Editor’s Note: As Mother’s Day approaches, we love sharing stories about wonderful mothers. This is a condensed version of a story we wrote about a special lady. Her children provided all the wonderful details and have given us permission to publish her story.’
On May 4, 1928, Grace (nee Bonome) and Gus Carlino welcomed their third daughter into the world and named her Frances, ultimately nicknamed Faye. The Carlinos lived in Brooklyn and divorced when Faye was just four years old.
As a single mother, Grace Carlino worked hard to make ends meet. She found a job as a telephone operator, likely because of her pleasant demeanor and refined voice. In 1932, Grace married Victor Troiano, a widower and freight elevator operator, who had five children of his own.
The Carlinos and the Troianos became the original “Brady Bunch” as the family extended to eight children. Victor’s sisters helped out with some of the children, but they all banded together. When Faye was ten years old, Grace and Victor enjoyed the birth of their only biological child. Faye became enamored with Theresa, her new baby sister. Today, the two are as close as ever.
Faye attended Ten Eyck High School in Brooklyn but left a year before graduation to become a seamstress. Undoubtedly, it was Faye’s love for clothes that led her to a path of sewing and designing her own wardrobe. She continued to work in the field until retirement.
Love, Marriage and Family Life
Faye met her husband John when she was out on a blind date with her sister, Dottie. She and Dottie were just two years apart and did many things together. John Arizzi had just returned from the service. Unfortunately, neither Faye nor Dottie initially liked their dates.
During their first meeting, John admitted to Faye that he intended to marry her. He most likely charmed her with his engaging blue eyes. Seemingly, John made himself irresistible. On August 31, 1947, John and Frances Arizzi joined hands as husband and wife at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn.
John and Faye stayed close to Faye’s parents and helped prepare family meals. Faye learned how to cook Italian food from John’s mother, an Italian immigrant. People still rave about her special lasagna.
On December 15, 1948, the couple gave birth to their first child, affectionately known as Johnny Boy. A few later, Faye was extremely proud to present Johnny Boy with a sister. Debra came into the world on April 20, 1952. A few years later, the Arizzis joined with the Troianos to buy a new home in the Ozone Park section of Queens.
Faye continued her work as a seamstress in different shops in the neighborhood. She retained a close relationship with her siblings. At one point, Faye took up writing poetry. Weight Watchers invited her to become a motivational speaker after she exhibited wonderful success. Faye also traveled the United States and Europe.
In 1968, Johnny Boy’s draft number was picked, and he was sent to Viet Nam. Around the same time, Debra married and left the house. It would be the last time the Arizzis would live together …until now.
The Family Expands
A great deal has happened since the days the family stopped living together. Debra and her husband Bob Parolisi started the next generation of the Arizzi bloodline. Faye’s grandson, Robert Anthony, was born on June 25, 1971. Robert married Christina Finizia, and they became the proud parents of Kristin Ann, born on December 1, 1989, and Brandon Jacob, born May 27, 1994. On March 3, 2018, Kristin married Anthony Cetrangelo.
Meanwhile, Johnny Boy found love in Connecticut and married the beautiful Joanne DiGiorgio They became the proud parents of John Joseph, born January 10, 1979, and Deanna Marie born September 6, 1983.
Years later, the Arizzi family expanded to yet another generation as Faye and John welcomed greatgrandchildren. The first came after Debra’s son Robert married Christina Finizia and they became the proud parents of Kristin Ann, born on December 1, 1989, and Brandon Jacob, born May 27, 1994. On March 3, 2018, Kristin married Anthony Cetrangelo.
Next, John Joseph married Melissa (Missy) Coccaro. They have two children, Joseph born October 12, 2005 and Emily born September 8, 2009. Deanna married Joshua Ballard and had two sons, Tyler born March 23, 2013, and Brayden, born on his mother’s birthday, September 6, 2016.
Faye’s husband John died in 2006. It was a devastating loss of the man she loved so much –who had once pursued her.
Faye Arizzi – Today
It’s been several decades since the original Arizzi clan lived near one another. In some ways, it’s a return to the beginning. Faye and her two children all have homes within the same Jersey shore community. Family still proves to be everything.
The move from New York was a big one for Faye. For a while, she limited her interactions to visits with John and Debra. However, Faye considers herself lucky. Faye’s companion Walter Chasmar lives nearby and does all he can to add to her happiness.
From humble beginnings to now, Faye Arizzi has learned much in her ninety years of living. She’s already prepared for her next milestone birthday and greetings from the President!