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Pistoresi families gather for biennial reunion

Carlo Douderini/The Madera Tribune
Sam “The Godfather” Pistoresi, host of the biennial Pistoresi family reunion held Sunday at his Madera home, with his daughter, Patti Bowery, great-grandson Shone Lacey and a photo of himself taken after World War II.


Members of the Pistoresi families of Madera gathered Sunday for their biennial family reunion at the home of one of their senior family members, aka “The Godfather,” Sam Pistoresi.


“We have this reunion about the same time every two years,” he said, “and for some reason, we always have good weather. But we order it way ahead.”


Non-Italian guests were given Italian-sounding names to use for the day, after a vote by real Italians who were present.


The approximately 70 guests dined on hors d’oeuvres and traditional Italian main dishes.


They also played bocce ball on a court Pistoresi had ordered made for the event in the shade of trees behind his home.


Bocce ball is a bowling game in which players try to roll wooden balls as close to a pallino, or small white ball, as possible.


It involves much concentration and a bit of wine drinking to help the concentration along.


And, led by one of the families’ senior members, Monte Pistoresi, several joined hands and danced the Beer Barrel Polka to the accordion music of Ric Del Carlo.


One Italian, who wasn’t dancing but was tapping his foot, was asked why these Italians would dance so enthusiastically to a song written in 1927 by a Czech musician, Jaromir Vejvoda.


“Eh,” he said, sipping on his wine, “It’s one of those Italian things.”


The family members at the reunion are descendents of three brothers, Adolpho, Settino and Ottavio Pistoresi, who immigrated from LaVadia, near Lucca, in Italy, in the early 20th century. The three all settled in Madera County.