S: The Ambrosi Family
FC: The Ambrosi Family
2: Mary Louise Layden February 24, 1923 | Joseph Ambrosi, Jr. August 22, 1923 - April 16, 2005 | Helen Lafferty April 28, 1891 - 1974 born in Missouri | Thomas Patrick Layden April 13, 1891 - 1968 born in Kansas | Mary Antoinette Mottes January 28, 1901 - July 8, 1958 born in Italy | Joseph Ambrosi November 20, 1892 - 1954 born in Austria | Mary born in Ireland (Belfast) | John Lafferty born in Ireland (Belfast) | John Layden Born in Ireland (Tipperary) | . | . | Anna | Giacomo Ambrosi born in Italy in c. 1830 | Elizabeth Layden
3: Top row: Zia Catanota Ambrosi and Zio Matt Ambrosi Bottom: Mama Ambrosi, Papa Ambrosi and baby Joe (Called Pepino when he was very little) Elizabeth Layden, mother of Thomas Patrick Layden
4: Near the northern Italian city of Trento is the small town of Piazza de Bedollo in Piné. This little town in the mountains was the childhood home of Joseph Ambrosi Sr. and his future wife, Mary Antoinette Mottes. Mary was raised by Joseph's parents; her parents left Italy and went to Argentina. She did not have much connection with them after that. Joseph Ambrosi Sr. (Papa Ambrosi) came to the United States in 1914 and settled initially in New York City, but moved to Pennsylvania for a short time where he worked in the coal mines. Papa Ambrosi’s brother, Andrew, arrived first to the United States and settled in Los Angeles. When Mary Antoinette Mata (Mama Ambrosi) arrived in New York City in 1921, they were immediately married and, within a few days, on the train to California. They settled in Los Angeles where their son Joseph Ambrosi Jr. (Joe) was born on August 22, 1923. They had another son while living in Los Angeles, Frank, who later would became a priest in the Claritian order. Papa and Mama Ambrosi relocated to Gardena, where their third son, Angelo, was born. They bought a plot of land, which they initially farmed as most families did in Gardena in those years. This farm was what sustained them through the Great Depression, as they were able to raise most of what they ate. When the United States entered WWII, many people migrated to southern California. It was then that Mama and Papa Ambrosi turned their little farm into a trailer park. When their son Joe started school he did not speak English. His first language was Italian. He was so embarrassed that he refused to speak any more Italian at home. When people at school asked him what country his family came from he told them Italy. His mom made him go back to school and tell them that he was Austrian. The part of Italy where the family home is located used to be in Austria. After WWI, when Italy received part of Austria, the Italian government hired Mama Ambrosi to “teach those ignorant Austrians to speak Italian.” The Austrians spoke German. Mama Ambrosi spoke Italian, German, and English. | Currently, the knife cart is on display at Dominguez Rancho in Compton, California.
5: From three to six in an instant! That is, the size of Ambrosi family went from three to six in a moment’s time. Let me backtrack a bit: Papa Ambrosi came to America about the same time as two of his older brothers, Andrew and Matt. Andrew had settled in Los Angeles while Joe Sr. and Matt followed with their brides. Andrew and his wife Mary had three sons: Leo (of “Leo and Dorothy” fame), Andy (who married Katherine) and Gene (who married Ginny). Andrew died in the 30s and Mary remarried. Her new husband did not get on well with her three boys. Knowing this, Papa Ambrosi made a habit of dropping by regularly to check on them. One day he arrived to find Gene, who was just a very little boy, maybe six, sitting on the front step with a bag beside him and he was crying. When asked what was wrong, Gene told Papa Ambrosi that he and his brothers couldn’t live there any more. Papa Ambrosi told Gene to go get his brothers. He put them in his truck and drove them “home.” Joe remembered hearing his father say to Mama Ambrosi, “We have three more sons.” In an instant, the family doubled in size! As far as things they brought over from Italy, the most important thing they brought with them was their Catholic faith and they handed that down to their kids. Their son, Frank, became a priest who spent 27 years as a missionary in Nigeria. He was the first Claritian allowed to go there. They also brought with them the tradition of celebrating the feast of Santa Lucia. Different from the Scandinavian tradition using candles and pastries as the morning greeting, the Italians celebrated it with the gift of fruits, nuts, candies and a small treat for the children. Before bed, the kids put out bowls of cornmeal for the donkey and Santa Lucia leaves treats. The area from which Papa Ambrosi had come in Italy was widely known for their expert knife grinders called “moletos.” When he and Mama Ambrosi settled in Los Angeles, Papa Ambrosi took his trade and turned it into a way of making a living to support his family. Initially he pushed a cart from restaurant to restaurant or meat market to meat market to sharpen knives. When he had the money, he purchased a truck. During the Great Depression, their son Joe didn’t even realize the depression was happening because they always had food on the table. Sometimes the restaurants would pay meat for the sharpening of knives. Papa Ambrosi worked at this trade until his death in 1954. Mama Ambrosi died in 1958.
6: Manuscript of Joe Ambrosi recording Today is the 25th of February 2005, approximately mid afternoon, and we're going to attempt between myself and my family to record some Ambrosi family history, particularly that Ambrosi family that came to live and settle in California. It is going to be hit or miss, jumping around. Kathleen promised to put it together when we finally got my ramblings written down. Let's begin with prayer to make sure that it goes right. In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now until the hour of our death. Amen. Now, I am going to try and do this. My name is Joseph, or Joe Ambrosi, and when I was a youngster, was called Peno. I got that name because in Italian, the name for Joseph is Giuseppe which was seldom used but we would frequently use the word Pepino, which was shorter and meant, "young Joe" and Pepe would be senior, an adult, we would call Pepe. Pepino would be for a young man. And like children will, we shaved it down to Peno. When I was a kid, I was frequently called Peno. I am trying to do this recording for the benefit of my family, my children, and grandchildren and whoever else might be interested in it. I am sure that some of my cousins will be interested in knowing something about it. As to the accuracy to everything I say, I can't guarantee it. I am going to do it the best as I know how and if anyone wants to correct it, it is perfectly okay. I think I am going to begin with is the family background. My father was named Joseph, or Giuseppe, or Pepe, and he was born in 1892 in what is now Italy. It was Austria at the time. My mother was born in the same general area around 1900. My mother's birthday was January 28, 1900. My father's birthday was November 20, 1892. As I go along, I may come back to some of these things and record them for you. Right now it might be a bit tilted in my delivery but it will loosen up as I go along. Feel free to edit, delete, and repeat. I guess that is really the beginning. The Ambrosi family history actually goes back as far as we can trace back by personal history to about 1830, 1835 in Austria. The question is: how did we come to America and California? Well, my father was going come to America and he had gotten his passport. His cousin whose name I cannot recall also had a passport to come to the United States. By the time it came to move, the cousin was going to be drafted into the Austrian army but he had some things that had to get done. So he and my father just switched passports. In those days there were no pictures, no finger prints, no recordings of any kinds. So when it was time to leave my father took his cousin's passport, the one who was going to be drafted, and got the heck out of town and came to America so that he wouldn't be drafted into the Austrian army. And my father followed later, I'm not sure how much later a few weeks or months, and they met in the home of my father's brother in Pennsylvania and at that point they swapped passports back. We came under falsified passports. Getting back to the move from what is now Italy, which was then Austria. You will hear both Austria and Italy and they are used interchangeably. Speaking of that, I am going to insert here a cute little story because my mother never ever admitted to being Italian. She was Austrian until the day that she died. The story goes something like this. I was in 6th grade at St. James School in Redondo Beach and Sister Mary Bryd was the teacher, the best teacher I have ever known in my whole life. Any case, one day we had to fill out a paper that said our name, address, date of birth, parents name and so on and our nationality. And I wrote down Italian. And that day when we got home from school, like mother's will, she asked what we did in school. So I told her what i had done. She comes over and taps me with her finger firmly on my chest and says, "Peno, tomorrow you go back and change that to Austrian." Getting back to the trip coming to the United States, my mother actually was known by my father and his family when she was a very little girl. She was born in 1900. She has no recollection of knowing her mother or father. They allegedly moved to South America and left her with my father's mother and father to be raised and taken care of. My father used to tell the story that she was a very poor eater, very poor about eating, so he would take a pan and something to pound on so that she would open her mouth and he would or someone could put stuff in her mouth so that she could swallow it.
8: description of documents
12: Speaking of my mother and father getting together, the last time that he had seen her she was about eleven or twelve years of age. I don't remember exactly what age she was when he came to leave Italy and come to America. He never saw or spoke to her again until the day that they met in New York on the 20th of September 1922, on the day that they were married on the day that she arrived in New York. This came about because at that time the law said that if a non-citizen married a citizen, that non-citizen would become a citizen. Well, that was the last day that that law was to be in effect. So immediately when the ship arrived in New York, they went to the justice of peace and were married. My mother told the story of having her wedding day luncheon which was a sauerkraut sandwich purchased from a street vendor in New York. That was her wedding day meal. In any case, that is the story of them getting to the United States.
15: "For Lent, my friends and I read a book titled: The Purpose Driven Life. It is a guide book of sorts, written to help folks determine what to do with their lives, to give meaning to the things they do. I began to think the other night, what was Dad’s purpose in life? And did he achieve it? As I see it, Dad had several roles in his life: PROVIDER: yes, he did that very well. There may not always have been lots of extra money for things but we never wanted for anything. He worked hard, every day, and many, many nights to provide the basics: food, shelter, clothing but he also provided security, a sense of being truly loved. He provided help whenever you needed it, he provided warmth, good cheer and a positive attitude. MEMORY MAKER: Dad played a part in some of my earliest memories . . . I have fond memories of going to 7am mass on the occasional Saturday morning and stopping at Fred’s bakery for fresh French bread, then we’d come home and Dad would fix us coffee (age 5?) and thick slices of bread with lots of butter. I cherish the memories of having Daddy read us bedtime stories. Usually in the boys’ bedroom, he’d lay down on his stomach several of us would lie down next to him, somebody would be on his back resting their chin on Dad’s head and we’d follow along in the books . . . or we’d play jokes and who-are-yous? Often he would recite the story of the Nativity and it did not have to be around Christmas time either. ALWAYS he knelt with us to say our prayers. I remember rushing with great excitement to take off Dad’s shoes when he came home from work. Remember? He was busy making memories and he kept on making them right thru my childhood and into my adult life. When he would visit us in L.A. he was very good at another purpose in his life. HISTORIAN: We would be casually driving through Redondo or Torrance and he would happily tell me what it was like there when he was a kid. How he remembered the strawberry fields and the dairies and the street cars and all the different people that made up his world as a child and young man. He LOVED to tell us about driving back and forth from the navel base in San Diego to Garden to visit with his girlfriend. THAT was his Favorite story. ROLE MODEL: It’s not always easy to be married and to be a parent. It’s sometimes tedious and stress filled because there are so many things to do for so many people at the same time. It takes strength of character, teamwork and commitment to keep going when the going gets tough. Dad and Mom rose to so many challenges, we will never know how many sleepless nights, or desperate prayers Dad must had to get through but as children we never knew. They protected our innocence and they did it with love and grace. What better role model for a truly committed marriage and family life then my parents? Dad’s greatest role? He had such a strong faith. He loved God and he proudly shared his love and devotion to Jesus and The Blessed Mother. A greater gift I could never be given then to be raised with a sense of faith . . . two greater faith givers I could never find then my parents. So what was Dad’s purpose in life? Certainly I could go on and on about all the roles he filled. I like to imagine that when Dad closed his eyes here on earth he then opened them in Heaven and God was there to say to him: “What a good job you have done for me, Joseph, you were a man I could count on, a real man come and rest now, you have earned your place.” ~ Carolyn Simon
16: Thomas Patrick Layden was born in Kansas on April 13, 1891. His parents were John and Elizabeth Layden. John and Elizabeth were both of Irish descent from the area of Tipperary in Ireland. Tom had an older brother, John, and a sister, Kate. At the age of two, he was struck with polio. During a time when little was known about polio, he was very fortunate to have survived. However, the muscle in his left leg atrophied and that leg was shorter than his right, causing him to limp all his life. He had an eighth grade education, which was quite an accomplishment for that day. As a young man, he found work as a bookkeeper. Helen Lafferty was born in a mining camp in Missouri on April 28, 1891. She was the eldest daughter of John and Mary Lafferty, who were also of Irish descent (from Belfast, Ireland). She had two brothers, Hugh and Bill and one younger sister, Marguerite. Mary died at a very young age; thus, ending Helen’s schooling with the second grade. With only a second grade education, she took on the role of the mother, doing the housework and providing the care for her brothers and baby sister. Hugh left home as a young teen and became a “mountain man.” The family lost track of him and it was not until the mid 1950s that the family was reunited. After Marguerite was grown and on her way, Helen, too, left home and took a job in a boarding house. There she met a young woman who became her dearest friend. Her name was Louise Wagner. One day Louise told Helen that her boyfriend “had a friend” and she thought Helen would enjoy his company. Louise was right! Thomas Layden and Helen Lafferty were married on June 5, 1917. They settled in Kansas City, Kansas and started their family. Tom and Helen welcomed six children into their family: Thomas Jr. (1919 – 1972); William “Bill” (1921); Mary Louise (1923); LeRoy “Buster” (1926 – 1932); Rosina Elizabeth “Betty Rose” (1929); and Marguerite “Margaret”/"Peggy” (1931). Until 1941 the family lived in Kansas City, Kansas. Aunt Marguerite’s husband Wally Wagy told Tom that he could get jobs for both he and Mary Louise in the shipyards in southern California. Tom and Mary Louise headed west and were joined, within a few months, by Helen, Betty and Peggy. Tom Jr. and Bill were already serving in the military. The Layden family settled in Long Beach, but later moved to Gardena. The family attended St. Anthony Parish in Gardena. It was there that Helen spotted a “cute little sailor boy” and encouraged Mary Louise to get a date with him. A week or two later, she accepted his invitation to go to a movie. And the rest, as the saying goes, “is history!” Helen and Tom divided their time between living in Gardena and in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tom died in Santa Fe in 1968. Helen then lived the rest of her life with her daughters; spending time in Phoenix with Peggy, in Gardena with Betty and in Healdsburg with Mary Louise. She joined Tom in eternal life in 1974. The first house Mary Louise recalls living in had one bedroom and no bathrooms, but there was an outhouse. When it was time for bathing, a wash bin was brought into the kitchen. This home had bittersweet memories. It was the home her little brother died in but it was also the home her little sister Peggy was born in. Mary lived in many houses before her family eventually settled in a three bedroom and one bath house. Though her parents never owned a house, this would be the home she spent her childhood in. Growing up Mary enjoyed hop-scotch, jump rope and playing hide-n-seek at night with the other kids in her neighborhood. She played 1st base on a softball team and played on her school's basketball team. Mary grew up during the Great Depression; therefore, there was no money for toys. However, she did recall that one Christmas her family got the game "Monopoly." In addition to the childhood games, Mary and her friends enjoyed going to the movies, when they had the money to spare. In the week prior to going to the movies, she and her friends would spend their time searching for milk bottles. They each needed two milk bottles. They would turn in the milk bottles and receive 3 cents for each bottle. With the 6 cents, they would use 5 cents to get into the movie theatre and 1 cent to buy some candy. Some movies would end without finishing the story; thus, encouraging viewers to come back next week to find out what happened. Sometimes Mary went back the next week and sometimes she didn't. Though her family and friends would spend money to go to the movies, going out to eat dinner was unheard of. Instead, her mother made all meals at home. They ate lots of beans: bean soup, chili with beans, and brick chili. Her mom and aunt spent all summer canning food; they would go to the farmers market until it closed waiting for farmers to cut their prices on tomatoes, apples, and peaches. Mary’s job was to wash the jars; she was given this job because her hands were small. She always wished that her hands would grow so big that they wouldn't fit in the jars, but that never happened! Her mother had great recipes and could make anything; if the ingredient was not available she would substitute it and everything still tasted good. | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
17: From left to right across both pages: 1. Mary and Bill 2. Mary, her mom Helen, and Tommy 3. Mary 4. Mary's school picture 1940-1941 5. Julie and Bill Layden 6. Mary, Tommy, Bill, and Buster 7. Mary 8. Mary's First Communion
18: Mary didn’t only help her mom with the canning of fruits and vegetables, her mom taught her how to iron, how to clean, how to sew and how to cook. When Mary and her mother cooked and the food turned out delicious, Mary always got the credit. When the food turned out bad, her mom took the credit. Mary’s mother also did lots of sewing and had previously worked for a dress maker. Her mom made all of the children’s clothes. Mary’s favorite dress was a dress she got in the 6th or 7th grade. It was a dress made of feed sacks. Feed sacks during the Great Depression era had beautiful designs on them and this particular decoration was very beautiful to Mary. Her mother made her the dress for the first day of school; Mary was so proud of the dress. Mary’s First Communion dress was also very special. Her aunt from California promised to send her a dress for that special day, however, when the dress arrived it was too short. But, that didn't stop her from wearing it. She added some knee high socks and loved her dress. Mary still has her first communion picture and when she looks back at it, she realizes that, according to today’s standards, the dress would not be considered short at all. Shoes were hard to come by and wore out fast. Eventually rubber soles were invented and were sold in stores. Her dad became skilled at replacing the rubber soles on their shoes. Besides household duties, Mary also worked the summer between the 6th and 7th grade as a mother’s helper. The family she worked for had a little money to spare so they hired Mary to help take care of their six children. Mary work Monday through Saturday. Saturday was the couple’s date night so Mary would often stay the night with the children. She was paid $3 a week. She did not keep the money. Instead she gave it all to her mother who then gave her 15 cents. Mary went to the local Catholic school for all 12 years. Tuition was $1 per month, per child, but the school didn’t enforce tuition. They made enough money from those who did pay tuition to take care of all the students. After graduating high school in 1941, Mary began attending the local junior college. She only attended for three months until World War II began. When the war broke out, her older brother, Bill joined the Navy. Bill went to Florida for his training. When it was time for Bill to graduate his training, Mary and her parents wanted to go to his graduation. Because they did not have a car, they took the bus to Oklahoma where her older brother Tom lived. Tom lent his parents his car and they drove to Florida. Mary’s two younger sisters stayed in Kansas. Mary’s father drove to Florida with only one stop. They stopped in Jackson, Mississippi. Mary recalls that they stayed the night in a nice hotel; it was not a motel, but it was scary. It was an old, dark, and strange hotel, but the bed was nice and comfortable. After the Navy graduation, Bill came back to Kansas. Soon thereafter, Bill was called by the Navy to go to Alameda, California. Mary had always wanted to go to California, so when Bill went to California so did Mary. Mary’s parents also went to California to say goodbye to Bill, once again leaving the two little girls with family in Kansas. After returning to Kansas after their visit to California, Mary’s parents decided to move the rest of the family to Gardena, California.
