Carlo Pisa and his son Alfredo, both from the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore, recently shared the trip of a lifetime. This past August, the San Cataldo Society members embarked on a journey to Sicily and Italy’s mainland to spend time with family and trace local history.
Their experience began with a flight to Palermo, Sicily, followed by a two-hour ride to San Cataldo, where many Dunmoreans trace their roots. News of the arrival of the two Dunmoreans spread quickly and they were soon invited to city hall by Deputy Mayor Aldo Riggi.
There, they were greeted by the local newspaper, which recently ran a story on their visit. The Pisas presented Deputy Mayor Riggi with a framed picture of the San Cataldo Club, as well as honorary membership cards. They were then taken on an escorted tour of the city by the chief of police. The tour included visits to the local church, winery, clock tower and social club. A familiar face appeared at the social club – former Mayor Attilio Callari. Mayor Callari, who visited Dunmore in the 1980s, greeted the Pisas and cheerfully discussed his 1986 trip. He also insisted that they “say hello to his good friend Sandi Cancelleri.”
“Mayor Callari’s picture from his trip 30 years ago is actually on the wall at our club,” said Alfredo. “He seemed to get a real kick out of that.”
Before returning to Palermo, the locals insisted that a trip to the local basket factory was in order. While there, owner Archangelo Cala discussed San Cataldo’s mining history. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, children known as “carusis” mined sulfur in the dangerous caverns under the city. Some of the children were as young as seven, and many perished.
“There are many similarities to what the immigrants here faced in the mines,” said Carlo. “Mr. Cala actually gave us a basket that was used by one of the carusis over 100 years ago. I am glad that it made it through customs,” he chuckled.
As they were saying goodbye to the group of prominent San Cataldo citizens, a car pulled up and Deputy Mayor Riggi’s wife Ivana approached the Pisas. A well known fashion designer, she presented Carlo with a beautiful brooch for his wife. The group also reiterated that all Dunmoreans are welcome to visit San Cataldo.
“The people of San Cataldo were incredibly generous and warm,” said Alfredo. “We were treated as family there. This trip has reopened a line of communication to these wonderful people.”
The next leg of their adventure brought them to Guardia Lombardi. Almost all of the Italian families that settled in the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore have an ancestral footprint in this region. Within minutes of arriving, they were met by their cousin Emmanuela Sica. She drove them to her home and the entire family enjoyed a huge meal together. After “finishing too much food and homemade wine,” Alfredo and Carlo were brought to a small village 15 minutes away that organizes weekly festivals in order to promote community pride and friendship.
“The festival reminded me a lot of our own Italian Festival,” said Alfredo. “There was live music at every corner, smiling faces everywhere, and, of course, more amazing food.”
After catching up with family, the Pisas departed the next morning and finished up their trip with stops in Rome, Sorrento, and Naples.
“Alfredo and I are more like brothers than father and son,” said Carlo. “Seeing our roots and spending time with family was a truly special time for us both that we will always treasure. Throughout Italy, people really take their time and enjoy life,” added Carlo.
The San Cataldo Club celebrated its 110th Anniversary on Oct. 30, 2016. A picture of the current society membership group was taken and it now rests next to the founding group’s original 1906 photo.
“Our new picture was sent to our sister social club in San Cataldo, Sicily,” said Alfredo.
I thought I’d follow up last month’s column, which was places I recommend you to visit, with my own bucket list of places I’ve never been, as well as places I’d never visit again.
Greece and the Greek Isles would be tops on my list. I have the most romantic vision of Athens and Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, Rhodes and Olympus. I’m drawn not only to the ancient architecture and monuments, but to the deep turquoise seas, the music, that food.
Provence. I’ve been to Paris and Normandy, but never to the south of France, and I’d love to see the fields of lavender, the Cote D’Azur, the scenery that evokes a Van Gogh painting.
