by Barbara Guarino Kruk
Those of you who hail from Italian descent know how much coffee means to us. Not just any cup of ‘Joe’ but the deep, rich, aromatic, put hair on your chest kind. In Italy, the coffee of choice is espresso.
As explained by Google: Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is generally thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids.
However, if you ask an Italian, espresso is the elixir of choice. No weak blended coffee ‘Americana’. For a true devotee of the beverage, the purity and strength of the drink is essential. Just as Starbucks , their coffee success story is steeped (no pun intended) in the espresso brew.
Life, like a truly great cup of coffee, regardless of your preference, takes time, richness of ingredients and love. Pietro Albano, having lived eighty years, was wise enough to know how important a good cup of coffee really is. He was a man who drank a dozen or more cups her day.
On January 25th, Pietro Albano, left this earth the same way he arrived, in the care and company of his loving family. “I never thought, [after seeing so many dramatic deaths on television] that death could be so calm and peaceful. My father died beautifully and serene.” These words were echoed by all his children and his wife Maria.
Pietro, after retirement from the Longshoreman’s Union, opened “Café Alba” in Shirley, not to make money, which was just an afterthought, but to create a type of social club for people with like interests. His son Jerry said, “I think it actually cost him money out of his pocket to keep that place going. He gave away more than he made.” The storefront coffee shop was a place where you could not only get a great cup of espresso, but on any given day, join an ongoing card game. You ask the question, “Why not just have a few friends over for espresso and cards?” Pietro always wanted to bring people together; a few laughs, a common cheer for the Italian Soccer team, a round of cards, for just a place to share memories and news from the old country.
Generosity was his greatest asset. He had a deep- rooted love for people. If someone was visiting from out of town, he would insist they cancel their hotel reservation and come to his home to stay. There, at the cost of his time, money and labor, Pietro and Maria, his wife of forty-nine years, would host as many as could fit in their large, lovely home. Both Pietro and Maria, and by extension their children, were gracious and loving hosts. Great cooking, plenty of food and wine, are the essential ingredients of being outstanding hosts.
Some of the family’s greatest memories were summers spent in the land of their ancestors, Sicily. Like so many other cultures and nationalities, unless you come from that region of the world there are certain nuances that are personal only to them. Maria smiled through her tears, “Every summer, no matter what else was going on, Pietro would beg, borrow, and steal just so that we could journey to our homeland and show our American children how we were brought up in Italy.” Pietro was a man who loved his family more than himself.
Time, the best beans money can buy, and love make for a great cup of espresso. Pietro Albano’s life was like a great cup of espresso; rich, flavorful and robust. He took chances, loved his family and rejoiced in his heritage while loving his adopted America.
Pietro Albano, age 80, of Shirley, died peacefully, after a long battle with his illness, in the loving care of his family at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on January 25, 2017. Pietro was born in Sicily, Italy and was a member of the Longshoreman’s Union in Brooklyn. After leaving Brooklyn he settled his family in Shirley and opened Café Alba, a local gathering spot in the Surrey Circle shopping plaza. He was a diehard Italian soccer fan, drank espresso all day long, was a good cook and great pizza maker. He loved gambling, playing card games and going to casinos, especially Atlantic City. He loved people and was the quintessential host. generous to a fault with a big loving heart. He loved being with his family, and his adoring grandchildren. He was the beloved husband of Maria for the past forty-nine years. He was the devoted father of Anthony (Kristina), Jerry and Mary Grace (Joseph) Brandi and beloved grandfather of Gabriella, Marisa, Alessandra, Olivia, Peter, Joseph and Giuliana. He was a cherished brother to Vincenzo, Ida, and Adelina. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley where wake prayers were conducted by Fr. John Ryan of St. Jude’s RC Church and a Mass was offered on Monday at 10:00 am. Entombment took place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Coram.
Eleanor Barile, 85 years old of Shirley, died at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on January 25, 2017. Eleanor was born in Queens and was retired as a secretary for the William Floyd School District. She enjoyed doing crossword puzzles as well as jig-saw puzzles, knitting; she was an animal lover and enjoyed listening to doo wop music. She was a great cook and baker. Eleanor was married to Rocco John Barile who died in 1998. She is survived by her three loving sons, Barry (Jean), Garry, Steven (Lisette) and was the beloved grandmother to Eric, Vanessa, Steven, Brandan, Mary Ann and great-grandmother to Mason and Charlie. Family and friends were welcomed at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley. Services were conducted by the Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. Interment took place at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches.
Janet (Chillingworth) Brandimarte, age 77, formerly of Bayside, Queens and a resident of Riverhead for 16 years, died on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at Mather Hospital after a lengthy illness. Born in Bronx, Janet was employed at the New York Botanical Garden, the Department of Environmental Protection in NYC, and the family plumbing and heating business. “Red” enjoyed being with her grandchildren, cooking for her family, shopping for bargains, and watching crime dramas. Her husband Joe predeceased her as did her sisters Anne and Linda. She is survived by her sons Joseph (Julia) and Frank; grandchildren Tyler, Tanner, Chelsea, and Emilia; siblings Joan, Frances (Hal), and Buddy (Helen) and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Outreach, 89 Overlook Drive, Mastic Beach, New York 11951 or to Meals on Wheels of Suffolk County. Roma Funeral Home, Shirley, New York, has been entrusted with arrangements.