They still live in the first house they bought even before they were married. Many people warned Joan that this house maybe a mistake as it was a duplex, not attached but right next to Jim’s parents. The warning about moving next to her in-laws — she had no problem with it. She always felt that the situation was a plus for her children. At times there was a worn path between the two back doors.

Jim and Joan have four children, three boys, one girl and tons of grandkids. They are a large close family with everyone living nearby. After Jim’s sister’s Liz (Betty) death — Jim and Joan opened their arms to enfold her three daughters and their children as part of their immediate tribe of kids.

Growing up Jim attended Catholic school, St. Ann’s, then to Roman in Philadelphia, graduating from St. Pius in 1958. He went to work and retired from AT&T in 1999. He keeps very busy; one of his favorite jobs is hanging out with his grandchildren.

One of the jobs Jim had while he was going to school was what he called a soda clerk at the Gateway. At that time the Gateway boast a large soda fountain with a counter, a jukebox and dance floor. Not mincing words what it came down to was he was a soda jerk.

Joan has been a nurse all of her working life, she has retired so she and Jim could spend more time together. Whenever I have mentioned that she is my cousin, the reply is always how good and how she cares about her patients and being a nurse.

Joan and her brother Bob grew up in St. Clair. Joan went to school there until she went to nursing school at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading.

Jim is one of the funniest people I am related too, if not the funniest. He tells wonderful stories and relates tales of his growing up in Phoenixville.

He remembers so many more things about our family, even more than I recall. Of course, he is a little older than me by about two years. His mother Mary and my father were siblings born in western Pennsylvania. After their mother remarried, they grew up on Mill Street in Phoenixville — 31 Mill Street to be exact.

The recipe Joan gave to me is good all the time, but especially good during Lent. Her mother Mary Pomian made this every Friday for dinner during Lent and during the year. It can be a main or side dish.


¾ box (1 lb.) elbow macaroni

½ to1 pound sliced American cheese

2 cans tomato soups

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

5 tablespoons of butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups milk

Cook elbow macaroni until tender (about 20 minutes) and drain. Combine soups and milk in saucepan with whisk until smooth heat warm. Melt butter and sauté onions in frying pan until opaque.

In 3 ½ - 4-quart casserole put some sauce in bottom. Add one layer of macaroni, cover with a little sauce. Place slices of cheese on top. Place about 2 tablespoons of buttered onions on cheese. Repeat layers until all done, end with cheese top. Cover casserole and place on cookie sheet covered with tin foil in case it bubbles over. There will be some sauce left over. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 ½ hours.

Serve this with a nice green salad and you will have a wonderful meal at any time. I even like this baked macaroni cold.


Contract Bette at Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack. As well as (search bar Banjack). She can be found on Facebook. Her book “2 Cups of Yesterday” can be found at the Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her directly.

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