Catherine Miceli, Joseph Miceli, and Roz Luongo

Recorded November 26, 2008 Archived November 26, 2008 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBX004642


Roz interviews her parents for their 50th wedding anniversary and tells them things the family has said about them.

Subject Log / Time Code

Joe is one of eleven children. Cathy is good with dates and remembers all of their birthdays.
Cathy’s mother told her she was pregnant with her first child before she even knew.
Roz is their third daughter. Roz remembered when Joe would squeeze her hand during church when they said “our father.”


  • Catherine Miceli
  • Joseph Miceli
  • Roz Luongo

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:06 My name is Katherine Miceli and I'm 68 years old. Today's date is November 26th 08. We're located in Lenox, Massachusetts, and I'm not speaking to my husband Joseph and also my daughter Ross.

00:25 My name is Ross Longo. I am 45 years old. Today's date is November 26th 2008. We're in Lenox, Massachusetts, and I'm here with my parents Kathy and Joe Miceli.

00:39 And I am Joseph Miceli age 72 today's date is November 26th.

00:47 08 here in Lenox, Massachusetts relationship to my wife and daughter

00:56 I'll start timer has Luongo here with my parents. As I said, I'm one of their six children or five girls and one boy next April 4th. My parents will be married 50 years and I've invited them here today to talk about their time together and to share with them some thoughts from their children though. I am the only one of your children sitting here in the recording booth. All of my siblings have shared with me stories and thoughts that they like to pass like they would like me to pass along to you both. So first mom, can you briefly talk about your childhood up until the time you went to high school?

01:30 Oh, okay. My childhood is I was born December 7th 1940. Okay, December 7th Pearl Harbor day and in France all Lyon France and we came on a big boat went in 1948 my little February 20th in New York City to Baltimore cuz that's where I sponsor lived and lived there for four years. We lived there for years at 4:40 from Apartments. I don't know why but that's the way it was and

02:07 And then my father was not doing very well and he got an opportunity to go to New York to make more money and too. So we decided my parents decided to move to New York. And then we lived in Astoria for 2 years and projects and which wasn't bad was ten blocks to walk to the school that I remember my mother and father by the way, I never owned a car my father and mother never drove a car. My mother did try to drive a car in her sixties in New York City which was kind of unusual, but she was a very independent woman had a big influence on all of us and I'm one of three children, by the way, I have two brothers necklace and Michael and then we moved to Brooklyn.

03:01 With my parents finally got to own a house and I live a few blocks away from my future husband, which I didn't know it was going to be my future husband.

03:12 Okay. Dad your turn. Can you tell us about your childhood up until you were in high school and met mom?

03:20 Well, I was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre.

03:26 And I played football at the high school grew up where you had to walk to school when I was there. We walked to school in the old Horseman.

03:41 Carriage with the milk cart on it used to bring the milk to school.

03:46 And it snowed Latin in Pennsylvania.

03:50 And when I grew up plate School iPad football at the high school.

03:58 And that was pretty good. Then we moved my father has worked in the mines and they close the mines and he moved to Brooklyn New York at which time I met my wife now, I did talk to Aunt Gracie your sister. I talked to her last night and she remembers clearly how much he loves football and and what was the situation with the coach and it was at your senior year that you moved. Well, I thought you said I was pretty good at football. In fact the coach when my father decided to move to Brooklyn.

04:34 The coach had offered me to stay at his house. So I would be just to play football in Pittston, Pennsylvania, but I chose not to

04:51 And if I did I would have been my wife at 1 at 6 kids. Did you ever get your high school diploma and I have to tell you it's the people that know you that you don't have it because of your knowledge of mechanics and the way you can take machines apart and fix things and certainly didn't hold your back as far as what you're able to learn even without the degree.

05:15 Okay, my now you're on the spot everybody that knows you knows you're a real whiz with dates and daddy is one of 11 children. So are you able to name his siblings in birth order and their birthdates? Oh, yeah. It was one of 11. And the first one is Nicholas's birthday is June 11th. 1930. The second one is kahi September 30th. 1932 third one is Sadie McDonald's cheese 19th, June June 12th. 1934. Next one is Phil.

05:52 July 25th 1935. The next one is still my husband July 24th. 1934. The next one is Gracie, who is the same age as me October 23rd. 1941 is Camila February 14th. 1944. Next one is Charlie July 19th 1940.

