations! Just search YouTube for the

brands you purchased and watch professional makeup artists provide step-by-step tutorials on how to get the most out of your new look! Rather shop for products online? Visit or Ulta. com for all your favorite cosmetics.

Ask Bella Angel!

In response to inquiries from clients, I have been creating makeup tutorials on Instagram (@bellaangelbrides) and it has been so much fun sharing our expertise. I especially love hearing from people who have tried a new look based on one of our videos.

Take the Risk

One positive outcome of some recent free time is that I have used the time to experiment with makeup in a way that I never may have tried. For instance, I have worn navy blue eyeshadow with severe lines in the crease of the eye with an accented rhinestone. I also tried a reddish orange lid with brown liner and red on my lower eyeliner. These were looks right off the runway.

Make it your own

You, too, can take something right from the catwalk and make it your own. Maybe you thought, ‘Hey, real people don’t wear their hair and makeup like runway models do in magazines or online.’ I never thought in a million years I could pull off these “severe” looks but I wore it for a day with my mask on and received rave reviews based on the risks I took with my eye makeup.


Try something new this Fall and don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s only makeup. If you try it and don’t like it, just wash it off! You will find an exciting new look that goes with your pumpkin spice.

Victoria DiPietro, Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020


Monica DiDonato and Nadia Petruzelli, owners

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Courtesy of Nadia Petruzelli of Glow Lab

Pradas Glow Skin Glaze Brightening Oil for yourself, a stocking stuffer or as a “thank you” goodie for your bridal party.






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Pradas Glow brand Skin Glaze Brightening Oil can be used as a primer, highlighter, moisturizer and/ or night mask for your face and body. The hydrating oil absorbs quickly, locks in moisture and provides you with a non-greasy dewy and shimmery finish. This specially formulated Skin Glaze contains the following essential oils and nutrients to give you that holiday glow all year round.

Organic Chia Seed Oil contains omega 3 fatty acids that plump skin, maintain moisture levels, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Organic Jojoba Oil full of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants to ease inflammation, reduce fine lines, control acne breakouts and soothe skin for long-lasting non greasy moisture.

Organic Rosemary Antioxidant protects cells against oxida-

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Organic Rosehip Oil to treat wrinkles while firming skin. It moisturizes, brightens, hydrates and

The Glow Lab is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

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| 73



Teardrops by Lee Andrews & The Hearts


by Geno Thackara ou’ve heard that saying about how every person’s life is due for a little precipitation every now and then. Sometimes things are fine, then sometimes it drizzles, then at other times, it pours. You wouldn’t usually expect those sad times to sound sweet and catchy when put into song but music has a way of putting feelings and situations in an unexpected new light. So often, it’s all about surprises.


This certainly turned out to be the case with the birth of doowop. Blues and gospel singers had gradually been refining a magically ear-pleasing formula through the 1940s and into the ‘50s – one that always added a nice layer of sugar onto even the most depressing subjects. It almost didn’t matter if it was the brightest love song or the biggest tear-jerker you’d ever heard. If it flowed smoothly with gentle swaying rhythms and a few good voices in harmony, the result would still feel as cozy as a warm blanket. Being a cultural hub in all kinds of ways, the Philadelphia of that decade had singing groups springing up all over. Arthur Lee Andrew Thompson wasn’t technically a Philly native. He at least lived here from the age of two, so we can’t really hold those first couple years against him. The more important thing was that he


grew up amidst gospel and bebop, then hit school age when doo-wop and R&B were in bloom. It was only natural he would take notice of topquality crooners like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole when discovering what his own charming schoolboy voice could do. He hit it off splendidly with John Bartram High classmates Roy Calhoun, Butch Curry, Jimmy McCalister and John Young and altogether, they made for a soft and smooth blend that hit listeners right in the heart. Not for nothing did the quintet soon end up calling themselves The Dreamers. The details also kept changing a little (as indeed dreams tend to do). Thompson’s middle names sounded snappier for showmanship purposes, so he started going by Lee Andrews as he became the group’s lead voice. Since there turned out to be another group calling themselves The Dreamers, McCalister suggested The Hearts. Their knack for smooth

balladry stayed the same even if they were attracted to songs at the sadder end of the scale than most. After some member changes and a short series of increasingly successful singles, the group first brought their smooth melancholy to the charts with the soft crooner, “Long Lonely Nights.” Of course, some customary industry shenanigans often made for a little confusion at the time. Within a couple months, there were versions of the song by three different groups all floating around at the same time. The Hearts were still the first so it’s only right that their single out-charted and outlasted the others. That success wasn’t the only reason the group stuck with their mix of sweet and low-down, though it certainly didn’t hurt, either. The recognition and airplay kept building as 1957 turned to ‘58 and as the lost-love theme reached its saddest point, The Hearts’ followup single brought the group to its highest peak at #4 on the nation’s R&B list. Where “Lonely Nights” had served up a sugar-coated serving of heartbreak, “Teardrops” added a side of guilt. Instead of someone who’s been dumped, this tune comes from the perspective of the person who did the dumping and comes to sorely regret it.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

Andrews starts out with a simple picture of rainy-day sorrow and only goes gloomier from there. Still, just to listen to the lush voices and smooth strings on the surface, you almost wouldn’t feel it. The four voices float in beautiful harmony while the raindrops are evoked with high plinking piano notes. In the middle, Andrews finds the right degree of downbeat to his plain refrain of “Oh, if we only could start over again.” However soothing the melody might be, his tone of voice tells of what’s most important. He’s no more hopeful about future prospects in the end, either. “God only knows the girl who will love me,” he mourns almost calmly as the last verse drifts toward the close. The Hearts never ended up charting any higher, mainly because their run didn’t last much longer past their 1958 peak. The group soon split under the stress of touring and everyone drifted their own ways; Andrews left the music business to open a boutique through the ‘60s. Still, he and various Hearts have still gotten their share of mini revivals in the following decades, like so many others. After all, some things seem to always keep drawing people back for another taste, again and again... even the saddest ones. PRH





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It’s not easy mastering the best hits from your favorite genre or even your favorite band. Pulling apart each song to learn the right guitar lick or drum fill opens up new layers of nuances. What if you multiply that by entire decades worth of top songs? For the gang in Big Bleu Band, they do it night after night...and make it look easy, too! Big Bleu Band is a seven piece whose repertoire includes hits ranging from today all the way back to the ‘60s. No song is too challenging for the group, although some are much harder to pick up than others. “Anything with a lot of production is always harder to authenticate live,” says keyboardist Mitch Spera. From song to song, replication is key for the group. There are no added embellishments or improvisations. Spera proudly states, “We have to try to duplicate as much as we can from a musical standpoint while playing live.” In addition to keeping the hits as they were written, authentic performances are just as important to each person when they are on stage. “Unlike many other bands, we do not use backing tracks.” With so many members in the band, you would be quick to assume that trying to get everyone together at once to practice might be an issue. Such is not the case with Big Bleu Band though. “For the most part, we don’t

have a rigid practice schedule,” Spera explains, “When we need to practice, we shoot out a text as to when we are all available and that’s it.” The group is made up of a pair of lead vocalists, Dave Smith and Allison Waddington, accompanied by guitarist Brian Belsky, keyboardist Mitch Spera, bassist Rob Cunningham, drummer Danny Hummel and saxophonist Nick DiSalvio. Each band member has their turn at singing lead and backing vocals, as well. As nearby towns began to slowly reopen, Big Bleu Band began finding opportunities to get back on the stage at a handful of the smaller venues, most recently down at the shore. However, their performance schedule was nothing like what they were used to during peak beach season. “Well first off, there are much less available gigs right now,” Spera explains. “Basically, they are all outside venues.” He adds that extensive safety restrictions were in place in every venue they played in. This “new normal” did not stop the people who came out from enjoying the night though. “The audiences have been great as everyone is ready to let loose.” As it is with most other things during the pandemic, there is no clear-cut answer when it comes to continuing to get up on stage. “Like all other bands, we will have to wait and see what venues are willing and able to have bands, again.” But in the meantime, check them out on Facebook or at PRH

