Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Beautiful Service

Dad's service was a beautiful tribute to his life.

The Trinity Episcopal Church in Moorestown, NJ where it was held is just beautiful. We sang 2 hymns; Joy to Thee and On Eagle's Wings. The soloist performed Ave Maria, effortlessly and beautifully in Latin. Dad would have been pleased.

There were several readers

Lauri Porreca (Michael's wife) read the New Testament reading
Bobby Reasso (Michelle's son) read the Old Testament reading
Bob Reasso (Michelle's husband) read the Gospel reading

Also, several people spoke about dad's life

Michael Porreca (Dad's son) with help from Christian (his son)
Danielle Reasso and Carly Porreca (granddaughters)
Linda Nichi (Family Friend)
Charlie Porreca (Dad's brother)
Andrew Porreca (Dad's son) with help from fiance Amy Miller
Michelle Porreca Reasso (Me- Dad's daughter) with help from husband Bob Reasso

Their speeches are below in order of reading - enjoy - it really was a beautiful tribute and thanks to so many of you who were there or were there in spirit. Lots of love was flying around amongst all the tears. :)

Michael's with Christian
Thank you for coming and supporting us.

I am my father’s first son, and this is my son Christian. He’s the first son, of the first son, of the first son of the first son. It is a meaningful bond – one we will share forever.

Today is a tough day and a rough time. We will get through this. We’re strong and supportive – my father saw to that.

Today my message is one of joy – smile, be happy and laugh when you recall your favorite memories of my father.

So who is my father?

He was so many things to so many people. Whether you called him Al, or Grandpop or Dad, or Sonny, or Uncle Al, or Big Brother or Mr. Porreca or Fortunato, or My Darling. There’s even a rumor that they called him Sanctus Albertus Magnus in his ancestral roots of Torricella Peligna – Saint Albert the Great.

But if you spent any time with him at all you most certainly called him your friend.

Was he part of your favorite foursome? I’m sure there are more than a few groups out there looking for a fourth 
Was he part of your favorite card game?
You may have been able to get some of his money on the golf course but I’d be willing to bet he took it back off you at a good game of Texas Hold-em.

My Dad loved hanging out with his friends and being one of the boys. He loved his Cigna buddies and all the good friends he came to know at his second career at WillowBrook. That’s part of who my Dad is.

Did he show you magic tricks like the disappearing penny? He’s been pulling that one off for over 45 years. Did he have you throw invisible rocks into a paperbag and tell you witty and sometimes silly jokes and make you laugh a lot?

My Dad was funny and fun – loved kids and they loved him. He was a great Grandfather. That’s part of who my Dad is.

Did he come to your dance recitals and to your games and sit quietly in the stands and admire your effort? Whether they were up the NJ turnpike or started after 11:00 pm. It was never about winning – it was about trying.

My Dad was supportive and consistent and knowing he was there always made things just right. He was a great father. That’s part of who my Dad is.

Here’s a scary one: Did you ever have to show him your homework? I know that doesn’t translate for many here. But if you did, be sure to bring an eraser.

My Dad was thorough and orderly and paid attention to the right details. That is part of who my Dad is.

Did he help steer your career, find you a job, hire you or give you advice to put things in the right perspective? When you were well into your career and lost your job (it happens) - did he threaten to go in and have a talk with your boss?

He was fatherly, career minded and a great big brother. That’s part of who my father is.

But of all the things he is, the one thing he loved the most was being a husband to my mom Lee.

I said it earlier – today hurts.
But talk to Andy – he’s the eternal optimist – he IS my Dad
Talk to Jeffrey – he’s quick witted, funny and serious - he IS my Dad
Talk to Michelle – she’s clever, and thoughtful, and has a great way about her that helps keep people connected – she IS my Dad
Talk to my wife Lauri, she’s beautiful, or my brother Bob or my sister Amy – he WAS their Dad.

Talk to my Mom – she is NOT my Dad – she is the Heart and Soul of my Dad

On a lighter note – I did learn a few things about my Father as we prepared the last few days. I went through his personal belongings at home. Your sock drawer can really tell a lot about a person. He loved watches – if you ever gave him one – he still has it. He loved eye glasses too. And if you ever gave him a nail clipper, well – first that’s a little weird – but if you did, he still has those too.

There are so many more thoughts and memories I could share. He will be missed by so many.