19: Mary got a job at the California Ship Building Corporation in Long Beach. Her first job was proof reading. She received $5 a day and worked there for four years during the war. Eventually the ship building company went out of business and everyone was laid off. A short time later, Mary and her mother were at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Gardena, when her mother noticed a cute sailor boy collecting the morning’s tithes and offerings. Her mother said, “Oh why don’t you get a date with that cute sailor boy.” Mary thought he was cute, but didn’t think much about it. Mary was part of the young ladies group at the church and they were hosting a Halloween dance. Mary attended the dance with a sailor, but not the sailor her mother had previously hinted at. At the dance, the young sailor, who had been collecting the tithes and offerings, asked her to dance. His name was Joseph Ambrosi Jr.. After that dance, he asked her on a date. They attended church three or four times a week, so he asked her to dinner after the Sunday afternoon service. Mary only went on that date with him because her mother wanted her to. After their first date, Joe talked to his friends and said concerning the date, “It was great. I am going to marry her.” And he did. Mary doesn’t remember the proposal. She said it was a mutual decision and it just happened. However, she does remember receiving a ring the day of her engagement. | 1. Top row: Joanne in Joe’s arms; Linda in Angelo’s arms; Mimi, Mary Teresa, Kathleen, Betty Ann Seated: Mary holding Joe; Mama Ambrosi with Patty Pat standing in front of her; Uncle Frank; Richard, Didi and Peggy. The occasion was a dinner given at St. Anthony Parish Hall in celebration of Uncle Frank’s ordination. 2. Frank Ambrosi 3. Angelo Ambrosi 4. Helen and Thomas Layden 5. Frank, Papa Ambrosi, Mama Ambrosi and Angelo | 1 | 3 | 5
20: Long before she was Mom or Grandma or Aunt Mary or Mrs. Ambrosi.....she was someone's little red-haired girl, the kid sister and the big sister, a bit of a tom boy, a good student and not a bad athlete...born in the roaring twenties she was witness to the great moments of the twentieth century, riding out the great depression along side hard working parents and hardy siblings. When World War 2 broke out, they broke out of poverty and Mom came of age... soon there after the family was drawn to California with promises of jobs and she left the cold Kansas winters behind, she recalled driving in to California and thinking it was like heaven with oranges on the trees and flowers blooming in the middle of winter. She took a job at the shipyards in Long Beach, proudly increasing her pay scale from the $5 a week she was earning at a lumber yard in Kansas City to $5 a day working in the typing pool, and making her mark in the war effort. With the war came the soldiers and sailors and Mom was young...she went to dances and parties and USO shows. But she was a good Catholic girl so it was only fitting that she would find her sailor at church. She swept Dad off his feet. He loved her from the very first date and they both knew that their's was a match just meant to happen and 6 months later they were married. After 60 years of togetherness Dad still referred to her as his bride and he loved her, honored her and cherished her just as he had promised, every day they had together. They settled in as a couple and then began to plan a family. A large family. And so it began. Their family grew quickly and continuously. Once, when I was in high school I came home to announce to Mom that we were going to have "Fifties Day" and when I asked her what she wore in the Fifties, without skipping a beat, she said: maternity clothes! So yes, the Fifties (and a good part of the Sixties) were all about babies- 7 baby girls and then finally came the boys and just for good measure - a few more girls. How often have any one of us been asked "How did your mother do it?" Well, she would say: "you just do what you have to do". The reality is, it was a lot of hard work, long days, short nights (unless the whole household had the flu, those were long nights). Few days off. Back in those days the world was very different so she wasn't driving kids to soccer practice and stopping for take out on the way home. In fact, she didn't get her driver's license until she was 35 years old and had 10 children. Living in Gardena there was extended family around to not only help out, but also to be part of this family life. In the earlier days Mom made most of the girls' clothes, was the interior decorator (along with her sidekick, sister Betty).. She cooked every meal and, remember, there were no disposable diapers. The laundry never stopped. Deciding that they wanted to move the family to the country, Mom and Dad found the perfect spot in Healdsburg. Most of us remember this as the idyllic place to grow up - and it was - but Mom arrived with 13 children to a house that needed lots of finishing work. She went about the business of painting and wallpapering and getting everyone settled in to schools all while taking care of 4 pre school age children and getting ready to have another baby. Somehow in the midst of the constant commotion, Mom brought a calming presence to our home. A few years back we put some of the old home movies on video and I distinctly remember watching one clip where Mom is at the stove calmly preparing dinner surrounded by several of the little kids, jumping, running, chattering and I thought "Oh my gosh, it was like a preschool that never closed !" In another clip the whole family is proudly carrying home a Christmas tree freshly cut from on our own property: We kids (and the dogs) are all bouncing, skipping, excited, dressed in an assortment of jeans and sneakers and sweatshirts and mom is casually walking up that steep driveway wearing a dress and coat and high heels and carrying a baby. Those scenes and many, many like them were played over and over though her 40 years of actively raising her children. Those two clips capture so much of what our home was like...devotion, patience, and calmness from Mom, sheer happiness, joy and a sense of security from all of us children, and love admiration and fascination from Dad as he filmed her, his true love, doing what she was meant to do: being a mother. She was the best kind of mother, too. Yes, she taught us to cook and clean but beyond that she taught us that the most important things in life are not things. By example she showed us how to be patient, kind and giving. Her perseverance was unparalleled. She never complained about the work or the bills or the day to day grind, she just got up everyday and took up where she had left off, keeping the commitment she had made to each one of us, to Dad and to God. She was generous and charitable. She was protective of our innocence and instrumental in modeling the value of volunteerism and leadership. Mom was involved in a number of organizations at church and school, she volunteered for several years with Birthright, helping women in crisis to cherish their role as mothers and to choose life for their unborn babies. Together, she and Dad provided food and shelter for migrant farm workers.They gave generously to many charities and to folks in need.
21: She held her Catholic faith dear to her heart and was dutiful in passing on to us her love of our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother. She had a special devotion to Mary and would counsel anyone of us to offer up our struggles as a prayer for others, just as she surely did over and over again through her life. Faith, Hope and Charity were not just a cliche for her, Mom lived these virtues. She loved being a mother. While visiting with Mom and Katie before she (Katie) gave birth to Andrew, I commented that I loved being pregnant and having a baby and that if I had the chance I would do it again in a heartbeat, and without missing a beat, Mom said "so would I Car, so would I!" Mom loved her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, her sons and daughters by marriage and her friends who came at first as friends of one child or another and became part of our family......she loved a good book, a nice Irish coffee, and watching sports. Especially Gonzaga basketball......she had a wonderful sense of humor and loved a good joke or story. She had fond memories of camping with the family, and remember our road trip across the country? Mom always enjoyed reminiscing about that very special month back in 1977. Before she moved on to jigsaw puzzles, she liked playing board games with all of us and was a pretty good Jeopardy contender. She could certainly cook for a crowd, was quite a seamstress in her day and Sonoma County couldn't have had a better tour guide providing visitor's information then Mom. Her home was always open to friends and relatives whether it was for one night or an entire summer. We would have company often, especially in the summer. Kids moved out of beds and onto the floor to make room for guests and the house would be bursting with people...there would be no lingering in the bathrooms! Our house always had pets and even though there were times when those blasted cats would drive her crazy, she really had a soft spot in her heart for animals. She was interested in the world around her and was lucky enough to travel extensively- often in the company of one or two or several of her children. Mom was so proud of her family. Not just her children but of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren too. Some of you are lucky enough to remember playing and staying at Grandma's house in Healdsburg, so you will remember the true freedom that we enjoyed growing up there. Do you remember the bell that Grandma had on the back porch? When dinner was ready she would ring the bell and we would all come running, up from the barn or down from the hill. The big kids and adults gathered around the dining room table and the younger kids were in the kitchen....no matter where you were seated, it was not only delicious, but loud and fun too. When Mom finally got to sit down to eat, with a sigh she would take a breath before we would all say grace, gratitude....another virtue so beautifully and easily modeled for all of us. Often, priests were welcomed as dinner guests and Mom was always generous with the sisters that taught at both the elementary and high schools. We learned respect for others, especially those with a religious vocation. As the years passed and we all grew up and began lives of our own, Mom and Dad moved to Spokane. Remember that they were well into their sixties when they bought that big old house and lovingly restored it. Mom was also helping Dad with his insurance business but everyday they would stop to go to Mass at the Cathedral and have lunch at Dolly's. They settled in and loved living in Washington and spending time with family here but would travel to California for almost every special occasion -graduations, first communions and baptisms. In 1991 we gathered for a family reunion and prior to the event, Mom was sorting through some photos. She stopped and stared at a picture of herself at age 23, holding her two first babies. She chuckled to herself and told me "you know,I don't feel any older. Then I look in the mirror and I ask myself "who is that old lady?"! Always young at heart. She remained active and happy for such a long time. Her bones began to give out and a few medical issues slowed her down but she kept going strong. When Dad and Jim died her heart was broken and she ached for them unceasingly. It was with that well rehearsed perseverance that she continued to move forward. She traveled often still to see all of us and she was especially thrilled with her vacations to Alaska, Ireland, Hawaii and on a couple of occasions to New Mexico and Arizona. Just last fall, though she was very frail,she came to Redondo Beach to witness her life-long friend Sarah Jackson's wedding and to bid farewell to dear sweet Adabelle. She said she wouldn't have missed it for the world. Just before Christmas Mom began her journey home. Just as she taught us how to live, she now would teach us how to die. With dignity, grace, peace and excitement to reunite with those heavenly hosts that she loved here on earth. And so now we are left to grieve and to carry on without our model. It is our duty now to take what she has given, what she has taught us and to model for our next generations. We must be wise like Mom, to know when to speak and when to hold our tongues, to be kind and gentle, loving and giving. To be positive and jovial, to be protective of innocence, to be dedicated to our children and to our spouses and our friends, and to be prayerful, faithful and faith-filled. She left us on a cold winter day and entered heaven where oranges fill the trees and flowers bloom in the middle of winter. - Carolyn Simon
23: On June 3, 1945 Joseph Ambrosi Jr. and Mary Louise Layden were married. Their wedding took place on Sunday, at the 8:30am mass at St. Anthony’s. Weddings, back then, were not on Fridays or Saturdays. Weddings took place in front of the entire parish on Sundays. Mary and Joe invited the people they wanted to attend and everyone else, who normally attended mass on Sunday, was there. Years after the wedding, Mary met people who were at her wedding, even though she did not personally invite them. The wedding day went something like this: 8:30am ceremony, after the ceremony they had to go to the photographer’s studio and take pictures (the photographer did not go to the ceremony), then there was a wedding brunch held at Joe’s parent’s home, and at 7:00pm a reception was held at St. Anthony’s parish hall with music, dancing, and beer. Mary wore her dress all day long! That night, Mary and Joe went to the Biltmore Hotel. To this day, Mary has kept the hotel receipt. It was a nice exclusive hotel, Mary recalls, and it only cost them $6. The next morning, Mary and Joe went to Lake Tahoe for their ten day honeymoon. | Mary and Joe would soon have fourteen kids over the next 19 years of their marriage. Their first child is named Mary Theresa; she is named after Mary’s best friend in Kansas. Their first seven children were girls and by the time number seven arrived, Mary and Joe thought they would never have a boy. (They did eventually have 4 boys.) At first, Joe let Mary have the final decision in the baby’s names. He trusted her. Soon, with the large family, baby names became a discussion around the dinner table and all the children had input on the names. Most importantly, Mary wanted to name her children after relatives or friends, such as her son Tom was named after her father. Mary and Joe raised their children in Gardena for fourteen years and then moved the family to Healdsburg. They spent their summers taking the children camping, going to the beach, having picnics, and playing volleyball in the driveway. She remembers many parties at their house in Healdsburg; there were lots of things to celebrate with so many children.
