ART:On occasion Uncle Steve and my father (Uncle
Hank) would take us “Men” as he called us—Stephen, Bobby, my brother Ed and
I—for a Sunday afternoon drive first in the Frazer and then in his Caddy or in
my Dad’s Olds.We visited Grant’s Tomb,
the Cloisters, Statue of Liberty, and the museums or just looked at the ships
in NY Harbor.My Dad with his pipe and
Uncle Steve with a Chesterfield cigarette sat in front and we “men” in the
But my favorite image of Uncle
Steve (My Godfather} will always be at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, standing
near the right pillar closest to the altar.On the First Friday of each month of the school year the third to eighth
graders attended the 8:00 Mass.When we
processed into church there he was and he would always give me a wink and a
smile.I’m sure he did that for the
other cousins who were there as well—Albert, Susan, Cathy, Lila, Stephen,
Bobby, Edward, and Christine and Johnny J.About four years ago my nephew Mike (my Godson) had his son Michael
baptized at Mt Carmel Church.The Church
had recently been renovated and the Baptismal Font moved next to “Uncle Steve’s
Pillar”.Let’s just say I felt him there
remember Uncle Steve as a REALLY BIG MAN, but then again I was small and
skinny.I remember going to NYC with him
and my Dad to see and participate in a children’s TV show.I also remember the fun times we all had at
the bungalow in Seaside Park.Our
family’s day to come down was Wednesday when my Dad’s office was closed.Uncle Steve always treated us to many, many
rides on the Boardwalk.
EDWARD B:I remember
going to NYC to the various attractions and the TV show (maybe Wonderama) and
then returning home and Uncle Steve going to Dido’s at 51st and the
Boulevard and bringing home a stack of “Pizza Pies” that we all enjoyed.I also remember lobsters being kept in the
bathtub until they were ready for dinner.When we went to Seaside there was a wooden bridge going from the
mainland to the island, one lane in each direction.It took forever to get across, at least it
seemed that way to a five-year-old eager to get to the beach.
Uncle Steve died my father inherited his long winter coat with the fur collar
and wore it for many years always reminding us that it had belonged to Uncle
Steve.My Dad also had the St.
Christopher medal that had been in the green Caddy.
CHRISTINE:We weren’t related by blood, buthe was myGodfather.When we visited the shore, all six of us,
along with the six Sladowskis would sleep in the tiny little bungalow but never
felt crowded—there was always enough room.Of course there was also fresh caught lobster and crabs that we enjoyed
around the newspaper covered table.One
time I was at the local Five and Ten (aka gift shop) with my Mom and saw a salt
and pepper set in the shape of fish.I
wanted to buy it but my Mother said no—what would I do with them?When we got back to the bungalow, I told
Uncle Steve.He went back to the store
and bought it for me.I still have it.
cousins Art and Al were Cub Scouts before me and I inherited a tee shirt and
was proud to wear the emblem at age seven.Then I became a member of Pack 19 and Dad guided me as Assistant Cubmaster
through the Wolf, Bear, Lion and WEBELOS ranks and Tenderfoot as a Boy Scout.
It was the December Cub Scout
meeting in 1956, and I had just turned nine.The Cub Scout leader announced that “Santa” would be coming
through.I sort of figured out that
“Santa” was busy at the North Pole at this point so a helper would probably
sub.When “Santa” walked out of the back
room with the typical “Ho-Ho-Ho” I recognized the voice.Under the red cap, behind the white beard and
wearing a red suit was my Dad.Oh my
God!He came up to me and asked if I was
a good boy.I turned four shades of red
and almost passed out from embarrassment. The other boys said they knew who “Santa” was,
adding to my “go hide” impulse.It was a
coming of age moment for me.On the way
home I said “Wow, Dad, that was really something.I’ve never seen you do anything like that
before.”Despite my reaction, I know
that he did it to make the children happy.
DAN P:I first met Mr. Sladowski when I was 12 or
13.I was attending a Holy Name Society
Communion Breakfast with my father who was a police officer and also President
of our parish chapter of the organization.In his welcoming speech he mentioned that he had testified as arresting
officer in a trial where Mr. Sladowski was the prosecuting attorney.He said he noticed that the attorney proudly
wore the Holy Name pin in his lapel and that he had a wonderful reputation for
honesty and integrity and was an admirable family man.My father seemed impressed and so was I.
JOAN P:I knew of
Mr.Sladowski because I attended Our Lady of Mt Carmel School with his daughter
Estelle.When I was nineteen and just
about to get married I had need of an attorney to settle my mother’s
estate.My father, who lived in Poland
and whom I had never known, claimed his one third share, which I contested.Mr. Sladowski explained that according to the
law my father was entitled to that share but would probably never see the money
because of the political situation in Europe at that time.After calming my angst and settling the
matter, he declined payment, saying he did it as a courtesy for his daughter’s
friend.Dan and I were married at Our
Lady of Mt. Carmel Church just a few weeks before Mr. Sladowski’s funeral at
the same church.
BILLY M:My family were
customers at Mr. Sladowski’s store.There were five children and my Mother
had a difficult time making ends meet.Mr. Sladowski allowed us to take what we needed from the store and put
it “on the tab” to pay when we could. When I went into the store to buy a loaf
of bread or some other necessities he would hand me a piece of candy.When I protested and said I couldn’t pay for
it, he said “Don’t worry about it.I’ll
put it on the tab”, but I know he never did.
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