The Kirks Star in “Life Trek”
by Cate Murway
“Sometimes a feeling is all we humans have to go on.” ‘Star Trek’ Space Philosopher Captain Kirk
Happy diamond wedding anniversary......
April 29th was a very, very special occasion for the Kirk family!
Congratulations to Francis Thomas “Pat” and Rose Marie [Marino] Kirk who celebrated their Diamond 60th wedding anniversary!
They were married by the Reverend Father Peter Pinci, O.S.S.T., pastor of Saint Ann Church in Bristol, PA on April 29, 1956. Their rings were purchased at Mignoni’s Jewelry and Gift Shop.
“They are a true example of all that a marriage is ‘for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health’. We are all so blessed and fortunate to have the gift of these two very special people in our lives and to have this wonderful milestone. They have always been very good to us. They always have been there for us and our children,” daughter, Karen Jesionowski shared.
Pat Kirk believes that his parents, Francis Charles, Jr. a foreman at the textile mill of E.W. Twitchell, Inc. in Philadelphia, and Bristol born, Margaret Bernadette [Hoffman] Kirk most likely met at a dance. He is an only child while Rose is the youngest of seven.
Her mother, Rose [Cuccarese] was also born in Bristol and her father, Italian born James Marino, who came to the USA in 1917, worked for "Pennsy," the PRR, maintaining and repairing damaged rail ties. Rose lost her dad following a heart attack in 1936 when was she was only two years.
Her siblings were the late Frank [owned Frank’s Shop n’Bag]; Nicholas [owned Farragut Travel Agency]; Carolyn Elizabeth Mignoni [owned and operated Mignoni Jewelry and Gifts for 60 years] and Marie Ungarini [owned and operated Marino's Maple House in Seaside Heights, N.J., for almost 35 years], and Anthony, the former Bristol Lions President. Her sister, Betty O’Brien still resides on Dorrance Street and conscientiously works the Borough voting polls.
Pat grew up on Buckley Street and the Marino family resided on Dorrance Street.
Times were tough and families were tight.
“Hang on tight and survive. Everybody does.” ‘Star Trek’ Captain Kirk
Pat remembers food rationing and using a government issued food stamp book during the war.
Rose shared, “A. Lanza & Sons Bakery was very good to us.” She recalls the phone company being located on Mill Street. “I remembered I walked there to pay our phone bill to Mrs. Pope.”
Pat piped in, “The Atlantic Ice Manufacturing Company was down the street from us [on New Buckley]. I would walk down and bring the ice back on a wagon.” Rose interjected, “You could buy a dime’s worth, or a quarter.”
Elwood R. and Margaret Dyer’s Dairy and Bond Bread delivered fresh products to their homes. “Joe Schwartz delivered vegetables and the fish man sold us fish and we had knife sharpener people. We even had a bleach lady who would bring the bleach to our house.”
As a youth, Pat participated in many street sports like football and basketball. “Guys just got together and played baseball and most of our games were in Memorial field. The big thing was watching boxing at St. Ann’s Athletic Club.”
He camped near Neshaminy Creek with the Boy Scouts and played the accordion. “I belonged to the Lower Bucks County String Band. My father bought me an accordion for a Christmas present.”
They recalled seeing Senator Joseph R. Grundy when he made his visits to the St. Mark School.
“He would wave to us!”
At one time, Rose prepared meals for Mrs. Spring whose husband was Louis Spring, Senator Grundy’s “first mate, his right hand man.”
The home Rose was raised in was formerly the home of Senator Grundy’s cousin, and Pat’s grandfather, Francis C. Kirk, Sr. was the night watchman at the Grundy Mill.
Pat and Rose met at the old Bristol Theatre. The start of their courtship began when they were 16 and 17 years old. “We met each other at the movies. We used to go there on Saturdays to see the serials” and a mutual friend, Joseph Licari introduced them.
Notoriously, “the Irish and the Italians were not real friendly at that time” but fortunately for them, their families were ok with it.
After graduating, they kept their dating literally ‘on track’. At one time, they traveled by train together so often, the conductor would tell Pat what car Rose was riding in, if it were she who had boarded first.
Pat graduated from Northeast Catholic HS in 1953 and continued his education at Trenton Technical School for mechanical drafting. He found that the pay would not support a family so he secured employment at Paterson Parchment Paper Company, once the nation's largest single manufacturing plant devoted exclusively to producing vegetable parchment paper, from 1953-1975.
“It was a good job. I liked it.”
He then delivered health and beauty aids to Rite Aid for Comet Sales before he assumed the maintenance/custodial job at St. Ann School until its closure in 2009.
His late brother-in-law Anthony suggested that he assume the Grundy Library crossing guard position.
“I’m there from 2:30-5:30pm, for the school kids mainly.”
Rose had furthered her education at the Marinello Beauty School before finding work in Joan’s [Rago] Shop until Joan closed her store. She continued to make everyone look her best in Pomeroy’s Beauty Salon for several years before her own ‘Rose Kirk Beauty Salon’ took up a front room in their home.
The couple quickly became a family and they had purchased their own home on Dorrance Street in 1961.Their twins, Patrick Aloysius and Richard Vincent were a surprise, followed by James Francis. Their sons all graduated from Marist Prep High School, the twins in 1975 and Jim in 1977. Their daughters, Rose Margaret Dunnegan [named for her grandmother], is a Villa Joseph Marie ‘88 graduate and Karen Ann Jesionowski graduated from VJM in 1991.
Rose had retired from hairdressing to dedicate herself to her family.
When the children were grown, Rose began working again, in the Bensalem area in the Head Start childcare programs for two years before she began teaching at the Harriman Methodist Christian Day School.
Has your home town changed?
“Mill Street used to be like Philadelphia. We had a 5&10, Edward’s Shop, Moffo’s Shoe Store across from Ballow’s, an A&P; everything was within walking distance. We didn’t even need a car.”
Pat’s first vehicle was the one he bought from his Aunt Ethel for $50.00, a black 1941 Plymouth 3-seater coupe. “They don’t make them anymore. Sometimes you can see them in a car show.”
Their first new car purchase was a dark green 1992 Buick Century.
“We chose it together. We do everything together. We still do.”
Pat added, “The town has become more modern; a lot of changes. Mrs. Wilkinson, the librarian, was real strict when the library was where the parking lot is now. The old library was dark and musty.”
“I read the books about the Saints,” Rose shared.
“I read comic books”, Pat said. He enjoys James Brendan Patterson’s thrilling novels now, the author who holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers.
Tony Bennett’s “Because of You” was their wedding song and is still their favorite.
“Because of you, there’s a song in my heart. Because of you, my romance had its start…”
Memories…. pressed between the pages ….
Most memorable was “having our children”, they said in unison.
“We lived a good life. We’re still living a good life.”
“Love sometimes expresses itself in sacrifice.” ‘Star Trek’ Captain Kirk
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