24: “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.” – Proverbs 31:25-31
25: Mary Teresa | Kathleen Louise | Elizabeth Ann | Rosemarie | Margaret Frances | Patricia Joan | Joanne | Joseph John | Thomas Michael | Carolyn Marie | Francis William | James Stephen | Janet Maureen | Monica Helen
26: 1. Papa Ambrosi 2.Papa Ambrosi with Kathleen, Mama Ambrosi with Mary Teresa, and Andy Ambrosi 3. Mary and Aunt Margarite 4. Helen Layden 5. Mary and Uncle Wally 6. Helen Lafferty Layden in 1946 7. Alter boys: Frank, Angelo, and Joe 8. Mama Ambrosi with Mary Teresa, Kathleen, Betty Ann, Peggy, Didi, Patty Pat, and Joanne 9. Mimi, Papa Layden, Mary, Peggy, and Kathleen | 1 | 2 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 9
27: “Mama Ambrosi would pick me up from school sometimes. It was about six blocks away from her house. On the way home we would stop at Egger’s Bakery and get cinnamon rolls. They were long cinnamon rolls and we would have coffee with them.” – Mary Teresa 1. Mary and Joe 2. Joe 3. Papa Ambrosi with Kathleen and Mama Ambrosi with Mary Teresa 4. Jack, Angelo, Frank and Joe 5. Billy, Mama Layden, Mary, Papa Layden, Mimi, and Peggy 6. Betty, Mary, Mary D., and Peggy 7. Uncle Frank, Mama Ambrosi, Papa Ambrosi., Joe, Gene, Audrey, Andy, Dorothy, Leo, Jack and Angelo; Children: Bob and Eileen | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7
29: “In May, Mama Ambrosi’s roses were in bloom. We always went to the 8:00am mass. After mass she would wait outside with bouquets of roses wrapped up in newspaper. She would have me bring in the bundles of roses into the church.” – Mary Teresa “Then there were the Sunday drives. We did this alot. Sometimes Dad would even let us "drive." None of us were even in our teens at the time and the driving consisted of holding onto the steering wheel as he drove. We'd take turns by climbing over the front seat to sit in the middle between Dad and Mom while Mom sat with a baby on her lap. Oh, those were the days!” - Didi
30: "Everyone who grew up in the Ambrosi family remembers the famous “sock box!” When Leo and Dorothy would come up to Healdsburg and stay a few days, Dorothy would make it her goal to match all the socks. IMPOSSIBLE! " - Kathleen “I remember something Papa Layden would say, and he thought it was so funny: He would say, ‘When people ask me how old I am...I say, I am seventy. Then they ask, how old is Helen. I say, she is seventy, too.’ This was so funny because it would sound like she is a lot older than Papa Layden!” – Didi “Betty Ann got herself a football uniform complete with shoulder pads and a helmet.” – Mary Teresa "
31: “I was probably 4 or 5, and I was over at my aunt’s house for dinner. They were serving cream corn and I didn’t like the looks of it so I told my mom, ‘Cream corn hurts my teeth.’ That way I wouldn’t have to eat the cream corn.” - Peggy “I remember going on a train trip with Daddy and I think Poggy and Patty Pat. It seemed so special. We got to sleep on the train too. I don’t even remember where or why we went – or how long we were away. I just remember it being fun!” - Joanne “Any illness was an epidemic. It hit one and then the other.” – Betty Ann
32: 1. Tom and Helen had a brood of 28 grandchildren. They loved them all but, how did they keep track? 2. Betty Ann, Mary Teresa, and Kathleen 3. Mary and Joe with relatives in Italy 4. Mary, Kathleen, and Joe in Italy 5. Joe with Kathleen and Mary Teresa 6. Kathleen, Betty Ann and Mary Teresa 7. Peggy with Mary Tesesa, Betty Ann, and Kathleen 8. Joe and the dogs, Fred (on the left) and Gracie (on the right) 9. Frank Ambrosi with Andy 10. Frank Ambrosi with Mama and Papa Layden | 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
33: “My biggest Christmas memory was the year we all (the young ones) got bikes. The living room was filled with bicycles. I also have a vivid image in my mind of my Dad handing out gifts. They were stacked up so high under the tree he was literally up to his hips in Christmas gifts. I know I have always made an effort to make Christmas special for my kids because it was always such a special time growing up.” - Janet “One Christmas I remember, and of course I don’t know what year it was, but, as I recall, money was tight. Dad had been waiting for a commission check and no Santa shopping could be done until he got it. I just remember that several of us helped Mom and Dad by going in different directions, buying toys that would be from Santa and then we stored them at the office in Santa Rosa. If I remember right, all of this happened Christmas Eve or just one or two days before Christmas. I refer to it as “The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t”. Whenever I think of Christmas preparations, to this day, it is beyond me how Mom and Dad pulled off so many Christmases. We never wanted for anything and always got what we wanted.” - Patty Pat “My mom drove us to school one morning. It was a car full of kids. She was letting us out of the car and there goes Janet, in the first grade, with two left shoes on. My mom put her head down on the steering wheel and shook her head and said, 'somebody grab Janet and take her home to find shoes to wear.'” – Carolyn “This is the year we went camping to Richardson’s Grove. It rained on us. So, of course, what do you do when you are trapped in the car with a bunch of kids and camping is out of the question? We went to a motel. The next morning, as we leave the motel, we are driving away and I don’t know how far down the road we were (I was a fidgety kid) and I reached down the seat and pulled out an ashtray from the travel lodge. I put my hand down there again and found a whole bunch of ashtrays. I said, “Where did these come from?” My brother Joe looked at me and the cat was out of the bag. My dad said, “What? Where did those come from?” My dad was upset and it turned out that Joe had stolen all the ashtrays he could find. And my dad swore he was going to turn that car around so Joe could return them and apologize to the motel. We didn’t turn back. I also remember that on that trip, we had nothing to do in the car. I didn’t have a book and there was nothing on the AM radio. My dad finally said, “Frank, I want you to do something for me. Look out your window at the glass and count the raindrops on the window and let me know how many there are.” And I counted, for no more than 20 seconds, then blurted out, “187!” That didn’t keep me occupied for very long!!” – Frank “We went on a big vacation across the country. There were eight of us who went from LA through the southern states and the southwest, up the east coast and through the Midwest and back home. We were gone a good month – Mom and Dad, Joanne, Carolyn, Jim, Janet, Cheryl and I. It was such a great trip. At one point, Joanne got cramps and needed the whole middle seat to lie down! So we were stuck in the back; I don’t know for how long. That was all before seatbelts. We stayed behind at the hotel one day. Dad was afraid of heights and so he didn’t want to go up into the Washington Monument. We stayed with him at the hotel and swam in the pool with my dad. The first time I had ever seen a drunk or hobo in the street was when we were in New Orleans. I was with Joanne and we saw a man in the gutters in a trunk and we thought he was dead.” – Monica “A very special vacation that I will always remember is my trip to Italy with Mommy, Daddy and Patty Pat. Being with Daddy in the Piazza and watching him interacting with his cousins in the place where his parents grew up was an opportunity that few of us had. We met a lady who had played with our grandmother when they were little girls. We met every Ambrosi in the vicinity at a dinner in a restaurant high in the mountains. We walked through the rooms of the family home and heard how it had once been. We were treated to marvelous meals at Carmela’s kitchen table, in the kitchen that Renato had remodeled for her, but where she continued to cook on the old, wood-burning stove. The last night we were there, all of the cousins walked over to Carmela’s and we sat and visited for such a long time. It was wonderful. A topic that came up in almost every conversation the cousins had was “the War.” World War II. It was as if it had ended just a few months before it was so fresh in their memories. Carmela told us how she remembered being so worried in the early ‘50s when Renato’s First Holy Communion Day was approaching. She had nothing to make him the white suit he needed. No fabric, no thread, and probably no money even if those things had been available. A package arrived then from America for Mama Ambrosi was constantly collecting clothing to send to “the Old Country.” In the box Carmela found a clothing item made of white fabric. She carefully took it apart taking extreme care to keep the thread in tact. It was from this that she made Renato’s suit for his First Holy Communion. For her, this was an answer to prayer. Another cousin, Cecila, a sweet old lady with a houseful of cats, recalling the War, told us how she hated Mussolini. In fact, she said that she hated him so much that 'if he only needed one Hail Mary to get out of purgatory, I wouldn’t say it for him.' Although I had been to Italy in 1969, this trip with Mommy, Daddy and Patty Pat is the one I will always remember with special fondness.” – Kathleen | “Dad liked to tell this story. There were probably 7 or 8 of us kids at this point. I don’t know where we were going, but we went out to dinner at a restaurant. This couple were having dinner at the restaurant and the man came over and told my parents, ‘I have never seen such well behaved children.’ So he bought our entire family dinner! We were always well behaved, especially in church.” - Peggy
34: “I loved that house on 170th. There were stairs going up from the front room and a set going up from the kitchen, and a landing, and more stairs. There was an area under the stairs that we could get to from the closet in the little kids bedroom. We would play house under there; there were even three little rooms in the area. In that house, there was a big service porch and in the service porch there were cupboards. Mom used it as a pantry and we would pretend to go shopping. One time, Patty Pat, Joanne and I took the cans and wrapped them up and gave them to her for Christmas.” - Peggy | “The first house I remember was on Denker Street. I remember it was a really tiny old house, very, very small with two bedrooms. The backyard seemed huge, absolutely huge. We had paint brushes out there; Daddy let us play with anything. We painted the house with mud in the back yard.” – Mary Teresa “I cannot eat a tangerine without thinking of celebrating Santa Lucia and picturing the table with all those bowls filled with fruit (always a tangerine), nuts, a candy bar and that wonderful box of Cracker Jacks.” – Kathleen
35: “The holidays were always very special. We were so blessed to have been able to spend so many holidays together. I've had friends that would go on trips over their Christmas vacations to Hawaii or wherever but I would never give up the times we spent together as a family for anything.” - Didi “I remember one Christmas Kathleen came home from being away at college. She received a bathrobe as a Christmas gift. In my memory it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I think I was in 5th grade. Kathleen came into the family room modeling it and I remember thinking she looked just like Loretta Young.” - Joanne
36: “Mom’s fudge. It was so good. I got my first baseball mitt when I was in the fourth grade for Christmas. I still have the mitt. One year, mom said we all needed pajamas, so that is what we got. Another time, I got new jeans at Christmas. I loved the smell of them new; I didn’t want to put them in the wash, but after a while I guess they had to be because they probably smelt bad.” – Betty Ann “My favorite childhood gift and one that has served me well over the years was a cardboard playhouse. I can’t remember if Monica, Cheryl and I each had one (I think we did). We played house for what seemed like our entire childhood. By playing house I learned to love being home and practiced being a Mom. Since my current house does not have running water or electricity the cardboard house prepared me to make do with what I have.”- Janet “When I was in first grade, Santa came to school, except I knew that Daddy came as Santa that day. I could tell by the shoes he wore; plus he was there right after school to pick me up.” – Mary Teresa “Halloween’s were always fun. We would make our own costumes with what we had. One year I got to go to Sprouse-Rite and buy a costume in a box! It even had a mask. Usually we would make costumes such as dice or turtles or hobos or whatever we could throw together at the house.” – Monica "I have to admit that, as a teenager, I had a habit of spoiling whoever happened to be the youngest at the time. And, at that point in our family history, we were pretty much divided into either the “little ones” or the “big ones.” The “little ones,” of course, went to bed far earlier than the rest of us. Some time after they had gone to bed, I would have a snack of tea and toast. Janet – whom I was busy spoiling and so who got to stay up late, too – would join me, of course. One night, as the younger kids were going off to bed, she climbed up on my lap, held my face between her little hands and said, 'Kath-a-leen, after the little ones go to bed, let’s have tea and toast.' She had such a sweet and dramatic way about her. So endearing" - Kathleen “When we went camping to Lake Tahoe and we were at one campground one night and then went to look for another campsite. Some of us went with my mom and dad and at one point we stopped to use the bathroom. After we left the bathroom and drove off we realized that Tom was missing. So we went back to look for him. Some family had found him and he was doing fine. He had got cookies from that family; none of us got any cookies from them.” – Joe | Below: Ambrosi & Jean Family 1955 | “My mom tells me that when I was real little, around 2 (we must have been living on Dinker), I would take a spoon outside and eat dirt. It kind of freaked my mom out and she talked to the pediatrician who said, ‘Mary, is it good clean dirt? Then don’t worry about it. There is probably something in it that she needs.’ So then my mom relaxed.” – Peggy “When I would make cookies I would insist that you had to say “please” before I would give you one – if you forgot I made you wait five minutes before I gave another chance. . . forget? Wait again.” - Joanne
37: “I remember as I got older, Mother used to sew a lot and she bought, Kathleen and I each a Madame Alexander doll. They didn’t have many clothes, just their underwear so Mother made dresses for the dolls and suitcases for all their stuff. I don’t know how she did it, the dolls were not like Barbie dolls and their feet were shaped to fit in high heels. I still have the doll and one of the dresses. Mine had a little black corset as her underwear.” – Mary Teresa "Jimmy too had his turn at being spoiled by me. And, he loved it. Many nights he would fall asleep in my bed and who knows? Maybe he slept there all night. I don’t really remember now. But, the memory that stands out is one where I know I scared him to death. I had been working for three weeks on a seed project for biology. It was nearly finished and I was going to write the report in just a few days. On this particular evening, he so sweetly came over to me with his little hands clenched and reached out. Knowing he wanted to give me something, I put out my hand. Into my open hands he plopped my seeds! I know that my scream had to have scared poor Jimmy spitless and I felt terrible. Jim forgot it all, I know, but I remember and looking back on it, I wish I hadn't gotten so upset." - Kathleen “On 163rd street, we got baby chicks for Easter one year. They grew into chickens. They were cute when they were chicks. I remember Daddy asking if anyone wanted to watch him kill the chickens. I think he was a little disappointed we wanted to watch.” – Mary Teresa | “Mom made chore lists at the beginning of every school year. We had chores of dishes, sweeping, cleaning the stove, setting the table. Everything was written down so that there was no argument and it was always done.” – Tom “I remember putting glass wax stencils of snowflakes on the windows in the living room. Glass wax was stuff that people used to clean windows with, but then you could take stencils and smear the wax over the stencil and put it on the window.” – Betty Ann
38: “The Christmas’ I remember the most were when we lived on 163rd street in Gardena. Those were most memorable because I was at an age where Christmas was just lots of fun. I remember mom making Santa Claus cookies. She decorated each one separately; it was lots of fun using raisins and coconut for the beard of Santa Clause. Mom put a lot of detail into the cookies.” – Betty Ann “I flew off a bike in Gardena. My lip was ugly. I was a wreck.” – Tom “It was Kathleen, Betty Ann, and me. Mimi and Aunt Peggy were not married at the time. On Saturdays, they would get us all dressed up in dresses, good shoes, and would polish our nails. We would go downtown Los Angeles on the bus or street car. We would go shopping at May Company. On the way home we would stop at Clifton’s Cafeteria for lunch; to me it was decorated like a jungle. One time, Betty Ann brought her doll and was pointing out things to the doll in the restaurant.” – Mary Teresa “Getting to ride on the running boards of Gogu's pick-up. He'd come home from work (we lived across the street from each other) and he'd stop at the beginning of the driveway into the "Modern Trailer Park;" we'd all jump on and we'd get to ride to the other end of the driveway hanging on to the side. Sound exciting? Well it was quite a thrill ride for us! Sometimes he'd pile us all inside the back (yes back) of his pick-up and we'd go to the dairy to see the cows and then onto Save-On Drug Store to get a 5-cent ice cream cone. But don't think Gogu had the market cornered on the "cow watching trips", Dad took us many, many times to the dairy to watch the cows being milked. We always loved going.” – Didi “We would play German in the Dark. I hated it. I was the only girl and they would make me play. It was pitch black in the bedroom and the point was to find whoever was hiding and beat up whoever was found. So they would punch me in the arm.” - Carolyn “During the summer time, we would all come in and eat dinner at the table. Because we lived out in the country we would be outside playing and my mom would come out and yell for us. But we couldn’t hear her so she ended up putting a bell on the front porch so she could ring it to tell us to come inside. For several months, Tom and Larry (who would spend summers with us) would do what they called “thumping.” I was about 9 years old, Jim was 7 or 8 and Tom and Larry were 13 or 14. They would take their fists and pound us on the arms until we bruised. One day we were sitting at dinner, I was next to my mom and I was wearing a tank top. She said, “Where did all those bruises come from.” I didn’t want to tell on them. The older boys just looked at me. Then she rolled up Jim’s sleaves, and said to Tom and Larry, “Don’t ever touch these boys again!” Tom and Larry didn’t listen. After dinner, they cornered us and told us never to go to dinner without a shirt that covered our arms.” – Frank “I am Kathleen’s god-daughter. She would call me Honey Bun. It was around the time she was in college or right after. Hostess came out with a treat called Honey Buns that were individually wrapped. Kathleen brought me one and it was a great surprise.” – Monica