So please today share a smile and a story about my father – be happy for what we have. He wants it that way.

Danielle's with Carly

I am Danielle and this is Carly. We are proud granddaughters and we wanted to read a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson that we think sums up our grandfather's life. Love you, Grandpop.

To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded.


Era la metà di gennaio, ma la settimana che Albert fu in Abruzzo pioggia e neve cessarono di cadere per lui, ed avemmo belle giornate di sole e temperature miti.
It was the depth of January, but the week Albert was in Abruzzo the rain and snow stopped for him, and there was a beautiful sun and warm temperatures. The day after his flight back home, all the hell of winter came down from the sky, freezing temperatures, high snow, icy roads. For this and for other strange circumstances I nicknamed him Fortunato - Lucky Albert. When he was in his Torricella for the first time, he met a clerk at the comune who had lived in Canada for long years - who like everyone Al met became a lifelong friend - and that night he phoned to me from Marziale's house - needless to say Al was received like an old friend at their table. Marziale was instrumental some years later, after much research, to find his living aunt, the wife of Albert's grandfather's youngest brother, who had died young in the 1936 war, and relatives in Pescara.
During that visit back in January 1999 he came to see me and was a welcome guest at my table, with my husband preparing his special carbonara in his honor. All the time he took notes in a kind of shorthand on a little notebook "so as not to forget all the special moments". And it is the special moments I was fortunate to share with Albert that I have written down in my memory. The next morning I took him on a visit to the Museum in L'Aquila, and we met a teacher and class of my school visiting too. Of course he made friends with them all - with that special graciousness that only true royalty in ancient Europe had, as a knight of the round table pure at heart - and showed a great fondness for a girl with the Down syndrome telling me aside "they die so young - I have a feeling for her parents in my heart". There was so much room in his heart, for everyone.

Uncle Charlies's

I’d like to tell you a couple of very short stories about my brother; things he either did or said that touched my life, so you can all know even more than you already know about him, and what kind of person he was, and then how I believe we should remember him.
When we were little kids, Al was my teacher. He loved to teach, and I’m sure many of you know that. With me, Al never missed an opportunity to let me know if I was on the right track or not. Like when we shared a bed in those early years before there was enough money for separate beds. I was like 6 or 7 and Al was around 9 or 10. He made sure he taught me exactly where my half of the bed ended and his began. And if I didn’t learn fast enough, his fist would come down and show me the line, very clearly. Yeah, he was also a very effective teacher. Doesn’t this sound like him?

Later on, when we were about high school age, in the summers we would sometimes ride the Frankford elevated train for fun. We would get on the first train, go up to the very front of the car and open the half door, and let the 45 mph wind blow into our faces. One day, for some reason, Al decided to spit down onto the track, which was speeding by. So he spit – yep, right into the wind, and the swirling wind stream caused it to fly back at us and then past us, and wow, it landed on the lap of this lady’s bright yellow dress, and she let out a shriek. Well, before I could even fully comprehend what had happened, in the blink of an eye, Al looked at me and said, “Yo Chal, why’d you do that?”. Well, I was so frozen, so much in shock that I couldn’t’ even speak, and Al was already on his way over to the woman with his handkerchief out. Can you believe it? So again, Al was teaching me - he was teaching me how fast I had to think in order not to get caught in a bad situation. Again, doesn’t this sound like him?

Of course these were just a couple of the many, many, many funny things that happened in our childhood, but there was so much more to Al - he had so many dimensions.
In later years, we both wound up in the same Delran neighborhood. In fact, all three brothers – Al, Bill, myself - wound up within a couple of blocks of one another, where we raised our kids, all of whom remain close to this day. Even our parents, in their late years, moved closeby,
We did the usual family picnics and parties while the kids were growing up, and helped our parents with their later years.
And finally, when we were both retired and had become grandfathers, Al really got me started in golf. He was working and playing at Willow brook, and he was always eager to play at a moment’s notice. We played, and of course he showed me how to swing the club, which club to use in given situations, and how to conduct myself on the course. Well, not everything he taught me got through.
Well you know, we’ve all heard samples of Al’s one-liners. And over the coming days and weeks, many more will come into my consciousness, I’m sure, but one for now: It was last year, and my two brothers and their wives were over our house while my friends Bob and his wife Mary, from Kentucky, were visiting. Bob and Mary are both from the extreme rural areas of that state and both have very deep southern drawls. Well, at some point Mary said something to Bill that started with “Hey Be-ill”. And without missing a beat, Al said, “geez Bill, I didn’t know your name had 2 syllables”. Hey, does that sound like him?
So anyway, when you think of Al, please don’t think of him with sickness, think of him with these quick one-liners. Yeah, think of a time where he made you smile…….. or he made you proud. As a very wise person once said, “If you keep them in your heart, they will always be there”.

