There Goes The Bride!!

On Saturday June 15th, Krissi and Michael became Mr. and Mrs. Mikowicz, and the young man we fell in love with the night we met him, has become our 4th son (#1 & #2, Billy and Kenny by birth, #3 & #4, Chris and Mike by marriage)! And you want to talk about a smart young man? Michael Joshua Mikowicz met our daughter on June 15th, asked our daughter to marry him on June 15th, and married our daughter on June 15th! One date to remember! Romantic or highly practical? If you ask him, he’d say highly practical, but I think romantic!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Wedding Weekend really started a week before, on Sunday night (June 9th) when we picked up Krissi’s two minute younger brother at the Philadelphia airport. Kenny and his husband Chris, are in the middle of a 12 month contract on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, sailing out of Galveston, and Kenny had signed off for a week to attend his sister’s wedding. Unfortunately, Chris couldn’t get the week off too, and we have dearly missed our 3rd son this whole week! Kenny had 3 days with us in Ocean City before we headed to New York, so his pre-wedding festivities included dinner at Angelo’s in AC, a drink at Crabby Jacks, dinner at the back bar at Charlies with our good friend Sue, and a visit to our favorite bartender, Ralph, at Harrahs!

 

Then it was off to New York for the real Wedding Weekend, and for the D’Elia Family, this started where our relationship started with Michael, in Mineola. For a number of years, it had been a twice a month tradition for Krissi and Susie to have their nails done late on Wednesday afternoon, while Dad held down a spot next door at the bar of the St. James restaurant.
When they were done, my girls would cross the driveway between the two buildings and join me for a drink, and then we’d all have dinner. “Nail Night”, as we called it, was a long established tradition, and the place Susie and I first met Mike, and a few weeks later, Kenny met Mike, and then Chris met Mike.

 

Krissi thought it was only right, that this trip down memory lane include a traditional Nail Night for the family, so that’s exactly what we did. Kenny and I dropped Susie off a little after 3 at Kim’s Best Nails (Kim happens to be the Mom of a very good high school friend of Krissi’s), while the two of us checked in and dropped off our stuff at the Homewood Suites just down the street from our old Mineola house. Then it was time to head to the St. James and meet Mike, who was getting off the train a little after 4 at the Mineola Station. Hugs were exchanged and drinks were poured, and it was our usual part one of Nail Night. Then when the girls were finished with their pedicures and manicures, they joined us, and the picture was complete!

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We were sorry that our regular bartender Dennis no longer works there, but hugs were exchanged with Mo and Cathy (a couple of favorite waitresses over the years), and the new bartender Barry did a great job making us feel we were home! After drinks, it was time to take the party to a different venue for dinner, Piccolo’s!

Susie and I first went to Piccolo’s the night we purchased our 1989 Ford Taurus wagon, so it has been 30 years we’ve been customers. Over those 30 years, we’ve become friends with the owners and watched their kids grow and they have watched ours do the same. Piccolo’s has become the D’Elia family’s special celebration place for birthday dinners, anniversary dinners, the place to take special friends, even my Mom’s surprise 80th birthday, and a place our kids have enjoyed since they were little! What better place to have a wonderful celebratory dinner, and it did not disappoint! Our old friend Bert was in the kitchen and his son Robbie was working the floor, and the D’Elias once again felt right at home!

 

Then it was time for the kids to return to Astoria, while Mom and Dad relaxed at the hotel, in preparation for the real Wedding Weekend!

After checking into the Paper Factory Hotel Friday afternoon (it had been a paper factory in a former life), getting to see Mike’s folks Paula and Jerry, and our North Carolina Family (our son Billy, our daughter-in-law Lori and grandkids Layla, Henry, and Anna), it was time to head down 2 blocks to Tacuba Mexican Cantina for the big family dinner. From Michael’s side of the family there was his Mom and Dad, and his sister Sara, her husband Gabe, and their kids Maddy and Ethan! From Krissi’s ,there was Susie and I, twin brother Kenny, older brother Billy, his wife Lori and our three grandkids, 5 year old Layla, 3 1/2 year old Henry, and the baby, two month old Anna! It was great, and so familiar to spend time with the Mikowicz Family, or as we like to refer to them, Our Maryland Family! They are great people, and Susie and I are so thrilled to officially make our families one!

 

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Krissi, Henry, Layla, Paula, Jerry, Mike, Ethan, Maddy

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Gabe, Sara, Kenny, Lori, Anna, Sue, Bill

The wedding day started rather leisurely for us with a couple of Queens Bodega egg platters (Damn Kenny…I really wanted the egg Sandwich, but thanks for trying to keep Mom and I low carb) and showers and dressing. Just before noon, Susie went up to help our little girl get dressed, and she loved it…Susie that is! 

