Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mummer Jimmy Passio's Final Parade

May happy days be ours in 2010.

Mummer Jimmy Passio's Final Parade

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In his prime, Jim Passio Sr., here with sister Antoinette, always marched the Mummers Parade. He taught his sons to do the same. His memory was honored with a parade on Tuesday. (Family photo)
In his prime, Jim Passio Sr., here with sister Antoinette, always marched the Mummers Parade. He taught his sons to do the same. His memory was honored with a parade on Tuesday. (Family photo)

While I was glad to have written this week about the passing of lifelong Mummer Jimmy Passio Sr., the 87-year-old patriarch of the Passio Fife and Drum Band who died on Dec. 23rd, I kept thinking, afterward, that the column was incomplete.

Sure, it shared the story of how, for years, Jimmy Sr. had told his family that, when he died, he'd like to go out with one last parade - a wish the family accommodated after his funeral on Tuesday.

(CBS-3 was there for the final strut, when cruel winds and Arctic temperatures were no match for the warmth and love that escorted Jimmy's ashes along the South Philly streets he'd loved and called home.)

But the column needed a soundtrack - something sweet and optimistic to balance the somber mood of the Passio family these days. Not only have they lost Jimmy Sr., but last month they also buried Jimmy's 82-year-old sister, Antoinette.

And this morning they will lay to rest his sister-in-law, Angelina Colma Norton, 87, who died just three days after Jimmy did.

In honor of all our wise, departed elders (including my friend Frances Gordon, whom I blogged about yesterday), let's give a listen here to one of Jimmy Sr.'s favorite songs, "Happy Days Are Here Again" (sung in fabulous duet with "Get Happy").  In the new year, may we all know know well its most hopeful line:

"Your cares and troubles are gone; There'll be no more from now on."

 Be well, everyone. Happy days in 2010 to us all.

Daily News Columnist
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When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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