Andrew's with Amy

I would like to start by apologizing to all the people in this world, who never met my Dad.
He always believed in us, and in people in general, and that gave us a reason to believe in ourselves and each other.
He took pride, joy, and excitement in helping others and he did so in many ways
-By connecting people to their ancestry
-By giving those around him an appreciation and desire for knowledge
-And sometimes just a big warm hug
He taught us to seek that knowledge and to question and understand not to just blindly accept things as they were.
He taught us all that there was always another side to the story. He often played devils advocate that way, even though sometimes you didn’t want to look at things from a different perspective. He used that as a tool to help us understand and yet again, gain more knowledge and truly have that appreciation for everyone and everything.
Growing up I have wonderful memories of watching baseball games with my Dad, which probably explains my passion for it today. He made it into a game. He had a knack for that…teaching us Life’s Biggest Lessons in the form of a game, which is how we learned.
I have been lucky enough to return the favor in a small way. For the past few years for Father’s Day we’d pick a Phillies Game to go to together, just Dad and me. He’d let me buy the ticket and a hot dog for him and we would sit and enjoy the game and I knew he knew how important that was to me, because it was just as meaningful to him. I am so grateful for those memories and for so much more…
As hard as it is to believe we’ve been very fortunate these last five months to get to see my Dad every day. To tell him how much we loved him and just how much he meant to us all. No matter how tough his day was in that hospital, he made it easier on us with his big warm smile and amazingly his very quick wit still, which he never lost.
He told me in these last months on many occasions how amazed he was with his family and friends and especially my Mom, who was there every day…you all were, through your visits, calls, blog entries, and really just your thoughts and prayers.
He was very proud to see that all of the Life Lessons he taught us were well received and are put into daily use by all of us.
Each day when I left the hospital, we had a special good-bye. I would give him a kiss, tell him how much I loved him and we would bump fists and explode, which in return always got me a great smile from him. For that memory I will be forever grateful.

-I love you Pop!
-None of it was wasted
-Mwah! (Blow a kiss)
-Kaboom! (Fist Love)

Michelle's with Bob

I’m Michelle and this is my husband, Bob and he is proud to be known as Bob’s fourth son. My dad always treated my husband as his fourth son and I was very grateful for the bond they shared.

I am very proud to be known as Al’s daughter.
But like my dad, I go by several names – some more appropriate for today than others - Today I’d like to think of myself as “Fortunato” – which means lucky in italian and as you heard it was the nickname that was given to my dad on his first trip to Torricella Peligna.

I am Fortunato to have had him for a father and a teacher.
He taught me so many things -
But he taught me one very important thing that he must have known I would need to get through today and that is to look for the good in every situation.

He taught me how to look for the good, when it was hardest to find.
And in his honor today I choose to look for the good.

My dad taught us everything by example. My dad saw the good in everyone – and I know that’s one of the many reasons people loved him so much. Everyone of you was always welcome at our table and he made sure you all knew you were special to him. So today I will let you all borrow my nickname - today we are all Fortunati to have known my dad.

My dad also shared another great gift with us. The gift of a good sense of humor.
Just recently he gave us this quote -

"It is important to find the humor in every situation. Every tragedy has humor in it and it reduces the trauma of the tragedy."

The gift of finding humor in every tragedy came in very handy in the last 5 months. We cried a lot but we also laughed a lot and he knew that and was proud of us for learning it so well, sometimes too well. .
We were all willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of a good joke.
Some of us sacrificed more than others and you should all - all be very afraid of what I decide to use the next time I want to try and make you smile.

I am also Fortunato because app 55 years ago my dad was in the right place at the right time. Apparently my mom was out shoppin and shoppin and she picked my dad.

And today I commend her for that – not just because she told me too – but really mom I commend you for picking the best dad, the best grandpop and the best father-in-law. We are all Fortunato.

