Mi Familia-The DeNoi’s of Sharpsville, PA
Well it was time to leave Mummee Bay State Park in Ohio and head out to see the world! As usual we chose an early morning start as everything looks better as the morning sun brings everything to life, the roads are less traveled and the drive is cooler as we enjoy the few remaining days of summer as we venture further into the Northeast and the onset of Fall.
On this leg of our journey we pulled ourselves away from the beautiful Great Lakes Great Circle Route and chose more direct inland country roads, as Dennis was excited to see his family in Sharpsville, PA, which includes two half sisters, a half brother, his beloved Aunt Dolly and others. The drive was relaxing and uneventful, which is always a good thing when traveling in an RV. We enjoyed several small towns that no one has ever heard of, made a few rest stops for the boys (Tiki, Rascal and Dennis) and arrived at our destination early enough to set up camp and accept a dinner invitation from Carole, Dennis’ half sister and her husband, Pete. In our honor we had a great camper style hot dog cookout over an open fire pit in the sprawling back yard of their lakefront home.
For our weeklong visit we decided to say at the same campground as we did 4 years earlier, The Shenango Valley RV Resort. It is a one of kind, family run & operated and also is rated triple 10’s from Good Sam. It has more character and amenities and it definitely makes our top 5 RV parks in the country. While staying there our friend, John Brammer, who used to own 2 Sceptres, drove down from Canada for a short visit and to drop off some parts he had saved for us.
The next day we headed over to see Aunt Dolly, something we would do each day for the rest of our stay. Aunt Dolly is Dennis’ father’s brother’s widow and she still lives in the 1910 home that Dennis’ father was born in 1922. Dolly and her home have been the center of DeNoi family gatherings as far back as everyone can remember.
That night we joined Carole and Pete at the VFW post for a Friday night fish fry prior to heading out to cruise-in car show for a relaxing evening of classic cars and more family fun, as Dennis’ half brother Moe and his wife Karen were showing two of their several hot rods and classic car collection. Moe drove his red and white 1955 T-bird and Karen was sporting her bright yellow 2012 Corvette. Dennis and Moe talked cars, military (Moe retired from the Air Force with 30 years as a Chief Master Sergeant E-9) and exchanged family stories and other general BS.
The following night we enjoyed a small family reunion of all for DeNoi siblings back at Carole and Pete’s house, this time it was a more formal gathering with more home cooked food than we have seen in a long time. The leftovers from this meal fed us for many a day to follow!
The following night the reunion was moved to Moe and Karen’s beautiful home a few miles away. I think you will see a pattern developing, more outstanding home cooking, conversation and a quiet evening around a backyard campfire. Dennis really enjoyed spending quality time with his loved ones and getting to know them better as Dennis did not grow up around his half siblings and only met them for the first time on that trip four years ago.
Aunt Dolly made us one of her famous Italian meals, loose meat spaghetti, YUM! We enjoyed another evening of conversation and also a bottle of home made wine. Afterwards we were able to attend another cruise-in with Karen and Moe at a local Dairy Queen and saw some really cool cars and meet some more fantastic people.
On our final day we took a day trip to Akron, Ohio to meet up with another Marine that served with Dennis on the USS Independence during the first Persian Gulf War. We met up with J.D. Willis at a local pub where we enjoyed lunch and spent a lot of time catching up with our respective lives. J.D. was instrumental in keeping the maintenance of the Marine Detachment in top-notch form. We drove back to the Sharpsville area where Dennis’ sister, Carole and her husband Pete, again served up a wonderful home cooked meal. Unfortunately, it was time to say our good byes and head to our next destination…..we can’t wait to get back to Pennsylvania and visit in the very near future.