Friends


The end of another chapter in this Traveler’s journey 1

704facts

As the New Jersey chapter in the life of this traveler comes to a close as I divest myself of the last tangible asset that has held me to New Jersey as I close up the house at 704 Puritan Ave and hand it over to a new owner.  My daughter Avery grew up in this house; we watched her grow into the beautiful person she is now.  This house has seen many friends and family pass through to enjoy good times and bad. It was the center of the Bilancio family holiday dinners for 12 plus years, and in the summer it was the epicenter of some great summer blasts.

The chapter of my life in New Jersey started as an adventure story that had drama, humor and a little mystery thrown in.  It had births, and it had too many deaths of family and too many close friends, it had lost friendships of people I thought were my friends as well as loss of my real friends that moved on to bigger and better things.  At the beginning of the adventure I saw myself living and dying in New Jersey, but like most stories, there are sudden changes in the flow, and the protagonist finds a new path to follow and explore and to see what is going to happen with every turn of the page.

This article isn’t just about the closing and selling of a house but the end of a chapter in a story that we hope goes on for way more time, and it’s a good time to think and reflect on what has happened and to look forward to future adventures.

In the summer of 1990 when I moved back to New Jersey chasing a job offer, I remember how good it felt to be back with my cousins and the family I spent most of my life with and is where I grew up and had so many happy times as a kid.  We were so young and crazy when I came back, and I had watched and studied how much we have all grown and matured in the passing years. Most of us have been or are still married with children, and it’s incredible how much the children have developed or are growing into fine adults.

The few friends that I made in New Jersey and still communicate with have also moved on from the party life we all enjoyed in the backyard of 704 Puritan.  I have watched their kids growing up, and they are becoming young adults moving into their own. I have also watched as a few of my friends had moved on from the wives or husbands that they had when we first met and started hanging out, some for the better and some not so much.

My being and life force will always flow through New Jersey, as my daughter is still there as well as most of my cousins, aunts and uncle and the few friends I still have there.  The second anchor that holds me to New Jersey will be the graves of the matriarch and patriarch of the Bilancio family Rose and Louis Bilancio.

Like all stories of the traveler in the stories seem to flow and ebb, this traveler’s tale will continue as I move through the universe with new companions to far off lands and states and adventures, but my line of cosmic energy and my story will always flow through Central New Jersey.


So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies

I mentioned in a post last week that I have decided to move to Corning in the Southern Tier of New York.

When I moved back to New Jersey in the late summer of 1991 to the open arms of my father’s family that I had left back in 1983 when we moved to Bath, NY, I considered the move a rebirth. Now after 26 years and the last few which were a tumultuous time for me, I feel this move back to the Bath area is me rising from the ashes of my old life and with that rising I need to believe in myself and love myself to become the new person I want to become.

I will miss a ton of the people I have made my friends and done things with throughout my time in New Jersey. The parties we had in the back yard on all the major summer holidays are something that I will never forget. The get together at Panera, Uno’s and other great places. The one friend that I spent the most time with and who came to my aid when the basement flooded almost every time it did, I will miss you the most John. John Martinetti was always there when I asked for help and you were always willing to go out and have a good time at a moments notice. I will miss you dude.

As I am getting settled in my new life I look back at the things I have achieved while I was in New Jersey, I helped LUG/IP become a non-profit group, I started the System Administrator Group – LOPSA-NJ and put together the East Coast System Administrator Conference, set up the Nextdoor for Colonial Heights Civic Association and a few things I am sure I forgot about.

The biggest things I will miss from New Jersey are all the great places to eat Chinese & Italian foods, burgers (not fast food burgers) and the other types of food I love to eat. Since I have been in Corning I have been struggling to find a good Chinese restaurant that has good food, low prices and delivers. In New Jersey I couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a good non-chain Chinese restaurant that fit the above criteria’s. So far I have found so so Chinese, but I am still looking and I will find it.

But the one thing I am missing the most is a Trenton style tomato pie.