06:21 8 then comes Johnny October 14th 1950

06:28 Then comes the Twins Danny and David August 14th. 1951 really don't know if you're right or not, but it sounded good. Okay. So either of you crazy said that you were at vocational school together for hairdressing and that you were good friends, and that's how you ended up going around to the Miceli house. So just a little bit about how you met and some of your first dates. I think when was the prom and real quick on Fast Forward on the courtship?

07:00 Okay, so

07:03 When I move to Brooklyn, I was fourteen finished my latter part of the 8th grade. So that's six months of 8th grade went to Saint Michael's High School, which we didn't like so I went to vocational school near I met my future system of Gracie who's also had just move like a couple months before I they from Pittston, Pennsylvania. So both of us had no friends whatsoever. So we connected and we happen to live a couple blocks from each other. So she her house was like bustling all over. I mean there was kids there was food. That was everything just all over the place and it was it was a great my house was

07:46 My parents don't forget got married when they were my mother was 38 when she had me my father was 50. Okay, so they were old parents. We spoke French and sand in my house because it was easier for both of my parents to do that and my two brothers are younger than I am and they were busy doing their own thing. So I connected with Gracie and hung up there and there was a lot of things going on and before you know, it this guy thin black hair.

08:19 White shirt

08:21 Fixing his tie getting ready to go out and I was sick. I was standing next to my mother-in-law is sick and I feel this to my girls and they do not believe me, but I swear to God I never spoke to him before I knew he was her brother, of course, and I something in my head told me that's the guy you're going to marry.

08:43 And I seen this beautiful looking black.

08:47 Really nice Young and Wild shape

08:53 I'm going to date her.

08:55 Then we dated.

08:59 It just became

09:01 One day after the other and I just couldn't let it go so we became boyfriend girlfriend and then eventually we got engaged and married.

09:11 Did did mom's mom Grandma press run you through the ringer on that one Kathy go to bed. That's when I was at the house at 9. So you'll be starting Kathy. Lolly Force Captain had to go to bed take a shower with a friend go to bed, and I had to leave.

09:38 So then I would go out with the boys. Wish I found out later.

09:45 Okay, we're going to move right to you or well you a quick first year of marriage or so before you were pregnant for the first time?

09:54 Put for COK. We lived on the Atlantic Avenue one. Not even a studio apartment. Remember, I think something like that honeymoon in the Poconos, which was great you pay for our own wedding pay for our own honeymoon open up the envelope. So we have money for the honeymoon and then we stay there for six months and then we went to we lived on Sheppard Avenue and that's where we had Christina first daughter. Remember what you were thinking or what your reaction was when you find out you're pregnant.

10:36 I was happy for course, it was unexpected and happy and

10:42 Welcome same except we were going to live with it. That was it. Great. So that's Christine does the name that's her name of any significance. Okay before the backtrack of the second. I got pregnant in November and my mother gave me a nice green dress. I remember and I tried it on and she looked at me very strangely and she says you're pregnant.

11:08 And I looked at her and total shock cuz I hadn't really registered in my mind yet that I was actually pregnant and I think a couple weeks later. She was right she kind of knew even before I get it. I don't understand that but that's what I remember. And what was the question again?

11:27 I forgot her name. I don't know why I thought of Christ and the only thing I could think of is Christine is part of Christ and that's why I need to Christy.

11:38 So Christina a couple questions or comments when I didn't remember that she said once you bought a twirly Bird game for the backyard on Father's Day. I remember that in the kids all played with that do I don't know why by happened to that everybody. Would you buy a toy for your kids?

12:05 Cuz he was like his father. His father did the same thing. That was a great Shopper used to go there now down to Canal Street, and I remember once Father's Day He gave His daughter-in-law's a gift.

12:19 And then Mom but memories to go to McDonald's and every now and then you every now and then we would go and every now and then you guys would say okay the limit, of course, I never thought that it what did it happened just arbitrarily where it was their reason or any certain day that would happen. And what exactly did you allow us to do when we went to have this can I have that they always ask me for something. So I just got to the point where it's the sky's the limit you can have anything you want as much as you want as long as you ate it.

12:53 We didn't do that often, but it was good. Chris would also like to say as far as things that she many things that she's received from you both. But in reflection, she said you taught her how to sell and now she's teaching her own children, and she she likes it very much. So pregnant now for the second time anything out of the ordinary that pregnancy and had to come up with her name.

13:17 15 months later Annette was born and

13:24 I like Saint Bernadette the Saint Bernadette her story at Lord's and everything else like that. But then I don't know. So then I have a cousin in France whose name is Annette, who is my son's wife's name? And I remember her before we left for France. It was a big dinner and she was so beautiful. I remember as a seven-year-old just staring at her because she was so so pretty and I like the name in that and I said to my mother what do you think of an answer is? Yeah, that's nice. So that's how she got her name.

