My father Anthony, Tony for short, was the youngest of the seven siblings, and I am the youngest sibling in my family. In fact, I am fourteen years younger than my sweet sister and was sixteen years younger than my brother.
My second and third cousins are more my age than my first cousins. I am blessed that I have close relationships with most of my cousins.
My father's oldest brother Casimir, Cass for short, was involved in politics in North Chicago, Illinois, serving as an alderman for our Polish neighborhood.
Uncle Cass (middle) at city hall with his some of his brothers and sisters after being sworn in as alderman. My father is the man on the right, notice that they have very similar features.
Uncle Cass worked at Cyclone Fence Company for twenty seven years, served as Alderman of the second district for sixteen years, and later became the city health officer. He also was a school board member for twenty three years and served as a board member of the Catholic charities.
Uncle Cass married Helen Wasnieski and had two children Lorraine and Roy. I remember my Aunt Helen was small in stature, a very good cook, and always had a package of Juicy Fruit gum in her purse that she would give to me.
January 18, 1958 brought great sadness to our family, especially my Aunt Helen. On Monday, January 20, 1958 the Waukegan News Sun newspaper on page one wrote about how brother-in-laws died just hours apart.
At the age of fifty five my Uncle Cass died from pneumonia and a short time later my Aunt Helen's brother died from a heart attack. I can only imagine how the passing of two loved ones within hours of each other affected my aunt.
My Aunt Helen was a centenarian at the time of her death who had her hair fixed every Friday at the beauty parlor and still dyed her hair a deep dark red. Tragedy was no stranger to Aunt Helen and yet she lived each day of her life to the fullest.