Once a year, every year, the ever-expanding members of an Italian-American family head down the shore for a family reunion – just like they’ve been doing for the last 100 years.

In 1920, Luco and Antoniette Gallo brought their 7 children from South Camden to Wildwood to gather with their extended family – a trip that became a longstanding tradition. All year long they looked forward to the trip and reunion traditions, including making homemade wine and eating chicken cutlet sandwiches with peppers and cheese. There were always pinochle games while they listened to New York Yankees on a small battery-operated transistor radio, says Dominic Vesper, a Gloucester Township resident who has attended every reunion since he was only 1 month old in 1970.

“I often asked my uncles, ‘Why did you listen to the Yankees and not the Phillies,’” Vesper recalls. “I was told proudly by my Uncle Wimpy Gallo that the Yankees had the most Italians on their team in all of Major League Baseball.”

In past years, it was common for up to 100 members of the family to attend a reunion. With social distancing, the group was significantly smaller this year, says Vesper. Still, it wasn’t any less special for the 4 generations of Gallo family members in attendance, including the 93-year-old patriarch Nick Guraino.

September 3, 2020
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