14:04 Now in its first comment with your mom really her only comment was she thanks you for her never-ending gift of faith. And her first recollection of of the power of faith is when I'm call Mikey had died and she remembers you and Grandma press dealing with it and getting through it and she's she said she's trying to be as good of his example of faithful service to her children.

14:31 I don't know what to say about that my brother youngest brother.

14:36 Died in 1973

14:40 Freakish subway accident and

14:46 My mother had to go through that and I was very hard for her.

14:52 That's all I can say.

14:54 And Dad and said she wants to thank you for two things. The first is teaching her the importance of a job well done. And the other was the importance of the family. She remembers you probably never missing a day of work going in early in the morning coming home for supper going into the seller to do the homework and she just said you taught a great worth at work ethic by example. And is that how you learned it? Yes, my father was he had worked in the mines and then he had side jobs where he fixed small appliances and he was always

15:28 Doing something. So I just got done doing something and hopefully the kids pass pass it on to the kids.

15:36 And she also remark on on family and how you have shown us how important it is just by example where Sunday, we would go to Grandma Sally's and now you have your Sundays in Rhode Island with some of your siblings and it says that without family we're drifting alone through life and she's primarily put set over you as a as a thank you for something. You taught her. Love to have everybody at the campsite a lot more about your third born child 2 years after in that to the votes have a birthday in November and okay third daughter. What are you going to name? The third daughter big glamma even look for the baby book The Steve with Neymar going to come up with

16:33 So I remember going to high school with a girl named Roz. Her name is Rosalyn, but we called her eyes and I said that to his Joanne's but do you think it's all right, and that's how you got your name?

16:48 I'm going to dig right in his first one with you again, when I would stand next to you in church and would have my hand on the few the kids when I held him at church, and we always got to the Our Father.

17:08 For some reason I want them to know it was your father and

17:15 We were there and I wouldn't let them go so I can squeeze her hand as hard as I could and the grandchildren.

17:35 And then a couple quick memories that I had his is when we would after an outing or something we pile into the car and we'd all get in and yell roll call you think we were one of you know, 25 children, but that was always fun to didn't forget one is every time after fishing or boating and I stop at Dairy Queen for this day, but usually they're so I had to buy you something and Mom I have to say my opinion you're like the original environmentalist because we had a compost pile growing up. We try we certainly taught me that any distance that's walkable should be walked and not driven right for the crumbs out there for the birds or end that and you're volunteering.

18:35 Set a great example for me. Thank you. Thank you. I like doing that.

18:41 Alicia and also not to leave out your 20 plus years of volunteering at the church to make costumes for the Passion Play thirty years. Alright my mistake I did surprised with the fourth child.

18:59 He was born in February, February 20th. 1966. Okay, February 20th is also the date that we landed in New York City 1948. Okay, just by coincidence is it happened to be that way? But anyway OK, it's Sunday morning. It's February snow outside this three young children sleeping not to my husband time to go to the hospital. What do you do with three young children?

19:33 My husband says

19:36 I guess we'll call the police department. Okay, call the police department. I'm busy having the labor pains call the police police department and

19:46 Cuz they come by. What's the problem? Well, can you babysit the kids he actually said this can you babysit the kids while I take my wife to the hospital and they laughed at him and now you babysit the kids would take the wife to the hospital. So that's what happened. So I went to the hospital and he was born pretty quick call them up around 8 in the morning and he's busy getting breakfast for the the three girls that I left behind and I have to telling him the doctor system 8 do you want to call your husband and tell him what you had I just yeah.

20:25 So I called my passes we had a boy and is 9 lb in 1 oz were naming him Joseph.

20:31 You didn't have the kids. Yes. You just there as a Joe. I had the kid. He's a boy. I would name him Joseph and the subject and hung up the phone.

20:43 She called up and talking in the regular normal voice like she just left and normally you sedated your draghi and she just talk talk like she just left the house normal as you trying to tell me she had a boy and he was excited believe it. So she got mad at the column guys to know the one thing that guys has done that none of us have done was to join the Navy.

21:30 Yeah, that was kind of like a surprised cuz he came home and he said he joined the Navy and it was like

21:39 I don't know why you did that.

21:41 But I was happy that he joined for the four years rather than I was happy to join you maybe rather than going in the Army because in the Army, he would have been just a regular Soldier and in the Navy that gave some training the card and some stuff. I hope he enjoyed it, but I thought it was better.