In Trenton, the “tomato pie” is king, a thin-crust, chewy round pizza whose most defining characteristic is the unusual placement of the tomato sauce: it’s on top.

Malcolm Bedell – FromAway.com

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Trenton Tomato Pie – From Away

This was the food I missed the most when I first came to New York in ’83 now it is again. I will find a pizza joint that will make a good tomato pie or teach one to make a great tomato pie or I will have to get that pizza oven attachment for my Weber Charcoal grill.

This isn’t really the final goodbye my friends and family in New Jersey, it’s just a break from me, and I hope to see you soon in New Jersey and I want you to know my door is always open if you want to come to Corning (I don’t have a room you can stay in, but there is a bunch of nice places to stay in the area) and help me find that great Chinese restaurant or a great tasting tomato pie, or we can also go on a few vineyards tours or brewery tours or just go out to the lake and have a good time.

So in closing to the state of New Jersey and my friends I say:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies


A funeral for a friend

I returned to Fallsington on Saturday February 1, 2014 for a memorial service for one of my best friends growing up, Rick Chiviott, at the Fallsington Methodist Church.  When I got to the church I sat in the back and as I was sitting there I noticed three women looking my way and I knew immediately they were trying to figure out who I was. I recognized Linda and Colleen from their pictures on Facebook.  I figured the third was Colleen’s sister Cathy.  They were older than me when I lived in Fallsington and one of my other best friends was Linda’s brother Mike.  Colleen and Cathy were our neighbors behind the house and they used to babysit me once in a while.  We were there to celebrate the life of our friend, Rick Chiviott.

I joined them in their pew and we got to talking about things going on around Fallsington.  They were proud that they were still living in town and being part of the community.  I think about all the good times I had in town and the friends I had and lost there and it made me sad that I couldn’t say I still live there.  After the service we continued the conversation and caught up with each other’s lives. We told stories of some of the things we did back in the day; chicken stealing off a grill, Linda’s Red Chevelle, sneaking into the neighbors pool when they weren’t home or asleep, and riding our bikes on the dirt trails where Nottingham is now down on Lower Morrisville Road.  As we were leaving the church we had a picture taken of the four of us.  We have all aged and maybe grown wiser, but still can call Fallsington home or the place we grew up in.

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Colleen, Linda, William, Cathy

After I said my goodbyes I walked down to take a look at the old house.  My old neighbor Kevin was working on his son’s car in his garage and it made me think of the times he and I would work on bikes and cars in there.

We got talking about our lives and things going on and after a while he asked me if I missed living in Fallsington.  I looked him right in the eye and admitted to him that I did.  I missed the quiet and the friends I had in this town.  I missed being able to play football in the street without the fear of being hit by a car.  We reminisced about people we knew and those that had passed away and those that have gone missing from our worlds.  We got caught up on our families and parents and sisters.

I then took the time to drive through town and reflect about my friend Rick and all the fun we had as kids in this great town.  In the next few days I plan on writing more about Rick and my growing up in Fallsington and how he and the town made me….me.


A night of Tomato Pies with good friends

Last night I got together with some friends at De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies.  in Robbinsville NJ for tomato pie and a nice choice of beer.  I was the first to arrive, the restaurant was a little crowded but not so bad we were going to have to wait a long time for a table. Since I was the first one there I opted to hang out and wait for one of the others to arrive before getting the table.  Greg Wilson showed up a little while later and he and I got talking about work and how things were going.  We got seated at a one of the big booths along the wall and hung out waiting for the rest to show up.  The next to show up was John LeMasney (who was the only one of us not to have ever been to De Lorenzo’s so he was the De Lorenzo’s virgin of the night) followed by John Martinetti and Brian Jones arriving a few minutes later. Greg and John

This was the first time that the five of us have all been out to eat and just sit back and talk in a long time.   The topics ranged of course from work-related topics to the kids and everything in between.  The beauty of the five of us getting together is that we are all lovers of good beer so when we do get together the place must be BYOB or have a good choice of beer at the bar.  Last night both Johns brought a six-pack of Sierra Nevada.  John LeMasney brought the Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop Ale and John Martinetti brought the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Brian Jones brought a random selection from his fridge that all I remember was in there was Guinness.