39: “The Warden. One summer, lots of times Kathleen and Betty Ann were left in charge. They would usually make us go outside for what seemed like forever. When we would look in the windows to try and watch TV they would close the curtains on us! We nicknamed Kathleen "The Warden" as I’m sure we felt we were being held hostage and had to get her permission to do anything.” – Patty Pat "Once when Janet and Monica were very small, Mimi was visiting in Healdsburg. Janet was so cute and so expressive. She had a way with rolling her eyes that could really tell a story. On this particular day, she was sitting on the kitchen counter talking to Mimi who was drying the dishes. Monica, who was still in diapers at this point, came toddling through the kitchen. With great drama and a roll of her eyes, Janet told Mimi, “Just look at her! She doesn’t do a thing around here!"" - Kathleen “Going camping, there were probably 12-14 of us in the station wagon and we were going to Richardson’s Grove. When we got there, there were so many of us in the car, my dad rolled down the back window and Peggy’s lip got stuck in it. She had to go to Garberville to the lip doctor.” – Joe “When we'd get a new car it was always exciting. Of course we'd all pile in and go for a ride. To this day when I smell that "new car" smell it takes me back to those days and all those great memories.” - Didi “There were several times that kids got lost. One time we went to Disneyland with Mimi and Linda, Richard and Larry. My cousins, the Layden’s from Santa Fe were there. Linda, Joanne, and our cousin Patrick all got lost together. They were pretty little. I got lost at the San Diego Zoo. Mom didn’t even notice I was gone either. They were standing in front of the monkey cage. Occasionally during the day the announcer would call out the names of lost children. The announcer came on and says, ‘we have another lost child and her name is Margaret Ambrosi.’ They came and got me from the office there.” – Peggy “Who can forget hamburgers every Saturday? The week would not seem in balance without this traditional fare. I clearly remember standing at the stove with Mom many, many Saturdays frying hamburgers and seeing how many burgers we could manage to form from a few pounds of meat.Speaking of hamburgers - Just the other night we were watching the Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives when he featured a burger joint famous for their Double-Deck Burgers. . . like we had on “special occasions.” We all knew they were good – now the word is out.” - Joanne
40: “We were living on 170th. Mimi and Gagu were living in the house in the trailer park across the street. Carolyn was probably 3 or 4 years old and nobody could find her. We were running all over the neighborhood and even had the police out looking for her. Mimi looked under Linda’s bed and thought she saw a Patty Play Doll, which were life size children dolls. It turned out that it wasn’t a doll, but it was actually Carolyn who fell asleep under the bed.” – Peggy “I can remember Mom doing wash all the time. Every day when we came home from school, there were clothes to put away. An advantage of going to Catholic school was that we had uniforms so there weren’t a lot ton of different clothes.” – Betty Ann
41: “We played in the barn all the time. We played pirates. We hiked in the hills. We always swam at Memorial Beach in the summer.” – Tom “I always played with dolls. I had fourteen dolls so I could have fourteen babies just like my mom.” – Carolyn “This may have been the summer that one night, when Betty Ann got up to go to the bathroom, we tried to put her mattress out the window. Didn’t make it, but we thought it was very funny.” – Patty Pat | “The “Big Blast Cannon”. I was little so it seemed huge to me. It came with little artillery shells that I could load and fire.” - Frank “When we moved to West Dry Creek, the whole upstairs was unfinished. No walls on the sides, and you could crawl into the attic space. Jim crawled right up there and fell through the plywood and through the ceiling. He survived.” - Peggy
42: “One Christmas, Rich Ambrosi saw a Healdsburg cop walking around carrying Christmas gifts. Rich said, “What is this, Maryberry?”” – Tom “Joe, Frank, Jim, Tom, and I (Monica and Janet sometimes too) would walk down the hill with my dad two or three times a week. We had a water pump and it had to be turned on and off. My dad always would stop and eat figs. Simple little things.” – Carolyn “During the summertime neighbors would bring mom food from their gardens, figured mom could use extra food. People would help mom crack walnuts or chuck the corn. Before I was old enough to help crack walnuts and such, Joanne, Linda, and Patty Pat would sometimes watch ‘All My Children’ on TV. I would stand in front of the TV to get their attention. They threw walnuts at me, and I would squeal and say, 'oh walnuts, that hurts!'” – Monica “We played Hide-n-beat at the house. One person was it. There was one minute to find a hiding place. There was one minute for the person it to find someone and beat them. If you were found in ten seconds that meant you got beat for fifty seconds. We played German-In-The-Dark. We turned off all the lights upstairs. It was black as cold; you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Every one hid. If you got found, you had to get a beating. The person looking for you was the German. We didn’t hit the face. Usually gave them a shrug in the shoulder blade or a good whooping and then would move on to find the next person.” – Tom “Another Christmas memory was all the stockings hanging up the banister. I just loved that. Fruit, nuts and cracker jacks were the treats...no Starbucks cards or Lotto tickets filled our stockings!” – Patty Pat “Driving across country was absolutely the most memorable vacation. Joanne and Carolyn seemed to have chronic cramps which just happened to give them a seat all to themselves. Carolyn had Cheryl convinced that she (Cheryl) fit the profile for the Son of Sam murders. She also had her convinced that the smoke stacks you see in big cities were crematoriums for homeless people. Monica and Cheryl opted to stay at the hotel and swim over going to the Empire State Building. Dad drove the wrong way down a one way street in Washington DC and my Mom was escorted by the police from a convenience store back to her hotel in DC because the streets were not safe for her to walk alone. I was 13 years old on this trip and I was left to wander through the Smithsonian on my own. Monica left a cheap plastic ring in a hotel room and we had to drive back what seemed like a very long distance at the time to retrieve it. Jim was the only boy on the trip and always had to sleep in a cot. Carlsbad Caverns is the coolest place on earth, Texas is endless, Kansas is flat and New York City is no place for man or beast.” – Janet “One time, we were living in Gardena, Kathleen was home sick. Apparently she was not that sick because we came home from school and she said, “Guess where Mommy and I went today? We went to China.” And here is this little hole in the ground in the back yard. And she said, “we went to China through that hole!”” – Betty Ann | “We had a variety of cars over the years most were station wagons. There was one car though that really stood out. It was the Packard, a family car bought from a mortuary. It was great! It had seats that folded down and had foot rests connected to the backs. Once, some kids from school were heard saying "the Ambrosi's new car has kneelers in it". Leave it to the Catholics! We once got 19 people in this car; of course we were much, much smaller at that time. This number was was topped the day we had 22 people (again mostly kids) in one of our station wagons as we headed off for a day at the beach.” - Didi
43: “Dad's beach outfit. He came to the beach on Sundays because he worked the other days. He wore a Hawaiian shirt, black boots, and big old shorts. His legs were bright white because they never saw daylight. My sisters were horrified that he dressed like that. I didn't care; I thought it was a crack up.” Tom “It was Easter morning and I was little. We were at our home at West Dry Creek walking to the car to go to church. It was a big group of us. My cousin Larry happened to be there for whatever reason and as we were walking outside, one of our dogs came up the driveway with a rabbit in it’s mouth and, immediately, most everyone turned and looked at me. They were all thinking the same thing, but they knew if anyone was going to say it, I was going to be the one to say it. You have t realize that at this time Monica was very little and Janet was too. I blurted out, “It’s the Easter Bunny!” And of course, Monica burst into hysterical tears.” – Frank “We had a big barn and a little barn. In the big barn, our neighbors kept their hay. We would move the hay around and create tunnels and spaces to play pirate ship. The hay was the pirate ship. Sometimes we would play saloon and set up a bar with shot glasses. We played house all the time. I was the mom. Janet and Monica were the little girls. Frank and Jim were either the pet monkeys or the bulters. We would play outside all day until mom rung the dinner bell and we would run in for dinner.” – Carolyn “One time, I love Hostess Snowballs, and I got one for a birthday gift. One of my older sisters said, 'If you were polite, you would offer a piece of that to everyone at the table.' So I am going around, offering it to everyone and everyone says no, except Joanne who took one. I started to cry. That’s what happens when you grow up with a big family.” - Monica “How about Mom's Wine Country tours? Remember when Patty Pat made her the tour guide outfit, shirt, visor, whistle and tour book with a choice of tours 1, 2 or 3.” - Didi
44: “We played a game called “Fair Maiden”. Joe was the Fair Maiden. Someone would grab him and then someone would try to rescue Joe.” – Betty Ann “One time Janet fell out of the car while Patty Pat was driving. They were in downtown Healdsburg, Patty Pat made a turn, the door flew open and Janet fell out. Patty Pat was just 16 so Janet was 5. Of course back then there were no seat belts so no laws were broken except for Dad's law of always locking the door and never leaning on it. Janet wasn't hurt, just a good story to be told and retold over the years. Of course telling this story led to the memory of other "car stories".” – Didi “My brother Jim and I were glued together. One day at our house on West Dry Creek (kids were coloring all the time), Jim took a pencil and in the hallway he drew on the wallpaper. He drew a big long submarine. Of course, my mom saw it and she pointed the finger at me. Jim stepped forward and said he did it. My mom said, 'Why would you do this on the wall?' Jim said, 'I couldn’t find any paper.'" – Frank “Once a year, when the Sound of Music or the Wizard of Oz came on TV it was a big event. We would turn off the lights in the living room, buy popcorn and those who had jobs would buy fun size candy bars for us to share. It was always such a treat. It was before VCRs so it wasn’t very often you could just watch a movie.” - Monica | “Mom always had us dress in identical outfits for Easter. Didi and I were taking sewing classes at school. Mom bought some green and white material and we made suits for all the girls, and the little girls, Janet and Monica, got dresses. We were in a fashion show at Ursuline, except Mary Teresa.” - Peggy “Speaking of weeds, does anybody know if the ivy ever grew all the way down the hill? Dad told us each spring/summer something to the effect of, 'pretty soon you won’t have to pull weeds because the ivy will cover this entire hill.' I don’t know when he discovered that ivy likes to climb uphill and it’s very slow going to get it to go downhill.”- Patty Pat “Then there was "Eddie" our faithful pick-up truck. Dad had said he wanted to move to the country and drive a pick-up. Well, we moved to the country and when we finally got a pick-up Dad didn't like to drive it. So, more often than not, you'd see Mom behind the wheel. I don't know what Mom would have done without Eddie coming to her rescue all those times she had to 'show the house' when it was up for sale. He was a great storage closet!” - Didi “There was a tree in the trailer park. It had a tire swing. We would climb up the tree and jump off the branch with the tire swing and swing across. That was fun, but I don’t know how Mom and Mimi were able to watch us jump like that.” - Peggy “Summers were great. I was probably in middle school, maybe high school, and Mimi and my cousins lived right by us. We built go-carts. They were not motorized; I guess you might call them soapbox cars. We played baseball. The first week out of school we would usually play school! Sock ball, which was not softball but instead it was played with a ball made with a sock. We played war. Always hide-n-go-seek. We had circuses. We had a good time and lots of fun.” – Betty Ann “We picked prunes for the Jackson’s on East Side Road. We did that for six or seven years. I was six years old the first time I picked prunes and I was with Kathleen.” – Tom
45: “At Christmas and Easter, Mom would always make all the girls the same dress, with the same pattern and material. When Joe was little he didn’t understand why he didn’t get one. And we would say to him, “Joe, are you a boy or a girl?” And he would say, “I am a boy-girl.” Not everyone liked the same outfit when we got older, but that was something Mom wanted to do. She did it up to the time I was in college. By that time there were ten girls. We all wore the same dress. The last couple of times Mom made those dresses, Joanne helped and made some of the dresses in sewing class at school.” – Betty Ann “I remember my dad lying on the floor in the boy’s bedroom. One or two kids on his back and the others sitting around him as he read stories to us. Sometimes we would play "Joke" or play "Who Are You?" We told silly jokes and played a game like 20 questions. He would play with us. Then we would say our prayers. This was special because Dad worked a lot.” – Carolyn “Aunt Pauline would come up to see us via Las Vegas. She would come with bags and purses full of silver dollars. She taught us how to gamble. She was really fun.” – Monica
46: Serves 6-8 people 6 eggs 3 1/4 cups flour 3/4 cup sugar 2 1/2 cups milk 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. almond extract 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. cinnamon | Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour 2 tbs. oil into a large frying pan. Preheat the pan. Pour mixture into heated pan. When a crust forms on the bottom, begin slowly scrambling with a spatula. Cook and turn until done. | Serves 4 people 3 eggs 1 3/4 cups of flour 1/3 cups sugar 1 1/4 cups milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 tsp salt a small drop almond extract a dash of nutmeg 1/2 tsp cinnamon | Serves 10-12 people 12 eggs 6 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 5 cups milk 1 cups vegetable oil 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp almond extract 1/2 tsp nutmeg 2 tsp cinnamon | Scrambled Pancakes | At one time the part of Italy where our family came from was part of Austria. So, there is a heavy Austrian influence in the area, including dishes that are served in northern Italy. One of the dishes is a dessert called Kaiserschmarrn. Although considered a “dessert,” it is also served sometimes as a meal as in our family. Mama Ambrosi introduced this to her boys and then to the grandchildren. Everyone loves it – well, almost everyone.The batter is a thin pancake batter. The trick is the cooking. It requires timing so that the first turn is when the batter has cooked just the right amount of time. From that point on, it is a matter of turning it and turning it so that it cooks through to just the right “dryness.” You don’t want it gummy. By the time you finish cooking it, it is all broken up and crumbly and thus, it is lovingly referred to by all of us as “Scrambled Pancake.” It is served with jam or sugar. It is delicious and a hit with almost every Ambrosi and with anyone who has joined us for breakfast when this was on the menu! The recipe is in this book so try your hand at it some time!
47: “One time, Joanne decided that I needed to learn table manners so I had to sit by her, which seemed to be forever, at dinner so she could straighten me out. We always had dinner together. My mom and dad would sit at either side of the table. Monica sat at my mom’s right. I sat at my dad’s right. Joe sat next to me. Joanne was on my mom’s left. Everyone had their regular seats, except when she was teaching me manners, I had to move.” – Tom “When I would come home from college, I would teach the little ones some of the fun songs I learned while working in the Dish Room at the Mount. One of them Jimmy sang for the talent show at St. John’s. He was in first grade. I wish I could have been there as I understand that he stole the show. Picture our mother coming to yet one more “talent” show at the grammar school. She did not expect to see any Ambrosi kids on stage; but much to her surprise, it was announced that first grader Jimmy Ambrosi would be singing “The California Drinking Song.” It is a long and detailed song but evidently Jim knew every word. I hear that it brought tears to the eyes of the audience, not for sentimental reasons, but because they were laughing so hard. In fact, I also understand that Monsignor O’Hare nearly had a heart attack from laughing. If you don’t know the words, here they are (so picture a six year old with freckles on his nose and bright red hair all alone on a stage bellowing them out): “California, California! We’ll win this game tonight or know the reason why. California, California! We’ll win this game or know the reason why. And when the game is over we will buy a keg of booze and we’ll drink to California till we wobble in our shoes. Oh, drink tra-la-la, Drink, tra-lal-a. Drink, drank, drunk last night. Drunk the night before. Gonna get drunk like we never got drunk before ‘cuz when I’m drunk I’m as happy as can be for I am a member of the Sous family. And the Sous family is the best family that every came over from old Germany. There’s the highland drunks and the lowland drunks and the other drunks and the IRISH. Sing glorious, victorious. Four kegs of beer for the four of us. Sing glory be to God that there are no more of us ‘cuz one of us could drink it all alone..damn near. Here’s to the Irish – dead drunks. The lucky stiffs. They’ve had four fifths and a six pack too, of homemade brew.” I think you can see why Monsignor was bursting with laughter as was Mommy and, I guess, the rest of the audience, too – even the Irish nuns!” - Kathleen
