Set of six sis­ters ‘cel­e­brates the 80s’

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - NEWS - By Gary Puleo [email protected]­tu­ry­ @ on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN >> “Cel­e­brat­ing

the 80s.”

That was the sim­ple mes­sage that was ic­ing on the cake for six sis­ters from Norristown and the bond they had shared for decades.

This par­tic­u­lar phase of the life­long bond be­gan when the youngest of the Mazzerle sis­ters, Mary Schey, who now lives in Mil­ford Square with her hus­band Jim, turned 80 on Dec. 25.

With the words “Happy birth­day, Mary,” the cake was a nod to Schey’s mile­stone, and the re­main­ing tid­ings, “Cel­e­brat­ing the 80s” touted the fact that the six sis­ters were now en­joy­ing their 80s to­gether.

The party was held at the Col­legeville home of Steve and Diane Manis­calco, who is the daugh­ter of the old­est sis­ter, Cather­ine Ia­cov­etti.

“I thought we should cel­e­brate that all the sis­ters are now in their 80s and in good health and so beau­ti­ful,” said Diane Manis­calco, who or­ga­nized the unique event that brought one of the sis­ters, Eleanor Sam­son, up to Col­legeville from her home in Fort Laud­erdale.

For sis­ters Made­line Pi­card, who lives with her hus­band Car­men in Pottstown; Louise Ry­ch­lak of East Nor­ri­ton and Anna Mae Avery and her hus­band Cliff Miller of Dou­glasville, the trav­el­ing dis­tance was less of an is­sue.

The sis­ters’ younger brother, Lewis Mazzerle and his wife Yolonda, who live in Boy­er­town, couldn’t make it to the party, said Cather­ine Ia­cov­etti.

“I don’t think he ever felt left out, be­ing the only boy grow­ing up with six girls. My son John (now 53) is the only boy with seven girls and I don’t think he ever felt left out ei­ther. My son was very pam­pered,” she added with a laugh.

Al­though the Mazzerle fam­ily had moved a few times, from a farm in King of Prus­sia to Cherry Street in Norristown, and then Mo­gee­town, Ia­cov­etti has fond mem­o­ries of all those lo­ca­tions, she said.

“I worked on our farm in Up­per Me­rion, where we had cows, pigs and horses. I tell my great grand­chil­dren that we used to take a wagon to the park off Gulph Road to gather garbage for the pigs, and they go, ‘what!’ Things were a lot dif­fer­ent then.”

In 1942 Ia­cov­etti moved to Mo­gee­town, where she lived for 10 years un­til she got mar­ried.

“As soon as I was 16 I started work­ing in the wool mill, En­er­getic Worsted Mill, in Bridge­port,” re­called Ia­cov­etti, who at­tended Ste­wart Ju­nior High and Norristown High. “I re­mem­ber when Pres­i­dent Tru­man was trav­el­ing through town and his train stopped in Bridge­port. We gave him a bolt of cloth from the mill.”

Walk­ing was the usual mode of trans­porta­tion, but once a shiny new bi­cy­cle caught her eye at Block’s depart­ment store on Main Street, she shifted her pri­or­i­ties a bit, Ia­cov­etti noted.

“When I started work­ing I bought a bi­cy­cle at Blocks and paid a dol­lar a week on the bike un­til it was paid off,” she said. “Shop­ping down­town Norristown was such a big thing back then … Wool­worth’s, Grant’s, so many won­der­ful stores on Main Street. Those were re­ally good times.”

In the years since she left the wool mill, Ia­cov­etti de­liv­ered flow­ers for Moles Flower & Gift Shop, drove a school bus for the Norristown Area School dis­trict and ran a drap­ery busi­ness with daugh­ter Regina.

After rais­ing her fam­ily in Lower Prov­i­dence, she now lives in a condo in Roy­ers­ford with her hus­band of 66 years, John, and still feels close to her sis­ters, she said.

“Since I was the old­est I al­ways had the most clothes, so my sis­ters al­ways bor­rowed them,” she said, laugh­ing. “We had our dis­agree­ments, but they never lasted long.”

Ia­cov­etti, who has 27 grand­chil­dren and 21 great grand­chil­dren, is ac­tive, still drives and has no qualms about end­ing the sis­terly 80s cel­e­bra­tion bond when she turns 90 in May.

“I’m sure my sis­ters and I will still get to­gether and have our good times to­gether like al­ways,” she said.


Gath­ered for a re­cent cel­e­bra­tion of age are the Mazzerle sis­ters, from left, Mary Schey; Anna Mae Avery; Eleanor Sam­son; Louise Ry­ch­lak; Made­line Pi­card and Cather­ine Ia­cov­etti.

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