My mother Lillian (often called Lil or Lily) was born in Tonawanda, New York, on March 2, 1918. She graduated from Tonawanda High School, the school that was the cross-town rival of North Tonawanda High School, where my father went.
Mom worked in the A&P grocery store in Tonawanda after graduating from high school. This was the only paying job she ever had. When we were kids, she used to tell my sister and I about various things she had learned “in the Army,” but she never really enlisted. We fell for it, of course.
My mother was a fantastic cook. Especially good were her spaghetti and crab gumbo. She never cooked using recipes, but always did it “by guess and by gosh,” as she used to say. I can still smell that spaghetti!
She played saxophone in grammar school and in her high school marching band. She had a real gift for playing musical instruments. She could play piano and organ by ear. In fact, she couldn’t read music very well! When they had parties at the fire hall, she was always the one that played the piano.