Mother’s Day In Duquesne

I have returned! I have to apologize for the lapse of time since my last post. I really have no excuses, just a bit of laziness to blame. I actually made a very quick trip up to the Duquesne area over Mother’s Day weekend so I have been on the road a lot. The purpose of my Duquesne trip was for my cousin Tom Volk’s 60th Birthday Luau. It was held at The Mifflin Club in West Mifflin and everyone had a great time. Just to be able to get together with my family on such a beautiful day and in such a super setting was worth the trip.

I have to admit that I am still recovering from the 16 hour drive to and from in less than 48 hours. I promise that I will recap a little bit more of the trip, but I wanted to just write a little about the special day that occurred this weekend, MOTHER’S DAY.

From what I recall, Mother’s Day in Duquesne was often celebrated in a special way, depending on the age and faith of the family. As a member of the Holy Name Parish, First Holy Communions were often celebrated on Mother’s Day Sunday. I can’t say for certain if it was the same in other parishes. If I am correct and Mother’s Day was set aside for First Holy Communions, I feel bad for the moms that were involved. Can you imagine preparing for not only the whole religious ceremony, but the huge hunky celebration that ensured following the event! Every aunt, uncle and cousin was invited to the house for to commemorate the occasion, to honor the First Communicant and to (of course), eat, drink and be merry!

Below is a picture of the Holy Name 1957 First Communicants. I don’t recognize the two Celebrants in the photo, and only four of the children. I am posting two copies of the same picture, one of which has numbers for each child. If you happen to recognize yourself or a another child, be sure to leave a comment identifying the boy or girl. Happy remembering AND a belated Happy Mother’s Day!

#1 – Richie Welsh, #2 – Bob Cheke, #3 – Peter Kanski, #4 – Pat Canevin, #5 – Tommy Puskaric, #6 – Vendalin Zurvalik,  #7 – Mike O’Malley, #8 – Eugene Hartman, #9 – Gary Newmeyer, #10 – Tom Duffy, #11 – James Smouse, #12 – Ray Flannagan, #13A – Christopher Betsch, #13B – Thomas Carr, #14 – Rich Miller. #15 – Carl Cimbala, #16 – Mark Petrozza, #17 – Steve Volk, #18 – Darryl Frizzi, #19 – Steve Gorshak, #20 – Ray Elko, #22 – Gary Nagy, #23 – Dennis Stanko, #25 – Joe Connelly, #26 – Rich Mullins, #27 – Kurt Slavin, #28 – Ed Belbak, #29 – Janet Spade, #30 Judy Merisko, #31 – Irene Needham, #32 Bonnie Dagle, #33 – Susan Terza, #34 – Pamela Olson, #36 – Diane Bergel, #37 – Diane Smith, #38 – Diane Casey, #39 – Marcia Bazylak, #40 Linda Fendrick, #41 Christine Petrozza, #42 Colleen O’Neill, #43 – Diane Smith #44 – Paula Goldman, #45 – Clare Hemminger, #46 – Carol Prince, #48 – Joanne Spanitz, # 50 – Donna Salopek, #54 – Patty Wagner

As you help me identify the children, I’ll continue to update the list!

In closing, I thought it appropriate to understand what Mother’s Day was supposed to be all about. Hallmark strikes again! I checked out Wikipedia and for the following brief history of Mother’s Day:

The United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe first issued her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament, and asked for June 2, 1872, to be established as a “Mother’s Day for Peace”. Howe’s day was not for honoring mothers but for organizing pacifist mothers against war. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American Mother’s Day, but these did not succeed beyond the local level. The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one’s mother. Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea did not take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a “Hallmark holiday,” i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose. Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday. In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls. Moreover, churchgoing is also popular, yielding the highest church attendance after Christmas Eve and Easter. Many worshipers celebrate the day with carnations, colored if the mother is living and white if she is dead.

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12 Responses to Mother’s Day In Duquesne

  1. Donna Perichak Gasper says:

    Jim – this is on the picture of the family in this post. I believe this is my Aunt Kay/Uncle Mike Stepetic with kids Arlene, Michael, and Michele and one extra young boy. Any dates on this? Is this possibly you in the picture? wow!

    Donna Perichak Gasper

    • Jim says:

      Diane, you are 100% correct. It’s Uncle Mike, Aunt Kay, Arlene, Michael and Michelle and ME on the day of my First Holy Communion in May, 1959. I have been in touch with Arlene and Michael recently. Arlene is in North Carolina and Michael in Nevada.

      • Donna Perichak Gasper says:

        My mom is Kay’s youngest sister and I’m the youngest cousin on that side. WOW! The cousins scattered to the wind in all corners of the states. I talked to Arlene maybe 5 years ago just before she left Nevada. Haven’t seen anyone in a long time. I’ve lived in Boston since 77. I’ve definitely enjoyed your blog here as a formal parishenor of St Joseph’s, and former employee of Kennywood. Thanks for bringing it all back to life!

  2. Suzi Senay Sharp says:

    also, #24 could be either Billy Joe Petrozza or Michael (his brother) also my cousins…

  3. Suzi Senay Sharp says:

    #16 is Mark Petrozza(too early to be Neal), #36 Barbara Ann Petrozza-Patnik, #44 Paulette Pych-Barry, #41 Christine “Cookie” Petrozza-Schuchert…these are all my cousins, if this is truly them..I am guessing?…picture is small…tough for my old eyes to see…lol

  4. Paul Duffy says:

    No. 10 is my brother, Tom Duffy, who died in 1993.

  5. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    Number 30 is Judy Merisko — I think number 3 is Pete Kanski — They were a year ahead of me

  6. Frank Mullen says:

    I can’t even imagine who those two priests were. I attended Holy Name school until that 1957-58 academic year, and never saw them. I knew Fr. Schoenhart (sp?) and Fr, Shaunesshey (sp?) only.

  7. Harry "Red" "Dutch" Wagner...class of 69... says:

    My sister Patty Wagner and Brother in law Gary Newmeyer are in this photo….gives me chills to see them…….
    54 is Patty and 9 is Gary…….

  8. Debbie Gavlik says:

    Not sure about these but they look like 3 – Kanski, 7 – O’Malley, 15 – Cimbala, 27 – Slavin
    There are 2 number 13’s and the 4th one from the left is my brother Tommy Carr. His head is between 23 & 24. I think that 16 – is Neil Petrozza, 25 – Joe Connolly

  9. Amy Slavin Corbett says:

    #27 sure does look like my older brother, Kurt Slavin…but since I wasn’t born yet, don’t know for sure.

    • Alan Hartman says:

      #8 is Eugene Hartman. He is Jim Hartman and Alan Hatmans sibling. This is Alan and Jim is involved with the Mifflin Township Historical Society as you well know. We three were known as “The Big Three” although Eugene took after my Dad’s side of the family and did not fully resemble our mother’s Slovak side. Jim is the oldest, Eugene the middle and I was the “baby” of the family. I attended Holy Name till the second grade. That is when my family moved from 818 Oak STreet off Center to West Mifflin where I attended St. Agnes. Eugene passed away in 1993 from cancer. He was a very young 44 and he is missed. Eugene served in the navy during Vietnam and was a Data Processing Tech 2nd Class and served on supply ships mainly in the Mediterranian Sea.

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