Mary Cospito Calabria
Great woman who I wish I knew longer. She unfortunately died a couple years after I met her. Joe and I were dating back then and we visited her together several times. Every once in a while she would call me at my apartment in DC to ask how Joey was "really" doing. (I think I was a girlfriend she approved of). More then 1000 people came to her funeral over the 2-day wake which gave me a glimpse into the enormous impact one little (maybe 5' tall) woman can have on her community. She lived in North Bergen NJ most of her life, near the many siblings, nieces and nephews. Born in 1920 to immigrant parents her young years were filled with struggle and hard work. When I met her; however, she greeted me with smiles and lots of Italian food. Even in her 80's she was employed at at the local community center and when she wasn't busy feeding people, she was volunteering for the school board and making campaign calls for the Democratic Party for local, state and national elections. She was a force. And I wouldn't want to cross her. Living where she lived for as long as she did, I am sure she "knew" people. I am sorry she was not alive to see her son marry me. We would have had a fun relationship. This picture was taken when she was 23. She married a man who left her pregnant. An abandoned single mother back in 1943 must have been more than hard. But she married again several years later to Joe's father, another hard worker: a carpenter, who, alas died of Parkinson before my time.