 

Then she and I Ubered over to the kids apartment, where the rest of the family was waiting!  Kenny and his sister were the last to arrive, and when they got there, Dad went down in the lobby to stay with his daughter, while Kenny got everybody up to the roof. When it was time, Kenny texted me, and rather than walk my daughter down a long aisle, I rode up to the roof with her in the elevator. Now, just a word about Krissi and Mike’s ceremony desires. They both wanted a small ceremony, with just parents, siblings, and their kids, and that’s what they got! Susie and I, Paula and Jerry, his sister Sara (Maid of honor) and her husband Gabe with their kids Maddy and Ethan, Krissi’s twin Kenny (Best Man), and her older brother Billy, his wife Lori, and our Grandchildren Layla, Henry and Anna. Small, intimate, on the roof of their apartment building in Astoria, NY, with the Manhattan skyline as a back drop. Nobody would have any problem if she wanted 12 Bridesmaids and 12 Groomsmen, but she and Mike wanted to be married this way, and it was wonderful! A perfect setting on a perfect day for a perfect couple!

 

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Wedding Video Courtesy of Ms. Madeline Smith

 

 

 

After the wedding, we adjourned to their apartment for some champagne to toast Krissi and Michael Mikowicz!!

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Cousins…sort of

Then it was off to the Boulevard Wine Bar for the party!

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The staff in this place couldn’t have been better, and the food and drinks kept coming. Being a wine bar, most seemed to be sticking with that (they had Rose, Cabernet, and Pino Grigio on tap), but there were drinks available too! I did ‘Rose-All-Day’ (a shout-out to son #3 on that phrase), and enjoyed seeing, and in some cases meeting, so many old friends of Krissi’s, other members of Mike’s Family, Susie’s sister Barbara and her husband Robbie (Krissi’s Godparents) and their son Ryan, our great friends Pat and Steve from Mineola, and people Krissi and Mike work with. Look, I’m gonna be honest here. When we came in the place, I sat down on a bar stool with my back to the bar, and I stayed there for the entire party! Everybody had to pass by me going in and going out, and I had no trouble getting Gabby the bartender to refill my wine glass! Worked for me!

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My Brother-in-law Robbie, my great friend Steve, my Beautiful Granddaughter Anna – Three (old) Men and a Baby!

Unfortunately, youngest son Kenny had a 7:55 flight to make out of LaGuardia to get back to Texas so he could re-board the Liberty of the Seas on Sunday morning. Just before 6, he changed out of his wedding suit, grabbed his bag, and amidst a lot of hugs and tears, Susie and I walked him out to the street to wait for his Uber. It was great that we had him this week, wonderful that he was able to be there with and for his twin sister, but sad that he couldn’t stay for the rest of the evening, and that his husband Chris couldn’t get off the ship too!
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Uncle Kenny says goodbye to Anna

After the last of the guests left the wine bar, we Ubered over the the Brewery that was to be the first after party, with Mike’s folks Paula and Jerry. We took a look, and the four of us decided that maybe this was time for the “older folks” (or as Jerry called us The Mommas and the Papas) to head back to the hotel and leave the carousing to the younger crowd! So I got us a chicken burrito bowl packed to travel from the food truck outside the brewery… and back to the hotel we went!

As our oldest son Bill and his family were leaving early Sunday morning to head back to North Carolina and celebrate Father’s Day, we said goodbye to our son and granddaughter Layla. (Mom, Henry and Anna had hit the hay by the time we got back to the hotel.) Susie and I then had a quiet, much needed, relaxing night in the hotel!

On Sunday morning, we found out that at the second stop on the after party circuit, Krissi and Mike realized they were done, and walked down the street to a diner, and ended their night sharing mozzarella sticks and potato skins. Just the two of them! Wish there were pictures of that!

To wrap up this weekend, we helped Krissi get her stuff from the hotel back to their apartment, and then the those of us left, joined in the apartment for a bagel before the families headed back to New Jersey and Maryland!

It was a wonderful week for Susie and I. First with our youngest child, then with Krissi and Mike, then adding son Billy, Lori (daughter #2) and the Grandkids, the rest of Mike’s family, and finally putting them all together with even more of our family, friends, co-workers, and people who were special to our kids, Krissi and Mike. Krissi, has always said she doesn’t like being the center of attention, and she had exactly the kind of wedding she wanted. I asked her Sunday morning if she’d gotten tired of smiling. She said no, she’d been fine. I asked her if she was okay being the center of attention. She said she kind of liked it. She summed it up by saying, “It was the best weekend of my life!”, as well it should have been! It was the wedding of her dreams!

Susie and I couldn’t be happier that Krissi and Mike are together, and we couldn’t have had a better weekend either! Surrounded by your family (by birth, by marriage, even by friendship), having something wonderful to celebrate, and feeling the love! What could be better!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Krissi and Michael Mikowicz, our daughter and son!

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Kristen Anne D’Elia

 

 

 

As a parent, it seems that the years just pass too fast.  You turn around, and that little girl who was just learning to walk, is driving.  Then she’s going to college, and then to graduate school.  Then she’s moving out of her teenage bedroom and into her own apartment.  Then she meets a guy she likes, and the next thing you know, she’s getting married!  Yep, life just flies by!

In just a week, our little Krissi, all grown up and now an administrator at Weill-Cornell Medical Center, will officially change her last name from D’Elia to Mikowicz, as she and Mike tie the knot!  Susie and I are so very proud of what our little girl has made of her life, and thrilled by her choice of Michael Joshua Mikowicz as her life partner!  These are two great kids (excuse me…adults), and we are so happy to have Mike, and the Maryland Mikowicz Family join together with our family!

