Dec. 6, 2021

Clara Randisi on Scio St. the Eastside Italian enclave in Rochester, NY

Their wedding day was October 12, 1946 one year to the day that I was born. My dad always said I was his first anniversary gift.

My mom and dad on their honeymoon in Niagara Falls of course

Cooking was her favorite past time and caring for others was an essential part of her life. She was constantly baking during the holidays and today are holidays are a commemoration of the things that she made. My loving daughter Kara, carries on that tradition so well.

Mom and I on Saint Joseph’s day one of her favorite times

As a great grandmother she was still very active and caring.

And even on her 90th, and last birthday she was still able to conjure up a smile

Today I think I will watch Mom’s favorite movie and get a little nostalgic.

NEWSLETTER Mom’s birthday/ St. Nick

December 6th, 2021

Good morning folks,

 Today I am reflecting on my mother, Clara Randisi Bernunzio whose birthday was today. She was born in 1924….such a long "age" ago. People were different then. The world was a smaller place. Roles were more defined and she was glad to be a homemaker and satisfied that she had a better life than the generation before her. She passed away in 2015 but we still think of her every day and especially on December 6, her birthday. My mom was a big influence on my life. The men in my family had been laborers and bakers, but she thought I should be something else. She wanted me to go to college, to get an education and be able to do things that my father and her father couldn’t. She encouraged me musically at a very young age. I remember getting a record player and listening to Spike Jones and Gene Autry and others on colorful, vinyl 78s. She encouraged me to take up a musical instrument when I was in grade school and I played trumpet from 5th grade to 8th grade. (As a sidenote that trumpet was used to buy my very first banjo!) She raised six kids to adulthood and then at the end she let us take care of her. Sadly, she had dementia at the end of her life but it gave us the gift of providing for her.

Today is also the feast day of Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra in the province of Lycia during the 4th century. Little is known about his life, but he is remembered as a man of great faith and compassion. He was an advocate for those who had been unjustly condemned.  Since he left no writings all we have are the stories that have been passed down over the 1700 years. Of course, Nicholas is most well known in the West as the beloved patron saint of children and gift-giving and is the basis for the character of Santa Claus. According to tradition, Nicholas’ parents died when he was young, leaving him a large sum of money. With his inheritance, Nicholas practiced charity, helping those in need. Of course this is where our tradition of gift giving comes from at Christmas time. But it is also tied to the most commercial time of the year and that is gift buying. Our family always picks names as many do and decide who will buy each other presents. It’s always quite a fun time but things are different now. I’m going to propose something different to my family. Instead of buying a present, I am suggesting that each person draw a name from the hat. Rather than a present they will answer some questions about themselves. From that information their person will have to guess who is their secret Santa. How well do we know each other? Time will tell. I hope all are willing to participate.

Sincerely, 

John Bernunzio



My daughter Grace, is the last grandchild to be born. In many ways she is so much like my mom. A few weeks ago she was down in Penn Yan and found an abandoned kitten underneath the pine tree. She rescued it, took it to the vet, and paid a lot of money to get it healthy. It was only a couple weeks old but now "Maisie" has become part of her "family" and is being gently cared for my her constant companion, Penny.