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October / November / December 2020



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his year has been quite the whirlwind. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the holidays now more than ever. When I think of the holidays, I think of family, laughs, memories and an abundance of delicious food. Turkey’s Done, a 2019 award-winning short film created by three South Philly born and raised women - Monique Impagliazzo, Jennifer Tini and Krystal Tini – brings an assorted selection of the holiday’s sights, sounds and celebrations to life on the big screen. Turkey’s Done stars Cheri Oteri (Saturday Night Live), Al Sapienza (The Sopranos, House of Cards), standup comedian Vic Dibitetto, Natalie Stone and Krystal Tini. It follows the adventures of South Philly housewife Peaches Bracco (Oteri) who confronts her cheating, excon husband (Sapienza) on Thanksgiving Day. Shooting the film in their hometown was a key component to preserving its unique vibes and longtime friends of the filmmakers were quick to help make that happen. South Philly neighbors were thrilled to follow the lights, cameras and action as filming took place on Jessup Street, between Mifflin and McKean, 11th and 12th Streets (thanks to Eleanor Rosetti), and on McKean between 12th and 13th Streets (thanks to Nikki Badessa). Watching the film is a great way to celebrate the holidays. It’s full of laughs, family and a literal flying turkey. It features characters that are sure to remind you of someone you know and love growing up in the neighborhood – maybe even your own family! “We always knew we wanted to film where



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by Joei DeCarlo we’re from; writing and shooting about what we know best. South Philly,” Impagliazzo says. An Indiegogo was created to raise money to shoot the film and the support (primarily from South Philly residents) could not have been more appreciated. The women behind Turkey’s Done sincerely thank the South Philly community for their generosity and eagerness to support this dream of creating a film. They also thank local businesses like Pastificio for their generous donations; Councilman Mark Squilla for his support, and Maria Rosetti and Mark Leuzzi, Sr. for securing filming locations. Turkey’s Done won “best comedy” at the Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia and the Golden Door Film Festival in Jersey City. The film also finished 3rd in the Just for Laughs International Film Festival (Vancouver) short category. Oteri took home “best actress” at the Burbank International Film Festival and Impagliazzo and Jennifer Tini won “best first-time director” at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. “Winning on the west coast and in another country made us realize how universal our characters are,” Jennifer Tini says. Her sister and business partner, Krystal Tini, agrees. “There is always someone in everyone’s business and learning that these characters are relatable no matter where you live was such a great experience.” These three creative ladies expressed their excitement at the opportunity to shoot in South Philly again and the possibility of a feature film script that would build on Oteri’s character. You can celebrate the holidays with your family and Turkey’s Done anytime on Vimeo for $0.99. PRH Like us on Facebook and Instagram


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

RISING TO THE ROLE Actor Vincent Young is dedicated to bringing characters to life on screen


by Brenda Hillegas photo by Phil Kramer


“But a lot has happened since then,” Young says. Following the initial release of What Death Leaves Behind (now available On Demand), he has found himself attached to many more film projects. Staying safely in his New York City home right now, Young has been dedicated to promoting his work and making sure his fans have the most recent updates to his expansive career. “I’m so grateful to be able to go into these imaginary worlds and become the characters,” he says of his drive to bring each of his roles to life. “Reaching the audience is the most important thing for me.” Young has obvious talent, but he also has the ability to easily

in this horror film, noting the importance of a dedicated cast and crew to make a story come alive. “One thing that attracted me to this film was the incredible script,” he says. “I really wanted to work with Peter Greene, too.” Young portrays Rick Usher, the brother of lead character, Eric Usher (played by Greene). Both are method actors, bringing an authentic intensity to their respective roles. “The whole experience [of shooting this film] was unique and incredible.” Complex characters really drive Young. Over the past few years, he has proven this by portraying the sinister Count Zero in Escape Plan 2 alongside Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, and 50 Cent; and street-smart, Irish American tough guy Finn Donovan in the Staten Island crime drama, 5th Borough, with Al Sapienza, Steve Stanulis and Sean Young. Both are available via Amazon Prime. Earlier this year, an entertainment news site compared Young to the late James Dean. An honor, he says.

“His movie Giant was a really big influence on me. James was willing to throw everything he had into his character.” Young does the same. He knows that every mannerism and movement is so important when developing a character and bringing them from script to screen. Soon, his film journey will take him to Long Gone Heroes, an upcoming action / military feature that was announced at the Cannes Film Festival, last year. Written and directed by Santiago Manes Moreno, the feature also stars Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Peter Facinelli, and Maggie Q. Not much can be said about this project yet, but Young is anxiously awaiting the call to start filming; to become another person again for the sake of entertaining an audience. “At the end of the day, I try to look at my body of work as one big canvas,” Young says, looking forward to whatever roles come next. “Playing these roles is what gets me up in the morning. I love the magic.”. PRH

October / November / December 2020


hen RowHome last spoke to Philadelphia-born actor Vincent Young for our Winter 2018 issue, he was promoting the psychological thriller, What Death Leaves Behind. The Hitchcockian style film was shot in the suburbs of Philly, screened at a special Sundance Film Festival event and won numerous awards at film festivals across the US. morph from one role to the next which is something actors can struggle with as they cross over to other genres. With a list of film and television credits dating back to the early ‘90s, Young has had many opportunities to become characters of all walks of life, taking on a wide range of personalities. Up next is 3 Days Rising, a modern-day reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The film - directed by Craig Cukrowski, written by Derek Cukrowski, produced by Noel Ashman wrapped last fall and stars Peter Greene, Mickey Rourke, Ice-T, Frank Whaley, Paul Ben-Victor and Kelly Dowdle. Young talks eagerly about his colleagues


BalletX Goes Beyond the Stage for a 15th Anniversary Season Love Letter featuring dancers Richard Villaverde and Francesca Forcella, choreography by CailiQuan, Director of Photography: Elliot deBruyn


by Brenda Hillegas ince 2005, BalletX has produced more than 80 world premiere ballets by 42 innovative choreographers worldwide. For 15 years, Philadelphia audiences have enjoyed original ballets, free community pop ups, dance classes and dance education. When the pandemic shut down stages across the nation, our city’s arts organizations still found ways to perform and entertain. BalletX, led by Artistic


& Executive Director Christine Cox, remained committed to our community by launching several at-home initiatives to keep audiences engaged and inspired. Free archival ballets streamed online, free “dance at home” classes, conversations with dancers and a weekly highlight reel and newsletter, among other programs all were available through their website. BalletX dancers could even continue their rehearsals remotely with choreographers in three different cities. But, there’s more... “We’re always open to exploring our craft and deep passion for new work,” Cox says. “We’re learning so much by taking what we are used to doing and shifting to a new audience, new


types of energy, a new world.” With that exploration and learning came a new platform to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Philadelphia’s premiere contemporary ballet company. Last month, BalletX launched a virtual subscription series - BalletX Beyond. Audiences can continue to experience the company’s unique forms of dance with 15 original short and feature films by choreographers from around the world, streaming exclusively on a oneof-a-kind digital ballet platform. Cox says the opportunities for BalletX Beyond are limitless as the team has the ability to not just pull content from their archives, but to create new dance films from just about anywhere. “This is an open field,” she says. “We can showcase so much more

than the stage – the city’s Mural Arts projects, Longwood Gardens, someone’s home. We are just at the tip of the iceberg!” A basic package ($15/month) gives viewers access to four Virtual World Premiere events, digital features and short dance films, behind-the-scenes documentaries, artist Q&As and interviews, bonus launch videos and surprise events throughout the season. The plus package ($30/month) features basic plan content plus a rotating schedule of more than 40 classic ballets from the BalletX archive and ticket discounts to any live performances that are pending for spring/summer 2021. BalletX Beyond is a great gift for anyone who appreciates a fresh take on classical dance and misses in-person performances. Content will be loaded every few weeks. The constant flow of content on BalletX Beyond wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Philadelphia’s vibrant and resilient arts community. Covid may have shut down in-person experiences, but BalletX can still show viewers far beyond our city just how strong and creative we can be.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

