Dance with Me
by Cate Murway
Dominic [Latin meaning 'of the Lord'] Anthony Marino, “Brownie”, Sr. shares his birthday with both Jerry Lee Lewis, an American original, one of the true fathers of Rock & Roll, and [Orvon] Gene Autry, who was best known as the "Singing Cowboy", but it’s “jitterbug” music that “fills his soul”! Brownie has always been the reigning jitterbug king, the jazz variation of the two-step in which couples swing, balance, and twirl in standardized patterns and often with vigorous acrobatics; the umbrella term for what we call "Swing dancing" today. Brownie met his life partner, Yolanda [Zefferi], BHS ’41, in a St. Ann’s Club dance in 1940 when he was just 20 years old. “They Jitterbugged all night long”.
“We danced together for a long, long time. My wife was real good. I taught her!”
“Dance with me, I want to be your partner
Can't you see the music is just starting?”
Brownie Marino, the youngest of 5 children, grew up on Butler Street in Trenton's famed Chambersburg neighborhood also known as "The 'Burg". He completed the 9th grade in Trenton Junior #4 and immediately began working in the shipping department of the E. I. Horsman Doll Company to assist his mother, Jennie [Charillo] with finances, since he lost his father, Guy Marino when he was just 12 years old. His dad had been employed at the John Augustus Roebling factory on South Broad Street in Trenton, N.J., stranding and weaving wire, producing everything from chicken wire to enormous 36-inch (91-centimetre) cables. Both of his parents migrated from Naples and spoke napletan Italian, “No Roman or Sicily”; they never spoke a word of English. He learned the language from his sisters and brothers.
His widowed sister, Margaret Miller resides in Florida and his late siblings were Matthew Pulasti, Anna Marino and Mary Ivarone. Growing up during the depression, there was very little money and they learned to make do with what they had. Brownie comments that there were 9 people including a boarder in the 2 bedrooms. “Where did we all sleep?”
They were eligible for free toys from the Salvation Army at Christmas and Brownie vividly recalls that his favorite toy was a set of drums he received when he was about 9.
He played center field baseball and football in school and as a kid, he played hardball and pitched quoits, using real horseshoes “the ones you put on a horse; metal, steel”. Before equipment manufacturers got involved perhaps Shetland pony shoes had to compete against those of Clydesdales! Before he went in the army, he wore a black pin stripe zoot suit, a high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed pegged trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. He “wore it to every dance”! “I didn’t have a lot of clothes, but I had a lot of shoes, black for black pants, brown for brown pants and even tan for the tan pants.”
Staff sergeant Dominic Marino was drafted into the army when he was 21 and was sent for 16 weeks basic training to Camp Livingston, LA. Home to the 28th Infantry Division, it was first known as Camp Tioga and renamed Camp Livingston in honor of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase. It was designated as an infantry replacement training center, as well as a garrison and over 500,000 troops trained on the 47,000-acre base during the war.
Acres of beaches and woods along the shores of North Florida were converted to a base with the sole purpose of training amphibious soldiers and their support groups and his next assignment was in Camp Gordon Johnston. This FL facility trained over quarter million men for amphibious assaults during World War II, readying them to embark upon the Great Crusade.
Next stop was Camp Pickett located in Blackstone VA, about 30 miles west of Petersburg where there was enough land, water and other resources needed to establish a post large enough to simultaneously train more than one infantry division. This site of logistical efficiency also offered easy railroad access to both mountain and coastal training sites.
He left the U.S. for England and then Tenby, Wales, and most likely received one of history’s most discouraging pep talks, “Good bye and good luck.”
His responsibility was to create the correct setting of the elevation, traverse and charge to position guns and establish an outpost line of resistance to cover an entire mile or more radius area with 60-mm mortar and machine guns. The results of a single, well-executed barrage could be decisive, and equally appalling.
After the D-Day invasion, he ventured through France from 7.19.44 until 11.10.44 when he was seriously injured in action by a sniper shot in the shoulder that traversed straight through his back. Battle in the dense impenetrable conifer Hürtgen Forest, barely 50 square miles east of the Belgian–German border was so costly that it has been called an Allied "defeat of the first magnitude". He was transferred from the front lines to a school house in Belgium where he was operated on and remained in a hospital in Paris for 2 weeks. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
Mail has always been the best morale booster in the military but it certainly assuaged fear in the Marino household. He asked a G-I to send home a V-mail [victory mail]. “They felt better that I was just wounded and not dead!” when they received Brownie’s V-mail after he was injured. The letters to and from servicemen abroad were microfilmed on the sending end, transported on film by air to the destination, then re-enlarged and printed on the receiving end. [Two pounds of microfilm replaced 114 pounds of letters! Over a billion letters were sent via V-mail between 1942 and 1945.]
Dominic and Yolanda were married 4.27.45 in St. Ann Church and lived on Wood Street in the Zefferi home before moving to Winder Village. They moved back into the Borough, purchasing a home on Wood Street about 30 years ago.
