Community Movie Night
National Congress of Italian-Canadians (National Capital District)
FRIENDSHIP IN THE VILLAGE
The Village has always been a great place for families and friendships.
This is the story of a friendship that lasted from childhood to the grave and would be appreciated by those who grew up in the Village.
Joe Menchini was born in 1912 on Rochester Street and Sam Pantalone was born in 1916 on Pamila Street. Both men were sons of original Villagers and lost a parent while they were very young. Joe lost his father to WWI and Sam lost his mother to illness.
During their early years they attended Dante Academy and played many sports; but boxing and wrestling was their preference. Joe won the city championship in boxing and Sam won it in wrestling. Long before the Ottawa Marathon, they ran in long distance races.
During the depression, they both worked cleaning out the horse stalls, picking produce on the farms and working by pick and shovel on the roads in Ottawa. Later they worked at the Chateau Laurier as cooks for over 35 years and at Jasper Park Lodge in the summer.
When WWII broke out, they both joined the Governor General Foot Guards and served from 1940 to 1946. This infantry battalion was involved in liberating Normandy, Belgium and Holland and was involved in many bloody battles (Falaise, Bulge) on their way to Germany.
When Joe died at the Veteran's Home, an old war buddy came in and asked to say a prayer. After the prayer he stated Joe and Sam put on a wrestling show while crossing the English Channel during the invasion of Normandy to take the troops minds off the impending battle. Buddy said, "we all thought they were killing each other and then Joe and Sam got up shaking hands and laughing"! He also said that Joe and Sam always made sure the boys got a good hot meal; even in the trenches while the fighting was going on.
After the war, Joe and Sam returned to the Chateau Laurier as cooks in 1946 and joined the Ottawa Rough Rider Football Club to feed the ball players. At that time the kitchen was in the stables at Lansdowne Park (behind the scoreboard). They remained at the club for almost 40 years (longer than any owner, manager, coach, player, or staff).
In 1949 Joe married an Italian girl from Italy (Joe spoke no Italian and she spoke no English). Sam married her sister, and the sons remain close friends to this day. They stayed in the Village.
All through the years these two guys helped each other out and their families. They both operated with the values and ethics that the Village taught them. Work hard, have a good time and know the meaning of true friendship.
Sam took ill and passed on November 17, 1998; when Joe was informed, he stated "not Sam, I have no friends left". Joe passed on 2 months later on January 19,1999.
Ya gotta know that they are having a good time in the Village in the sky!
Ron Menchini and Cliff Pantalone