Scottish Highlands. It has become a joke in my family that one must see the Highlands. In the three days I spent in Edinburgh, every cab driver and waiter asked us the same question: “Have you been to the Highlands?” It has come to encapsulate a never-seen, most-wonderful destination for us.
The Outer Banks. I’ve been to many beaches, including Waikiki, Acapulco, Rehobeth, Alicante, and Miami. But I’ve never been to North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks, and it remains on my bucket list.
Cape Cod. I’ve been to the Cape, but only for one brief weekend, and I still remember the quahogs. I don’t know why I have not been back. It’s driving distance, to be sure, and I think I need to return. In the off season.
Tuscany. Technically, I’ve been there, on a day visit to Florence. I saw the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery and that should be good enough, I suppose. But I’d love to rent a villa in the hills, with an olive grove and sunflowers, and take day trips to places like Siena or Pisa. Then I’d drive over to Venice, and especially to Verona, because, of course.
Chicago. I’ve only ever driven straight through this city or transferred planes at O’Hare, which, of course, doesn’t count. I’d love to spend a few days exploring the great city of the Midwest on the shores of Lake Michigan. And I wouldn’t mind watching the Cubs or the Bears if they were in season.
Seville. I once planned a month-long driving tour of Spain, and of the major cities, I left off Seville, reasoning that it would be easy to book a separate trip to the Costa Del Sol and take a side excusion to the quintessential city of Andalucia. Of course, we never did get back, and every time I see a photo of a Spanish senorita wearing a long mantilla in a horse-drawn carriage in the plaza in Seville, I realize I made a big mistake.
Brooklyn, New York. Oh, I’ve been to Manhattan countless times, and love it. I’ve driven by the Brooklyn Bridge. But I’ve never been across that bridge to see the borough that has become one of the trendiest places in The Big Apple. I’m not particularly trendy (okay, I’m not even a little bit trendy), but I’d like to try the coffee shops and sit in the parks and maybe catch a play that’s off Broadway but not in the Village.
Ireland. I don’t know why I never got to Ireland, since I’m part Irish and I love the music, the people and the pictures of the scenery. Maybe it’s nothing like I imagine, but I know I’d love to spend an evening or two or three in a pub listening to Gaelic songs, munching on mussels and drinking Guinness.
There are lots more places I’d like to see, of course, but I realize I won’t get to most of those listed above (Cape Cod and the Outer Banks are possibilities, maybe). And, although I like almost every place I’ve been, there are a few sites I’d skip.
Dominican Republic. I was probably in the wrong place, and it certainly wasn’t horrible since we were guests of friends staying in a magnificent villa on a golf course. But the juxtaposition of this wealth compared to the lot of Dominicans living in roofless shelters shared with roosters was a bit too drastic. I’m also unused to servants at my beck and call and felt uncomfortable having people waiting on me. Unless I’m in a restaurant.
Factory tours. In Puerto Rico, it was the Bacardi factory; in Sorrento it was cameos, and in Spain it was leather goods. If you are on a tour that take a little bypass to a factory, chances are you will end up buying something you didn’t intend to purchase. Plus, it takes away from the places you really want to see. The rum factory was no substitute for the beaches, and watching artisans carve cameos was somewhat interesting, but it cost us precious time at Pompeii.
Shore excursions. The same thing as factory tours. I haven’t been on a cruise in many years, and I did like the two that we booked. There is loads to do onboard the ship, which is much more the point than the stops along the way, which are invariably rushed. To conserve time, we signed up for shore trips sponsored by the cruise lines. These are invariably rip-offs featuring overly sweet punch drinks, floor shows by native dancers, and straw markets. I never saw the beach in the Bahamas, but I did see lots of straw tote bags.
Boardwalks. I know I’m in the vast minority, but I am not a fan of tacky boardwalk staples such as cheap tee shirts, cotton candy, sticky fudge, amusement rides, and throngs of people.