52: “Carolyn painted a Grateful Dead album cover for me on canvas once.” – Tom “Dad would come home from work sometimes and collapse in his winged chair and say to the little ones, 'Come over here and take of my shoes.' It was a big treat for us.” – Carolyn “Cheryl, Janet, and I would help at the YLI (Young Ladies Institute) Christmas bazaar and mom was always in charge or so it seemed. We would help serve and clean and it was always yummy food. The ladies all made things, all old lady stuff. We would go shopping for people and buy things like crocheted walnut people. We got some great Christmas gifts for people down there!” – Monica “This is just a funny story about Jim. One evening, after dinner, I think it was Peggy and I were sitting and talking at the dining room table, and Jim came running in and said, 'I’m going to jump out the window!' and off he ran upstairs. We were both like, 'whatever.' Next thing I know, I hear, 'HELP, HELP!' We go running upstairs and there’s Jim hanging on to the window ledge in the boy’s room. I know I said something brilliant like, 'what do you think you are doing?' I’m pretty sure we pulled him in the window.” - Patty Pat “We were living in Gardena and Tom was very little, probably no more than three. He was taking it all in as Daddy would announce “To Mary Teresa from Didi”; “To Betty Ann from Kathleen” and so forth. Tom disappeared for a bit and when he came back he had his little arms filled with presents. He had taken the discarded wrapping paper and had gone to the pantry and wrapped up canned goods to give to everyone. It was so sweet.” - Kathleen “Several years ago, I was watching some of our home movies and a couple of thoughts struck me. One, we didn't have a lot of material things and two, we didn't care. We had each other and the best Mom and Dad God could have blessed us with. We had it all and we were happy and we were loved. As I was watching these movies, many of them taken on someone’s birthday, I noticed that even with everything going on, and all the kids, Mom made it a point to give special attention to the birthday person. She made you feel like you were what was important because this was your day and she loved you.” - Didi “My Uncle Frank was a priest and there was a seminary in Dominquez. Some priests and brothers lived out there and one of them had made a little China Town of little houses made out of old used tiles and brick walls. We loved that place. We would run around that China Town. It was really fun. We used to go visit Uncle Frank once and a while and go to mass there. When Frank and Jim were little, they would stand in the coves around the outside of the church and fold their little hands like a saint. They pretended to be statues of saints in front of the church.” - Peggy “We always had hamburgers on Saturday nights and got our meat from Callori’s Market in Santa Rosa. It was an old neighborhood market near the Old Redwood Square. Fridays we usually had any kind of fish – fish sticks, tuna patties, lots of fish.” – Tom
53: “This was 1972. The summer before I entered the convent; Joe was 16, Larry was 15, and Tom was 14. I remember Joe was 16 because he could drive. We took my Mom and Dad’s green truck called Eddie. It had a camper on the back. We went from Healdsburg to Mount Lassen and camped up there for 4 nights. Then we went to Burney Falls, just to take a shower! And then we went to the Indian caves. We drove to a national forest campground called Honey Lake which was outside of Reno. No one was there; it was only us. We didn’t put up our tent because we were only going to stay one night. This was the time where there was a Zodiac killer. The boys slept in the bed of the truck and I slept in the cab. We had been talking about the Zodiac killer that night. Just as I was lying down to sleep I remembered I had to tell the boys something. So I got out, when to the back of the truck and knocked on the camper. The boys were so scared. Joe said, 'I am going to sleep with a shovel on my chest to protect you guys.' Then we went to the Sierras, the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and then back home to Healdsburg. That was a really fun vacation. We played games, went fishing, and hiked three hours down into the Grand Canyon.” - Betty Ann “Dad was the only driver in our family for many years. Mom was about 35 years old when she finally got her driver’s license (Tom was the baby). I remember the one and only driving lesson Dad gave Mom. Of course we were all in the car (it was family affair) and Mom put the brakes on too hard and Dad yelled at her. End of lesson. Mom took the rest of her lessons through the public school. Once Mom got her license she was behind the wheel as much as she was in the kitchen cooking or in the rest of the house cleaning, doing laundry, or as we most times found her, sitting on the couch with her feet up, watching TV and eating Bon Bons. When we were still in Gardena there were trips to the beach. Mom and Mimi would sometimes pack a lunch and we'd head of to the beach, big beach umbrellas and all. What a chore that must have been. What a chore everyday must have been for Mom and Dad having to feed and clothe all of us. But it was done with so much love we never knew what a struggle and sacrifice it was to raise us.” – Didi “The Dodge. This was a great old station wagon. It had push buttons. You know, push the “reverse” button and it would go in reverse, etc. There was a time when the reverse button stuck and the driver would just keep pushing the other buttons to see if we could get it out of reverse. This car saw LOTS of wear and tear. There was one point it time when the ceiling of the car, over the middle seat, was coming down and sagging. Mom jammed a broom handle (I think) between the floor and sagging ceiling to keep it up and out of the way. One time I’m pretty sure we had 22 people in the car for a day trip to Stinson Beach. Kathleen can confirm this as she was the one who stayed up most of the night trying to figure out where everybody would sit. Needless to say, seat belts were not required then. I remember when Monica (and probably Janet too) were babies, they would just stand next to Mom while she drove the car. When Mom was coming to a stop she would just put her arm out across the kid standing next to her and that would keep them from flying through the window. I think guardian angels worked a lot harder than they do now.” – Patty Pat “Mr. Boyde lived next door. He used to tell us that he loved Potato Bug Soup. We would save all the Potato Bugs we found and give them to him. We had rock fights with the Jean boys. We played house and made bakeries in the garage. We were all very busy.” – Mary Teresa
55: “Uncle Tommy came to visit with his family. We had a 1963 Dodge station wagon. We put somewhere between 20 and 25 kids in that station wagon. That was before seatbelt laws. Kids were on top of each other and sitting on the floor.” – Tom “I remember one Christmas we all got bikes and I remember looking in the living room and seeing all these bikes! It was so cool. I always have such a good feeling every year...warm and happy. I always think it is so amazing how most everyone came home at Christmas, even those with babies came. When I was out of high school, my mom sent a thank you letter to everyone thanking them for coming to Christmas’ every year and would understand if we wanted to have them with their own families now, which is great because everyone should with their own families. I just love how everyone came home for the holidays. Being the baby, people would be surprised to hear that my older sisters were not strangers to me even though they were so much older.” – Monica “One summer, I know for a period of 4-6 weeks, there were no less than 22 people for dinner every night. Dad was in his glory with that and I’m sure Mom was ready to slit her wrists! But, it was a fun summer.” – Patty Pat “We were so lucky. We had a big family – and I don’t mean just siblings. We had cousins and lots of them. It seemed that nothing was quite as much fun as having cousins over whether it was for a holiday celebration or just “because.” It was a time (the 50s and early 60s) when families went visiting. We loved going to “Nancy and Bobby’s” or to “Mike and Barbara’s.” We loved it when the Layden cousins would come from Santa Fe. Richard, Linda and Larry were as close as siblings and we spent a lot of time together. In fact, when Richard was very little, he called our mother “mommy” and his mother “the mommy.” I love that we had the chance to be so much a part of each other’s growing up years.” – Kathleen “We had a family goat named Sam. Sam would get loose from wherever he was tied up. One day, Joanne decided she would take charge of that goat. So she went out to talk to the goat and the goat chased Joanne. She fell and broke her arm. It was kind of funny.” - Joe “When Colleen asked me for some memories I thought to myself that I wouldn't be able to come up with much. Not that I didn't have many but that when I'm first asked about something like this I just can't think of what to say. But, as I write this more and more things pop into to my head. Memories of all the times Mom and Dad where always there for all of us. They never made you feel like you were a burden. We never knew the struggles they had to endure raising all of us. The worries they had when we had problems in our lives. The sacrifices they made. I know Dad worked hard everyday of his life in order to take good care of us. Can you ever imagine trying to support yourself on a salary with commission? Yet, Mom and Dad did it and raised 14 kids and were there to help their grandkids and anyone else they could along the way. So Mom, I just want you to know how grateful I am to you and Dad for everything. I LOVE YOU!!!” - Didi | “One time we put a bright red dress, one of mom’s big hats, and high heel shoes on Jim. He looked so cute. He was a good kid.” – Peggy “Larry and I used to chase Frank and Jim through the mustard fields across the street of the home on West Dry Creek. We would be on the motorcycle and we were the prison guards. The other boys were the convicts. They would hide in the mustard plants and we would find them and kick them down. They loved it. It was fun.” – Tom
56: “Summertime was a time to “go to the river”. Memorial Beach was where we went and it was always hot and always fun. I remember dares to swim at least to the middle of the river, if not across. I remember, Mom would honk the horn as she crossed the bridge when she was coming to pick us up. That was our signal to get all of our stuff together and meet her up at the car. Funny how you can go to the beach with 2 flip flops, but when it’s time to leave you can’t find one! If I remember correctly, one of the rules about going to the river was we had to pull weeds for an hour before we could go.” – Patty Pat “My favorite gift Mom ever gave me was my gift of faith.”-Monica “I am always amazed when talking to friends or coworkers and they say something like they are beside themselves because they are having six (or eight or 12 or . . .) people over for dinner. I think of Mommy who for years fixed dinner every night for 12-plus! And then there was the summer, which Daddy loved to recall, when we had “22 for dinner every night for two weeks!” I remember one early evening chatting with Kay Borowicz on the telephone. I told her that we were going out to dinner that night (which meant to go out for hamburgers) because “hardly anyone was home.” Daddy was in Gardena and he had taken several of the kids. So, there were “only 9 of us at home.” Hey! Why cook for just nine??” - Kathleen
58: “I first met the Ambrosi family...no wait I “started” to meet the Ambrosi family in 1976 (it took 5 years to finally meet all 14 kids). Patty and I traveled down to LA where the family was living at the time. They had a house adjacent to a trailer park. I think only Frank, Jim, Janet and Monica were there. I do remember it seemed like everybody and their mother (literally) had red hair.” – Judi Carl “I first met Mary and Joe at picnic type event (Student Ass’n of Parents, or SAPS) at Loyola University Campus in Dec., 1948. They had 3 little girls, Mary Theresa, Kathleen and Betty Ann. We had 2 boys, Hoppy and Sandy and I was carrying the third boy, Jerry born the following June. I believe Betty and Ange were sitting their girls. Mary and I clicked immediately. The following Jan., they invited us and our boys to dinner at their house in Gardena on Denker Ave. We had no car, so Joe drove all the way to Venice to pick us up. (He and Jack had some classes together at the University and had become friends.) Mary Theresa and Kathleen were sitting quietly in their red and blue leather high chairs. Betty Ann was asleep in her bassinette in the bedroom. I can’t remember what Mary served, but it was GOOD. I do remember a wonderful cherry pie for dessert. After a nice visit, Joe brought us back to our place in Venice. We have been fast friends ever since. We have nourished a warm, loving relationship across the years and across the miles ever since. Even though our waist lines have grown and our hair has lost color, there is still warmth and love and excitement between two spirited vintage grandmas. Mary is my oldest living best friend. She and her wonderful family are always there for me. I love them all.” – Sara Jackson “[I like] to play water balloons with Hannah and make CC (Coral) pictures.” – Hailey Webb “When Claire and Molly were little, they loved to go places with me. Claire almost always chose the far back seat in my van and Molly almost always the passenger seat (no air bags in an ’84 Toyota van!). One Saturday they were going with me to Savon. As we started out, I told them what we were going to buy and that I wasn’t getting them anything, though they could look. Of course, the question was “How come?” So, I gave the “talk” about the millions of poor children in the world who don’t even have enough to eat and so forth. They listened patiently but I think missed the point. When I finished my “talk,” Claire asked, 'Pooh, does that mean that there are millions of poor children in the world who don’t even know that Elvis Presley is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll?' I just sighed and said, 'Yes, Claire. I guess that’s what it means.'” – Kathleen “Another favorite memory is when my sister Teresa, Katie, and I would get to wear one of Grandpa’s white t-shirts to bed and he would read us bed time stories.” – Alicia Webb “I remember being up in Spokane. We were painting the fence and not doing it right. It was taking forever to paint the fence at Grandma and Grandpa’s house one summer.” – Chris Robinson | “On the cross country trip with Grandma and Grandpa. Monica and I, our big thing was...was there going to be a swimming pool at the hotel? Grandpa would try to make sure there always was a pool. We actually passed up opportunities such as to see the Washington Monument because there was an indoor swimming pool (we chose to swim instead of seeing the monument). We saw Niagara Falls, New York City, all these great places. That was a great vacation.” – Cheryl Dominguez "The first time I spent time with the Ambrosi family was at a slumber party in 1981. I was thrilled that we could munch on one pound bags of peanut M&M's and talk all night long without anyone telling us we were doing something wrong. Joe (your uncle) picked us up from school and took us from Ursuline to Healdsburg. I thought it was great that there was such a pitch-in attitude and that no one minded helping out some teenagers that were probably screeching and giggling the whole time. I remember thinking Joe was very handsome. At 321 West Dry Creek, we got to spread out in the living room and sleep until Mr. Ambrosi got us up in the morning for scrambled pancakes. I remember him being very busy in the kitchen (when the bar was still there) and there were so many frying pans on the stove. I thought it was like juggling six balls. He was so happy and talking and doing all this work and I thought that was really special. We sat at the bar eating our scrambled pancakes and had a really good time. I remember Mr. Ambrosi stirring his coffee and now I'm so happy that I got to listen to that for years afterwards. " - Bebo “The first time I met the Ambrosi family, if I can trust my aging memory, was in the summer of '75. The "party" was at the trailer park house in Gardena. I cannot remember what the specific occasion was, but it appeared to me to be more like a convention than any party I had ever attended. There were literally "wall to wall" people in the house. Kathleen began the lengthy process of introducing me to the partygoers, and I'm sure the ratio was 20 to 1 of relatives vs. friends. I do clearly remember meeting Linda Ambrosi Hindman, whose first words were, 'Oh, hello! Are we related?' She was SERIOUS! I mumbled something like, 'I don't think so,' and journeyed on through the seemingly never ending "meet and greet" line. Of course, with so many people there, (and most of them looking alike), I had no chance of remembering any names.....but I have never forgotten that day!” – Linda Bluel “When I was first introduced to the family, Joe was sitting at the table at their house. He was working on something for work. He made lists for everything and he started talking to me about his lists. On his list everyday he puts something nice to do for someone without them knowing about it, without wanting recognition, but just to do something nice for someone else.” – Sarah Ambrosi “When I was pregnant with Chrstine, Helen would spend her days at my mom and dad’s with Patrick and Michael. One day, Helen and I were talking about the new baby. She wanted it to be a girl and I said, ‘what if it is a boy?’ She said, ‘Well, we will send it back.’ She wasn’t going to have a brother!” – Peggy “One year at Thanksgiving I printed out the words to a Thanksgiving song set to the tune of Edelweiss. We were all at Didi's...I don't remember anyone laughing in my face, in fact, I seem to recall a lot of participation, but now I can only imagine how silly it must have been to some people. I think that just shows how good natured everyone has always been.” – Katie Ambrosi “The first time I met/spent time with the Ambrosi family was at Michael’s wedding. I remember thinking, 'I need a beer for this.'” – Eric Stowe
59: Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.
60: Cheryl Lea was born on November 9, 1966 Teresa Dawn was born August 21, 1973 Alicia Marie Dawn was born September 11, 1976 Joseph Thomas Don was born March 7, 1983 Coral Rosa was born to Cheryl on February 1, 1996 Alicia married Kyle Webb on November 6, 2000 which was ten years after they became a couple in junior high school. Hannah Marie was born on December 19, 2001. Hailey Elizabeth was born July 19, 2005. | Mary Teresa | March 17, 1946
61: Graduated from Mt. St. Mary’s College in May 1969 Taught second and third grades from 1970 – 1985 Began working at the John Tracy Clinic in October 1985 | Kathleen Louise | February 19, 1947
62: Betty Ann graduated USF in 1970. In 1972 she entered the convent which she was part of for 25 years, until 1998 when she started her gardening business. In 1992, Betty Ann got her masters from San Jose State in Occupational Therapy. She has been friends with Sally Brady since 1980. | Elizabeth Ann | November 25, 1948
63: Patrick Anthony was born July 25, 1970 Michael Anthony was born March 24, 1972 Patrick married Kathy on July 24, 2004 Cortney Rae was born on March 9, 1992 Gary James was born on May 2, 1993 Michael married Leayla Marie on August 8, 2005 Dakota Michael was born on July 29, 1994 Morgan Michele was born on November 5, 1996 Christopher Allen Robinson was born on February 17, 1972 Logan Nicole was born on May 15, 1997 David “Zane” was born on November 9, 2003 | Rosemarie | March 21, 1950
64: Margaret Frances | July 15, 1951 | Helen Marie was born March 9, 1976 Christine Elizabeth was born September 25, 1979 Helen married Alexander Schubert on January 17, 2001 Guenevere Helga Aphrodite Normandie was born on March 30, 2001. Cedric Joseph Ambrose Merlin was born on June 15, 2003 Christine and Scott Sowka were married on July 4, 2004 Obi-wan was born on March 19, 2007
65: January 24, 1953 | Patricia Joan | Patty Pat graduated from Gonzaga University in 1976 and remained in Spokane. She and Judi Carl have been friends for over 35 years, and Judi has become part of our family. Judi married Duane on June 24, 1989. Joseph Anthony (Jake) was born June 7, 1990 and Alice Patricia (Ali) was born on October 14, 1992 and consider themselves cousins along with all the Ambrosi grandchildren.