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Twins Krissi and Kenny and older brother Bill

Krissi is our “middle child”, the two minute older sibling of her twin brother Kenny, and the 4 year younger sister of big brother Bill.  Right from the start, these twins couldn’t have been any more different.  Well, the obvious is, of course, him being a boy and she being a girl, but they were 6 weeks premature, and basically that’s because Krissi wanted to get out and see the world, while Kenny would have been happy to bake a little bit more in Susie.  Because of that, she was out of the NICU in only 18 days, while Kenny needed 28 days to get to 5 pounds.  As they grew up, Kenny was the one more likely to take a risk, while Krissi liked the safer side of the street.  Kenny was also one to cut people off quicker, while Krissi was in for the long hall!

 

As Krissi grew, it became obvious that she cared greatly for people and their welfare.  She was the girl to sign up for a cause!  When her brother Kenny came out to all of us, she was his staunchest defender when kids at high school would give him a hard time.  When you have Krissi on your side, you’ve really got all you need!!

When she went off to college, we were a bit worried about how she’d take being away from her twin brother.  The day we dropped her off at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., I’m not sure who was crying more…our daughter or her Mom!  But quickly we realized we had nothing to worry about.  She made friends (most of which she still has to this day), attacked her studies with passion, and got involved in extracurricular events.  She graduated with dual majors, a ton of friends, and a nice resume of achievements, many having to do with the welfare of Clark students and the residents of Worcester!  Then she came home.

A couple of pictures of the “Original Five” first at Brother Bill’s Wedding and then in Atlantic City!!

 

 

As hard as that was for any college kid, this girl had direction.  She wanted to help people, so she got herself an intern position with the NYC Human Rights Council.  She loved the work, the causes, and the people she worked with, and wondered if this could be a career.  She decided that perhaps getting a Masters of Public Administration degree might be a good first step, so she applied to several graduate schools. She also decided that she needed some money of her own, so she set out to get a job.

Getting accepted to several graduate programs, she decided to go to my Alma Mater, LIU Post, and for money, she got a part-time job at a local cardiologist’s office.  Once school started, she was working several days in NYC, several more at LI Heart near the Mineola Train Station, and traveling nightly from Mineola to Greenvale.   She was one busy young lady!  She originally was hired at LI Heart to digitize medical records, but pretty soon her work ethic brought her to the attention of the folks who ran the place and forced her to make a decision.  They wanted her to work there full-time, but that would mean giving up her internship.  She loved her intern work, but realized that taking the full-time job was the smarter move on her part!  She was great at getting the job done and at customer service, which I always credited on her three summers working at Bed Bath and Beyond. 

Working at LI Heart, she realized that there were many people she could help working in the medical profession, so she tailored her MPA degree more towards Medical than Non-Profit.  The girl had found what she wanted to do, and knew how to get there!  She continued to work at LI Heart, continued to excel in her graduate studies, and continued living at home.  

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Mom, twin brother Kenny, and Dad celebrate with the new MPA

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Her Weill-Cornell Office

Once she got her MPA Degree, she moved to Astoria, but continued working at Long Island Heart and commuted every day from Astoria to Mineola.  They were hot to keep her at LI Heart, but she knew that to really grow, she had to find a position in a bigger organization, and sent out resumes and went to many job interviews, till she was finally offered an entry level position at Weill-Cornell.  Foot in the door, our girl excelled, as usual, and as they say, the rest is history!

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At brother Kenny’s Wedding last October

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Nail Night w/ Dennis

She met Mike through on-line dating, and being the cautious person she is, didn’t saying anything to Mom and Dad for several months.  When she finally spilled the beans, they were well on their way to having a meaningful relationship. Mike joined us one Wednesday for “Nail Night” at the St. James, and after the first night, we were sold on him.  There were more nail nights with Mike, and pretty soon we felt like he was part of the family!  He went to the bathroom one night and I told Krissi, “If you break up with him, we’re keeping him!”  They didn’t and we’re thrilled!

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Their Astoria Roof

So on Saturday, June 15th, Kristen Anne D’Elia and Michael Joshua Mikowicz, on the rooftop of their Astoria Apartment Building, will become one.  It will be a small private ceremony with just parents and siblings, because that’s what they want.  Later in the day, there will be a party for their New York Family and friends at an Astoria Wine Bar.  In July, there will be a gathering at his sister Sara’s house in Maryland for Mike’s Maryland family and friends, and in the fall, there will be another gathering down here at the shore for family and friends.

Susie and I couldn’t be any prouder of these two.  They care about people, they are smart, they are fun, they are financially responsible (Krissi has already paid off her graduate school loans), and they are perfect together!  Mike makes Krissi laugh at herself, take chances, and to be an all around happy person!  I wish she didn’t work as hard and long as she does, but perhaps we can blame that on Bed Bath and Beyond too!  Just like with Susie and me, we think this match was made in heaven, and we could not be happier!!

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To Mike’s Mom Paula and Dad Jerry, his sister Sara and her husband Gabe, and their kids Maddy and Ethan, welcome to the Family…but then I think you know you were part of our family already!  Saturday just makes it legal!

