A Tribute To Joe Talevi

A Tribute To Joe Talevi

Middletown lost a legend this past week.

Joe Talevi was a giver. Whether it was a toy to his grandchildren or a helping hand to loved ones and strangers alike, Joe was known for his big, generous heart. If anyone needed a place to stay, a job, or a friend, one could find it in Joe Talevi.

After 88 years of giving, and 63 years of marriage, Joe died on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. He was 88.

Joe was born on March 19, 1929 in Middletown, Connecticut to Arnold Philip and Mary (Cordone) Talevi. He had five older sisters: the late Grace Steadham, Ruth "Tootsie" Potenti, Joanne "Junie" Liljedahl, Pauline D'Amato, and Molly Pascoe.

Joe attended school at Saint John’s in Middletown, and graduated from Middletown High School in 1947. The love of his life, Kathy Talevi, was a few years behind him in school. She graduated from Middletown High School in 1950. She was good friends with Joe's sister, Molly. While the girls were out one day, Molly's car broke down, and Joe came to the rescue. That's when he met Kathy.

They quickly fell in love, and married on June 19, 1954 in Middletown. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this summer.

Joe built Kathy their very own home on Great Hill Pond Road in Portland. Every time they had another child (there were five in total), he would add another room onto the house.

To this day many carry fond memories of the Talevi house on Great Hill Lake in Portland, where Joe resided with his family for 50 years before moving back to Middletown. Joe not only built his own house, but his own businesses, including Talco Asbestos Removal. He also attended church daily.

Joe is survived by his children and their spouses: Arnold “Mitch” and Dori, Steven and Noelle, Chris and Melissa, Jodylynn and Jeff, and Nancy and David; and his eight grandchildren: Nicholas, Natasha, Ashley, Alexa, Christopher, Adrienne, Jaimee, and Dahlia. He is also survived by his sisters Ruth “Tootsie” Portonte, Joanne “Junie” Liljedahl, Pauline Damato, and Molly Pascoe. He was predeceased by his sister, Grace Steadham.

Joe was always up for an adventure. He enjoyed traveling to Italy, Greece, Australia. He loved traveling so much, in fact, that he purchased two airplanes. When asked whether he was content with his life’s accomplishments, he said he was happy that he had owned airplanes.

Joe was well known for his many stories and jokes. He was always the life of the party. He looked forward to spending time with his friends, family and especially his grandchildren. He will be missed by many.

Joe's funeral liturgy will be held on Wednesday, July 26 at 11 a.m. at Saint John’s Church. Calling hours will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25 at Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver Street, Middletown, Connecticut.

The family wishes to thank the entire staff at Apple Rehab for the kindness and care they gave to Joe during his stay.

Those who wish may make memorial contributions to St. John's Church, 19 St. John's Square, Middletown, CT 06457 or to Xavier High School, 181 Randolph Rd., Middletown, CT 06457. To express condolences and share memories, please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com.

Cover Image Credit: Kathy Talevi

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An Open Letter To My Nana

Everyone deserves a Nana like you

Everyone deserves a Nana like you.

You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I have ever met and I am so glad God blessed me with being your granddaughter. From the moment I was born you were there, you lived almost 500 miles away but yet you were there every step of the way.

From first steps to first words, first days of school, you were there. Every first that you and Papa could be there for, you were. I didn't know it then but you were destined to be my best friend from the start. All the years you and Pops spent traveling back and forth from NC to PA, just to watch me and my brother grow up. You wanted to be there every step of the way and I couldn't have been more grateful. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.

Now that I am older and can actually realize the depth your love goes for me and my brother just makes me more thankful. I would do anything for you and I know you would do the same. I would spend every minute of my day hanging out with you if I could and if you didn't live so far away.

Being able to come hang out with you and spend these last two weeks was the biggest blessing. Learning your "not so secret" family recipes, being able to watch our shows together, baking cookies, shopping, playing slots, and so much more. You have told me this whole trip that I'm not allowed to go back home because you like the company and how much I have helped you and truth be told, I wouldn't leave you if I didn't have to.

