In 1952, my family moved into a three bedroom, one bathroom house on Janey Way.
With three young children and another child on the way, my dad felt like we needed a “bigger” house. Our family fit right into this neighborhood, as it was filled with other young families. Not only did my brothers and I meet lots of new friends, but my parents also met a whole group of great neighbors.
The Thomsen’s who lived across the street, the Costamagna’s next to them and the Puccetti’s and Viani’s down the street all welcomed Mom and Dad to the neighborhood. Phyllis Thomsen, Leda Costamagna and Pat Puccetti all pitched in to help Mom who was pregnant with my brother John at that time.
However, soon after we moved onto Janey Way, another family moved in down the street who would become Mom and Dad’s closest friends: Bernie Hart, his wife Rose and their infant son, Tom.
Like my dad, Bernie worked as a patrolman for the Sacramento Police Department. He met Dad there and probably moved to Janey Way because of the things he heard about our neighborhood.
Soon after the Harts moved in, Mom became fast friends with Rose who everyone affectionately called Rosie. It would prove to be a lifelong friendship.
It’s hard to figure what made these two young women such good friends. Their backgrounds could not have been more different. Rosie hailed from the back woods of West Virginia and mom grew up on the seacoast in Santa Cruz, California. Rose had a wry wit and told racy jokes and tall stories. Mom took things seriously. I am sure she made a good “straight man” for Rosie.
Every morning, back then, Rose left her home early, got into her mint green Cadillac sedan and drove up to our house. When Mom saw her coming, she always put a fresh pot of coffee on the stove to brew, then let Rosie in the kitchen door. Then they sat down at our big round maple dining table to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and talk for the entire morning.
I remember even today the great stories Rose told about her childhood in West Virginia. She could really spin a yarn. Mom too, had wonderful stories about growing up with five brothers in Santa Cruz. When they weren’t telling stories, they chatted about the goings-on in our neighborhood. It seems like they spent an entire lifetime sitting at that table talking.
Right around noon, Rosie gathered up her young son Tom and drove off the grocery store to buy something to cook for dinner. Mom often took my little brother John and went with her. I remember them driving off in Rose’s big caddy while my brother Terry and I played in our front yard. It seems so long ago now.
Rosie passed away several years back. In 2009, my mom followed her. I guess she missed Rosie and wanted to join her.
There is an interesting twist to this story. My brother John lives now in our family’s home on Janey Way. Rosie’s son Tom inherited her house and has recently remodeled it. Later this month, he and his wife Diana will move into the home where his mom lived for her entire adult life. Both John and Tom look forward to being Janey Way neighbors again.
I bet that Rosie and Mom are looking down from the heavens and smiling.