“I grew up in West Philly,” Cox says. “Philadelphia has grit and passion. It really takes a village to build anything, especially a dance company. It takes a type of city that believes in the arts. Creativity is what the world needs. As a nation, we need to think creatively.” It’s safe to say that BalletX has created a village with support near and far. Between donors, subscribers and single ticket buyers, they have reached 100,000+ audiences nationwide. And that was before BalletX Beyond came to life, last month. Subscribers will be able to tune in and experience what happens when artists must think outside of the box and reinvent the norm. “Rally behind the arts organizations you love, now more than ever,” Cox says, asking people to explore the digital content that so many theatres across our city are creating. “People will be surprised and delighted by what they discover.” Information on BalletX and their new BalletX Beyond subscription service can be found at PRH

Reinventing Theater for a



by Marialena Rago photo by Wide Eyed Studio he arts industry has suffered over these past few months. One theater coming up with new ways to stay afloat is The Wilma. Yury Urnov, Lead Artistic Director for the 2020-2021 season, is one of four directors the theater is rotating over the next few years in order to showcase new ideas and diverse voices. Urnov, born in Moscow, Russia, has directed more than 40 productions in his home country, as well as Europe and Africa.


Urnov and the rest of the Wilma team are working diligently to “explore how far the theater form can be pushed in our digital experiments,” he says. The Wilma Home Theater allows viewers to enjoy digital performances while the physical theater is closed, like archived shows as well as new material created at performers’ homes. The Wilma Virtual Studio provides virtual lessons and activities for children and adults which can be found on Wilma’s website or @wilmaeducation on Instagram. “It’s a way for us to keep producing art, to stay in touch with our existing audience and to build a new one,” Urnov says. The Wilma’s upcoming virtual production of Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning requires bringing art-

ists together in the same location to film. Urnov isn’t taking any chances. “Our team, after quarantining and testing, will travel to a secluded farm and will work for three weeks in a secure “bubble.” We’ve been planning this for months and I believe we are ready, while keeping risks low. We’ll keep monitoring the situation daily and testing our team regularly.” The team also wanted to create something flexible to prepare for an unpredictable future. With the WilmaPass, theater-goers can purchase a set of tickets for the next in-person season. They’ll be able to then use the tickets for either one seat per show, all for one performance, or in any combination they’d like. “As an audience member, I’d likely prefer the WilmaPass to a set subscription in the post-COVID world as well,” says Urnov. “Time will keep moving

fast. Why not stay flexible?” As for the future, Urnov believes digital content will still be necessary. “I’d put my bet on live-streaming and video versions of theater productions – the only way to radically enlarge theater audiences. Though it feels somewhat weird to watch theater on screen, maybe it’s just the discomfort of the new and unusual. My grandfather used to listen to soccer games on his radio – how weird is that?” According to The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $166.3 billion in economic activity annually, resulting in $27.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. There are a number of initiatives for the arts community to encourage the federal government to help the industry, but they require more than just a campaign on Instagram. “Let’s together start rethinking our attitude to the art and the artists,” Urnov says. “Let’s admit arts are an important segment of the common good, the same as fire departments or public transportation. Let’s see if there are resources to help provide artists with decent pay. Let’s start rebuilding this system. We all need it.” PRH

October / November / December 2020



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lthough Covid put a damper on gathering in person for the 4th annual Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival, the event was moved to a digital platform that provided 13 curated programs and 50 films to enjoy safely from the comfort of home! Co-founders Debra Wolf Goldstein and Alexandra Diagne created the festival in hopes of inspiring local and global action. This year’s international slate (from 19 countries!) of environmentally-focused shorts and features celebrate the beauty of earth and the challenges facing our planet. With all access passes and exclusive viewing opportunities, the festival Program categories included: Indiginous Perspectives, American Adventures, Regional Shorts, Global Shorts, Oceans First, Planet Food, Environmental Justice, African Lens, Kids Planet, Plastic Problems, Toxic Bodies and Public Lands. This year’s best feature winner, Honeyland (by Tamara Kotevska and Ljuobomir Stefanov), is about the last female bee-hunter in Europe whose peaceful existence in a remote area of Macedonia is threatened when a family of beekeepers moves next door. The best youth short, Organize for Our Lives, created by local student filmmaker Isaak Popkin, highlights the December 2019 Climate Strike in Philadelphia. Other winners

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

include Tribes on the Edge by Céline Cousteau, The Great Green Wall by Jared P. Scott, Kofi and Larety by Sasha Rainbow, Detroit Hives by Palmer Morse and Rachel Weinberg, Polarbarry - Let’s Break the Ice! by Wouter Dijkstra, and the audience favorite winner Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story by Soozie Eastman. For anyone interested in local topics, some of the regional shorts focus on the Philadelphia area. Beyond the Philth (by Marlee Snyder, Renee Cinningham, Christina Karos, Emily Moser, Mengyuan Cao) is a 15-minute student short that explores the subject of trash in Philadelphia. Park Champion: Neighborhood Volunteers is a six-minute film about people from across the city who come out to help beautify Fairmount Park. Petty’s Island: A Journey Back to Nature is a 22-minute historical look at four centuries that shaped Petty’s Island (Delaware River across from Camden, NJ). Though many of the films are no longer available to view through the festival, a visit to www. will direct you to where you can watch and learn more. If you missed the digital festival, curate your own list and plan some in-home movie nights. Be sure to also check out the official websites of each film or filmmaker to stay up to date on news about your favorites! See you next year (hopefully in person) at the 5th annual Environmental Film Festival. For information on ways to support the festival via donations or as a volunteer, visit the website. PRH

Eagles Super Bowl



win sparks


Finished Business: My Fifty Years of Headlines, Heroes and Heartaches

Tommy McDonald with Ray at a performance of Tommy and Me at FringeArts in 2016


by Larry Gallone or years, Ray Didinger had been talking to people about writing memoirs. He wrote previous books, created a play and has a broadcasting career of award-winning sports writing on his resume. Yet, Didinger didn’t feel he was ready to write a memoir until Super Bowl LII and the Eagles’ win. In one of the most touching and absolutely human moments in a world that needs them, on the Eagles post-game show, Didinger and his son David embraced after the game on camera. Didinger became emotional and shared what we all were feeling that exhilarating Sunday in 2018.


