[Eric Ginnard - email@example.com]
The family ate spaghetti four times a week (“Ever have a spaghetti sandwich?” Bill said) and they ate whatever Arnie brought home from hunting and fishing.
“Catch and release” was not part of Arnie’s vocabulary, George said, and if you stumbled upon some wild watercress or a turtle, it’d better come home with you.
“Everything went into the spaghetti sauce,” Bill said.
George said Mary cooked her spaghetti sauce for six to eight hours before serving.
“Whatever meat she used was so tender it melted in your mouth,” George said.
Just under five feet tall, Mary learned “to stand up to everyone,” Bill said. The kids picked tomatoes for Mary’s spaghetti sauce and knew how to haggle the price of a bushel to those who owned the fields, he added.
Mary bought the ends of salami at the grocery store and then peeled the skin and ground it for lunch meat; she bought day-old bread, Bill said.
She bought cheese at Mancuso Cheese Company in Joliet’s and took her kids for tours, George said.
Instead of taking the car to the grocery store, the kids often walked the eight to 10 blocks to procure the items so they could exercise, George added.
We all ate,” Bill said. “No one starved.”
Arnie ensured the kids understood the value of hard work and giving back by volunteering their manual labor for loved ones and neighbors.
Bill recalled digging up the frozen earth in a basement because a friend needed to install an elevator in the house for his disabled son.
“It was like chipping concrete with a pick ax,” Bill said. “When one guy got tired, another brother picked up the ax and kept gong. We [also] did a lot of roofs for people.”
George said that, in the winter, he and his siblings could take their shovels and make money shoveling walkways only after they’d taken care of their driveways and the driveways of their neighbors.
“Whatever we made, Mom got half,” Bill said.
What was Arnie like as a father?
“Dad was stubborn and immature at times,” Bill said. “He had so many kids, sometimes he acted like a kid. But he was very sharp and intelligent – German…He taught us life was hard and to get used to it. And he taught us independence, which was really nice because all y siblings are doing well.”
One child became a senior aviator engineer for an airline company and helped to fly his parents first class to various destinations.
“One year, he took the folks to China,” George said.
Another child worked for a hotel and helped reserve great accommodations during their travels, George added.
“One time Bill and me sold so much paint, we won a free trip to Hawaii,” George said. “None of us could utilize it, so we just sent Mom and Dad. They were treated like kings, they really were.”
• To feature someone in “An Extraordinary Life,” contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.