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Cheers to the new Krissi and Michael Mikowicz!!  Mom and I love you both so much and couldn’t be happier!!!  

Three kids, three weddings, I think we’re done!

 

 

May 28th, 2019

Today is the 41st birthday I have spent with the most important person in my life!! 

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I met my Susie Q on July 3rd, 1977, and I spent her first birthday with her the next year on May 28th, 1978.  Since then, I have been lucky enough to spend every birthday with the love of my life!  She is simply the best thing that has ever happened to me, and the reason I have the life I have today!

She is the most giving, loving person I have ever met, and frankly, most of our friends love the hell out of her and tolerate me because I am part of the deal that comes along with her!!  She is so much better a person than I am.  Frankly, we are not even in the same league, so once again, were it not for her, I wouldn’t have anywhere near the kind of life I have!

img_1243AE72E6CA-0B0A-406D-B087-8E65B48D0ACEI am so blessed (cant really call it lucky…got to figure it’s more like God’s plan) that she said yes when I asked her to marry me.  Love that she is the mother of our 3 kids, Grandmother of our three little darlings, and the lady that keeps me in line every day of my life.

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Susie, like most of the folks in our life, I love you and am in awe of your ability to touch folks and to be loved by them.  Thank you for including me and giving me a better life than I could have ever dreamed of!  You are my life!!  I will love you FOREVER!!!

 

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A disclaimer…the above was written and published without the benefit of my #1 copy editor, so any and all typos, miss-spellings, and punctuation errors are solely the work of your author.  See, another thing she does for me!

95.5, WPLJ….New York’s Best Rock!

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If you Google Irish Wake, this is what you get:

“The Irish Wake is perhaps one of the best known funeral traditions associated with Ireland. The Wake, the glorious send-off of departed loved ones, is a prominent feature of Irish funeral traditions.”

Well this pastTuesday night, at the Cutting Room on NYC’s East 32nd Street, former WPLJ VP of Programing Tom Cuddy did what Cumulus couldn’t or wouldn’t do… he hosted an incredible “Irish Wake” for a great New York radio station, and it truly was a “glorious send-off of departed loved ones”!

If you remember a blog I wrote back in March about Cumulus selling WPLJ (if you don’t remember or didn’t read it, and want to, here’s the link  https://fdthird.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/95-5-wplj/), this was something that most of us who worked at the station through the years never thought could ever happen!  Separating the AM/FM siblings was not even fathomable to us, but it happened.  Welcome to the radio business, 2019 style!

So rather than let it go out with a whimper, Tom Cuddy decided that he was going to make sure that it went out with a bang,   It was a hell of a party, attended by folks who in one way or another had been part of WPLJ in the 48 years since it’s call letters were changed to that from WABC-FM.  Having spent 40 years of my work life there at WABC and WPLJ, there were years worth of memories, and people to sort through.  It was an incredible night!

After Ubering to the city from our daughter’s apartment in Astoria, Susie and I started our night with a little pre-party at The Ginger Man on NYC’s East Side.  We called this a “70’s Party”, and the guests included folks that were at WPLJ when I got there in 1976, people that started about the same time and I did, and folks that got there shortly after I arrived.  

I’d have to say that this really is our core group, as we were all about the same age when we started at ABC.  Because we were the same age, and several in the same family situation, we not only worked together, but we socialized.  Birthday parties at work, drinks after, visits to each other’s houses, Good-bye and Batchelor Parties, Weddings, and oh yeah, working together.  It was universally agreed by Engineers, DJs, and office folks that this was indeed the best time of all our work lives!  Sometimes in my later years at ABC, when I’d complain to Susie that I kind of felt left out, when younger folks went to lunch or out for drinks after work, she’d remind me that when we all were their age, we did the exact same thing!  Point Taken!

So as it approached the 6 PM start time of the real party, we all settled up our bar bill at the Ginger Man, and started out on the 4 block walk to the Cutting Room (http://thecuttingroomnyc.com).  Because this party had been widely publicized in the radio trades in an effort to reach as many alumni as possible, you needed to email in a request to come and be put on a list. As we got to the club, there was a line of folks waiting to check in.  Of course, after working at the stations for 40 years, there were lots of folks I knew, and luckily I remembered everybody’s name!!  

After a period of mingling (there were probably 400 folks there, so there was only so much mingling and hugs that one could do), our host Tom Cuddy opened the evening’s presentations.

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Tom Cuddy…our host for the evening

The number of on-the-air people past and present that were in the house was amazing!  From the early day folks like Jimmy Fink, Jim Kerr, Carol Miller, Bob Marone, Marc Copolla, people from the middle years like Fast Jimi Roberts, AJ Hammer, Bobby Ray Rossi Vallentine, Blain Ensley, Tony Roma, to the recent past and present staff like Scott Shanon, Brad Blanks, Jimmy Diele, Chris Marino, Joe Nolan, Race Taylor, Annie, Joey Kramer, John Foxx, Robby Bridges, Mike Allan! , and others I’m sure I’m forgetting,,,please forgive me. News folks like Shelli Sonstein, Cathy Maloney,  Naomi Diclimente Salvatore, and Patti Steele.