“So many people were experiencing it at home. It was as much about family as it was about football,” he says. Reflecting after that moment, he was ready to take on writing about his 50-year career as a sportswriter and broadcaster in Philadelphia. “That’s when it all came together – that moment. People related to that moment.” The Super Bowl gave the story of his career a finishing chapter and if the Eagles had not won, Didinger may not have written his book. Finished Business: My Fifty Years of Headlines, Heroes and Heartaches is scheduled for publication in the Spring of 2021 by Temple University Press. This book is unlike one of his previous books – One Last Read – which was an anthology of his sports writing. “This book is a memoir and a reconstruction of my 50 years. I didn’t want it to be a book about me, but instead how I got involved in sports my whole life – going to Connie Mack Stadium, Franklin Field,” Didinger says. He has genuine and deep Philly roots. For the Southwest Philly native, St. James High School and Temple University grad, Didinger’s

reporting career started in 1968 at the Delaware County Daily Times. In 1969, he was hired by the Philadelphia Bulletin. He started covering the Eagles in 1970 and has a history covering all the Philadelphia sports teams while at the Daily News. Didinger also worked at NFL Films and now serves as a television analyst on NBC Sports Philadelphia for Eagles games and a regular broadcast show on WIP 610 Sports Radio. “The book recounts my experiences, events and people. I am not looking in the mirror but acting as a kind of tour guide through Philly sports the past 50 years,” he says. Didinger said he read noted film critic Roger Ebert’s book Life Itself and felt it did a good job talking about his career, the people and the events in the film industry. That’s the style Didinger was looking to convey to his own readers - with 50 years of interesting, funny, emotional memories and moments from championships to abysmal stretches by all four professional teams to incredible personalities unique to our city. He points to the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup as the moment Philly went from the City of Losers to the City of Winners in the sports world.

“The sports landscape was bleak at that time. All the teams were terrible. But that championship galvanized the city. We were told there was going to be a parade. At that time, nobody had parades.” One of Didinger’s assignments was to check with the city on the parade and how they would handle it. “The city estimated that they would have enough police to handle the anticipated ‘100,000’ people at the parade. Boy, were they off! It drew two million!” The energy from that moment seemed to rub off on Philly’s other professional teams, sending all four to the finals in 1980. Didinger’s new book took the better part of a year to write. One thing the 2020 pandemic did was free up some extra time to complete it. A downside to 2020 though was that his play, Tommy and Me, about his childhood sports hero and Eagles Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald, had to be suspended. Didinger is looking forward to having it produced and run again in 2021. Tommy and Me is also being discussed as a potential documentary, working with Sam Katz and his History Making Productions company. Much of sports today is about “hot takes” and bombastic statements. Didinger cut his teeth as a reporter “pounding the beat” so he strives to base his commentary on “accuracy, fairness and objectivity.” How does he juggle all the aspects – writing, television, playwright, radio? “I have been doing multiple things for so long that it seems normal to me,” he says. “I feel lucky to have had the chance to do the thing that I enjoy. I couldn’t have done it this long if I didn’t enjoy it.” PRH

October / November / December 2020



City of Neighborhoods

Philadelphia 1890-1910 by Joseph Minardi

by D aniel DiQuinzio Fitzwater Street east of 21st Street, 1907


collection of historical postcards and photographs of Philadelphia from those decades. Minardi grew up in South Philly. In college, he studied art history and was fascinated by architecture in Philadelphia. City of Neighborhoods: Philadelphia 1890-1910 is Minardi’s fourth book about Philadelphia. He also has hosted various walking tours and lectures about our city’s historic architecture (which he considers to be quite significant in America).


North 5 store in Corner hia, circa 189 lp Philade



he late 19th century marked the start of an urban boom in American cities as industrialization occurred in the country. Philadelphia was transformed into a major industrial center between 1890 and 1910 leading to a creation of many residential neighborhoods. Joseph Minardi’s new book, City of Neighborhoods: Philadelphia: 1890-1910, is a His inspiration to write City of Neighborhoods: Philadelphia 18901910 came from a love of collecting old photographs of Philadelphia. “There’s still enough of the old neighborhoods that survive intact, with only minor alterations to their façades, says Minardi, who hopes that readers will learn something they may not have known about Philadelphia’s history. He especially enjoyed writing about South Philadelphia history and the chapter on West Philadelphia (Minardi served on the Board of Governors of the University City

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

Historical Society for many years). “Many of the West Philadelphia homes weren’t of the row home variety, but were semi-detached or twins, as they are known in the city,” he says. Philadelphia became a place where a humble worker could afford a house of their own, raise a family and live a comfortable life. In order to accommodate all the workers who were moving to Philadelphia seeking employment, the city set about building “thousands of homes, creating whole new neighborhoods in the process.” This book is organized by neighborhood and is filled with classic photos and information about the houses and people you’ll find from river to river. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who calls Philadelphia home. You can order online at PRH

Connecting the Dots

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by Jim Gildea


ach day, I send to family, friends and colleagues a list of the holidays for the day, along with original cards that applaud the honorees. November 4 is National Candy Day, so to prepare, I set out looking for appropriate photos and quotations to give Kisses and Snickers their due. As I stared at the graphic design that needed to be completed with one last quote, my thoughts jumped from candy to Candy Man. Aha! Why not? A song is chock full of quotes, to be sure. However, be honest with me. You might have no trouble resurrecting its melody – but what about the lyrics? After not recalling one word of its introduction, drawing a blank after Who can take the sunshine…, I went to Google – and ended up opening Pandora’s Box. As I was scrolling to the end of the song’s lyrics, I came across something I had not known. I had never seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in its entirety, so I was surprised to learn that “The Candy Man,” written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, was part of the film. I should have stopped there. But continue to read I did, learning that Newley was “appalled by the lack of commerciality” in the performance of actor Aubrey Woods (who played Bill, the owner of the candy shop), “worrying that it would possibly be depriving [Newley and Bricusse] of not only a hit record but an Oscar nomination as well.” Are we still talking about “The Candy Man?”

The same song that repeats ’cause he mixes it with love and makes the world go ‘round? On Saturday, when I was a tyke living on Arch Street in Norristown, we kids would go door to door, asking residents for their piles of old newspapers. Loading our take into our wagons, we would head to the bottom of Wood Street, where the larger-than-life “rag man” weighed the newspapers, begrudgingly exchanging them for coins. We would then fly to Sal’s store, our noses smudging the glass that separated us from the rows and boxes of penny candy, each of us taking several eternities to firm up our choices. I left Newley’s rancor and moved to YouTube, to witness Bill, proprietor of the film’s candy store, joyfully dancing around the enthralled children, sending every imaginable kind of candy their way, as he and they sang “The Candy Man.” I paid little attention to the “lack of commerciality of his performance,” more so drawn in by how patiently he dealt with his young customers, how he never rushed the children out of his shop, how he lovingly rolled out strips of candy dots, how he… There I go. Connecting those dots. Finally seeing the candy store in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory made me put aside Newley’s unsettling arrogance, allowing instead for me, my wagon safely tucked away, pennies and nickels in my protective, clenched fist, to head back to Arch Street. PRH

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Observations during



here’s this light source that illuminates the keys of our upright piano. The lamp, when ignited, serves a secondary purpose of highlighting family photographs chronicling the last 20 years. This night, the colors of the room have been washed clean as I sit and watch my daughter play in an otherwise dark room. Her body, aligned comfortably on a cushioned wooden bench, sways slightly left then


right depending on the requirements of the tune. The silhouette of her true image engulfs the light as her fingers effortlessly dance across the colorless keys and the world around me slows. It is a gift to be able to slow down this world. The ability to capture a moment and share it with anyone willing to stop and listen. The experience leaves me lighter, happier and very proud of the woman that she has become. Not quite sure how a sixfoot human can disappear, but the twin finds a way. Out of site as well as mind until the mood strikes him. BAMF! Suddenly, as if by transportation from the astral plane, he appears in search of fresh air and sustenance. There he stands, with perfect posture in front of the cold air of the open refrigerator. I observe this being from a faraway land as he surveys the contents of the electric chilly box that has magically remained full of food for the past five


months. As I watch, I wonder if he is solving the world’s problems or just trying to guess what deliciousness is hiding inside of wrapped tinfoil. Moments later, while he waits for his meal to warm in a different electrified box, he speaks. His voice is clean and clear and always quite intentional. Combining both questions and answers, he takes time to listen. His green eyes grow large and bright when he engages in conversation regarding local sports teams, school projects, encounters with friends and even his latest escape from the playful torture he endures from the youngest of us. For a short time, we are all together then… BAMF! He’s gone. The master of multitasking returns to the astral plane until next time. The experience leaves me smiling, happier and very proud of the man that he has become. The youngest of us all enters the room and will be acknowledged. The lion queen with locks of fire will, at the very least, let it be known that a once quiet space will