“Starry eyes, and love is all around
I can take you where you want to go”
Brownie worked in the Fort Dix Army Camp carpentry shop for 26 years expertly woodworking for the GIs and their wives. He has designed handcrafted furniture in his small basement workshop for almost every family member. He also was an integral part of the construction crew for the Italian Mutual Aid-Fifth Ward Association building on Wood Street.
Yolanda was an inspector employee of the Almay Dress Factory in Croydon. From inspection of components to the final assembling, she assured that the finished products met even the highest quality requirements. They had three children, Bristol Borough resident, Dominic John Marino, [Brownie, Jr.] Delhaas ‘65 [Louise Conners]; Levittown resident, Maryann, Wilson H.S. ‘67 [named for her maternal grandmother, Anna Maria] Weston [husband, Joseph E.] and Jennett, BC ‘72 [named for her paternal grandmother, Jennie] Dorey and her husband, Dan, of Worcester, MA. “We all have rhythm because of our father” shares Jennett.
The Marinos always went dancing. They belonged to the Bordentown Elks and went dancing there. It was the Paso Doble Ballroom every Friday night for the foxtrot, jitterbug, Lindy Hop, and the Cha Cha, an offshoot of the Mambo.
“Night is falling, and I am calling
Dance with me”
He danced even through his service tenure. His favorite music is any music during the swing era, Big Bands and all the Sinatra songs, “You can dance to it. I don’t know the words. I didn’t think about words!”
Yolanda suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive and fatal brain disorder, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. His 86-year-old wife and dance partner passed away this August 15th with her loving and dedicated husband of 62 years by her side.
He cared for his wife at home for 10 years before her illness demanded residence at the Silver Lake Nursing Home. Dominic would still take her in his arms to dance or she would smile and watch as he danced with one of his daughters.
“Fantasy could never be so giving
I feel free, I hope that you are willing
Pick your feet up, and kick your feet up
Dance with me”
His son, Brownie, Jr. stated, “He’s a survivor through the depression; worked hard. Dad is still going strong.” Brownie helped his son and now helps his grandson, Anthony David in “Brownie’s Coffee Break” on Mill Street that they have owned for18 years.
Dominic’s nickname “Brownie” was his stage show name from his childhood performances in the Broad Theatre in Trenton. His friend, Louis Sylvester “Cesare” still lives in Trenton.
Brownie’s memories of his youth include non-homogenized cream-top whole milk delivered in a glass bottle so the cream floated to the top. “I would eat the cream right off the top. Just ate it that way!” The junk man would push a wagon through their town looking for old stoves and old pots and pans.
He liked the Peanut Chews brand candy originally developed for use by the U.S. military as a ration bar during World War II and Hershey's Kisses that were 4 for a penny at “little candy stores”.
His mother made porridge-like dough gnocchi and he pressed his finger on the lump pieces and turned them to help her. He loved the rice pies she made with eggs and milk and sugar for the holidays.
Their coal oven provided heat as well as cooked their food. Coal was delivered down the chute into a bin in the cellar. He and his brother brought in bricks from the street, wrapped them with cloth and placed them in the stove then used the hot bricks to warm their feet under the blankets in their beds.
His mom baked her own bread and he smilingly recalls dipping chunks of it in her homemade sauce.
His house was the meeting place for many of his relatives and he listened while they exchanged stories about where they came from in Italy.
Brownie’s first car was a 1930 black [what else?] “Model A” 4 door car that he purchased for $50.00. Gas was $.15 a gallon!
This confirmed Yankees fan now enjoys the stuffed flounder at the Golden Eagle Diner and the delicious meals his children and grandchildren so lovingly prepare for him. Family visits include the trip to Mazzanti’s Market for Mario’s original 2-foot Italian hoagie. His daughter, Jennett’s husband, Dan buys 2 hoagies and takes them back to MA!
He has always been the “character of our family” according to his daughter Maryann.
He entertains his 5 grandchildren and his 6 great grandchildren with his card tricks and Army stories. His family surrounds him with love.
“Night is falling, and I am calling
Dance with me……”
[italicized “Dance With Me” lyrics by Orleans]
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
American Heritage Dictionary
1.Moral or ethical strength. 2.A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
Yolanda (Zefferi) Marino of Bristol Borough passed away Friday, Aug. 15, 2008, at Silver Lake Center in Bristol Township, with her loving and dedicated husband by her side. She was 86.
Born and raised in Bristol Borough, she was a former employee of Almay Dress Factory in Croydon. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. Yolanda could always be counted on to make wise and loving decisions concerning her family, and she used her love of cooking to keep her family close.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, John, Alfred "Jupes", Armond "Punky", and her loving godchild, John Zefferi Jr. She will be greatly missed by her husband of 62 years, Dominic "Brownie" Marino; her son, Dominic Marino and Louise Conners of Bristol Borough; her daughters, Maryann Weston and her husband, Joseph, of Levittown, and Jennett Dorey and her husband, Dan, of Worcester, Mass.; her beloved grandchildren, Dominic and Anthony Marino, Kimberly Sica, Joseph Weston, and Rebecca Rafuse; and great-grandchildren, Albert, Anthony, Selina, Dominic, David and Daniel. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Florence Zefferi; and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to call from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St, Bristol Borough. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Ann Church, 357 Dorrance Street, Bristol, PA 19007. Interment will follow in St. Mark Cemetery.
