Three generation’s before Dr. Tom Catena began his Nobel-prize-worthy work in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, a shoemaker left his wife and family in Lavonia, Italy and came to Amsterdam to set up his shoe shop. Not long after that, two brothers from Italy opened a bakery on Amsterdam’s Main Street. The shoemaker’s name was Aulisi and the baking brothers were Catena’s.
These guys worked day and night to get their small businesses established and to feed their growing families. Though they made sure their children worked alongside them from early ages, they in fact had higher aspirations for them. That shoe shop and bakery were the most valuable classrooms these young Aulisi’s and Catena’s would ever attend. Like so many sons and daughters of Amsterdam’s early Twentieth Century immigrants, they learned the value of hard work. They learned to be happy with what they had and to be grateful for it as well. They learned how to treat others with respect and kindness.
The two families merged in 1954, when Nancy Ann Aulisi, who had been the 1949 Amsterdam High School Salutatorian, married Gene Louis Catena, a young ex Marine and Albany Law student. Today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant was their second child and is the older brother of the good Doctor in Sudan.
Felix J. Catena is currently the…
I’ve already started work on the second volume of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays” and Judge Catena’s complete story will be featured in it. I will be sharing the complete posts of some of the Volume II birthday celebrants in future issues of the Amsterdam Birthday Blog Newsletter. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up for free here.
The Judge shares his March 3rd birthday with this modern day Amsterdam Troubadour!