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

remain that way no longer. I fail to move as quickly as the dog does in seeking shelter from the storm and I am immediately punished for simply relaxing on the couch. Channeling a combination of WWE’s Eva Marie and fitness guru Richard Simmons, I experience a body slam followed by a long and loving hug. Both joy and pain receptors fire as I notice the dog wedged tightly between my wife and the sofa’s armrest. This entrance from fire hair has been going on for the better part of 18 years and she ignores the physics of her body growing as well as my body’s aging, but I love it! With a scream that would make a banshee proud, she’s up and ready to go. Keys in hand and with an unintelligible explanation, she’s out the door on a quick adventure. The experience leaves me dazed and confused, happier and very proud of the woman that she has become. 2020 has been a strange year to say the least. Taking some time to observe my situation, I realized that being stuck in a house with my wife, three children and a dog was actually pretty great. With all three of our children currently in college, we were given the gift of a full house, once more. With the world slowly getting back to normal, I wonder how many times that will happen again. PRH



Meet me on

South Street N W R I T E R S B LO C K

eighborhood pride is being gentrified right out of many Philadelphia communities. As I walk through my city of neighborhoods, many historical places are disappearing. The memories of my youth seem to have vanished overnight. I can remember going to sleep in the ghetto and awakening in Center City. The beauty of any neighborhood lives in its historical memories. These memories will remain a part of you for the rest of your life. I can remember South Street. It was known all over the world as the ‘hippest street in town.’ There were a multitude of Black-owned businesses on South Street in the 1960s and 1970s. My grandfather, Mr. James Woodard, Sr., had his tailor shop at 1831 South Street called The Ideal Cleaners. In the neighborhood, my grandfather was known as ‘Mr. James.’ As a kid, I remember him standing outside of his tailor shop, doing demonstrations on people passing by to show his professional skills. If the customer’s pants legs were too high or low, he would take them inside his shop and elevate or lower the cuff. I can recall Mr. Benny Krass of Krass Brothers Suits sending my grandfather customers that needed special alterations on their new suits. My grandfather was a pretty heavy man and I was a fat kid. So, at the end of the day, we would eat at Miss BeBe’s Southern Barbecue on the 1700 block of South Street. Miss BeBe’s was known as the best barbecue place in town. Many famous people came from all over the world to experience her exquisite cuisine. The late great unforgettable Nat King Cole was also a customer

St. Anthony of


Regional Catholic School

by Robert L. Woodard The Wynnefield Barber of Miss BeBe’s. She displayed a large picture of herself and Nat King Cole in her establishment for all to see. That picture became a conversation piece for all of her many customers. I can remember the first Black bank at the corner of 19th and South Street called Citizens Bank. When I was 13 years of age, I was one of three barbers who worked weekends at Mr. Buddy Young’s Barbershop with Mr. Freeman and Mr. Young on the 1700 block of South Street. I was a pretty big guy for my age, so I had very little to say. However, I learned a lot about the tonsorial trade at a very young age through my experience working there. I even learned how to cut straight hair that was processed. Black men who wanted their hair straightened would go to Paige’s Process Shop on the 1500 block of South Street. The first Black firehouse was on the 1800 block of South Street. Back then, Black firemen and white firemen were not allowed to sleep in the same firehouse. South Street became the place to be and visitors from around the world learned to sing the famous song that made South Street great! “Meet Me on South Street, the Hippest Street in Town.” That song became a worldwide phenomenon. Times have changed, now, but memories last forever. From a child to now an adult, I am very proud to say that my grandfather, Mr. James Woodard, Sr., lived on South Street, the hippest street in town. Take the “RACE Test” today for a better way at PRH Woodard’s Barbershop, 5031 Diamond Street, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

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October / November / December 2020



Don’t Mess with

Nellie Philly


by Charlie Sacchetti hen I was growing up in Southwest Philly, back in the early ’60s, Mrs. Nellie Fagan was probably about 70 years old. She was a key figure in the lives of the neighborhood kids, myself included, because Mrs. Fagan owned and operated the soda shop/candy store on 64th and Garman Streets. This little piece of heaven served as the gathering place of several


generations of boys who often played stickball, chink, Wiffle ball and halfball using the store wall as a backstop. Across the street was St. Barnabas schoolyard. It was a mere trot from Fagan’s to enter the world of two-hand touch football, box ball and handball. So, you see, we had our own Sports Multiplex and it didn’t cost us a cent. After we were done playing, we would go into the store to replace our burned-up calories. Cokes and Pepsis cost 12 cents then. A package of three Tastykake choco-


late cupcakes was also 12 cents and they were big enough to fill you up! A Tastykake cherry pie actually had cherries in it! Those cost a dime. Mrs. Fagan had handdipped Abbott’s ice cream, too, so you could top off your soda-andTastykake meal with dessert. That ice cream was the real thing. My mother would give me a large, empty dish to take to the store and Mrs. Fagan would fill it with butter pecan and cover it with wax paper. It was generally intact after the short walk home except for the time I brought a spoon with me and ate about a quarter of the contents on the way back,

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

but that only happened once. We never really did anything bad in those days. Almost all of our mothers were home with the kids so there were always watchful eyes to catch you in the act. If by chance you did mess up and word got back to your parents, there was hell to pay. What passes for “child abuse” today was called “discipline” back then! The most daring thing we did was climb up on top of the row houses, walking up and down the block to retrieve the plethora of roofed halfballs lost during games played in the block-long driveway. The climber would simply throw them to the ground and we’d all pick them up, clean them and put them to use. It was a bonanza from the sky. Mrs. Fagan was a nice old gal and was happy to have “her boys” lounge around outside and inside the store in the ancient wooden booths. She stood about five feet tall, maybe. She walked slowly

and wore her gray hair in something resembling a bun. These features, combined with her rounded eyeglasses, gave her the perfect elderly shopkeeper look of the ’50s and ’60s. My group was probably the third generation of kids that she “raised.� No matter the age, all of us boys treated Mrs. Fagan like she was our grandmother. If she needed someone to run an errand, we’d do it. One hand washed the other. On the rare occasion that the corner got a little too noisy, she would pop her head out of the door and give us the look. Usually, that was all that was necessary to keep us in line.

But there was that one time.