One of my favorite memories, that maybe some wouldn't even call a memory, was when I got the tattoo of your handwriting, "Love You Bushels." It is by far my favorite tattoo I have and I know how much you hate them but you always joke with me anyways. I still remember to this day, when I posted a picture of it and told you to go look, you called me spitting Italian like you do when I stress you out, lol.

"Oh my Kayce, why would you do this?" you said.

"Well, I wanted to Nun and now you will always be with me," I replied.

"Well it is beautiful I guess," you responded (still with an attitude).

"So you like it?" I said.

"Well, hun, you know I love your mother and brother just as much as you, but maybe if I love them a little less they won't go putting it all over their bodies," you responded.

I laughed, you laughed because no one quite gets your sense of humor like I do, and no one quite gets mine like you.

I love this time I get to spend with you. The memories we make, the laughs we share, I wouldn't trade this time for the world. I know you will always be with me, even when you are 500 miles away.

Cover Image Credit: Kayce Davis

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Great-Grandma Bartron-isms For The New Year

Phrases and quotes from a wise woman to get you through 2018.

I was on the phone with my grandmother the other day while I wrote last week’s article. We chatted for a while about the New Year. It was during that chat that she decided I should spread the wisdom of my late Great-Grandma Bartron, so my readers could start off the new year with some inspiration.

I was never old enough for this wisdom to be imparted to me directly -- I was eight years old when she passed. These “Grandma Bartron-isms” are still used by my family to this day. This is advice from a woman who grew up during the Great Depression and lived in a world decidedly different than the one we live in now. Yet her advice still remains relevant, which is a testament to her wisdom.

Here are six of her more famous “Grandma Bartron-isms.”

"Smile, agree and do as you please."

This marital advice was given to the women of my family, whether it was prenuptial or thirty years into a marriage. This advice is very contradictory to the marital standards that she grew up with. She encouraged the women of my family to have a say in their marriage, in the way she was unable to. “My grandpa probably thought he was the boss in the relationship,” my mother remarked, laughing. She might not have been outspoken in her marriage, but she still had power.

"If you stay in bed, drink liquids, and watch TV your cold will last a week; if you get up and go to school it will last seven days -- so get going!"

"A walk is as good as a nap."

In the eyes of my great-grandmother, exercise and physical activity was the key to preventing and curing many ailments. She was a very active woman, who went on walks or swam every day and these quotes were her kind way of telling us to get off our butts and stay active.

"When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks about you. When you’re 40, you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. And when you’re 60, you realize that no one was thinking about you! They were all thinking about themselves!”

Grandma Bartron was known for her brutal honesty, which is represented in the above saying. This is something I think all college kids should keep in mind. It's easy to be self-conscious of yourself when you are doing a lot on your own for the first time.

Yet according to Grandma Bartron, everyone is too worried about themselves to worry about you. I will remember that this semester when I take my oral communications class, or the next time I sleep through my alarm and have to go to class in my pajamas.

"One [child] takes all your time and all your money, and that’s all two or three or four can do!"

This phrase was actually a bit of advice she received from a friend of her husband's, and it resonated with her so much that she adopted the phrase as her own. This is what Grandma Bartron would say when someone claimed she didn’t have enough money to have another child. Grandma Bartron had four children, and she believed that no matter what you were going to be broke and tired -- no matter if you had one child or four.

She herself loved babies and encouraged everyone to have them so she could spend time with them. She worked as a volunteer nurse in the baby nursery when she was 76 so that she could be the person to take the first pictures of my cousins when they were born.

"This too shall pass."

This phrase is not specific to my great-grandmother, but she verbalized it enough to become considered part of her vocabulary. It makes sense that a woman who grew up during the Great Depression would have this mindset. This phrase was used long before her time and will continue to be said for generations to come.

As I try to navigate college, this phrase will stick in the back of my mind. I’m sure she would have said it to me, had she lived to see me off to college.

Cover Image Credit: Ali Schulz

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