66: Joanne married Jim O’Grady on February 21, 1987 Colleen Rose was born November 27, 1987 Kelly Rose was born on June 2, 1989 James Thomas (Jimmy) was born on October 25, 1990 | June 29, 1954 | Joanne
67: Catherine Suzanne (Katie) was born on June 3, 1978 Brian Jacob was born on September 1, 1981 Daniel Vincent was born on June 7, 1991 Andrew Joseph was born to Katie on February 14, 2007 Brian married Laura Wells on June 16, 2007 Jacob Anthony was born May 30, 2005. Connor James was born January 3, 2008 | Joseph John | November 21, 1955
68: Tom married Laura on May 21, 1988 Nicole Diane was born on May 31, 1985. Richard Albert was born on March 17, 1989 | Thomas Michael | September 30, 1957
69: Carolyn married Gene Simon on April 7, 1989 Claire Emily was born on September 25, 1991 Mary Angela (Molly) was born on April 22, 1993 Robert Oleh was born on March 25, 1998 | Carolyn Marie | February 24, 1959
70: Frank entered the USMC in 1982. Served in the Philippines and Camp Pendleton, California until 1985. | Francis William | June 17, 1960
71: Jim followed his dreams. He traveled the world. He was an expert in Raku Pottery for Evans Design Gallery in Healdsburg. He entered eternal life on January 30, 2006. | James Stephen | December 19, 1962 | January 30, 2006
72: Janet Maureen | July 7, 1963 | Janet married Eric Stowe on February 14, 1997 Alex Reza was born to Janet on August 20, 1987 Christopher Reza was born to Janet on August 22, 1989
73: Monica Helen | July 29, 1965 | Monica married Denny Burnett on March 22, 1992 Patrick Stuart was born on January 11, 1995 Kathleen Elizabeth was born on March 27, 1996
74: “I remember Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Healdsburg. The living room was always closed off and the stockings were on the staircase. They would hang a sheet over the living room entrance. We had to wait until everyone was there and until Grandma and Grandpa were ready to go in to see the Santa Clause gifts.” – Patrick Burns “I remember Grandma and Grandpa’s home on West Dry Creek. Alicia, Teresa, Joseph, my sister Katie and I would go there after school almost every day. Sometimes Grandma would pick us up from school. One time I got in trouble after school for getting into Grandma’s car because she was double parked. I got a detention from St. John's and Grandma went in and yelled at them for me.” – Brian Ambrosi “It’s hard to choose just one special gift that Mom has given me so allow me to name a few: Mrs. Beasley (A doll and I still have her and keep her nearby in my closet), my dollhouse (which I plan on re-displaying when one of the girls’ bedrooms is vacated), a red wool blazer that she sewed for me (I think she and Joanne were taking a tailoring class in Gardena). I haven’t worn it in a long time but I will never get rid of it. When I was a sophomore in HS Mom made me a skirt (pale green and peach colors). I remember that she told me it was cut on the bias and I still don’t know what that means but I loved it and sometimes I think of it and wish I had kept it. Probably the best gift that Mom gave me was that she was the perfect role model. Every day I try to be the best Mom I can be because she set such a beautiful example.” - Carolyn "I remember we went camping and all the boys went skinny dipping and all the girls took their clothes. That is one story that sticks out in my memory. Me and Dakota didn't go skinny dipping. Jimmy, Richard, and Trevor did for sure." - Gary Randolph “I remember when, Alicia and Katie were little and when school was out at 3, we’d wait for Grandma or Grandpa to pick us up. As soon as we got home to 321 West Dry Creek, we’d all run, grab that big brown pillow, make cinnamon toast and watch Scooby Doo! I think we’d go through about a loaf every day just between the three of us! Poor Grandma!!” – Teresa Williams “There was always a sheet hanging up to keep us all from peeking. And when they would finally take it down the presents were sooo high and wide. One time someone took a picture of Grandpa standing in the middle of them and you couldn’t see him. My very very favorite gift from Santa was the kitchen set we got, it was so much fun!!” – Alicia Webb “I know there is a joke about me, things you do become a legend. When I moved to Spokane, Frank asked me to get 4 – 100watt light bulbs. I didn’t have a lot of experience with household items, so I went out and looked for them. I couldn’t find 400watt light bulbs! I thought that is what we needed, but really it was 4 light bulbs at 100watts! Frank brings that up all the time. ‘Is it bright enough in this room or do we need a 400watt light bulb.’” – Sarah Ambrosi
76: “I met the Ambrosi family in 1981, which was the first time I went to their home out on West Dry Creek. There were six or seven grandchildren running around, falling down the stairs, thumping up the stairs. Alicia, Teresa, Katie and Brian were all there. Now they are all grown up. The first thing that struck me about the Ambrosi family was that there was a strong family feeling. Family was very important. The grandchildren were running around and Mary and Joe were taking care of them; making runs to Safeway every day, making meals and eating together. A really strong family feeling.” - Sally Brady “The first time Laura and I went on a date was December 28th of 1987. We had talked about going out on the 26th of December but decided to stay home because there was a football game on TV that we didn’t want to miss. Within a couple weeks, I knew we were going to get married. On the way home from Colleen’s baptism, I thought to myself 'I should ask her to marry me, but she will think I am nuts if I say it now.' I later found out, that she was thinking on that drive home, 'If Tom asked me to marry him, I would say yes.' We were engaged a little over a month after meeting and married about five months later. We were married on May 21, 1988.” – Tom “We went to surf camp. We watched Jaws and I screamed and ran up and down the hallway because I was so scared.” – Jessica Parlett “One year we went up to Healdsburg for Christmas. Trevor got a Game Boy Advance and I didn’t. So we made this trade off where I gave Robbie my old Game Boy and Trevor gave me his old one. That same year, we were supposed to leave a few days after Christmas but Robbie got pneumonia. I thought it was great because it gave me a couple more days to hang out with everybody.” – Claire Simon “I remember that a Ferris Wheel broke down and Alex and I were up at the top. It was in Spokane. Kelly and Christopher got off before us but we had to wait a long time. I don’t like Ferris Wheels anymore.” – Colleen O’Grady “I like to visit Grandma Ambrosi and talking to her, things like that.” – Guenevere Schubert “Grandma and Grandpa would take us to LA every summer and we would to Disneyland. I remember taking long trips in the station wagon and Grandpa going 55 miles per hour the entire way!” – Mike Burns “Camping in Tahoe with all the Ambrosi family.” – Jim O’Grady “Swinging on the swing set; we would swing on them every day.” – Cheryl Dominguez
78: “One time, I was about six years old; we went to Disneyland at a big family gathering. Aunt Didi and Aunt Cindy were holding Brian’s hand and swinging him.” – Helen Schubert “We moved into Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I was four and my uncles told me that hands would come out of the walls. Upstairs there were crawl spaces between the walls and they told me that there were people living in there. So at four years old, I believed them. It was terrifying.” – Mike Burns “Another trip was with my mom and dad and Mike. We were in Spokane. Mike and I got lost on our bicycles. We were lost and it wasn’t in a great part of town. We rode our bikes to the community pool and got lost on the way home. Judi Carl just happened to drive by and see us. I was probably about 12 years old.” – Patrick Burns “My favorite thing ever was getting up in the morning and making scrambled pancakes on Sundays with Grandpa. He would teach me how to make them. One time Joseph and I were visiting Monica and Denny and Grandpa was there. We got up early and went to the early mass. At one point in the service I look over and Grandpa and Joseph were both sleeping! Joseph and I had stayed up all night. By the end of the mass they woke up and we went back home and made scrambled pancakes.” – Brian Ambrosi "One day, I must have been about 5, I went out to pick Grandma a bouquet, and came back all triumphant with a bouquett of the prettiest leaves I'd ever seen, bright red and gold, super vibrant colors. So I walk into the house, and create a moment of panic in everyone, someone snached the poision oak branches from my hands, and I am rushed off to the bath. So my plan to make grandma happy was a great failure...oh well, I never made that mistake again." - Christine Sowka | “Christmas. I remember the stockings hanging on the stairs, the white sheet and we had to wait for Grandma and Grandpa to pull the sheet down so we could go into the living room and see what Santa brought. The room was always full of toys and presents.” – Cheryl Hernandez "The special memory of Mr. & Mrs. Ambrosi I have is their 40th wedding anniversary party. It was a great summer day and there was a lot of drinking and dancing (ask your grandma for details!) and Brother Anthony (I think that was his name) played music. We had a great time and I remember thinking how great it was that this family was created by these two special people who had so much love to share. It was a perfect day and I have very fond memories." - Bebo
80: “Grandpa in the summertime...There was one time in particular at their house in Healdsburg, Grandpa cut a big watermelon. Monica, Grandpa and I ate big slices of it.” – Cheryl Dominguez “I remember Mommy and Mimi belonged to the “Wild Eye” (Katie called it that); it was really YLI or Young Ladies Institute at church). One summer they had an ice cream social. Mimi and Mother learned to make ice cream balls with vanilla ice cream rolled in chocolate cake crust.” – Mary Teresa
81: “I remember when Alicia and I got sent to bed and we knew there was ice cream in the freezer. We would sneak downstairs, while everyone was watching TV and sneak the ice cream upstairs to our beds and eat it. I’m not sure if my mom or Grandma or Grandpa ever found out about that.” – Teresa Williams
83: “I remember when Monica and I were feeding the horses by Madrona Manor. One of the horses bit her fingers.” – Cheryl Dominguez “I remember when Alicia and I and whatever cousins were up at the house we would play car tag. Those were the days when there were Volkswagen Bugs being driven by quite a few of the family.” – Teresa Willaims
84: “I can remember the first time Tom and I met; it was weird. We went to the movies on our date. We show up at the theatre. Then come in Steamboat [Jim Ambrosi], Jim O’Grady, Mary Ambrosi [Tom’s mom], and Joanne to the same movie! Steamboat had his jacket on the entire time and his hood was on and tied tight around his face. He sat in the movie theatre the entire time. And he is sitting there the whole time and I am thinking“hmm...strange.” This was before we were married.” – Laura Ambrosi “I had gallbladder surgery and Mary, Mary Teresa, and Joe came over and painted my bedroom and put up wall paper. Joe was in a little swing when I got home. It was cute. And now he is twenty seven. He went from a little baby in a swing to...look at him now all grown up!” – Sally Brady “I went on a trip to the Western United States with Monica, Janet and Cheryl. I think I was like ten years old. We went from Healdsburg to Canada and back. We went through Nevada, Utah, to Yellowstone, Montana, Canada, Spokane, through Oregon and all the way back home. I remember Monica running at the Great Salt Lake. The beaches were covered with tiny flies. Monica was running through them screaming because there were bugs flying around her.” – Patrick Burns “I remember playing on the swing with Grandpa. He taught me how to pump my legs and swing by myself without him pushing me.” – Helen Schubert “The first time I ever met Grandma Ambrosi...before Joe and I went into the house we were in the car and he told me to please excuse his mom because she is an alcoholic and he told me not to pay any attention to her because she may be drunk; which is a total lie of course. Joanne was in Nome, AK or maybe living in southern California and Joe told me that she was abnormally sized at 6 feet and 2 inches tall and weighed nearly 600 pounds. He said stuff like that with many people in the family and when I met them they were totally different than I imagined.” – Cindy Ambrosi “My biggest Christmas memory was when Uncle Frank gave me his Marine Corps jacket because he had just come home from overseas. I thought he would never give it to me, but he wrapped it up and gave it to me.” – Mike Burns “I also remember going to baseball games with Betty Ann; that was always fun and she always had a good time. For my First Communion everyone gave me rosary beads and small Bibles, but Betty Ann (and she was still a nun) gave me a kite. I always thought that was funny that she gave me a kite when everyone else was giving me rosary beads.” – Brian Ambrosi "Well, there was the night, I was maybe 4 years old, and we were having some sort of family reunion, maybe a wedding... I was getting dressed for bed, and one of our aunts came and snatched me up in my underwear, put me up on the stage, and I sang, "I'm a little teapot." I was rewarded with a chocolate bar." - Christine Sowka “I could fill this page with the memories that the Ambrosi family has given me. Bottom line is that they have given me a “family”. They have welcomed me and shared their lives unselfishly. They are the brothers and sisters I never had. Mr. and Mrs. Ambrosi always had welcoming smiles and open arms when it came to the “extended" family member. My life, and the lives of my children, have been richer because of the family Joe and Mary created.” – Judi Carl
87: “Watching Laura do the peppermint twist at her and Tom’s wedding.” – Helen Schubert “Christmas’ were very big, especially before Grandma and Grandpa moved to Spokane.” – Mike Burns “We would go to Gardena and Disneyland which was always fun. We went to Knott’s Berry Farm with Grandma and Grandpa. They would take us to the Famous Fried Chicken Dinner when we were there.” – Cheryl Dominguez “One time at the Future Farmers Fair in Healdsburg, Uncle Frank had this horribly ugly mask – a Halloween-type mask. He scared some kid who was about my age (I don’t really know how old I was). The kid’s older brother wanted to fight Frank because he scared him so bad.” – Patrick Burns “One of my earliest memories was being a ring bearer in Jim and Joanne’s wedding. I really remember wearing the tux.” – Brian Ambrosi
90: “The grandchildren have a great respect for their grandparents and their grandparent's faith. There is a strong family feeling for one another. To them, it is important to spend time together. Joanne is good at getting us together.” – Sally Brady “When I adopted Nicole, we went to the Santa Rosa court. She was little and her feet barely went over the edge of the cushion on the chair. The judge asked her if she knew why she was there; she said 'no.' The judge said, 'I want you to know that your daddy loves you.' She said, 'ok.' Then we went out to pizza to celebrate.” – Tom “Soon after Carolyn and I were married we went to New Zealand. I wanted to go fishing and Carolyn was a good sport and came with me. We found someone to take us out on a boat. It was a rough day on the ocean. The waves were wild and we were in a pretty small boat. It was neat to be out in nature in those conditions, it was concerning, but beautiful at the same time. It was fun and a neat memory I have from that.” – Gene Simon "On one of our summer camping trips we decided to play 'Truth or Dare' around the fire pit. The girls dared the boys to skinny dip in the water hole. They agreed as long as we didn't watch or follow them there. The girls and I gave them a three minute head start and then followed them. As soon as they were in the water we ran out and snatched their clothes and ran away. Only Jimmy was quick enough to grab what he had been wearing; the rest of them had to walk back with no clothes! It wasn't all fun though, the next morning I woke up with toothpaste in my hair!” – Kelly O’Grady | “This one is about Alex and Christopher. Alex was in the 1st grade and was working on his homework. One of the homework questions was to come up with silly questions. I came up with one for him; it was from an old song. The question was, “Who put the 'Ram' in your Ramalama-Ding-Dong?” Alex wrote it on a scratch piece of paper and then wrote it nicely on his homework. He left the scratch piece of paper on the table. Later, Christopher and my mom were at the table. My mom picks up the piece of paper and reads it aloud, 'Who put the 'Ram' in your Ramalama-Ding-Dong?' And Christopher jumps up and says, 'NOT ME!' Now, that’s a sign of a guilty kid.” – Frank “With my brother? ...nothing, well ok, I like to ride my bike with him.” – Guenevere Schubert | “When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have Grandma and Grandpa living less than two blocks away from me. But let’s be serious, two blocks is a little much to walk early in the morning. Some of my fondest memories would be Grandpa coming to pick me up at 7am every day to take me to get fresh donuts, then back to his house for morning coffee. We would sit and talk about the days events, most times looking at the weather page and guessing the temperatures in different far away countries.” – Christopher Stowe | “One time, Grandpa said to Monica, “how do you make scrambled eggs?” And so she told him. Then he asked me the same question. So I told him how I make my scrambled eggs. Then he said to me, “you win, you can make my eggs.””- Denny Burnett
91: “My dad took us to a golf course whenever we would camp at Samuel P. Taylor. We would always go down to the lake to catch frogs too. We never were successful in catching, but it was fun anyways.” – Claire Simon “I cut Nicole’s hair. I went up behind her and her hair was in a pony tail. I snipped her pony tail. She screamed as though her leg had been chopped off.” – Richard Ambrosi “One time, I made Claire eat shaving cream. I told her it was whipped cream. She ate it and then threw up. It was amazing.” – Molly Simon “There is really, really funny memory. Me, Logan, Leayla, and Gary were in the river and there was a tube in the river. We had all went down it and when Gary went, he went flying and landed on a rock. It was funny because we all watched him shoot out of the tube.” – Morgan Burns “I think a lot about when the girls were little. They had two tricycles. They were old fashion, probably antique. And, they loved dinosaurs. They had a whole collection of big plastic dinosaurs. They would duct tape their dinosaurs to the tricycles so that the dinosaurs could ride with them on the bike.” – Carolyn “I remember how all the Christmas stockings were hung on Grandma’s banister. There were like 50 of them it seemed! It was at their house in Healdsburg.” – Helen Schubert “Something fun I do with my brother and my dad is dirt bike riding.” – Logan Robinson | “A boy liked Nicole in the third grade. She came home from school and said, 'Why did God make me so beautiful?'” – Laura Ambrosi “I have played some tricks. One time, we were actually in Healdsburg and we had this family party of some kind. It was at the ranch. This wasn’t my trick, but Mike Burns played a trick on us. He pretended to be some sort of criminal because we could see his shadow in the distance. We didn’t know who he was and thought he had a gun. That was pretty funny...and scary.” – Robbie Simon “Richard had gotten really sick and went to the doctor. I was at home watching TV when my aunt called and said to pack an overnight bag. My dad came barging in saying that Richard is being air lifted to Oakland and he was leaving to drive down there. The next thing I know, he is gone and I am still wondering what is happening. The rest is history because after that is when he had his brain surgery and came home a week or two later.” – Nicole Ambrosi “I remember playing sardines. Cortney and I would try to find each other first so that we could be with each other.” – Trevor Nickel “All the camping we did. I remember swimming and hiking and playing games with my cousins.” – Dakota Burns