Back in those days, there were police officers who actually had a beat. The cops in our neighborhood would periodically drive by to check out the area. We knew most of them and several of my buddies’ dads were cops, so we usually had no problem. However, a rookie officer was assigned to the area and he was obviously anxious to “make his bones.� Acting like Dirty Harry, for the first few nights he ordered us to disperse or keep quiet, which we did for about 15 minutes and then he’d double back on us. He was quickly becoming a nuisance. Now, Mrs. Fagan was no fool. It is not good for business when your clientele’s habits are disrupted so she took matters into her own hands. Did she call the district sergeant to complain about harassment? Did she file suit with the ACLU? Did she call the Action News hotline? No. The next time the rookie stopped by, with his veteran partner, to chase us off, Mrs. Fagan emerged, broom in hand. She asked him to get out of the car. When he did, the tiny woman squared up to him like Earl Weaver about to argue with an umpire and said in her best grandmotherly voice: ‘Who the hell do you think you are coming over here and bothering these kids? These are my boys. I want them here and I’ll take care of them if they don’t behave, just like I have for the last 40 years. Now get out of here before I call the district!’ Dirty Harry didn’t know what to do or say. I guess the fact that his more seasoned partner was still in the car, doubled over with laughter, didn’t exactly give him a whole bunch of confidence. He just retreated into the car to avoid an altercation with the broom. As he made a U-turn to head down 64th Street, his partner looked out of the open car window and said, “Good evening, Mrs. Fagan,� to which she replied, “So long, Billy.� It’s always wise to know the territory. Had Dirty Harry done his homework, he would have known that Billy had been one of Nellie’s “boys� about 20 years earlier! PRH

October / November / December 2020



National Grandparents Day True Italian Explorers of Life Don’t look back because if you do, you can only see yesterday.


by Josephine B. Pasquarello n September 13th, I celebrate my Nonno and Nonna’s Day. Every year, I go to Holy Cross Cemetery to put a bouquet of red and yellow roses at their gravesite. This is my way of showing love and respect to my father’s parents. I have never had the pleasure of meeting my beloved “Nonno and Nonna.” They died before I was born. Family members have shared stories of how no


one could break their bond; and of how their children’s welfare was always important to them. When I see them in pictures, I see so much of myself in their eyes and expressions. When life gets tough for me, I remember what they went through to give our family a better life. I push forward because I will not let their hard work be in vain. As I stand by their grave, I recite “The Lord’s Prayer.” My emotions are bubbling through


my body. When I finish the prayer, I tell my grandparents how much I appreciate their courageous travel across the ocean at such young ages. They both had the same thought; they wanted to give their future generations a better life, hopeful that the streets were paved in gold. There would be fortunes in America to give them a good life. Raffaele Pasquariello, at the age of 11, along with his parents and his two younger brothers (Giovanni and Orazio), sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. They

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

arrived in 1888 and settled in South Philadelphia. The area they chose to live in was an area that was dominated by southern Italian immigrants. It was good to be with many other fellow countrymen from Marsico Nuovo, Italia. This felt more like Italia with the same language, customs and especially, the types of food they enjoyed. On September 13, 1899, Geltrude Carmela Di Lullo arrived in America. She came here with $4.00 in her dress pocket. She also came from a southern small village called Ateleta from the Abruzzo region. She was an Italian beauty with dark hair, piercing eyes and a beautiful shade of olive skin. Geltrude stood maybe five feet tall but her genuine personality made her appear to be a giant. Her mind and heart were strong and caring towards everyone.

Relationship Banking Defined Your banker knows you by name As Raffaele became a young man, he grew into a well-groomed, handsome gentleman. All the girls wanted to be his bride. But when he first saw Geltrude, she captured his mind and heart. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. For Geltrude it was love at first sight. Whenever he was near, she became giddy just standing next to him. Later in life, she would often say that her heart still goes pitter-patter when she is near him. Within eight months, they were married and started a life together. Nonno was a produce “huckster.” After many children, he became a bartender on Dock Street to make more money for their growing family. He was a great bartender because of his friendly way towards the patrons who frequented his bar. He would consider everyone his paisan. Nonna on the other hand was content to stay home and take care of their nine children. She would cook his favorite Italian meals for him. To get Nonna upset, he would tell her that his mother was the finest Italian cook. There is a story that is still shared in our family: One evening, Nonno was teasing Nonna about his mother’s cooking, saying it was the tastiest! Nonna was so upset that she picked up the bowl of macaroni and poured it over his head. All of the children were shocked at first, but when Nonno started to laugh, Nonna began to chuckle and the children all joined in. Nonna didn’t take any of his nonsense about her cooking, and his teasing about it stopped that evening. After 21 years of being the love of Geltrude’s life, Raffaele passed away, leaving her a widow. She rose to the challenge to make sure her children never went hungry. She was always self-assured and never frightened at life’s obstacles. For the next three years, she and six of her children worked the fields of a farm in New Jersey from April till the first frost. These months were dreadful living in a small shack on the farm. The oldest three children stayed in Philadelphia because they had jobs in the clothing factories. On Monday, February 23, 1925, Nonna slipped her hand into Nonno’s hand and they walked into eternity together. She missed him every day for those four years. They left a beautiful legacy to their children that was priceless – “No matter how hard life is, just keep moving forward. Don’t look back because if you do, you can only see yesterday.” Because their blood warms my veins and part of their spirit lies within my soul, I explore life’s journey with open eyes and an open heart. I know I have only one life to live and I will live it to its fullest. To me, my Nonno and Nonna are no ordinary people. They are what my ancestors were made of. “True Italian explorers of Life.” PRH Josephine B. Pasquarello Author (267) 441- 0997

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Meet the PRH Writer!

John Nacchio

Q: When did you start writing for RowHome? 2014 Q: How did you discover RowHome? A large billboard on East Passyunk Avenue picturing a group of people from businesses messaging an empowered image as “our” local neighborhood celebrities!


Q: Name a story you’ ve written for RowHome that makes you proud? “A Catch with Dad.” It’s a heartfelt “field of dreams” aspiration reflecting what my Dad had when he graduated in 1949 from Bok High School and my father/ son moments shared. Especially, I am proud of interviews with Bob Charger, Benny Marsella, Bob Shannon, “King Arthur” Carlos Alvarez, author Adriani Trigiani, Kenny Bonavitacola, Alexis Bonavitacola, radio celebs Patty Jackson, Marilyn Russell, businessmen Victor Baldi, Vincent Mancini and TV reporter Vittoria Woodill. Q: Did you grow up in Philly? What neighborhood? South Philly - 10th & Oregon Avenue. I especially enjoyed local spots like the “Boy’s Club,” formerly at 13th & Shunk, that kept kids like me off the streets, avoiding mischief and engaged in sports, ping pong, billiards, fellowship and other positive activities. Q: Career goals growing up? NASA Engineer/Astronaut or basket-


ball player for the NBA...or just dance endlessly on American Bandstand! Q: Professional Career? I was fortunate to be the first family generation member to graduate college and to earn a Masters of Business Administration. I pursued a span of years in municipal government where I achieved the top executive positions in five different major divisions under the Office of Philadelphia’s Director of Finance. During that time, I was enabled to introduce, initiate and lead innovative progressive practices benefiting internal operations and the lives of 72,000 current and retired fellow employees along with practices and policies impacting 1.5 million citizens. Q: What’s your favorite quote? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Q: What’s your favorite row home memory while you were growing up? Street games like half ball, fast ball, touch football, bottle cap “dead box.” Q: What got you into writing? Thomas Jr. High School. I joined the yearbook annual magazine for the school spirit comradery and later South Philadelphia High, but always bombed out with grammar in English, even through senior year. College opened me up. Several classes required writing a journal and my professors started copying my writings to share in class as an example! Fellow students became fans and I elected

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

more creative and analytical writing classes and received repeatedly more support. Life lesson learned - It ain’t all about grammar rules! Q: Writing inspirations? Science fiction, fantasy, Star Trek, DC & Marvel comics / superhero universe. Q: What other sites/magazines/ papers do you/did you write for? Letters to the editor were early successes that started me up - often selected among hundreds of submissions by editorial staffs at The Daily News, Inquirer, City Paper, South Philly Review. When popular columnist Stu Bykofsky personally urged me serendipitously to write more, I said “maybe I should take writing seriously!” Since 2009, I have been a contributing author of articles on Wikipedia and composed online social media sites to express my active passion for both the rich history and the future of our neighborhood. Q: Sweet spot? Living in South Philly all my life, sharing life with family and friends, marrying and raising twin teenage boys, enjoying the comfort of Italian American foods and the Jewish deli, corner stores of every kind in a wondrous background mix of religious and ethnic diversity. Q: Favorite memory with RowHome Magazine? The people, places and personality captured in its writing and photographic art. They are totally timeless and simply… magical!