The family requests memorial contributions be made to St. Ann Church at the above address. Galzerano Funeral Home,
August 18, 2008 12:00 AM
Born: February 21, 1947 / Died: April 02, 2015
Dominic J. Marino “Brownie” of Bristol, PA, passed away peacefully
on April 2, 2015 at Lower Bucks Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
He was 68. Born in Trenton, NJ, he was a life-time Bristol Borough resident.
He served in U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1969 and earned a FIRST Good Conduct Award and a National Defense Service Medal. He was a well-known Bristol Borough businessman on historic Mill Street for many years, and was a long-time member and president of the St. Ann Athletic Association.
He loved golfing, fishing, cruising, going to the beach, and living in Bristol Borough; but most of all he loved his family and friends. He was predeceased by his wife Sandra (nee: Link) Marino; and his mother Yolanda (nee: Maggi) Marino.
He will be missed by his father Dominic “Brownie” Marino; his 2 sons Dominic R. Marino, and Anthony Marino (Janet); his sisters Maryann Weston (Joseph), and Jennette Dorey (Daniel); and his grandson Anthony Jr. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews; and his loving partner and best friend Dru Lynn Haggart. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Monday, 6pm-8pm, and Tuesday, 8:30am-9:30am, at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA 19007. Funeral Mass will be celebrated 10am at St. Ann Church. Interment will follow in Bristol Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Galzerano Funeral Home.
Joseph E. Weston
( July 02, 1946 - April 27, 2016 )
Joseph E. Weston of Levittown, passed away on April 27, 2016 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital surrounded by his loving family. He was 69. Born in Philadelphia he was raised in Levittown where he currently resided. He served his country proudly in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Joe was dedicated to his family and most of all he enjoyed camping and traveling in his motor home with his family and friends. Being very patriotic he especially enjoyed his many trips to Washington, D.C.. Joe loved fishing, dancing to oldies and enjoying time with his family. He is preceded in death by his parents Elmer and Marie Weston, and his sister Barbra Iverson. Joe will be greatly missed by his loving wife Maryann of 47 years, his children Kimberly Weston Sica and Joseph E. Weston, Jr., and his three grandchildren, Albert, Dominic, and Salena, his loving father in law Dominic “Brownie” Marino and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Sunday evening, from 7 – 9 pm and again on Monday morning from 8:30 – 9:30 am at the Galzerano Funeral Home 430 Radcliffe St Bristol Pa 19007. Funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:00 am at St Ann Church 357 Dorrance St Bristol Pa 19007. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Park.
"In the early morning hours of Easter Sunday we lost the patriarch of our family. He was the best Grandpop and Pop Pop anyone could ask for. We will miss your smile and your laugh and endless commentaries while watching the Yankees, “those bums”. We will miss hearing your stories and you singing along to your favorite songs. Now you gone, but we know you are happy and healthy and with Grandmom, calling out “hey hon” when you saw her again. We will always love you Grandpop." Rebecca Rafuse
Dominic A Marino
September 29, 1919 - April 01, 2018
“Watch yourself!” … The line always heard when leaving his company. We are all so sad and can’t imagine a life without him. Still too soon.
Dominic A. Marino “Brownie” of Bristol, PA passed away early Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Aria Bucks Hospital surrounded by his loving family. He was 98. Born and raised in Trenton, NJ he moved to Bristol when he met the love of his life Yolanda. Brownie served in the United States Army during WWII, he received the Purple Heart for wounds received during action in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. He was employed as a Master Carpenter for Fort Dix Army Base.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife Yolanda of 62 years, his son Dominic J. Marino “Brownie JR”, and his many siblings. Brownie will be greatly missed by his children Maryann Weston, Jennett Dorey and her husband Daniel, his grandchildren Kimberly Sica, Dominic III and Anthony Marino, Joey Weston, Rebecca Rafus and his great grandchildren Albert, Anthony, Salena, Dominic, David and Danny and many nieces and nephews.
We know how truly blessed we all are to have had this amazing man as long as we did. He had an epic life, he experienced it all, never complained, devoted to his family, loved his wife Yolanda. Battled for his country, enjoyed dancing, music, working with his hands, eating good Italian food (Cesares stuffed shells), taking trips to the Jersey Shore, watching the Yankees, reading his papers and books every day, and hanging at the Amish market. You gave us everything, now your gone but we know you are happy with grandmom calling out ‘Hey hon”, when you saw her again.
Relatives and friends are invited to call Thursday evening, April 5, 2018 from 7 – 9 pm and Friday morning 8:30 – 9:30 am at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA 19007. Funeral Mass will be at 10 am at St Ann Church, 357 Dorrance Street, Bristol, PA 19007. Interment will be held at St Mark Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 75817, Topeka, KS 66675-8517.