22:01 I think you picked the Navy because my brother was in Annapolis and he heard the talk about Navy and at one time and that wanted to go to the Annapolis and was thinking of going there but for some reason other got deterred by it, but he always heard the word Navy never heard the word Army and I think I was telling him what college you going to go to what college you going to go to Mel and he decided it was a good choice as it turned out cuz today is doing real good right now and a good teacher to math teacher.

23:02 That's because he's coaching football. So that's his soft teaching children. Today is hard turn out good. So if he does that with his students

23:18 He's very good. Okay. Now we should talk about your easiest child Lizzy Elizabeth and her birth and date for my husband's birthday, July 23rd 1968. So that's 40 years ago. She turned 40 this year busy looks a lot like my husband's side beautiful black care, but the brown eyes and the lightest skin.

23:46 Tall she's tall. She's she's a very pretty girl, but she can I say when she was born.

23:56 What was in July and I said to job if I go to the debating I go to work this morning go get my mother because I think I'm going to the hospital and that's exactly what happened. To pick her name of my sister-in-law Gracie has just moved from Elizabeth, New Jersey and with the fourth daughter. What do you name? So it's with these girls named you have problems with the last anyway, I was hoping for a boy say that was the idea three girls and three boys another it's not that way. So so she says,

24:32 Do you repeat that you remember and you may or may not of course, but shortly after coming back from Jesse's boot camp graduation. Lizzie asked you to go to a gymnastics meet remember any details on that was now she said she had she did really poorly at the meat and the reason it's most memorable for is because both of you just helped her laugh at off made it no big deal and she says it's it's just your most memorable gymnastics meet having you there and having you not make a big deal out of what happened to just not be her day as far as making an issue of it. Now. Are you have you have good days and you have bad they some days you perform. Well in other days you just off key.

25:18 So you that's the way life is and have you at her birthday party this summer? So what would you like to say about that? That was a lot of fun really? A lot of fun. It was different about the presentation where it was located the beach house house decorated World. Justin White Witch was, you know, not most flattering for me but flattering for everyone else and it was just casual porch was slowing flowing currents in the brain. The music was nice to nice to spend time with Lizzie because of the Lizzie right now lives in Hoboken, New Jersey and

26:14 She's she's a distance away and she works a lot. So she doesn't want to drive by his self up the Connecticut cuz it's a little bit of a hike but she does honor us with her presence during the holidays and special occasions. She never misses so grateful for that.

26:34 Mom did you really do a shot with her out of a nice shaped shot glass? That's what she did and did you call that with the distended the jello things that was at your birthday. That was Snoop Dogg whatever it was jello shots and smooches and while we appreciate our falling behind.

27:28 One more one more child to Catherine.

27:34 And of course 6 daughter V daughter the sixth child. I figured while you know, what I deserve recognition. Her name is going to be Catherine and then there's it there. This is really smart girl Lizzie and Kathy but two of them actually are the last two.

27:51 Are the only place in Hoboken with you? Everybody thought was no you thought was very expensive. I thought you wasn't have a tough time with her, but she ended up buying it and paying for it and doing real well and think at the end of the buying a house in Avon.

28:19 The one before that she bought one at 9, and then she was way out of line by your second House in Avon.

28:29 Which is

28:31 Way too expensive to my way of thinking big fancy house and she's managing both places. I can't believe they are doing the whole family. So you are y'all doing better than Mom and Dad. Okay. Did you want to tell the story?

29:00 I'm not she saying Grandpa massage. She means for her Grandpa Miss. So that means your father your father receives a car. This is what I was told your father received the car from his father.

29:15 A brand new car

29:19 Play to the song. Yeah, you're so your grandfather. Took it apart. I know your father.

29:26 How's it going? Yeah, his father came home and saw that your father at 18 took the whole brand new car part and his fastest to him. Why did you do that? I want to see how it works. And then he he put it all back together to understand how the engine works in the car. He's very mechanical. He's the one who fix appliances sewing machines washing machines anything that's mechanical. He could face in this man. My father-in-law had only a fourth grade education. He read books and he got to be an electrician in the coal mines by reading books. So even though he's

30:12 He was a self-taught another words in Pennsylvania. See what he went to work. He can give his cars. He was at work and I ended up taking his car with a bunch of my guys and we all jumped in the car and took it for a ride my mother found out about you never told my father.