by Lou Pinto


My Heroes My Blessings My Success

oday, if you ask a person to name their hero, you may get a funny look. In my generation - God, I sound like my parents - pretty much everyone had heroes. Whether it was the superhero on TV or the police officer who patrolled our community, we had them. I was lucky to have my heroes living under the same roof as me - my parents Lou and Helen Pinto. Growing up, we had all the normal problems and struggles that every other family had but we were always happy and grateful. Mom and Dad taught my brother and me to always look on the bright side. There is good in everything and everyone. The most important lesson they taught us was the true meaning of success. My dad was a hardworking middleclass guy who took care of his family. He never had any real money and at times, had trouble making ends meet. Once, my brother John and I overheard our parents talking about the window business my dad was involved in and how his partner wanted someone who was more successful (meaning, had more money) to be his partner. My parents had invested all they had in this business and were trying to figure out how to pay the household bills that month. John and I pulled together whatever

money we had and said, ‘Here’s some money so you can show your partner that you are successful!’ With tears in his eyes, my dad turned to us and said, ‘Louis, you and Johnny are my success.’ Unfortunately, Mom and Dad are no longer with us. The memories and values they leave with me are treasures that I can and have passed on to my children and grandchildren. These special persons are my everyday blessings, my reason, my everything. My success. God has blessed me with three fantastic daughters and three fantastic sonsin-law. I also must mention my four beautiful gifts from these heroes of mine - my granddaughters. Why are my kids my heroes? My daughters and sons have become what every parent hopes and prays their children grow up to be. They are (as my brother and I were to our parents), my success. Sure, they haven’t run into burning buildings or saved anyone from drowning, but that’s not saying they wouldn’t! My kids, to most people at first glance, are ordinary people. To me, they are everything but that. Maybe I’m a little biased but in a world where we don’t know what the next day will bring, these six beautiful people are creating their success with their own children and living each day by doing and being better than the day before. I am so very proud of these moms, wives, dads, husbands, daughters and sons. My heroes. My blessings. My success PRH.



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Sister Rosemary Peterson, IHM 92


by D ebbie Russino

his is the sentence I use when describing 2020. March 14th was a busy Saturday at the Salon and I remember feeling very calm even though we were in the midst of a potentially deadly virus. I’m not quite sure why I underestimated the storm that was taking over the world. After all, something of this magnitude could never affect our great country. We are invincible…or so I thought. As instructed, we shut the Salon down for two weeks. Those weeks turned into five months. We stayed home and kept our distance from family and friends because we were considered potential carriers of the virus. We found ourselves under house arrest - punished for a crime we did not commit and forced to change our way of living, overnight. Holidays, birthdays and special events were replaced by family and friends waving to us as they rode by in decorated cars with balloons flying through the windows. Life was becoming depressing, isolating, and as the days went on, it got harder to stay positive. I would take walks to keep my sanity. As a hairdresser, I couldn’t help but notice all the faceless people behind their masks with long hair and gray roots. It reminded me of my customers and how they might need their hair done. But there was nothing I could do. We were non-essential, accord-


1720 W. Ritner Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

ing to our city and government officials, and it wouldn’t have bothered me as much if this order applied to them. Rules for thee but not for me. More time passed and the cries became louder. Everyone wanted to get back to living. We needed to work so we could pay our bills and feel some sort of connection to the outside world while trying our best to stay safe. When would this nightmare end? I was overwhelmed with the recognition we hairstylists and barbers received during our shutdown. It’s funny (not so funny) how much we take our everyday blessings for granted. The saying, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” became our reality. Life as we have known it was over, leaving behind an uncertain future. I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotion. It started with shock and disbelief, followed by fear and worry, but finally, acceptance and hope. I am so grateful to have been reunited with my dear family, friends and loyal customers who have patiently waited for their long, overdue visit. It was a very happy reunion for all of us and I believe we will have a greater appreciation for the “little things” like never before. I know I will. The sadness that my story portrays pales in comparison to the many souls lost in this Covid19 pandemic and their families. I will continue to begin and end each day with gratitude and joy. We fall, we break, we fail. Then we rise, we heal, and we overcome. PRH



Joseph M. McColgan

President, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School

We’re Back & Open to Educate

It’s good to see smiling faces, even behind a mask SS John Neumann-Maria Goretti High School is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

Greetings from 10th and Moore!

s I write this, our students are experiencing their first day back in school - inside the building - since March 13th, 2020! Though it may look and feel a bit different to them, the important thing is we are open for business, educating our students in the steep traditions of Southeast Catholic, Bishop John Neumann, Saint John Neumann, Saint Maria Goretti and Ss. John Neumann & Maria Goretti Catholic high schools. It is good to see their smiling faces, even behind a mask. Over the past seven months, members of our team – who are simply awesome - have done everything possible to play out every scenario we could think of in the current environment in order to adhere to our number one goal - to educate our students to the best of our ability in a safe environment. We have taken every precaution; we have instituted new policy; we are doing everything in our power to combat COVID-19 within these four walls (and doing it well, I might add). I’m certain our students will let us know how we do. Since June, we have been hard at work replacing or repairing the entire ventilation systems throughout the school – auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria and all restrooms. Five new water bottle filling stations were installed, with more to come, to alleviate the need to drink

from a shared fountain. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are placed throughout the building and restrooms. Our cracker-jack custodial crew is wiping down desks, handrails, restrooms, lunch tables – many times per day. This year, Rosters have been designed to minimize student movement throughout the building with faculty now going to the students as opposed to the students going to the teacher. Of course, everything pertaining to COVID-19 precautions have been instituted, as well. All we can do is our best because there is no playbook for what we have, and will continue, to experience. We will make mistakes but the goal is to make few mistakes. We are prepared to adapt and overcome, to adjust and re-adjust, all in the name of safety. I would be remiss if I did not recognize our exceptional faculty. As I stated in the last column, they stepped-up and hit the ball out of the park. We could not do what we do without them and I know students, parents and the administration are all grateful! To our SNG families, I promise you we will do everything in our power to keep your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, brother or sister safe. The SNG community wishes you and all of South Philadelphia good health. You are in our prayers. We’ll talk again, soon. PRH

July / August / September 2020


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� Maxine’s Uptown Boutique Accessory Consignments & Crystals 4 2nd Avenue Pitman, NJ 08071 609.254.5630 Facebook and Instagram: MaxinesUptownBoutique


Financial Services

� Univest Bank & Trust Co.