And I commend him for picking you. You were his best friend, his biggest fan and forever his bride. Apparently, he ran out on quite a few card games just so he could get home to her. And he tried really hard to get home to her this time, too. He only fought for as long as he did for my mom. He loved her very much and he loved her very well for many years - and for that mom – you know you are Fortunato, too, just as he was. And like dad, you are strong and kind and optimistic and very funny and surrounded by people who love you and will help you celebrate his life and move you forward.

How could I possibly speak about my dad without acknowledging “his boys”. I know all of you ladies are totally jealous that I got to grow up with these 3 handsome guys! If you didn’t have a crush on my dad - you most likely werein love with one or more of my brothers. I have to tell you to keep your hands off Mike and Andy they are well-spoken for but feel free to be “hands on” with Jeff – just trying to help a brother in his time of need!

I am not one of the boys- but they never make me feel like that – they even let me golf with them – probably because my dad told them they had to. And for that I am also very Fortunato because they are in my favorite foursome.

Not only do they look just like my dad – more importantly they inherited all of his wonderful traits. Strong, funny, optimistic and most importantly I think, they are all very kind.

Michael spoke about the other boys so I think they won’t mind if I just speak about him for a minute.

He is our captain now.
And we are in good hands. I believe that when God gives you something difficult to handle he gives you the tools and the dignity to deal with it. God and Dad gave us Michael. You have big moccasins to fill – but you have proven time and time again that are up to the task.

I bestow on you the title that Dad would want you to have - Sanctus Michaelmas Magusus! We are going to enjoy calling you that!

My dad was so very proud of him and all of us. And we are fortunato that we knew that – always. So many people that came through the line last night that were friends of my dad and said “of course, we know you - your dad talked about you all the time”. We knew we were special and for that we are fortunato.

I could talk to you all day about my dad and my family and I’m sure I will do just that. I hope you do too. Talk to one another and to us and about what he meant to you and tell your funniest Al Porreca story. Bobby Cuva better be telling the story of my dad’s car accident last year. That is one my favorite stories. In my mind my dad was ALWAYS right – except that time.
But it’s a funny story and my dad would absolutely not mind sacrificing himself so we could get a laugh.

So let’s do what Sanctus Michaelmas told us to do and be happy today. Celebrate the fact that you knew him and that he believed you were special, too. Try to laugh more than you cry and remember we are all Fortunato!

My last words have to be my dad’s…

I miss you all.

Ciao a Tutti!

Michelle the Godess!

To Michelle!

You are unbelievable and have been an angel and an unbelievable connection to your dad and your family. I just wanted you to know how much you are appreciated for all the work you've done for the last 6 months keeping everyone informed about dad. I know I didn't call your mom every other night and bother her with wanting to know details because of this blog. I know I can speak for alot of people when I say you have been informative, hysterical, positive and a genius in keeping people informed with your wit and personality and it is a true testimate to your dad because he would have been the same way and done the same things as you did. POSITIVE! You are sooooo your dad! The funeral was one of the saddest I've ever witnessed because it was such a loss to all! His body was just sooo tired! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication to all of your dad's fans (and your family in general). I can't tell you how much your effort and flawless reporting is appreciated! I know your dad is proud and unbelievably loved by all he ever met.

Thanks again for all your efforts! You are a sweetheart!

Love you to pieces! Kim and Ryan

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'd like to share

My heart is broken as all of yours is...

I want to tell you a little story about when I was 10 or 11 years old..I was sitting down to dinner with Aunt Lee and Uncle Al and we had corn on the cob (Fresh of course being from Jersey) and when I asked for the white corn as anyone would...because there where only a couple of white ears of corn Uncle Al said.."Why do you want that"? Because it is sweeter of course...Then he said "Well how do you know that"? Because it tastes better of course......Do you know he put blind folds on us, and made us tell the difference..I won't tell you the outcome because it may break someones heart.....but there you have it...That was 36 years agos..imagine how many memories we all share..

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Torricella Peligna's tribute to Dad

Please take a moment to visit the the website my dad co-founded. The link at the bottom will take you to a page dedicated to him, but he would love you to look around the site and see what they created in an effort to reunite families with one another and their heritage. He was so pleased and so proud to do this work. It is a great pleasure to know he was so well-loved for it.

