parents, Melvyn John Pugliese (born February 16, 1938 in Vandergrift, PA)
and Nancy Ann Kibirsky (born March 30, 1940 in Vandergrift PA) were married
on April 8, 1961 in East Vandergrift PA.
The army drafted my father six months after their wedding. My mom moved back to her parents home and continued to work as a secretary at U.S. Steel.
My mom was forced to quit her job when she was four months pregnant with me. At that time they didn't have maternity leave and the company did not let pregnant women work. She packed her bags and moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma in an off-base apartment with my dad.
I was born January 31, 1963 at the military hospital in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Nine months later my parents moved to Montclair, California where I lived for the next 18 years.
General Dynamics in Pomona hired my dad. My mom stayed home to take care of me. In March 1965 I became a big sister to Brian Anthony Pugliese.
When my brother and I were born, all but one of our grandparents were still alive. My grandfather, August (Blackie) Pugliese had died in June 1962 of a heart attack.
Costantino August (Blackie) Pugliese was born to Ferninndo
and Angela Maria Pugliese on April 15, 1893 in Italy. He immigrated
to the United States in 1916. He met Lucia (Lucy) Caiaccia, who was
born December 22, 1900 in Sharpsburg Pennsylvania, and married her on September
|Judy Kniss - Heir History Project|
|Lucy Pugliese 1917|
|Blackie Pugliese 1922|
|Blackie and Lucy 1918|
|That marriage started their own population explosion and produced a family spanning five generations consisting of five sons and four daughters, 32 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Thier first son, Fred, was born in 1919, followed by Rose Ann in 1921. Also in 1921 they moved to Spruce St. in Vandergrift PA. Esther Delores was born in 1922 followed by Arnold in 1923 and Richard in 1926. The family refers to this first spurt of kids as "the first family".|
|In 1928 the family moved to Emerson St, Vandergrift where they called home for the next 43 years.|
|Another major event happened in 1928. The "first family" bought a business. It was a bowling alley and pool hall with a lunch counter. Then along came Theresa Marie in 1933, Eugene in 1935, Melvyn (my dad) in 1938 and last but certainly not least, Rita Elaine in 1941.|
1950 the family sold the bowling alley and bought a roller skating rink
in North Apollo, PA. They owned and operated this family business
until their retirement in 1962. In addition to running this business
the family had a huge garden that they used for personal food and also
canned and sold to local merchants. My grandmother was the "canner
extraordinaire". Anthing that came out of the garden went into a
jar and ALL of the children washed and re-washed the bottles until they
After my Grandfather Blackie passed away in 1962, my grandmother started a successful catering business and operated that until 1971 when she sold the family home.
My grancmother, Lucy Pugliese, was a long-time member of St. Gerttude's Catholic Church, belonged to the Catholic Daughters of America; Daughter's of the American Revolution and was a charter member of the Moose Lodge. She gave unselfishly of her time voluntering with the Cerebral Palsy Center, Allegheny Valley Hospital Ladies Auxiliary and spent hours with her friends cutting and sewing lap pads for the veterans and during the war, cut and rolled bandages for the American Red Cross. Another organization close to her heart was the American Cancer Society. She would sew pillows, wine bottle covers and hanging towels and sell them, donating the money to our family's 'Relay for Life' team.
By today's standards my grandmotherwould be considered a workaholic. My dad said that "a lot of that was by necessity not by choice".
|The family in 1945 and 1950|
|Not only was she chief cook and bottle washer, she was a nurse, caring for all of the children through scarlet fever, pneumonia, measles, mumps, chicken pox and whatever other ailments came along. Her favorite cures were homemade chicken noodle soup (right down to plucking the feathers off the chicken) and bread and milk soup (the bread, of course was alway homemade too). She could also give any laundry mat a run for their money. Monday was always wash day without fail and of course this was|