Amusement Parks. Yeah, I did them all when our daughter was young, and I felt it was my parental duty to get nauseous on some twirling ride. I did the roller coasters, the merry-go-rounds, the railroad trains. For this I should get some kind of free pass into heaven, because truth be told, I hate amusement parks. I went through a phase where I loved Disney World, because it was much more fun to buy Minnie Mouse caps and ride It’s a Small World than the rides at Dorney or Hershey. We had breakfast with Cinderella – what could beat that if you have to be in an amusement park? But I’ve even reached my limit with the Disney experience, which is a sure sign of growing old. I’d rather read a book by the pool, which probably means I’ve forfeited my free pass…….
Daytona Beach. Let’s get this straight. I like views of beaches and ocean much more than I actually like being in the sand or getting knocked over by waves. Let’s just say that a lovely deck overlooking the shore is a good thing. That said, I have seen some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and loved them. What I did not like about Daytona was that the sand is hard. Duh, they drive cars on the beach. And they have the Daytona 500 there. And a Biker Week. I hate car races and motorcyles. So, out of all the beaches I can think of, this is my least favorite. One good thing: St. Augustine is very close by, and that’s a whole other story.
Myrtle Beach. Same as above, only substitute millions of golf courses and seafood buffets for the race cars and motorcycles.
Two Dunmore High School alumni, Alee Bevilacqua ‘11 and John Glinsky ‘13, both went away for school to pursue their dreams upon graduating.
Bevilacqua enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia to further explore her love of the Spanish language. Glinsky traveled to Hyde Park, New York to earn his associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Two very different paths indeed, but those paths eventually crossed in a magical way.
Both DHS alum ended up finding employment with a little company started by a man you may have heard of before. Does Walt Disney ring a bell?
Bevilacqua moved to sunny California to take on an global publicity internship with Walt Disney Studios, and Glinsky took on an externship position as a prep chef in a famous boardwalk restaurant at Disney World in Florida.
Online editor Emily Fedor caught up with both of the mouseketeers in the making to chat about their big moves, their impressive gigs and, of course, the wonderful world of Disney.
Alee Bevilaqua is currently working as a global publicity intern at Walt Disney Studios as a part of Disney’s professional internship program. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
Emily Fedor: Let’s start from the beginning. How did finding a job with Disney first come into the picture?
Alee Bevilacqua: I was looking for [jobs with] advertising and digital marketing agencies—things of that sort. I just threw it into the mix. They had a public relations position open with Lucasfilm (Disney owns Lucasfilm). I applied for that, and the woman who gave me a phone screening told me about the position I have right now. She said, “We didn’t post it on the website yet, but based on your interests, I really think you would like this one.”
EF: And what are you doing in this position?
AB: I’m a publicity intern. I work on a team that does publicity with Disney Studios, and I worked on a team that does global publicity for live action films—so anything along the lines of Marvel, Lucasfilm.. I’ll help out at premieres and any other publicity events for the movies. I handle a lot of different odds and ends.
EF: You graduated from Temple with a degree in Spanish. Does that come into use at all?
AB: On the publicity team, we have some hispanic media outlets. So my Spanish does actually come in handy.
EF: So working in the publicity field in Disney, nonetheless, wasn’t ever a part of your plans?
AB: No, I definitely didn’t have this planned. When Mario [Bevilacqua] first started off with his food truck [What the Fork], I helped him out with that. I started to realize I was really interested in digital marketing. So once I got to school, I had a little marketing internship, and I did a PR internship. Then last semester, I was an intern at a digital marketing agency.
EF: How has the transition of moving to California been?
Alee Bevilacqua made her move to California only a few weeks after she graduated from Temple University in May. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
AB: I live in Burbank, so I’m still in a little residential area. There’s a lot more driving which I didn’t expect. It’s impossible to get around if you don’t have a car because the public transportation is not that great. People out here are much more relaxed, too, and the weather is just perfect year-round.