Torricella Tribute

We are deeply appreciative. We were happy to share him with all of you. We are also sorry for your loss. We know how much he meant to all of you. Please know that you meant to so much to him.

He has left us with countless, countless wonderful memories. They will help us get through this sad time. Enjoy them, please! xo


May God bless Al Porreca and keep Lee safe until they meet again. I am heartbroken for Jeffrey and the entire Porreca family over Al's passing. I have followed your dad's web site since Jeff told me about it years ago while we worked at EMC. I would ask Jeff what Pop was doing with his spare time after retirement - the answer was usually, "Working on that web site of his!". I could see the pride, love and effort that was put into it. I regret we never had the chance to meet (even while working at the Delran Lowe's for three years our paths just missed crossing on many occasions). Michelle, Mike, and Andy - if you're all anything like Jeffrey - I would call your dad's (and mom's) mission in life a huge success. A great family is a parent's greatest legacy. God bless you all.
Kevin Vitale
Lumberton, NJ

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

He's home...

I haven't posted to the blog yet, not sure exactly why, but I was feeling today like I needed to say a few words. I was so blessed to have "Dad" come into my life when I found my true love, Michael. I remember the first time I met Dad. It was in the Black Baron house and I was meeting the family for the first time after dating Michael for a month or so. When we walked into the house, Michael and his parents greeted each other so warmly and Michael walked up to Dad and hugged him and kissed Dad right on the lips! At first I thought, "how strange". But within minutes I realized that his family was so warm and welcoming and they were definitely not afraid to show their affection toward each other. I knew from that day on that Michael was going to be a wonderful husband and father just by the way he interacted with his parents. Needless to say, Michael and I married and have 3 wonderful children that have also been lucky enough to have Dad/Grandpop in their lives. He was so caring, kind, funny, thoughtful, and kept us all on the right track. I was so fortunate to have Dad in my life for these past 17 years. He was truly like a father to me!

I think that Dad was the kind of person that was at "home" wherever his friends and family were. It didn't matter if he was travelling to Italy, Florida, or within the state of New Jersey. Home was where he gathered with those that he loved. So I know that now he's in a new kind of "home" where I am sure he has already found his parents, Mom Mom, and all that he loved that paved the way before him. I know that we'll all miss him so much, but we will see him again and he'll be the first to welcome us "home". I can see him smiling!

I love you Dad! Lauri


Le più sentite condoglianze da un nipote di Italia Croce e Mariano Porreca, lontani parenti di Albert. Alessandro Melograna e famiglia

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sad to say...

This was one post I was hoping not to have to write but, we had to say good-bye to my dad yesterday.

We are grateful to all of you who followed his progress and prayed for him and for our family. It meant the world to all of us and most importantly, to him. He knew how much he was loved by his family and friends all over the world.

We enjoy the thought of him reuniting with his family and friends that have gone before him. I'll bet he's drinking that cold glass of iced tea, eating fiadone and singing italian songs! Ciao, Pop!
We know you loved us very much, but you also loved us very well. Thank you. We'll see you everywhere xo

Here is what will appear in the newspapers:

Albert M. Porreca
Beloved husband, father and friend

Passed away peacefully on Sept 15, 2008 at the age of 73. Al was son to Albert and Nettie and was born and raised in Philadelphia. He later moved to Delran where he and his darling wife, Lee, raised their 4 children. In recent years, they moved to Cinnaminson.

He spent 49 wonderful years married to his best friend, Lee (nee Carrigan). He was the big brother of Charles and William and the loving father of Michelle Reasso and her husband Bob, Michael and his wife Lauri, Jeffrey, Andrew and his fiancée Amy Miller. He was Grandpop to Danielle, Bobby, Christian, Carly and Allie and a beloved brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, and friend to many. He will be dearly missed by all.

Al retired from CIGNA in 1998 as a VP in Information Technology, but went on to enjoy a second career at Willowbrook Country Club where he loved playing golf and cards with his family and many friends.