92: “When Daniel was very little, probably three, Joe and I joined a bowling league on Wednesday nights. Katie would come to babysit for us in Windsor. She planned on taking Daniel to the ice cream parlor down the street by Safeway. We had a light blue stroller so she used that to take him to get ice cream. She bought him a chocolate ice cream cone and on the way home the cone melted everywhere. All over Daniel, all over the stroller, it was just the funniest thing - I have a picture somewhere of that!” – Linda Ambrosi “Me and Grandpa grew tall sunflowers. This is one of the things that we always used to talk about when we would see each other. We took a picture of them with us in front and I was sitting on the white fence. The sunflowers were at least seven feet tall.” – Joe Williams | “Christine got lost one time. Mom took them to Great America. She was really little, like four. She was standing next to my mom who was wearing a pair of dark slacks. Christine saw dark slacks so she followed them, but it was some other lady. So when you have that many kids to keep track of, a few get lost once in a while.” – Peggy | “I will never forget on my wedding day when I was waiting in the choir loft with Mom. I wanted the ceremony to be on time and Jim and I had organized a “time schedule” for when we thought certain items should be done. I looked down to the seating below and could see much of the decorating had not been done – none of the flowers had been put out and who knows what else wasn’t done! I looked at mom and she turned my head to keep me from looking down and she gave me words of advice I can still use today, ‘Don’t look again, just let it be, it will all get done, you can count on everyone.’ Now, isn’t that the truth?” – Joanne | “The first Christmas I spent with the Ambrosi’s, Didi asked me what I wanted for Christmas. And, I said, ‘Oh, nothing.’ She said, ‘Come on; it’s Christmas. There must be something you would want.’ Then I said, ‘Well, the only thing I wanted for Christmas I already got; I wanted a family and that is what I got.’ I think Grandma was there too.” – Chris Robinson
94: “You can’t go through 35 years with this family and have “a” special memory. Especially when you attend so many “Ambrosi Things” as I came to call all of the various celebrations. So here is a quick list: Coffee stirring, huge daily dinners or going out to dinner with a party of 37. Folding clothes on the bar, potato salad in the wash tub, green things from the nuns (at Betty Ann’s thing), sleeping upstairs in the dorm, discovering the pool table on my second visit to Healdsburg, the winery wall, washing millions of dishes after dinner, being the tallest person in the pew at Mass, Christmas ornaments shaped like witches, inner-tubing down the Russian River, scrambled pancakes, abalone, decorating churches, church halls, the golf courses and every other place an event was held. Green t-shirts, Disneyland with a small party of twenty, the dining room table turning out into the entry way, preferring Mrs. Ambrosi to drive, Juliano’s torpedo sandwiches, showering in the trailer park laundry room, looking for movie stars, Tiajuana, Bernice the VW.” – Judi Carl " It has been such a joy for me to live right next door to Claire, Molly and Robbie. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t see one or all of them. They all bring something special to life. When the girls were little, they liked to come over to spend the night. Claire was more of a home-body so she would only spend “half a night” and would go home when she was ready for bed. Molly would spend the whole night. One evening when she was very small – probably about three – I had her on my lap and we were sitting in the rocking chair. I asked her, 'Molly, will you always come over and sit on my lap and spend the night with me?' She replied, 'Oh, yes, Pooh. Except when I’m a great big construction worker.' I can close my eyes and feel her on my lap right now it was such a sweet moment." - Kathleen | “The memory that sticks out about Grandpa is him coming in on Sunday mornings to try to get us up and out of bed to go to church. It was like 50 percent that we wouldn’t go and 50 percent that we would go to church. Well, we would probably go to church more than we didn’t go. He could come in and turn on the lights and say, ‘get up we are going to church.’ He would leave and come back ten minutes later, go out and talk to Grandma and then come back to wake us up again. Finally we would get up around 8:40 and go to church.” – Chris Robinson
95: “Growing up next door to Didi and Mike and Pat was great. Mike and Pat used to beat me up all the time. Didi would tell them to stop it or she would beat them to a bloody pulp. Didi was like a second mom.” – Brian Ambrosi “We were at Grandma’s house in Spokane and Ali locked me, Pat, Coral and Robbie in the basement and turned off the lights. We saw the cat’s eyes and were tripping over things. It was really scary.” – Kate Burnett “One year, we had a bunch of Ambrosi's out at the ranch for something. I'm not sure if it was a reunion or just a BBQ. Anyway, a few of the boys were swimming in the pond for about an hour. So, we all start to get out, but Chris just stays in. We all asked him why he wasn't getting out, and he told us that he lost his boxers (which were the only things he was swimming in). We must have looked for at least an hour but we didn't find them. In fact, we never found them, not even after we let the pond out.” – Dan Ambrosi “I especially liked the Christmas we spent down at the Dominican Convent in San Rafael. That was the time we all got the photo albums that Mom and Kathleen had put together. It was so much fun to look at each album because they were different, but full of a lot of the same memories.” – Patty Pat “One time I remember going to Disneyland at Christmastime and riding the Haunted Mansion. That was fun with my mom and dad and Kate.” – Pat Burnett “My favorite gifts from the Ambrosi’s have been used every year since I got them. One was the nativity set and the other was the baby Jesus on the gold pillow. I think of the Ambrosi's every time I see them and use them.” – Cindy Ambrosi “A couple summers ago, Pat and I went down to Robbie’s house for a week. We went surfing, played at the beach, boogie boarded, went to the mall, to Muligans, and to Disneyland. I experienced my first earthquake which was pretty cool.” – Kate Burnett "One of my favorite memories are the times we went camping with Didi and all the kids. Mike would come visit us at the campsite, which was great, even though he had to work during the day.” – Leayla Burns | “My favorite Ambrosi holiday was Thanksgiving, 1986, when Joanne and I got engaged - we were at Joe and Mary's house in Healdsburg.” – Jim O’Grady “Disneyland, Marine World, and going to cut down our Christmas tree every year. Playing with CC (Coral) and drawing with her and used to play together when CC was really little.” – Hannah Webb
96: “The place was alive with kids and cousins and relatives and friends. It was amazing how many times we just put another plate on the table. It was like the loaves and fishs—there was always enough for everyone. And, more importantly, everyone was made to feel welcome.” – Judi Carl “One of my favorite memories about Eric happened the summer after we met. Both Alex and Chris were on the same T-ball team. It was their first year playing organized sports. We were sitting on the grass watching the game and Eric said to me, “I am so glad I got to see their 'first at bats.'” It spoke volumes about where his heart was and I have been hooked on Eric ever since.” – Janet “Playing "Sardines" and "Hide-N-Go-Seek" anywhere we were. Robbie hid in the hamper in Didi’s bedroom and it took us forever to find him. Driving motorized cars with Dan. Swinging on the swing set at Nicole and Richard’s house. Uncle Joe took Kelly and me to the ranch to pick mistletoe. Cortney and I giving ourselves facials at Grandma’s house in Spokane. Walking to 7-11 for slurpees in Healdsburg. Watching baseball with Cindy. Playing baseball and basketball. Jumping on the trampoline. Listening to Guen’s stories. Of course, camping was so much fun – especially playing tricks on the boys. Dying Richard’s hair blue. Hanging up the boys underwear all over the campsite. Putting make-up on the boys while they were sleeping. Truth or Dare. Skinny Dipping. Hiking. Toothpaste all over me and Kelly. Road trip with Didi, Kelly, Jessica and Cortney. Visiting Janet and Eric’s teepee. Grandpa’s hugs. The graveyard with Ali and Molly and the emu Clementine. Watching old movies with Aunt Carolyn. Giants games. Touring San Francisco and Hollywood with lots of people. Playing Guesstures and word games with Didi. Sleepovers. Didi’s macaroni and cheese. Dinners with Betty Ann, Sally, and Aunt JoJo. Taking pictures in a picture booth with Coral and Cortney. Sitting and listening to everyone talk and tell stories. And more” – Colleen O’Grady | “Well, it wasn't a vacation, but it was a night that Janet, Eric and I drove to Pullman from Spokane to see comedian Bill Maher. I vaguely remember the show, but I clearly remember being in tears with laughter as I confessed to Janet and Eric my fears about "the murderers" following me and how they could be at that moment hiding beneath my car a 'la Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear. Darn murderers.” – Katie Ambrosi “[My favorite thing is to] on Star Tours at Disneyland.” [For my birthday I want] “a robot.” – Jacob Ambrosi “I first met the Ambrosi family the summer after my first year of teaching. I was teaching in Redondo Beach and visited Healdsburg because I taught with Kathleen.” – Jim O’Grady
98: “I have good conversations with my dad. I like hanging out with him and playing catch with him. I also like when we go to theme parks.” – Dakota Burns “My mom, Pat, Gary and I went to San Diego. We had a good time. We went to the wildlife park, that was really fun and got to see a whole bunch of animals and then we went to Sea World.” – Cortney Randolph “We were tubing and all three of us (me, Logan, and Dakota) were on the tube. She fell off and yelled, 'Go on without me!' That was really funny." – Morgan Burns “When Mike and I first started dating, his grandpa would walk past any room we were in to make sure we were not kissing. I think he was trying to be sly, but I knew he was making sure we weren’t being bad. That was cute.” – Leayla Burns “When all the guys put toothpaste in the girls hair when we were camping, except they didn’t get me or Morgan. And putting lipstick on the boys was a good memory.” – Logan Robinson “ My brother and I used to spend every day at Grandpa and Grandma's after school. We would always make a pizza, watch Cool Runnings, hang out with our neighbor Tim, and listen to all of the advice that Grandpa always had to offer.” – Alex Stowe
99: “We went to Spokane for Christmas, I think in 1991, and we went to Coeur d'Alene, ID and there was fresh fallen snow everywhere. So I decided to try some of the snow. Well, I licked some snow off a drinking fountain. My tongue got stuck on the metal and I freaked out and pulled my tongue off quickly. My parents will never let me live it down.” – Nicole Ambrosi “One time I was at Disneyland with my family. Molly and I were in line for a ride and Molly scared me and I fell into a planter. I screamed on the top of my lungs for my life. Molly enjoys humiliating me in public places.” – Claire Simon “One time I convinced Claire that we had had an exchange student for a month and that her name was Victorine and she was from France. I convinced her that this girl had even gone to school with us, but had to go home because of her ill father. Claire totally believed me.” – Molly Simon “The boys, we were all asleep outside and not in tents. The girls came and drew make-up on us and put perfume on us. I woke up and came up into the campsite and opened the cooler and washed my face.” – Trevor Nickel “We went camping at Samuel P. Taylor. We played Truth or Dare. The girls dared the boys to go skinny dipping. That was pretty funny. Right before that, someone had dared Trevor, Claire, and I to put on beach towels and run around the camp like superman. Although, quiet hour was at ten, but the park ranger stopped us at 8:00pm and apparently it was quiet hour because he told us to be quiet. It was pretty funny. That was one of the best times.” – Robbie Simon "One Christmas the family decided to do a white elephant gift exchange at Aunt Didi's house. We went shopping at the Salvation Army to pick out some outrageous gifts to give. One thing we chose was a portable toilet. When we got home we wrapped up the portable toilet and it was the biggest gift to pick from. Everyone wanted it. Richard ended up getting it and was so disappointed when he found it was just a used toilet. It was hilarious" – Kelly O’Grady “At the old house at West Dry Creek, we were able to run through the whole house, it was a big loop around. I was probably in preschool and I didn’t turn around one of the corners but I ran through the stained glass window. It was just me and Grandma there and she came over and helped clean it up.” – Joe Williams “Jim O’Grady and I went on a big trip around the world. We have so many great memories. In fact, in all my health classes at the school, I show my slides. That was a terrific trip.” – Gene Simon “One time when we were camping, we decided to go out to the beach for the day. I thought I saw a turtle in the middle of the road, so I told whoever was driving to pull over. It was really just a brown lunch bag!” – Colleen O’Grady “When Robbie was little and he would watch football on TV; he was not even a year and a half but he would imitate the players on TV. If saw them fall, he would fall.” – Carolyn “Going to Disneyland and staying at Carolyn’s house was always one of my favorite memories.” – Jake Carl “I like to play board games with my mom and dad. And go to the movies with them.” – Guenevere Schubert “Tom walking on the rail of the bridge at Warm Spring Dam – that was pretty scary.” – Patrick Burns
100: “We like to go to the park a lot and Jacob practices soccer and t-ball. Connor always wants to do the same thing as Jacob. If Jacob goes down the slide, Connor wants to go down the slide. It is fun to watch them play.” – Laura Wells Ambrosi “Christmas time is always fun. People from California who don’t see snow often come to visit; it is fun to go sledding with them.” – Jake Carl “Gene took Claire, Molly, Robbie and I to the driving range while they were visiting Spokane. When we came back we were locked out of Patty’s house, so Gene made us play football outside for what seemed like forever.” – Ali Carl “The first Christmas that I spent with the Ambrosi’s was almost 25 years ago. They had Christmas at the convent in San Rafael. It was something that I had never experienced in my life. Everyone was there – Joe’s siblings, their spouses, kids – and everyone sat in this huge circle to open Christmas gifts. It took like 5 or 6 hours to open the Christmas presents and they would open one present at time and everyone would watch and then it would be the next persons turn. It took so long that we had to take bathroom breaks and water breaks. That was my first memory with them.” – Linda Ambrosi | “At Aunt Didi’s house everyone was in the backyard on the trampoline. I was inside being very enthusiastic and ran outside, but ran into the glass door.” – Claire Simon "At Samuel P. Taylor we were riding bikes around the campground area. There was a tree root that we had to swerve around. I thought I was going fast enough to make it over the root, but I went over the root and over the bike and the bike landed on me. I decided that I wasn’t going to ride anymore that day.” – Richard Ambrosi "Spending the summers in Redondo Beach was always fun. One of the best memories was walking in downtown Hollywood and seeing an Elvis impersonator; I couldn't have been more excited!" - Kelly O'Grady “Robbie the snobby who worked at the lobby at the Holiday Innnnnn.” – Cortney Randolph “I love going to Healdsburg. I get to play a lot of golf up there and coming home in the afternoons with having nothing to do. It’s relaxing. I love that.” – Gene Simon “I like to kung-fu fight with my sister. I like to get in the car before her because then I get there faster and go first.” – Cedric Schubert “When Connor was born, Jacob was intimidated by the hospital and was hesitant in visiting. But once Connor came home, Jacob would bring him toys and want to play even though Connor was so little.” – Laura Wells Ambrosi “I think it was the summer that Grandma was in the hospital in Healdsburg. I remember everyone being down here it seemed. Me, Grandpa, and Jimmy I remember especially. I was really young. I spent a week at Didi’s with Kate, Morgan, Dakota...everyone. All day we played in the water. We had a lemonade stand and stayed the night at Didi’s house for a week. We rode scooters. That was one of my favorite weeks during the summer.” – Coral Godinez “After breakfast, Grandpa would then take me to school, which at this point is less than a block away from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. These mornings were a frequent occurrence when I was growing up and are some of the fondest memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” – Christopher Stowe "I enjoy roadtrips with Grandma Didi. We would play a game where we would say something like, 'I am Abby from Alabama and I sell Apples.'” – Morgan Burns “We all went on vacation to Samuel P. Taylor and we were playing super heroes. The park ranger came and we all ran. Claire couldn’t run fast enough and so she got stopped by the park ranger and was yelled at. We hid in the plants and snickered at her.” – Molly Simon “It was fun when I went to Spokane with Morgan, Dakota, and Jimmy. We went to water parks.” – Logan Robinson “I like to go to this place called Blue Lake. It’s fun to play around with her (Peggy Anderson) and to go shopping.” – Guenevere Schubert “I like going up to visit my Grandma Didi and Grandma Ambrosi in Spokane. That is a good memory. I like how my cousins Logan and Jimmy and my sister Morgan come with me up there and we just hang out and have fun.” – Dakota Burns “Pat’s wedding was the first time that I got to meet the whole family.” – Leayla Burns
101: "There was the vacation when we went camping, and we pulled pranks on each other and that sort of stuff. That year we (the guys) went skinny dipping. The girls ran down and grabbed our swimsuits, except mine. My swimsuit was much closer to the creeks edge. " - Jimmy O'Grady
