My Autobiography by Michael Normandy, Sr.

Some people said we were like a bunch of gypsies moving every few months. We did move a lot but there was a reason for it which Iíll talk about a little later. Hint: It has to do with the Great Depression.

1926: I was born in February at 89 Conselyea Street which is on the corner of Conselyea and Leonard. That must have been quite a day weather-wise because of the way my mother described it in her book called "Ida, A True Life Story."

Keep in mind, Mom always called me Buddy because my grandfatherís name was Michael Normandia before I was given the name. In fact, on Grandpaís oldest legal documents, his name is spelled Michele Normandia. The papers were written in old Italian since Grandpa was born in Palma Campania, in the province of Naples, Italy, in 1868. Michael is spelled Michele in Italian, so legally he was named Michele Normandia. To be quite honest, I donít think Grandpa ever legally changed the spelling of Normandia, except for his business. Maybe Iíll tell you a little bit about the other Michael Normandys and Normandias later on.

Back to the day I was born, before I get totally sidetracked! The Italian naming conventions were followed closely in the olden days. The first son born in an Italian family had to be named after the childís paternal grandfather. Therefore, I was named Michael Normandia.

In her book, Mom wrote, "Buddy, my son, was born on Conselyea Street on a day when it snowed so badly that the doctor wouldn't come out of his house. Noli had to take a rock and break the doctor's window to get him to come out. Then they had to shovel his walk so he could get out. Dr. Donza lived in a nice section where all the doctors lived. He had a big stoop all covered with snow."

In case youíre wondering who Noli was, his full name was Nolano Landriono. For the record, Noli was the best man at my parentsí wedding in July of 1921. They were married by Father Saponara at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on North 8th Street and Union Avenue. That old, beautiful church was torn down when it was in the way of the new BQE expressway. The new church was very plain, not at all like the old ornate one we all went to. They crammed all the beautiful life-size statues into one small room. It just wasnít the same anymore.

Well, my sister googled 89 Conselyea Street and now, 2015, thereís a DeStefanoís Restaurant at that address. Everything changes with time.

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Now playing: "​M-O-T-H-E-R a word that means the world to me"

Sung by Eddie Arnold 

Lyricist Howard Johnson, Composer Theodore Morse, 1915

 

Mother
M is for the millions things she gave me
O is that she's growing old
T is for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart of purest gold
E is for her eyes with love-light shining
R is right, and right she'll always be
Put them all together they spell MOTHER
The one who means the world to me

 

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