Al devoted much of his time and derived much pleasure from researching his ancestral home town of Torricella Peligna in Italy and was instrumental in developing a website that was devoted to bringing families of the Abruzzo region together to celebrate their heritage. In 2007, he and Lee travelled to Torricella where he was honored for the work that was so important to him.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Al’s life celebration and viewing Friday Eve 6- 9 pm at SNOVER/GIVNISH of Cinnaminson 1200 Rte 130 North. His funeral service will follow on Saturday at 2 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church 207 W. Main St. Moorestown, NJ. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you perform a random act of kindness in his memory.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Al from Piera and family,
Diana came to Abruzzo to visit, we are out for a pizza tonight before she flies back to Lansdale on Thursday 18, she sends her best wishes too.
I am a Virgo like you and is my birthday today. We know what we Virgos can do, and this means we will do it, taking our time. You can do it, take all the time you need, but not too much please...
Next year is John Fante's 100th birth anniversary, so you really must try to finish what you are doing before then.
Congratulations on you for what you achieved so far and for having such a wonderful, wonderful family and so many friends around you. After all we called you Fortunato back in January 1999...
Un grandissimo in bocca al lupo!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Albert Schweitzer said.....

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

It is with deep gratitude that we thank all of you, and one another, for keeping our flame of hope burning bright. Did I say bright? Well, most days bright, some days we just manage to keep it lit - and that is enough.
(Sometimes we have to hide our flame from the doctors)

We still have a long road to travel. The good news is, my mom and dad have an incredible love for one another that keeps them plugging away at this day after day. They have much to be grateful for and much to look forward to.

Dad is back in ICU where they can better monitor him. We appreciate being back where he gets the best care.

Again, many thanks to all of you for your continued love and support.

Michelle and family

PS Dad loved reading the Toricella updates - and especially about the latest recipient of the Toricellans in the World Award. Congratulations! We are all coming to the ceremony next year! It looked like such fun and is near and dear to my dad's heart. Dad is looking forward to the webcam on the Corso so we can visit anytime!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Hi Al,
Happy (belated) Birthday and keep up the steady progress! We've been following your recovery on this blog and keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
Rob & Mirella
Al- You don't know us but I met your amazing daughter Michelle through the Pancreatitis Place website. My husband went through what you are going through. A year later he is home but still look towards a surgery or two. We're praying for one but you never know. He seems to like to take the more complicated route! LOL! I know this journey you are your family are on is loooooong we're still on it a year later, but know that there is an end in sight and that you will be up and walking and reclaiming your life:) It sound to me from what I've read on your blog that you are a strong and amazing guy and that and a lot of prayer will get you home to your family. I'm so blown away by the love your family has for you and their strength in all this! You are so blessed and I know you'll be home with them soon. We are praying for you daily!
Karen and Greg Gleason

P.S. Happy belated Birthday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

TGI Jeff!

The boy is back in town.

Visiting with mom and dad all day and then this evening he'll be mom's lucky escort to Helene and Jack's anniversary party! Sorry to miss that one. I know you all know how to have a good time :)
And, congratulations!

Dad is just doing his thing. Trying to heal from the surgery and regain strength.
Mind over matter. Go, Dad.

Will report in from Dad's room Saturday.

Love, Michelle

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Al --- from Steve and Sandi

Happy Birthday Al.

It hard to believe another year has past and so many good things have occurred. I know right now you are thinking, what good things is he talking about. But, you know I am always very optimistic and always see the brighter side of things. You are making progress, although it may not be at the pace you want, but you are moving forward. It doesn't matter how long the journey take, but you get to make the journey.

Sandi and I enjoyed our visit with you, before I had my knee surgery. As you know I had it done in Florida as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay was bearing down on my town. Fortunately, we did not take a direct hit and my surgery went very well. I hope to get in to see you soon and show you how good my knee is doing. I also, really appreciated you calling me after my surgery to see how I was doing. That really meant a lot to me.

Keep getting better old friend. Sandi and I love you and Lee.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Al!

Hi Al,

We have been following your progress and glad that you are getting better and better! Happy Birthday Cugino. We miss you on the geneaology boards. We have also noticed that are trees intersect again but I cannot remember how off the top of my head. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!!

Best wishes,

Tanya Cristini Klatt




See you over the weekend!!!

Love you..........Kim and Ryan

Ciao SAM!

A very Happy B-Day from your friend SA!!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Someone's Special!!!

Just a little note to tell you:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I MISS YOU!!!!!

Think of a wish........blow out your candle!!!!!...... !!! ....

i'll make sure that gets into good hands!

Love you Uncle Al ! ! ! ! !