Our friends Jimmy Fink and Jim Kerr spoke, talking about those early years of WPLJ and how they were tied to today’s WPLJ.

Scott Shannon talked about his years at PLJ during which he captained the PLJ Morning Show!

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Scott Shannon

Then Tom Cuddy brought the two longest term morning show hosts in PLJ’s history to the stage, both of who still hold forth on New York Morning Radio…just not PLJ!

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Scott, Jim, and Tom

 At one point, Tom Cuddy asked everybody in the room who’s voice had ever graced the WPLJ airwaves to come on stage!  That was a hell of a picture!

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An incredible group of voices and friends

But as many of those folks as there were, that was just a fraction of the folks in the room!  There were several past General Managers like Mitch Dolan and Steve Borneman,  production people from Jim Brownold in the 70s, to today’s Dan Kelly and Phil Micari, lots of past and present Engineering folks, Sales Folks, and office friends that kept the radio station running!  It was a wonderful night for me with so many old and new friends!

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Jim Kerr, Jimmy McGuire, Jimmy Fink…another 3 Jims!

But remember when I started, I called the gathering a great “Irish Wake”, and sadly, that’s truly what it was.  Had it not been for the sale of WPLJ by Cumulus, and the transfer of the station on June 1st, and the fact that so many of the folks that I stopped working with a little over 3 years ago will be without a job after May 31st, there would have been no reason for the party.  Like an Irish Wake, Tuesday night’s gathering was indeed, in a way, the glorious send-off of departed loved ones.  That’s a radio station, and the people that still call the 17th Floor of 2 Penn Plaza home!  

I want to end this blog by copying something I posted on Facebook the night of the party.  We spent the night at our daughter Krissi and about to be son-in-law Michael’s Astoria Apartment….they get married in just a couple of weeks on June 15th.   A little before midnight, while Susie was settling down to sleep, I was sitting on the edge of Krissi and Mike’s sleeper couch, and using my iPhone, I posted this to Facebook along with some pictures:

“I walked onto the 8th floor of the ABC Building on August 8th, 1976, and I left the 17th Floor of 2 Penn Plaza on January 29th, 2016.  Between those two dates, I had the honor of working with some wonderful radio folks at two great radio stations. Tonight, thanks to Tom Cuddy, we got to say goodbye to what will always be to me 95.5, WPLJ…New York’s Best Rock!  At the end of this month, PLJ will no longer exist as Cumulus has sold the station to a Christian Broadcaster.  It was great being with old friends,  I’ve known and worked with for over 40 years, but sad for my friends who still work there.  Thank you to the love of my life, my ever patient Susie Q who endured her husband hugging and kissing folks all night (men and women…hey, I’m Italian) and having a great time. It was a night I will long remember filled with people from my youth, and folks who are younger then my kids!!!  I love you all, but especially Susan Johnson D’Elia!!”

Good Bye WPLJ…God Speed to all the great radio people who will ride it to the end on May 31st!  You are in my heart!

All Access’s story about the party:

https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/186606/wplj-throws-gala-going-away-party-reunion-in-new-y

Some Interesting WPLJ YouTube videos..

https://youtu.be/JJiyMC1xhDs

https://youtu.be/VMEFVVYyUwk

https://youtu.be/DkXRubz2cak

https://youtu.be/B4xp02qfU14

https://youtu.be/anpeNQUZQ80

Christmases Past, Present, and Future

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Christmas in Mineola

On this Christmas Eve, 2018, a little Christmas reflection…..

Christmas has always been a big deal in our household.  Early in our relationship, it became obvious that it’s Susie’s favorite holiday, and one that she waits all year for.  Indeed, because of her love of the holiday, it was on Christmas Day in 1978 that I asked her to marry me, and she said yes! Talk about giving…her saying yes was the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten!  So from our first Christmas in our apartment on Firwood Road in Port Washington, just months after we were married in 1979, we have always gone all out to decorate and celebrate the holiday!  

Every year, when the kids were small, sometime in early November, we’d journey to Lancaster, PA, for a weekend in Amish Country, and every year, that’s when the D’Elia Family started listening to Christmas music!  Indeed, our selection of Christmas music grew over the years to the point that when we cleaned out our 100 CD changer, close to half the CDs were of Christmas music.  Now we’re all digital, with music stored on the Amazon Cloud, but Christmas music still makes up a large percentage of it!

Our Ocean City house became ours at the end of January 2005, and when the next Christmas rolled around the decision was easy…we were going to decorate two houses!  That first year we got a table top tree and bought ornaments, and house decorations on the cheap from Big Lots.  It wasn’t as grand or beautiful as we did on Long Island, but we even had a small Manger we’d gotten at Big Lots, and lots of outdoor decorations.

Over the years, more and more items were added to both our Mineola house and to the Ocean City house.  A year ago, on November 9th, we sold the Mineola house, and made Ocean City our permanent residence.  That meant we now had to meld two Christmases into one.  Think that wasn’t a hard job?  Well, the fact that we had to make 3 trips with a fully loaded SUV to transport our Long Island Christmas decorations, to the shore, and the fact that our Christmas Decorations then took up fully half of our rented store room, may give you an idea about the scope of the job!  Last year, the consolidation started, and it’s continued this Christmas too!

