My office building was built in the 1920's under the direction of my grandfather Dominic Longo. After immigrating from Italy, he and my grandmother Terisina ran a shoe repair and Italian-American grocery store out of the front portion of the building. Living in the back and raising my Dad and Uncle Joe, they would listen for the sound of their unique door chime and hurry to their respective store front. After his return from serving for the American troops in WWI, Dominic passed away in the early 1930's. The Depression took its toll and Terisina lost the building to foreclosure. With two small children, she eventually moved with relatives near NYC where she met Gaetano Pallonari a shoe repairman (like Dominic) from California.
Gramma Terisina and Cousin Yvonne (Swain) Longo in front of the Italian American Grocery side of 538 West State - 1940's.
My "step grandfather" Gaetano Pallonari in front of the Shoe Repair side of the building at 538 West State.
Gaetano, Terisina, Rocco, and Joe came back to Ithaca where they repurchased the same building and started operations again! In the mid 1930's Gaetano and Terisina welcomed their third child; Aunt Mary Pollanari Bordoni. The building remained an Italian American Grocery until the 1970's when, after working as an accountant for Holly's department store (Second floor Bar now), my father went into business for himself and eventually occupied the entire 1st floor of the building.
Grampa Gaetano, Aunt Mary Bordoni, Uncle Joe, Rocco, Grama Terisina @ 538 West State 1940's.
My father Rocco and Guy Natali in front of my current office entrance 1940's.