The Tomato Pies were mouth-watering and so tasty.  We ended up getting two pies, a garlic, and a sweet pepper pie.  When they came to the table, it was commented that the pies are never cut in the normal way of even shaped triangular slices, there were long ones, short ones, small ones…but they were all good ones.  We took our time enjoying and savoring each bite of pie and sip of beer, but still made time to discuss the use of Drupal over WordPress and vice versa. After the first two pies were done and we had sat digesting them and talking about what I don’t remember…we ordered our third pie..a sausage, garlic and sweet peppers pie….another winner.

While we were all conversing and eating I sat back and thought how much I was enjoying this evening.  I was just out with the guys, I wasn’t worrying about work, PICC or LOPSA.  I wasn’t worried about getting ready for LISA or all the stuff I have to do while I am there.  I was just out with the guys and we were all having fun.  As the last of the beer was finished and the last crumb of tomato pie was eaten I felt that all was good with my world and I was glad I have friends like these.

Thanks guys for coming out on a rainy Tuesday Night……


An acquaintance moves to the east coast

I have an acquaintance, Jesse that I have met once in person and spent a few days hanging out with, but who I have worked with for over 2 years on the LOPSA education committee virtualy. I call him an acquaintance because I haven’t really hung out with him…but i guess if you drink with a guy for 4 hours that makes you friends…. He is a good guy and a damn fine sysadmin and friendly and a coffee fiend like no one else I know. Since I have known him he and his wife Heather Lee have bought a fabulous looking farm called Bullfinch Farm in Dane County Wisconsin . The day they singed the papers they went back to the farm to celebrate and walked into the house to be hit in the face by the smell of the world largest litter box. They still don’t know how they missed this smell in the final walk through as well as all the times they came to look at the farm. They had to remove all the floors and most of the walls and replace them. There was more to do but it’s not my story to tell. Jesse has also moved to a new job and is now working for a company in New York State.

After reading the info about Bullfinch Farm and what they are trying to do I realized that they remind me of certain people in my family. First of Fran and Angelica, by the way Jessy and Heather Lee dream of giving something back to the earth and to make a place for artists and thinkers and just regular people to have a peaceful place to come and work and relax and create. The list of “critters” as Jesse calls them reminds me of my aunt with all her chickens. I am sure that they will love the Southern Tier of New York and Pennsylvania. Welcome Jesse and Heather Lee to the Southern Tier.


A hello message and it’s turned into retrospective kind of time

A few weeks ago a real great friend from my past e-mailed me. She said she saw her roommate looking at a web site and did a double take at the picture at the top of the page and realized it was me. She said she immediately jumped online and e-mailed me. When I get e-mails from old friends it makes me feel good to know that people actually do remember me.

This friend though was what I considered my best friend at the time and I use to wonder what happened to her when I would go home to see my folks and wondered what she was doing these days. She worked for a competing radio station when I worked for KZ106 and WCLI but when we weren’t working we were inseparable around Corning and Elmira. She and I talked music, about life and just hung out and had fun as platonic friends do. When I changed stations and shifts and then eventually moved out of the Bath/Corning area we had drifted apart and I never got to say goodbye…and I always felt bad about that and it was good to hear from her and know that she is doing well.

This is also the time of year I always get into a retrospective mood and always think about the past and all the people I never see anymore…all my friends from Fallsington that I heard from once or twice right after I was banished to Bath, Rick and Kathleen Chevet, Mike Capriotti. I do see my ex neighbor Kevin Reed once in a blue moon..he told me a kid who use to hang out with Mike, Kathaleen and me died a few years back, which shocked me Jay was a few years younger then me. Then there are the friends from The Hun School that probably don’t even remember me, but who I remember fondly as well as the friends from Newtown Friends School. I do hear from my buddy Bill Magod from NFS every few months or so..but don’t see him much since our schedules never seem to mesh.