Florists & Decorators � The Petal Pusher 2515 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.463.5485 Specializing in weddings, funerals & corporate events


� Posh Painting by Rita LLC Rita Coccia Trombetta 856.986.0252 Specializing in interior and exterior painting

� Happy Windows Shutters. Verticals. Mini Blinds. Pleated Shades. Roman Shades. Drapes. Valances. Discount with Installation Call Eileen 215.465.7525

Home Services � CPR Restoration Restoration & cleaning service Fire/Smoke/Water/Mold 215.704.4958

� PHL Athletics 2017 S. Juniper St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.778.3259 |

� SPST - South Philly Sports Training Here for your Baseball, Softball and Fitness Training Needs! 1401 S. 25th Street Phila, PA 19146 215.767.8103

Home Improvement � Novello Contracting 267.688.4879

� Nunzio Fortuna Roofing, Inc. Commercial & Residential Roofing/Siding/Gutters/ Downspouts 3rd generation in Business Licensed & Insured Free Estimates 215.468.8396

| ROWHOME | July | 94 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE MAGAZINE / August July / August / September / September 2020 2020

� FBI Pest Control We rid your pests so you can rest Frank Fioravanti, route supervisor 2909 S Franklin St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.768.1804

� Philip’s Moving & Removal Services No job too big or small. Licensed & Insured. Free Estimates. 215.500.3903

Insurance Services � Troast-Singley Insurance Agency, LLC Kim Troast-Singley 2700 S. 18th St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.339.0333

Jewelers � Olivieri Jewelers 2523 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.336.1130

Legal Services � Perry deMarco, Jr. Esq. 1500 Market St. Suite 4100 Philadelphia, PA 19102 215.563.6100

Medical � Dr. Denise D’Adamo DC 2432 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.468.2999

� Pennsport Physical Therapy 3310 S. 20th St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.467.4431

Music Lessons � Joe Cuglietta Guitar Lessons Washington Township, NJ Specializing in blues, jazz, rock & roll Beginners to advance 609.504.8258

Professional Organizations � South Philadelphia Business Assn. Oldest Business Association in South Philadelphia | Join today! Russell Shoemaker Director of New Membership 267.597.7154

Real Estate � Fetterman Design Group, LLC.

Join the PRH BUSINESS NETWORK! Call Carol at 215.462.9777 or

211 East Palmer Ave Collingswood, NJ 08108 856.264.6816



� Bella Angel

� Anthony’s Italian Coffee House 903 & 905 S. 9th St. Phila., PA 19147 215.627.2586

� Antney’s Grub Delivery & Takeout 2655 S. Juniper St. 267.639.3792 Home of the SIRCRABAGUS, FRAB FRIES & Antney’s TEXAS WIENERS Burgers/Steaks/Fries/ Beef/Pork & more! Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm Sunday 11 am-9pm

� Caffe Chicco Voted Best of Philly 2017 / Roast Beef Sandwich 2532 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.334.3100

Spa Services 158 N. 3rd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 856.227.7774

� Hot Hands Studio & Spa 2545 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.467.9666

� The Beer Peddlers 1942 S, Christopher Columbus Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.755.2337

� Cannuli’s Sausage

� SPI Security Services Inc. 2440 Federal St. Philadelphia, PA 19146

� Travel with Pam Draper Full Service Agent 856.956.3532

Specialty Foods & Catering

1640 Ritner St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.468.7997

Ron Rabena 161 Washington Street: Suite 600 Conshohocken, Pa 19428 1.866.825.5433

� Michael DiGiacomo Tattoo One Five Custom Tattooing & Art Gallery 815 S 4th Street 215.644.9444

� At Escapes Your boutique travel company Gina Casella/Founder & President | 917.514.5566

� Philly’s Nail Spa

� Stogie Joe’s Tavern

� Allied Universal Security Services

Tattoo Artist

Travel Services

Wellness and Beauty Spa Refer three customers and get $20 off the service of your choice! 2502 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.271.9831

1801 E. Passyunk Ave Philadelphia, PA 19148 215-463-3030

Security Services

Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.389.2045

� Giovanni’s Italian Catering Located in the heart of South Philadelphia 267.439.0779

� Mike’s Hot Dog Cart 24th & Passyunk

� Swan Caterers Now serving at 2 locations 2015 S. Water St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.389.8888 1500-02-04 Shunk St.




July / August July / August / September / September 2020 2020 ROWHOME ROWHOME MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 95

| 95

For the love of God

HangSE Up! D


ta Jackson o R e tt e r o D y B


fter the 35th political commercial airs on the TV in less than 35 seconds, Dawn can’t take it anymore. ‘It’s time we all go back to the basics,’ she snaps. ‘We are exposed to way too much information all the time, round the clock. It takes your breath away. It gave us all anxiety. No one is the same anymore.’ I can’t believe I’m hearing this from my phone loving sister. ‘We should all start by plugging the phone back into the wall where they hung when we were kids. With answering machines taking messages. Beep! Back to the days when you couldn’t answer if you weren’t home. ‘I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone right now, please leave a message at the sound of the beep and I will get back to you as soon as possible!’ BEEP! ‘Now we’re mourning deaths, lighting virtual candles, sending online confetti for birthdays and cackling turkeys for Thanksgiving. Every day, all the time! I can’t take it anymore! ‘You know that people can’t all be this happy. On boats and beaches, sipping cocktails and painting their kitchens. They have to be lying. You know most of them and they aren’t this chilled in real life. How can anybody be chilled with Covid and politics, masks and gray roots! ‘I’m not bashing social media,’ she slips in there. ‘It’s a wonderful thing. It keeps us all in touch. No one ever has to feel alone. But really! How much is too much!’ This from my social media obsessed sister? Who are you? Where’s Dawn? Who-


ever this woman is thinks like me? Can’t be! We have come a long way from crank phones and switchboard operators and the classic princess phones on your nightstand. It’s called evolution. You either embrace it or become extinct. I’m talking about self-control, here, folks. We seriously are conditioned to scroll, snap, post, ponder and respond to every beep, clang, ching and chang of our cellphones, which we stuff in our bras, pockets, purses and backpacks 24/7 - breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime! I’ll never forget the first “personal” phone we got when we were kids. It was a blue streamlined AT&T princess model I shared with my sister. It had an extra-long cord so we could talk from our beds and - here’s the kicker - its own separate number! Howard 2 - 4897! No more eavesdropping from another line in the house! No more busy signals. No more worries about erased messages on the family answering machine! My mother surprised us with this high-tech beauty on Christmas Day, 1971. The only thing we had to do was learn to share it. ‘Responsibly,’ my mother added. ‘Or I will pull that plug so fast you won’t know what hit you!’ Easy for her to say. She didn’t share a bedroom with my sister. Who loves to TALK! Endlessly. Non-stop. Anytime. Always followed by incessant laughter, snorting and high-pitched shrieks of ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Not so bad if you’re alone in the room. Try being on the top level of a bunk bed with her below you. How much does a 10-year-old have to say? And to whom? ‘Haaaaa! Wear your purple ones,’ she snorted to best friend Jackie on the other end. ‘The

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October / November / December 2020

by DORETTE ROTA JACKSON high buckle back wedgies and I’ll wear my red ones. We can walk to Marra’s for pizza and let everybody see us! Haaaaa!!!’ Things haven’t changed much in 50 years. Dawn is still on the phone. And I’m still in earshot of most of her calls. Same incessant laughter, snorting and high-pitched shrieks of ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Except now, she wears her cordless ear buds. So, you don’t know if she’s talking to you or whatever person is next in line on her cell phone. I walk around the house answering, ‘Yes. No. What are you talking about?’ until she hits me with the infamous Dawn scowl face. ‘I’m not talking to you. I’m on my phone.’ No freakin’ kidding, I think to myself. Where else would you be? Since this is the season to be merry, I will share one of her latest conversations to brighten your day. It was from Father Kelley, our pastor at St. Monica’s. Apparently, Dawn was in charge of filling out the online forms for her granddaughter Elle’s upcoming Christening Day. On the line that requests ‘Name of Father,’ Dawn wrote - Father Joseph Kelley. ‘Dawn, I’m not Elle’s father,’ he laughed into the phone, which was on speaker. ‘Please write your son’s name on that line and get the form back to me.’ Back to basics, I guess you can say. Divine intervention at the highest level. It was so funny, I was snorting and shrieking for a good hour! Boy, I really do miss that blue princess phone with the extra-long cord and our bunk beds. It’s funny how happy memories nurture our souls for a lifetime. PRH

Autumn. The season that teaches us that change can be beautiful. — heather a. stillufsen 2014

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