First things first…the Christmas Tree! 

From our first 1979 Christmas, a live tree was the only way to go for the D’Elia Family.  We did the “cut your own” version, but the kids got kind of tired of that after a couple of years, and after one year of doing it ourselves, Susie and I tired of it too, so it was a yearly trip to Hicks to pick out a tree!  That lasted till we started going to Ocean City and realized when we got home the beginning of January, the tree was severely dead, and we’d missed a lot of it’s life.  The next year the first artificial tree made it’s debut in the D’Elia’s living room! 

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IMG_1556As I said,  for our first Christmas in Ocean City (2005), we bought a 4 foot tree at one of the craft stores, and put it by the front door, on top of our porch table, and we decorated it with ornaments we’d purchased at the Big Lots in Somers Point.   We continued for a number of Christmases in Ocean City with that table top tree and the our Big Lots ornaments.  In 2012 we bought a new artificial tree for Long Island.  It was our 2nd “fake” tree, was much more lifelike and sophisticated, prewired with lights, and all the set up we had to do was pop the three sections together and it was done and wired!  Of course, the next Christmas we decided to get a thinner version of that same tree for Ocean City.  When our last Christmas on Long Island was over in 2016, we decided to take our bigger tree to Ocean City, move some furniture in the living room for the holidays, put the big tree in a new location, and enjoy more room for presents under it!  It was worth it.

 

 

 

Mineola                                   Ocean City  

 

The Manger

Of course, the Mineola Manger won out over the Big Lots version.  The Manger scene that graces our Ocean City home now, has been with us since that first Christmas in Port Washington 39 years ago.  Bought from a long defunct Long Island department store, (A & S), with additional pieces purchased at a 5 & 10 on Plandome Road in Manhasset, it moved from a table near the front door in Mineola, to the top of a book shelf in our living room in Ocean City!

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The Big Lots Manger

 

 

 

Mineola                                                             Ocean City

 

Snowman Village

For a number of years, Susie put up a huge Department 56 Snow Village display in our Dining Room on Long Island, but furniture and styles changed, and the Snow Village went bye-bye.  Susie has always loved Snowmen (and women), and with a desire to go in a new direction, she did a Snowman display on the top of our entertainment center on Long Island, with a smaller version in Ocean City.  Of course, now her big production has moved to our corner cabinet in the living room, that transforms from a bar to a winter wonderland during the Christmas Season.

 

 

                                         Mineola                                                              Ocean City

And that’s but a small part of the Christmas Displays at our home during the holidays.  Over the past couple of years, we have weeded through lots and lots of ornaments, bows, house decorations, Hallmark animated displays, and hundreds of Christmas items, big and small, cheap and expensive.  It hasn’t been easy.  We know that when we unloaded our storage room into our garage this year (2 trips with the CRV fully loaded), we realized we still have too much Christmas “stuff,” and perhaps this year, we will be able to part with some items.  But there are regrets….like the two snow globes we had, one from Susie’s Mom and one from my Mom.  These globes graced our living room in Mineola for many years, but sadly when we decorated in Ocean City last year, they were nowhere to be found.  Did we make a conscious decision after Christmas 2016 to let them go, or did we put them in the wrong box, and it got left behind?  We’ll just never know, but every Christmas, we will think about them, and wonder what happened to them.

There you have the story of our Christmas dilemma and how we tried to solve it.  Let’s just say, it’s a work in progress! 

 

 

As we share our Christmas this year with Family and Friends, near and far, just one last thought.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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THE WEDDING WEEKEND

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I posted this the morning after the wedding on Facebook.  

“It was the wedding weekend of the decade, perhaps even of the century, as Christopher Fox and Kenneth D’Elia became one!  The love from the family and friends, the months and months of planning, the perfect location, the perfect mix, just came together and turned out exactly as they dreamed.  The talent from all their performing friends, and even from ones in law school,  just ramped up the energy level!  It was like being right in the middle of a Broadway Show, but YOU were a part of it!  Susie and I are so happy that Chris is officially our 3rd son now, and that Our Boys will go through life as partners, sharing the good, the great, and sometimes the not so great!  Love….the word for the weekend!”

#defoxes4ever

So, when we last left you, it was Wednesday and we were having a fun family day, visiting Virginia City, then stopping at the Western Reserve Casino, winning some money, and then venturing out that night for the boy’s Reno Batchelor Party.  

Thursday was our last day for pre-wedding tasks, before the group moved up to Lake Tahoe.  Susie and I started our day hitting the AAA to replace the maps we’d lost in LA, and then it was time for our second trip of the week to Costco.  A few incidentals we’d realized we needed, and 5 cases of white wine they hadn’t had at Trader Joe’s!  Then I dropped Susie off at Lucky Nails, near David and Lexi’s, so she could get good “Mother of the Groom” nails.  While she was there, I hit Walmart again, and then filled the car with gas.  We ended our separate tasks at just about the same time, and then headed over to David and Lexi’s to drop off the wine.  While Susie got busy in their kitchen and made Mac Salad Kenny had requested for the Friday night party, I headed back downtown to pick up the boys, so they could buy shirts and shoes for the wedding.  After everything was done, we had a nice early family dinner at Lexi and David’s house (you know, these people must be tired of the sight of us!), before heading back to Harrahs Reno, and the arrival of the East Coast gang!