I asked a question to a friend of mine at work the other day “if you could back to High School with what you know now and do it all over again would you?” She said she would..she of course asked me the same thing and of course I had some wise-ass answer because I didn’t want to admit I would go back farther then high school. I would go back to that second year of The Hun school and maybe really apply myself….see I was never one for school and back in 7th grade I just didn’t care and my following school years show it.

Even before I asked her the question I had been thinking about the past a lot and wondering how much my life and even me as a person would be different if I had done things differently? Would I have had to move to Bath if I had been doing better in school, would I have gone into radio at all, would I have gotten into computers and system admining? If this were a movie I would now be hit on the head, be knocked out and dream that I was back in 7th grade and see how life would be different.

Now don’t get me wrong I love and am happy with what I have become as a person and what I have done with most of my life, but we all have those few little things we did that we wish we could have done differently or not done at all. I turn 42 this July and I look back and realized that somethings I could have done differently. So as my life moves on it will always be in the back of my mind what if I had really studied for that science test or taken the time to really apply myself in high school instead of just trying to get by (my parents are nodding there heads right now saying “we told you so”) and going to college and getting the ever coveted degree, how would life be different for me and my family.


It’s done and now let the parties begin

Well the yearbook is done and off to the printers. Now I can focus on the Memorial Day party on Sat. So the run to Sam’s Club is tonight. Tomorrow is set up the sound system and start getting things ready to move out side. We should have a good party this year. No theme for this one but I have some big ideas for the 4th of July party.

Sunday Carolyn and I go to Sachdeep’s wedding reception and it sounding like it’s going to be a great time, I am looking forward to good Indian food and a good time with friends. Most of the people I hang out with at work will be at my party and the wedding so it will be fun. So my congratulations go out to Schadeep and his lovely bride.


Back to work from a decent Vacation

Well after a good week in Bath with Avery at my parents it’s back to work and time to get some things done.

The week in Bath was good. I got to see some good friends Lorie Crocker, Sherman Lyke and Andy Bremen. We all got together on Wed night at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art for a nice patio party. A good band was playing and the beer was good as well as the Margaritas from what I was told. Then we went to the Wood-house for some good bar food and some more drinks an conversation. It was good seeing them. I was glad Sherm and I got a little time to talk, it had been too long. I found out a lot of info on some of the people I use to hang out with and what they are doing. It is always good to reconnect with people you use to hang with while in school. It was hard leaving bath this time because I did have a real good time….hey a good bonus about going to bars in NY state is that there is no smoking so I didn’t smell like a big but…

Well back to work…


Picnic Week – Loyal Supporter

Weather: Still Hot and Humid
I am sitting here listening to a conversation between Dean, Angelica, Clora, Fran, Ira, and myself about the awards for the people who should get them from all 20 years. Who should get an award and what should it be called? Angelica thinks that everyone is a contributor, Clora thinks we shouldn’t have any award for the staff. I think the editors of the last 20 years should get something (and I am not saying that because I was one of them). I also think Dean should get an award for all his hard work. But the conversation is moving to hold off on the award or recognition of all the people who have written articles or helped produce the paper. I have left the meeting about 4 times to get out of the house and when I come back they are on the same topic. Dean feels that, because it’s the 20th Anniversary of the paper we should recognize all those who have contributed because this is a special year and that the people who come to the picnic should leave with the feeling that this is something special and not your daily backyard BBQ. He wants to put the award up there so the person who gets it can feel a great worth of family and special feeling about the picnic……

It seems that people are amazed that I bought 250 t-shirts…My dad’s uncle Bob thinks I should raffle them off because nobody likes to get free stuff. I laugh at that because everybody wants free t-shirts… and others think I went over the top. I am thinking that they should just have a good time and wear the shirt and enjoy the picnic and