103: “The thing that struck me about Mary and Joe was their strong faith. They brought their faith to their children. I was very impressed that they wanted to share it with their fourteen children. It played out in lots of ways. Never did a meal go by where they didn’t pray. Many Christmas gifts were also religious. I always sensed it in the things that they would say. I think that it had an effect on the whole family whether you know it or not.” – Sally Brady “Diffidently, Samuel P. Taylor was one of my favorite memories. This one in particular: the girls dared the boys to go skinny dipping. Jimmy was the only one smart enough to take off his trunks after he got in the water, so that meant he was the only boy who had clothes. The girls secretly followed us and when we got into the water they took our clothes. But they left towels for us. We had to walk back to the campsite with just towels. We didn’t have our bikes either, which was probably a good thing!” – Richard Ambrosi "A couple years ago, Mother, Betty Ann, Joe, Linda, Dan, and I went to Hawaii. I loved it. It was right after I had back surgery. I would love to go back. The smells of Hawaii...everything was great. Dan’s friend came with us. It was a great time.” – Mary Teresa “At Trevor’s house, he and Dakota were playing video games and they tried to lock me and Morgan out of the house.” – Logan Robinson “We were really little and went to Candlestick Park for a Giants game. All I can remember is that it was freezing; I don’t remember the actual game. And I remember the bathrooms there.” – Claire Simon “Me and Grandma (Peggy) go to Blue Lake. I like when we camp out and make s’mores.” – Cedric Schubert “All the family reunions are good memories but my favorite are with Grandpa. Me and grandpa would wake up early and have coffee and donuts. They would pick me up from school and we would go to their house on West Dry Creek and watch Return of the Jedi and have cinnamon toast that Grandma would make for us.” – Joe Williams “When I was little, my dad would take me on his bike. I was too small to sit on the back, so I got to sit in the front. I also like when we go four wheeling and off-roading in the mud.” – Morgan Burns “There was this time we went to Spokane to visit Grandma. Pat and Kate came and spent time with us too. It took us about two days to get there and we finally got to Spokane at ten o'clock at night on the second day, but it was a lot of fun. It was the first time I tried Woofy’s Burger; it is a place down the street from Grandma’s house. After that we went to Boise, Idaho.” – Robbie Simon “We all went down to L.A. and we went to Disneyland and took surf lessons. That was fun.” – Trevor Nickel “The first time I met Logan, she asked me if I was going to marry her Uncle Mike. She and Morgan got really excited.” – Leayla Burns “My parents, Richard and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a few years back. One day, towards the end of our vacation my mom and I decided to go for a swim in the ocean. It was all fun and games until we saw a big wave coming towards us. I had this brilliant idea that I was going to dive through it. Well, as I dove the wave tossed and turned me every which way. It also did the same to my mom; she went head over heels. We survived it. We washed up on shore moments after it happened only to find that half the beach was in our suits and the whole ordeal happened in front of the beach-front restaurant where people were eating morning brunch. So embarrassing.” – Nicole Ambrosi "Scott, Obi and myself love to go camping together, especially at rainbow gatherings. we also like to make music together." - Christine Sowka
104: “Grandma, Uncle Frank, Jimmy, and I went on a road trip. We went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion Canyon. Then we got a phone call from Mary Teresa so we went to Phoenix, where Aunt Peggy was [Grandma’s sister]. It was like 120 degrees everyday in Phoenix, so hot! We went to the movies and saw Rise of the Solar Surfer. I liked Zion Canyon the best of everything because there was so much to see.” – Richard Ambrosi “My sisters are a little bit odd. They like this show called "Dr. Who." I absolutely hate it. It’s so bad. It is this British guy, who thinks he is a doctor that teleports from place to place. I don’t even know. He saves the world, but the world isn’t earth; it’s the 52nd planet from the sun...yeah, it’s weird.” – Robbie Simon “I like how I can talk freely with Grandma Didi.” – Dakota Burns
106: “One night we slept outside on the trampoline at Cortney’s house. By the middle of the night everybody left, except me and Molly stayed out there all night.” – Trevor Nickel “When Daniel was about a year old we decided to go to Spokane for a week. Dan was just walking and was really small. We stayed with Grandma Mary and Grandpa Joe at their house. Joe and I stayed in the bedroom downstairs and Dan slept in the port-a-crib in the closet. When Grandpa Joe got up in the morning he was not quiet. The bedroom was near the kitchen and I swear he opened every single cupboard in the morning to make coffee...opening them and slamming them. Grandma Mary told him 'Joe you have to be quiet. The baby is sleeping.' That was a great vacation. Katie and Brian went with us too and we went to the water slides in Idaho. Katie, Brian, and Joe went on the water slides. It was Dan’s naptime so I drove him in the car to Coeur d'Alene.” – Linda Ambrosi | “We went to Spokane two January’s ago. I had never been up to Spokane in the snow before. That was fun.” – Joe Williams | “The kids love all the trips. And Christmas presents that come from Grandma Didi. The kids get so excited when the UPS drops off the presents.” – Chris Robinson
107: “It was when we were messing around and we had towels around our necks and running down the hill like super heroes. Logan, Dakota, Trevor and others were in the tent giggling. The ranger came over to and said, 'Are those the kids giggling in the tent?' We pretended like we didn’t do anything wrong. Also, we stole the boys' clothes at one time while camping. We also went on a scavenger hunt which was fun.” – Morgan Burns “There was this one time, Hannah and Hailey keep talking about it, we were in the Target parking lot. There was this guy riding around on a scooter trying to sell cards. He came over to Alicia’s truck and Hannah and Hailey were freaking out and trying to lock all the doors. I have never seen them get so scared. Then the guy just passed by.” – Coral Godinez “Oh yes, this is a good one. We went to the beach. It was Colleen, Kelly, Morgan, Logan, and me. We were talking about Baywatch. There was this guy on the beach doing karate so we started running and following him acting like Baywatch babes.” – Cortney Randolph “At my wedding, Grandma said I was smiling the whole day from ear to ear and that made her smile too.” – Brian Ambrosi “My family, including my grandma, and the Simons and Mrs. Ambrosi went to Disneyland when I was about 3 or 4. And they got Claire, Molly, and I matching outfits to wear. Mrs. Ambrosi saved spots for two hours so we could watch Fantasia.” – Ali Carl “I always remember when we would go down to Disneyland and we would visit Car and Kathleen and stay at their house. One time, my mom’s wallet was stolen out of Car’s house in Hawthrone.” – Brian Ambrosi “When we went to Spokane for Grandma’s 80th birthday and surprised her. I would say that at any given time there were probably between 15 and 25 people. I was going to get some lunch, some leftovers of something, and I wanted to ask everyone if they wanted lunch and I was going to serve them. Pat said, 'No, we would be here all day!' Coming from a family of 5, that is the polite thing to do, but not now, Pat just said no and I should just get my own lunch.” – Kathy Burns “Last year for at Easter at Grandma’s house, Katie and Andrew visited. We had to babysit Andrew. It was interesting because I had never babysat before.” – Pat Burnett "Going to LA with Didi. Me and Cortney went. I dont know why we went. But the whole ride there was no radio, because Didi doesn't listen to the radio." - Gary Randolph “Mr. Ambrosi came into the kitchen, where I was having some much needed coffee, and began to cook calamari with garlic. This was a real test, but then he wanted to talk –a lot. Finally, Mrs. Ambrosi saved me and told him to 'leave her alone she just wants to drink her coffee.' Mr. Ambrosi decided to join me. This was where I first saw the “coffee stirring”.” – Judi Carl “I think the memory of another picnic at Dockweiler Beach one hot summer day. Mary was pregnant. This was about 1962 or 63. Our Blaise was either 2 or 3. The sand was so hot, he was standing on my feet as we trudged along the sand. Joe and Jack were lugging the food containers. The children (we had 6 by then and they had already surged ahead with girls—my memory is a foggy here. I know everyone’s names, but after that I’m lost. I always think of everyone as much younger than they are!) had had a great time frolicking in the waves and we had fun chatting and catching up on the news of people we both knew as well as family activities. When it was time to leave, we had to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the parking lot. By the time I got to the top, I could have delivered a baby, and I wasn’t even pregnant! After they got home, Mary shampooed each girl’s hair and bathed them. Then she said to Joe, 'It’s time to go to the hospital, Joe!' The hospital being Queen of Angels way over in Los Angeles! This typifies Mary & Joe..nothing daunted them! They took great care of their kids, and met every obligation before they thought of themselves. I wish I were a blood relative of Mary’s and shared her fantastic genes!” – Sara Jackson “I don’t remember the first time, but one of the first memories I have with the Ambrosi’s was when Brian and I went to Spokane to see Katie when she was up there for school. I remember having root beer floats with Joe. Also, Joe and Mary and everyone else were watching a baseball game and they were very into the game. That was in 2001 or 2002.” – Laura Wells Ambrosi “The last family reunion was fun because I feel like I am a member of the family. I just thought it was cool to see everyone all together. The last time I had seen everyone together like that was probably about 5 years ago and cool to see that everyone is doing good.” – Jake Carl
108: “I have too many memories of Joe, Mary, and family to pick just one. I will say that after that first meeting almost 35 years ago, I have felt a part of the Ambrosi family every day since. In many ways, being part of that family saved my life, and most certainly is largely responsible for the person I am today. They showed me about giving to one another....not just occasionally or when it was convenient. They helped me form my relationship with God. They allowed me to be part of their family, and families, and to know that I am loved. My relationship with each Ambrosi and their families has been the greatest gift of my life.” – Linda Bluel
109: “Recently, when we went up to Healdsburg for Alex’s triathlon and reunion, I remember going to a theme park. That was a lot of fun. On our way back from the park we went to Burger Ranch Burgers. That was good.” – Robbie Simon “With my mom and dad, I like to watch movies and with Guen.” – Cedric Schubert “The family reunion we had this past summer after the Vineman race. All of the support from family and friends was more than I could have asked for and I couldn't have done it without them.” – Alex Stowe “At Brian’s wedding, Dakota, Logan, Jimmy and I walked downstairs into some rooms. We were walking through and it was spooky and old. Then we heard a voice say, 'Hey!' and we got scared. It was someone who worked there. He told us we weren’t supposed to be down there.” – Morgan Bunrs “I remember the days when Jacob, Andrew and Connor were born. At the time, I really didn't know how great it was going to be having nephews. I also didn’t know how fulfilling it would be to be able to call my Dad an old man because of his grandsons. I look forward to watching them grow up.” – Dan Ambrosi “We were in Healdsburg for Christmas and I was sitting at the desk in the garage room at Aunt Didi’s house. The other kids were playing with Lincoln Logs, but I was destroying her African violet plant. I didn’t know it at the time that it would be destroyed. I liked the way it felt to put my finger nail in the leaves. I think I may have killed it. I was reprimanded later.” – Molly Simon “Jacob is playing t-ball for the first time; that is a ton of fun. I remember when both boys were born and watching them both grow-up (even though they are still little). I remember Jacob’s first day at preschool; he was so excited. Now every day, even though Connor is not in preschool yet, he goes into Jacob’s class like he owns the place. Everyone in class knows Connor already. We even bought him his own lunch box to be like his big brother.” – Brian Ambrosi “Colleen, Kelly, Jessica, Didi and I went on a road trip to Seattle and Spokane. We were called whinny, sissy girls from California because we were so cold.” – Cortney Randolph “The first day I meet Didi at her house, I found a four leaf clover in her yard. That was really cool. Also, Didi’s cakes are always a good memory and watching her make a million cookies for all the cousins and watching them get eaten.” – Leayla Burns “My favorite family memories are our trips to Disneyland and Camping.” – Kyle Webb “Going camping and our road trip to Seattle were fun.” – Jessica Parlett “I enjoy taking them to the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos and they get to play in the cockpit of a 747.” - Alex Schubert “At Dan’s graduation party, I made Jimmy the “Jimmy Tacos”. They were chips filled with bean dip and avocado dip with cheese and a grape.” – Coral Godinez “I remember climbing in bed with grandma when I spent the night there. She was a good cuddler and always wanted to cuddle a long time.” – Helen Schubert “We have Thanksgivings at our house. We always have a touch football game for the kids. We go down to the high school and give everyone uniforms and flags. At first it seemed a little forced, but now everyone comes to Thanksgiving looking forward to playing.” – Gene Simon “Pretty much every time I see Robbie, he is pretty funny. He is very silly and does weird things.” - Pat Burnett “I have another favorite, and that is when we would all get to play "office" in Grandpas office; it was soooo much fun!!” – Alicia Webb “Coral and I started a store out of the closet upstairs at Grandma’s house that used to be Katie’s old bedroom. We were selling all the stuff we were finding up there that Grandma said we could sell.” – Kate Burnett "We love to travel, go camping, and make music. It's hard to pick one memory that stands out the most, but I'll try... During our latest trip we visited the Grand Canyon. Obi was still learning to talk and he insisted on calling it the Great Onion" - Scott Sowka “We go to Disneyland – that is our typical vacation. We took the kids to the Exploratorium recently. We are trying to do more day trips with them and fun things like that. The last time we went to Disneyland we didn’t tell them where we were going and it was fun to see Jake’s expression. When we arrived he asked, “Where are we going.” We asked him what that sign said, and he said, 'DISNEYLAND!' They were so excited.” – Laura Wells Ambrosi
110: “We went driving around Hollywood. Kelly was really obsessed with Elvis and we stopped at a house that we thought was Elvis’ house. Really, it was Baby Face’s house. We went inside the driveway area.” – Molly Simon “Mary taught me how to fix a broken window and how to wallpaper. She picked out my wedding colors, sewed my bridesmaid dresses (without the pattern, though she had one, she didn’t need them). She is amazing at sewing.” – Sarah Ambrosi “When we would have all of our camping trips that we did; those were fun especially when we stole the guys clothes when they went skinny dipping. Another memory from those trips was when I fell down the hill on the scooter and I scrapped the whole side of my stomach.” – Logan Robinson “The week that Uncle Jim died was obviously a very sad one, but, honestly I learned a lot about him that week. I knew he was always into art, but I had never seen any of his work. The first time I saw it I was amazed. I wish I had gotten to know him better.” – Dan Ambrosi “One year, we went to Healdsburg for Grandpa’s 80th birthdays. We had a party there and when it was about to end, we had a water fight. That was fun!” – Robbie Simon “We went to surf camp and we saw the dolphins in the ocean.” – Cortney Randolph | “One time we were at Candlestick Park and the girls were little. Molly was probably three years old. We went to the bathroom and the color scheme was yellow toilets with black seats. The three of us were in there and I was about to tell the girls not to touch anything. Before I could get it out, Molly is rubbing the toilet seat saying, “pretty, so pretty.” I was so paranoid about germs and she was rubbing her hands over the whole thing!” – Carolyn “The last family reunion was really fun. We went swimming down there and I had gotten all dressed and ready to go back but then I fell in!” – Leayla Burns “An outstanding memory would have to be January 2010 when I went snorkeling in Hawaii. I had never been there before and it was amazing. The water was so clear that you could see 30 feet down and not even realize it was 30 feet. We saw sea turtles. It was one of my best vacations ever.” – Nicole Ambrosi “It was fun when my Uncle Chris came down to visit for Christmas with Logan and Zane.” – Dakota Burns “I remember many nights with Brian, Joe, and my brother where we would stay up all night long playing video games and just having a really fun time making fun of each other...well, getting made fun of by Brian and Joe.” – Alex Stowe “Meeting the Ambrosi family for the first time was a bit overwhelming and I didn’t think I would remember everybody and their names. There are so many aunts, uncles and kids. But you remember them eventually.” – Kathy Burns "Monica’s red hair"- Denny Burnett “Riding bikes and swimming in the pool with Hailey.” – Hannah Webb
113: "When we went on a trip down to the L.A. area, more specifically, Redondo Beach, an event took place between Kelly and Robby. While we were down there there was a song that was made up and it involved Robby. The only lyrics to it I remember at the moment is something to do with Robby and the Holiday Inn. Also on the same trip (I believe - I might be completely off here, but, oh well) we convinced Robby that a pickle would grow out of his belly button." - Jimmy O'Grady “When I proposed to Helen, I was a bit nervous of course. We were walking in Santa Cruz along the beach and I asked Helen to marry me and before I had a chance to get the ring out she said, 'Let me see the rock!' a testy thing to say, right then as we were walking, the sand in the beach sunk down and she fell down. Funny because she had just said that comment and fell down like that. She did eventually marry me.” – Alex Schubert | “Disneyland!!” – Hailey Webb "Opening presents." - Obi-wan Sowka “Mickey Mouse.” – Connor Ambrosi “I have been known to cry easily at touching moments. After we exchanged our wedding vows Jim looked at me and remarked, ‘Well, aren’t you miss cool calm and collected’ because I hadn’t shed a tear, I corrected him by saying, ‘That’s MRS. Cool Calm and Collected!’” – Joanne O’Grady “One day, I was making a sandwich. I loved baloney, processed cheese and ketchup on my sandwich. Grandpa said to me, “I am glad you have better taste in women than you do in sandwiches.”” – Denny Burnett | "Last weekend we were visiting my dad and Linda in Granite Bay. Andrew was obsessed with swimming and the pool is just not warm yet, so we told him we'd heat the hot tub for a night swim. So that night at dinner, when he asked about swimming for the millionth time that day, I told him as soon as we were done with dinner we'd finally go in the hot tub. Andrew's response was a fist pump and an exclamation of "I'm talkin' about that!" Of course, what he meant to say was "That's what I'm talkin' about" but he didn't quite get it right. Probably one of the funniest things he's ever said. Quite the personality that Andrew." - Katie Ambrosi | “She first stopped at my dad’s house to pick me up and we went to McDonald’s to get something to eat. Then we went up to Uncle Pat’s and I went to Uncle Pat’s too to see Dakota and Morgan. Then I stayed a couple nights and we went home. Harley was there too.” – Zane Robinson
114: “At Christmas in 2009, Guen asked for coffee and said she drank it black.” – Nicole Ambrosi “When we went skiing at Silver Mountain with Christopher, it was really fun, but he kept on wanting us to go on really hard slopes.” – Kate Burnett
115: “When I went up with Kathleen in January, I knew Mary was in a wheelchair. I figured we would reminisce a lot, maybe play cards or some games. Ugh Ugh- - - -Mary had something planned for every day! A visit to Prosser, WA for the weekend, a day to rest and then another day in Couer d’Alene. Idaho to see the eagles feed on the salmon in the lake! Never a dull moment!” - Sara Jackson