Our daughter Krissi, her fiancé Mike, Mineola friends Manny and Kristen, Annie friend Kelly, and Jainesville Armory Friends Erica and Shayla were all arriving that night! It was late, but they wanted to gamble, so after everybody had made it from the airport to the hotel, Mom and Dad took their leave after an hour or so, and let the kids party!!  Kenny was so glad his “peeps” were in town!   

Friday morning, Kenny and Chris came by and picked up our bags, so they could be loaded in the trailer David had rented to transport luggage to Lake Tahoe.  About 10AM, Susie, Krissi, Mike and I headed up to the lake, after one more stop at Costco…this time to pick up the appetizer platters we’d ordered earlier.  It was a beautiful morning for our drive up to Tahoe, with incredible scenery. We were just down the road from the hotel, when Kenny texted us, “where are you?”  The boys had just about had it when the tent people asked them where the tent permit was?  Tent permit?  Huh?   Why didn’t you get that if you needed it?  Oh boy!  Just what they didn’t need…another wrinkle!

They needed the Fire Marshal, but he was off that day.  Phone calls were made, Megan and Shayla headed into town for a personal touch, and the rest of us hung with Kenny, keeping him as calm as could be.  He got us checked in, we unloaded the trays from Costco into the fridge in our room, and we waited for the rest of the group to show up.   When they did, there was a lot to unload, and luckily lots of bodies to help.  Decorations were scattered around the Inn, lights were strung, tables set up for the Friday night Welcome Party,  and after some accommodation from the Fire Marshall, the tent started going up!!!  YES!

Okay, now here’s one from the small world department…one of the kids on the tent company crew grew up in Ocean City, and his folks still live about 8 blocks away from us!  You just never know!  Like the time a couple of years ago, when a waitress in a Las Vegas Italian restaurant told us that she’d grown up on Delancey, around the corner from us, and that her first waitress job was at Ove’s on the boardwalk!  Yes it is indeed a small world!

The rest of the day was filled with folks arriving, lots of hugs and kisses, and breaking into the wedding booze supplies (5 cases each of white wine, red wine, rose wine, and champagne, a keg of Icky, and about 150 assorted cans of beer).   

As it started to get dark, the Welcome Party food started to go on the BBQ’s.  Burgers, Italian hot sausages, chicken sausages, accompanied by chips and dip.  Grandma Jerri’s Salsa (with the secret ingredient of black olives), and her Nuts and Bolts (think really good homemade Chex Mix) were a hit on the munchie table.  Remember the macaroni salad that Susie made on Thursday?  The unequaled hit of the food stuffs of the weekend!!  If Susie had a nickel for every time she told people what was in it, we could play a slot machine!

Oh by the way, the parents were in the Squirrel House, and this was the view from our room.  Not bad, huh? 

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After food, it was time to carry some wine down to the fire pit, listen to some music that DJ Rickie provided (he did a GREAT job Friday and Saturday, drink, talk, laugh, and have a wonderful evening!  

Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful, and as the day went on, it just got warmer!  The boys had been shined on by the Wedding Gods, and their special day was Beautiful!!  A little before 1, guests were called into their places, the Wedding Party assembled in our room, and the wedding was on.  Here are some pics!

By the way, this was the backdrop for the wedding. 

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The cocktail hour started immediately following the “I Do’s”, while good friends Shayla and Megan expedited the taking of family photos.  

Then we all moved into the tent for the actual reception, including introducing the Wedding Party, the Grooms, their first dance, plus the Mom and Groom Dances.

Then it was meal time, as catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ!

After dinner, we had time for some more pics, as we assembled important people into groups. 

Then it was time to move to the dance floor…and did this group dance!!

 

Then, the talent portion of the evening, as DJ Ricky fired up the karaoke machine!  Boy, was there talent, as the boys performing and non-performing friends alike, put on an incredible show, amazing EVERYBODY!

 

Included in the “performers” was Kenny’s older brother Bill, who did a spot on Ice Ice Baby!  Who knew!!

Then the dancers took center stage again till the 10PM quiet time!  

It was a hell of a night!!

The last picture I took that night was of David and Kim Fox!  David is Chris’ Dad and Kim is David’s sister and Chris’ Aunt.  We met Kim Monday, and quickly fell in love! She is one kick ass lady who always was there for whatever you needed!  From Costco trips, to unloading the car, from laughing together, to showing you where the booze was kept.  All our OC friends fell in love too, and have made her promise to come visit!

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We gathered in our room with friends, rather than climb all the way down the hill to the fire pit.  Lucky for us, as the newly married couple saw the local bear in the dumpster as they were coming back to their room…right above us!  

Sunday was cooler, but still nice and the day when most folks headed hom

By the end of the day, few were left beyond immediate family, including our partners in crime for the week, David and Lexi Fox!