EF: What do you miss most about Dunmore?
AB: I miss the community feeling for sure. It’s easy to walk into somewhere and see someone you know and start up a conversation. But honestly, I miss NEPA food. The best food you’re going to get here is Mexican food and sushi, because that’s what’s big out here. I could be bias because half of Dunmore is Italian, but I have yet to try good Italian [food] down here.
EF: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had so far?
AB: I was able to go and volunteer at Comic-Con, which is absolutely incredible. We took a bus down to San Diego, and I got to watch the entire panel at Hall H, which I never thought I would ever do. People wait in line for days for that. There were 6,000 people there. It was insane just being a part of that.
EF: So what’s next for you? Is this move permanent for you?
AB: As of right now, my internship is until December 30th, but it’s up in the air. They can ask you upon mutual agreement to extend your internship for another six months. After that, there’s always a possibility I could get offered a position if there’s a job opening. I have been toying with anything though. As of right now, I’m just rolling with it.
EF: But you’re happy with the decision you made to take the job at Disney?
AB: I’m absolutely happy to be here. I could hop down to Disneyland any day, and it’s a work environment that I think everyone dreams of. I think what I love about publicity is that at Disney, it’s more of a female-dominated field. So I think being around these powerful, goal-oriented women is so inspiring. I can’t believe this is my life.
John Glinsky worked as prep cook at a signature restaurant at Disney World in Florida last year as part of an externship program. He will be returning to work at a different restaurant this month. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
Emily Fedor: What attracted you to Disney World and made you want to get a job there?
John Glinsky: My family goes to Disney for vacations, so Disney is a big part of my life in general. I wanted to work at Disney so I can continue a family tradition my grandparents started the tradition of going to Disney every year. I was just thinking how awesome it would be to work at Disney and take my future child there and be like “Hey, I worked at this place.”
EF: How was the transition of moving to Florida?
JG: We drove—well, my dad drove—down to Disney straight through without stopping. I would never recommend that to anyone. I’d never been away from home, but it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It was like I was meant to be there. It was scary to go down, but I was more excited than anything.
EF: What kind of work did you do while you were in Disney?
JG: I worked at the Flying Fish Cafe, a signature restaurant in Walt Disney World. It was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney at the time. I was mostly a prep cook there. Usually my shift was 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and throughout that time, I would prep for that night cooking wise. It would be a fresh prep every day, which I enjoyed.
EF: You’ve been to Disney quite a few times before working there. How was being an employee versus a tourist?
JG: I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the magic. There were just moments when I was walking backstage—they use theatre terms like backstage, audience, costumes—and I’d be walking with Woody. But then you’d see another Woody switching out with him. It’s actually really funny.
EF: Do you have a favorite memory from your time there?
John Glinsky’s place of employment, the Flying Fish Cafe, was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
JG: When I started doing prep work, I almost got transferred to a different location because I couldn’t keep up. But one of the head chefs named James said he would take me under his wing, and he just brought me to a whole different level. I had talked to him about buying a new knife. And when I was leaving on my second last day, he gave me his first knife that he ever bought.
EF: What was the biggest difference between Florida and Dunmore?
JG: There’s more diversity there, and a lot of the people didn’t speak English. But that’s why I like food so much, because language barriers don’t matter. It’s a language in itself.
EF: Now you’re going back to work at Disney. Tell me about that.
JG: I applied back and they greeted me with open arms. They wanted to put me at Victoria & Albert’s which is the number one restaurant in Disney, but there weren’t any openings until November. So I’m working at Artist’s Point in Wilderness Lodge. It’ll be a good experience.
EF: Pick three words to describe your time working at Disney.
JG: Magical, extraordinary, and humbling. Seeing what people go through to make the magic was really humbling. My tier in the totem pole was giving them a meal they’d never forget. That’s the whole reason I do what I do. I want to be a chef because it makes people happy.