Verona resident Irene Bilotti (above, center) has been named a winner of the Annual Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest. She was among nine county residents honored at a county luncheon on May 25.
The Legacies Writing Contest encourages Essex senior citizens to write essays about the people and events that have influenced their lives. Bilotti wrote “My Husband, the Unspoiled Brat,” about her husband of 52 years, Pat. As their family was growing, he changed diapers, taught religious classes and organized Cub Scout activities. When their children were grown and he had grandchildren, he took them for outings in Verona Park and, even today, continues to drive his grandson Todd to Verona High School. When his older brother and sister needed care, he took attended to their finances, did grocery shopping and helped wherever he could. And when his wife wants peace and quiet to do her daily crossword puzzle, he leaves her alone. “I love him, congratulate him and respect him for all he has achieved and given to others, and can safely and convincingly say that he is definitely an Unspoiled Brat,” she writes.
“Our Senior Citizen Legacies Writing Contest is a unique way for our older population to share their life’s stories and describe the people and events that helped to shape their lives,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said. “Our seniors’ stories make you laugh and they touch your heart. They provide us with a different perspective on historical events and what our society was like,” he added.
The contest’s Director’s Award was presented to Nutley resident Eleanor Slomkowski for “Instant Messages (IMS) to Heaven.” Other winning stories were “The Ragman” by East Orange resident Carol T. Jenkins, “The Night Muhammad Ali Taught Me How to Become a Champion in Life” by Bloomfield resident Alfred Sonny Piccoli and “My Immigration Experience” by Montclair resident Amelia Teo. Honorable mention stories were “Thoughts of Mama” by Newark resident Mary Azagra, “My Aunt Rose” by Short Hills resident Nancy Feigel, “Helping Hands” by Belleville resident Kathryn D. Mackie and “Younger than Springtime Older than Dirt” by Montclair resident Robin Ehrlichman-Woods.
The Essex County Division of Senior Services offers a wide range of services to eligible Essex County senior citizens. The Division offers adult protective services, provides basic transportation services, administers adult day care centers, offers counseling services for caregivers, provides home delivered meals and offers visiting nurse services. For more information, please call 973-395-8375.