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How can I nicely say it, Susie and I all but moved into David and Lexi’s house the week leading up to the wedding!  We ate, drank, danced, hugged, and truly became family!  We are so happy that these people are in our lives, and that we are officially Family!  Kenny is a Fox and we are Foxes once removed!  Who’s Luckier than US??

Oh, by the way, the youngins went down again to hang Sunday night, and again there was a bear sighting.  Once in the dumpster, then the bear headed towards the Squirrel House, where we were staying, where the boys fed it the remains of a “bear claw” they were eating.  The next morning we saw the remains.  A pawed through garbage can, and a broken light up bottle, which had been used a decorations. Good night Bear!  

Okay..due to upload issues and a desire to enjoy our last days of this trip, you’ll have to wait till we get back to Ocean City for the Rest of the Story!  Can’t wait to get back to my Mac Air and our Comcast internet speed.  See you then!!!

Day Eight – Wednesday October 10, 2018

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Day Eight – Wednesday October 10, 2018

Plans went back and forth and so did start times, but eventually around noon, 2 car loads of Fox/D’Elias headed up the mountain to Virginia City.  Perched on the Eastern Slopes of Mount Davidson at 6200 feet, Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovery in the United States, with numerous mines opening. At the city’s peak of population in the mid-1870s, it had an estimated 25,000 residents. The mines’ output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result. Today, the population of Virginia City is about 855, and that of Storey County, which is the County Seat of at about 4,000.

The trip up is a winding switchback 2 lane road, with pull-offs so that you can let the crazy drivers go past you.  I had 2 today!  First a black BMW I pulled over for, then a black motorcycle that came out of nowhere, and passed me on a curve with a car coming in the opposite direction!  Around the next bend, I saw the two of them up ahead of me, looking like a chase seen in a James Bond movie!   Yikes!! 

 We were scheduled to meet at the Bucket of Blood Saloon, and when we drove up, David had reserved us a place right out front (or so he said). It’s a fun place, very reminiscent of the old western bar we’ve read about, or seen in movies and tv.  Take a look!

There were slot machines, beer, free popcorn, and a banjo player.  It was fun! 

The rest of Virginia City is made up of bars, restaurants and stores.  With its wooden sidewalk, it’s a fun place to walk around, explore, and shop. The day was beautifully sunny up there, and much warmer than any of us had expected. Fall has definitely arrived to the Reno area of Nevada. 

We thought we were going to eat lunch up there, but plans changed again, and we were headed to the Western Village Casino, and their Mexican restaurant.  So down the mountain we went, and headed in our new direction!  Unfortunately,  the Mexican restaurant wasn’t open yet, so we had to gamble. “Had to” I say!  Everybody seemed to be having luck. David and his Mom were playing and split a $300 purse.  Aunt Kim took $237 out of a Quick Hits machine.  Susie had the Quick Hits machine she was playing up to $200 and change.  I was playing the Quick Hits machine next to her and just holding my own! By “holding my own” I really mean I was feeding $20 bills into it. Well, until I wasn’t.  

Just before I was about to give up on this machine, I won the free game jackpot, which gives you a number of spins for free. I think I got 10, and although I kept getting spins that raised the multiplier on winning spins higher and higher, I never won anything to multiply!  By the 10th and last spin, which it proudly spells out THIS IS YOUR LAST SPIN, I had the multiplier level up to 8, but a total of like 12 dollars in winnings.  I was sure my 10th and final spin would be a bust, but I was wrong.  Rather that a bust, I got 7 Quick Hits, which when multiplied, translated to a hand-pay of $1608!  As they say, all’s well that ends well!

 

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Then we were off for some Mexican food.  A couple of small (ha ha!) drinks, some food and we were out of there!  We had to get home, change, and return for the Reno version off Kenny and Chris’ Batchelor Party, planned and orchestrated by sister Michelle!!

For the Batchelor Party, we Ubered over to a beautiful new bar in the Arts District called Rum, Sugar, Lime.   From what everyone told us, just a couple of years ago, this had been one of the worst areas in Reno, but it has been turned into a meca of hip bars and cute little bistros.  What a perfect place to wander the night away!

Here’s a look at Rum, Sugar, Lime as the attendees gathered. 

Then it was off to Noble Pizza for dinner, and some very good pizza, after which it was time for the mature folks to head off, and leave the youngins to their fun.  Lexi, David, Aunt Kim, Susie and I Ubered home, telling the boys and their friends to have fun and be safe.  No calls for Bail Money, so we hope all went well!

Here is a pic from Noble Pizza and after we left.

Thursday is a busy day, with last minute details that have to get done before Saturday’s magic day.  We all have our lists of tasks, but then tomorrow, we’ll once again get together at Lexi and David’s for one last party before we all head up to Lake Tahoe.  Lots of family and friends arriving tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to that too!  Kenny will be happy that his twin sister Krissi and her fiancee Mike will be here, as those two are about as close as two people can be!  Born 2 minutes apart, and getting married 8 months apart (Mike and Krissi tie the knot next June)!

As David and I have said multiple times the last few days, “Who’s luckier than us?”

Things are heating up, with the wedding just days away, so please understand if there are no updates till after the fact!

Sue & Frank…the Proud Proud Parents