I want you to know that I have been thinking about you all the time and keeping you in my prayers. We may not be blood relatives, but I consider you a big part of my family. I had told Michelle that one of the best things my brother did was to marry her and we got the added bonus of you and your family. So many people have great things to say about you and have wonderful times to share. It just goes to show what a presence you have made in a lot of people's lives.

I wish you all the best!

Love Rosemarie

Big Hugs and Kisses

Happy Birthday Grandpop!

We already called to sing you happy birthday but here it is one more time...


And here is a story that should cheer you up a little bit....

At school I'm in a program called Teen Pep which is a group of juniors (I know, can you believe I'm a JUNIOR!?) and we go around to freshman classes to do out reaches & teach them about peer pressure and sex education and prevention. Anyway, on Thursday and Friday we all went to stay at the Holiday Inn for a retreat for bonding time and to get to know each other better and learn what was yet to come in our program. One of the activities that we did was we all sat in a circle with candles in the middle and one person would pick up a card, read the question on the card, and it would be passed around in the circle so everyone had a chance to answer it. The fourth question we got was "Who is your hero?". When I first heard the question I already knew exactly who it would be. By the time the card was in my hand I had tears in my eyes because I knew exactly what I wanted to tell them. I told them "My grandpop is my hero - no question about it. He has always been there for me and he's the smartest man I know. Since I was little I have noticed that he always has something to teach other people - especially teaching his grandkids the new magic tricks he learned." Then I continued to tell them that you are in the hospital but I know you're going to get through this because I know how strong you are :)

oops, that was pretty long...but hopefully it made you smile! :)

I love you more Grandpop - keep pushing through because we all know you can do it!

Today is your birthday

and I'm gonna sing tooooooooooooo ya!

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean,
And the pleasant land.

Little drops - little steps, oh, mighty ocean.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Dad,
Happy Birthday to you!

Make a wish and we'll help you make it come true. That's your birthday promise.

Love you ~Michelle

Tanti auguri!!!!!

Ciao carissimo Al,
A poet, I am not.  So don't expect any fancy words from this paesano in California -- simply many wishes of a wonderful birthday surrounded by your loved ones.  
On behalf of the Torricellano community the world over:  Happy Birthday!!!  Tanti Auguri!!!  And many cyberspace hugs from all.
Dan Aspromonte 

Somebody's Having a Birthday!!

Hey Pop,
Happy Birthday!! I hope you are having a great day. I look forward to seeing you after work. I Love You! And I am very proud and happy to say that you are my father. You have had a tremendous effect on all those who have come into your life. People throughout the entire world are following your progress daily and sending you their prayers. They couldn't have found a better person to respect and love. Amy and I will be there to see you tonight. We love you!!

Andy & Amy

A Virtual Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday Dear Al!
Happy Birthday to you!

Camille and Joe

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Family Matters....

Wish you all could have been there. Frank and Denise had a beautiful wedding and reception and it lifted all of our spirits to see aunts, uncles, cousins and more cousins that we have not seen in awhile. It would be nice to get together more often, and perhaps we will, but most importantly, we know we're all out here for one another. We love you all very much and appreciate each and every one of you. We have lots of happy memories, let's enjoy making more whenever we get the opportunity!

Dad is spending the day watching football and baseball with Andy, Amy and Mom. I'll bet she's really enjoying it, hmmmm. He called Allie to wish her a happy birthday and I know it made her day!

We anticipate Dad will have a busy week of therapy. His focus will be on getting that swallowing thing going, overall strength and continuing to heal from the surgery. Please send all of your prayers and energy to those muscles of his.

Cheers ~ Michelle

PS My dad says to thank you ladies for the dance(s). He especially enjoyed the mummer's strut!
For the record, I didn't butt in once. I'm waiting for a birthday dance on Tuesday. Nah, nah.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Excuse me, It's my turn!

Great idea Maureen, but I want a turn before Michelle walks over.
Since Sean and I can't be at the wedding, I too want to cyber dance with Uncle Al.

(Is there a dancing computer code or symbol Uncle Al)?

I want to dance to an Abba song..."Dancing Queen"
Since the movia Mama Mia is out right now, the timing is perfect!

Okay, the song is over...Thank you Uncle Al, loved the jokes!
Who is next? Will it be Michelle? Donna? Nancy?

Love you all! Miss you very much Uncle Al

Love, Sandy :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Our cousin "Frank" is getting married

I know you want to be there Uncle Al, But since you can't and I can't either, maybe we can heat up some popcorn..(just make pretend) sit back and hear all the lovely stories that everyone will be telling us....