30:44 Yeah, well, we let Don wanted to point out something that she learned from you even before she was married when they were putting together their guest list and there was a you were told it was a limit on how much family you could invite. Do you remember what you said to her when you were limited to family compared to what friends she was allowed to invite. I don't remember anything happening now she does because you made a very important pressure you eat impression on her you were saying to her that family comes first. Nothing's more important than family and you are we would do would not hear of her putting a friend at the wedding over somebody in the family and she's just said that she just tries to incorporate that and in all of her decision making sure about that yet you won today, you've got family and friends and tomorrow your friends get mad.

31:44 We can move and go here go there and they have family and friends and basically in the future you're just left.

31:52 With family

31:54 I know most of your friends have gone moved on so family is first and last.

32:02 No, I'm in full agreement depend on your family. You may not like him all the time you met but you're certainly will love them all the time. And that's it. That's all there is to it. Well, I want to give you guys a chance to talk more at the end and and but I also want to say I also contacted my nieces and nephews and ask him for a quick thoughts on grandma and grandpa. So I wanted to be sure we record this part for them cuz they were very kind. So we'll start with Savannah Savannah says grandma. She knows that you're always willing to practice speaking French with her and she wants you to know that you're the reason she chose to learn how to speak French and Grandpa her memory funny enough was of you squeezing her hand and Invention Convention putting the kickstand on the scooter.

33:02 Grandma you make better pasta sauce than my mom. Yeah. Thank you. Grandpa says I have to laugh when I think of the time that you got in trouble at your Campsite in Rhode Island because of my crazy golf cart driving age. Do you no longer have to drive and Chris's Grandma you make good pasta and you always clean my room when you come over and I asked him if he Minds if it bothered him that you clean his room, he said, no, not at all. He likes it when I

33:38 Aegis is Grandma. I like that we hang out together driving around doing errands you are a good listener and a good talker age is a good listener get soccer herself and she says grandpa. I like to follow you around in your garage Sam and I like to play the game called figure out what grandpa doesn't have two of Emily said Grandma makes really good food and that Grandpa helped her build a bird cage in your Workshop. It's funny. They call the seller the workshop and his grandma. I like to hang out with you. That's what he said. You are a good listener and I like to hear what you have to say. I like spending time with you you cheer people up.

34:21 He said Grandpa you help me with projects when I made a bird cage on my own. It was just pieces of wood nailed together. But when I made one with you, it was perfect. It looked like it was store bought.

34:31 Jake's is Grandma. I like to play the game or we try to blow up each other ships on the computer and then he says you are both very nice. That's two from J. Crew 7th. And livius is Grandma. I love your chicken and coffee cake was my mom as fussy and either as I am supposed to eat any of my grandchildren and grandpa live. He misses the Tickle Monster to Grandpa. You always want to help me and have fun and at the lake I like when you go on the boat and then he said you are both very nice and I have to give a little side know here. He seemed like he was very hesitant and hold me back and I asked if there's anything else and well

35:23 He said he asked me if it would be played on the radio. And I said no probably not he said okay, so I said you don't have to worry what you say then. He said okay, tell them I love them. And if you don't want that on the radio, it's very personal and and a couple seconds and he said, you know when i r i z you can tell them that I love them on the radio deeper than what you think. They are. You really have to be on 121 was anybody grandchildren children that the best comes out of them really does Stacy we are Grandma and Grandpa and they are

36:03 They are gigantic children. So let me love him dearly. Yeah, it was good. It was good. I thank God everyday for everything that I have my children my grandchild my health. My husband his family as a don't forget. Let me gave me a we had no family just by mother and my dad and my two brothers now, I have one brother was in California, which I don't see very often but we talked so that's good. I'm a sister-in-law Jane and their two kids

36:44 What do you have to say what I say? Well, I live this life and I never thought it would end up the way you did. Did we have six kids?

36:57 Healthy kids six healthy kids all of which are I'm very proud of right never said it. I'll tell him tell him enough times because I don't know. I'm a man he man and but you just said you love them on the phone oldest and Scott and then Peter is present the bank and net and Roslyn creative one.

37:28 Shelly teaching the phone is been in New York on a roam free beers doing great making big money season unemployed at the moment, but that'll change and Kathy two houses. I think they're all doing. Well. I seen so many families, part that fall apart and brothers and sisters don't talk to each other and the kids are moved out in Derry.

38:03 Hey, we just had the perfect family can that's what is better.

38:07 Why I think your mother and father did a great job to talk to each other which is very they're all doing perfect and our family we're all doing perfect. And if the kids carry-on what more can you ask for?

38:30 And the nicest

38:35 Well, all I can say is.

38:37 And I Love My Wife and Kids. We love you both very much. Welcome what you wanted exactly what I want to hear 4 hours. Are we short? No.