I imagine alot of dancing...alot of drinking..and alot of laughs and good wishes. I can imagine our Frank (notice no Frankie reference) looking soooo handsome and his bride beaming at him. I'll make pretend that you ask me to dance (cause I'm sitting by myself LOL) and Michelle butts in cause it's her turn. I can hear the music and the laughter and so should you.

I Love you Uncle Al, Thank you for the dance


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A quote from Dad...

"It is important to find the humor in every situation. Every tragedy has humor in it and it reduces the trauma of the tragedy."

He's our leader. Lucky us, huh?! Yes. Very, very much so.

The other news for today is that Dad was STRONG. Looking good, feeling good and one day closer to going home.

Peace, Michelle

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

If you can't say anything nice...

don't say anything at all. Which is why I didn't write earlier today. I also thought I'd let you enjoy my dad's note for awhile. :)

I told you before that the blog helps me to focus on the positive (or maybe I just told Maureen, but now you know too). I know sometimes my entries send a bit of a false impression of the day to day reality. But, I write it because you read it and I know you want to hear good news because you love my dad as much as we do. We can't really do much besides keep each other "up" while he does all the hard work. My family, my brothers and their wives, my mom, my aunts, uncles, cousins, his friends all over the world - all of you who are worried and really can't do much to change the situation for him - we need to hear all the good news we can because the bad news finds us anyway. I think we've all done a really good job of helping one another keep our faith and our sense of humor because when we lose that we're done. I know you have all helped me tremendously and I am very, very grateful and so is my dad. He wanted to write something really profound yesterday - after all he's been through, the fact that he wrote at all was profound enough for us, yes?! And he does miss you all a great deal.

Well, I lost it last night and I didn't know what I'd possibly be able to say today that didn't bring you down. And then I thought, "you know what, tough, get a tissue". Go - get a tissue - and cry loudly into it cause this is damn sad!

The reality is, it's very difficult to see my dad unable to eat or drink or move more than his hands. It's awful for him. And for my mom. And it's very sad for her and all of us including my brothers and his brothers to have to leave him there every day. He's the best and he really does his best to help US stay upbeat. Can you imagine? How would YOU deal with it? Makes you wonder. I know I would not be nearly as good as he is. Anyway, we just want him to come home and have a life. A real life. I was starting to think that maybe it wasn't possible (even Andy couldn't convince me - and he's good!) But, then.............. :)

this morning instead of writing a blog I sent an email to my "pancreatitis support group". Which I laugh about, but, seriously, there is a yahoo group for EVERYTHING and I LOVE them. 5 minutes ago I got an email from my new best friend, Karen, whose husband went through pretty much what my dad went through. Severe Necrotizing Pancreatitis - very sudden gallstone attack, ICU, blah, blah, ventilator, ICU, rehab, blah, blah, ICU, rehab, surgery, blah, blah, feeding tube, blah, infection, blah, blah, surgery, blah, blah (get it? - long time) You know where he is tonight - a boy scout meeting! You know what he's doing after that? Yada-yada! Hang in there, mom! He'll be back!

So, dry your eyes, like I will, and get back to praying for some serious healing for him while we all keep the faith, our sense of humor and a sense of gratitude for all we have, for as long as it lasts. Cent Anni!

We've got a birthday to celebrate - not to mention a wedding or two!!

Love, Michelle

Monday, September 1, 2008

Live from ICU 4

Ciao a tutti,

Just a note to all my friends and family. Thanks for all the support you have given me along the way. Well, we've passed another milestone. The plan was to remove the gall bladder, but when they got in there they said there was too much bleeding. So they just cleaned out the stones and said I should come back when I'm stronger. The plan now is to get me into physical therapy so I can get strong enough to go home. Some time in the future I'll be back for the gall bladder surgery.

I miss you all.

Love, Al

Labor Day update

Morning Edition...

The boys say Dad looked good yesterday. A little disappointed that he still has his gall bladder, but he understands why and will do what he has to do.

He has a wonderful life to get back to, which includes the most wonderful wife. They're going on a cruise as soon as he's up for it! So, every day he gets a little closer to that goal.

I'm heading down to visit this morning, so I'll post an evening edition later today.

Love, Michelle