Dear vast and wonderful "family" of Mary Ellen's -- and by that term, I mean to extend deepest appreciation to all who have signed this guest book ahead of me, her far-away brother in Colorado.
Indeed, the idea of "family" has many meanings, especially in these modern times, and, as her own brother, I am happy to share the designation with any and all who loved and cared for her.
However, lost in the obituary, I'm afraid, is a clear sense of her leading the way among the six of us "Apalachin Zizzi kids," she, the eldest, followed by Mark, then Jody, then me, then Jamie, and lastly Angela. With our well-known -- in fact widely beloved -- parents, Kathleen (aka Kay) Zizzi and Ricco Zizzi, we were quite a force to be reckoned with in and around Vestal, with Mary Ellen most definitely leading the way, among the six of us sibs.
Don Starner, who signed this guestbook just before me: surely you remember your girlfriend's little brother, often spotted spying on you "big kids" for whatever blackmail advantages may have been had. "I saw you smoking cigarettes behind Carroll's, Mary Ellen! Now, are you going to buy me a Mad magazine, or am I going to have to take this to the authorities?"
Anyway, while I am very proud that Mary Ellen's "family" has grown to such proportions, as this guest book shows abundantly, I just wanted to affirm that there are, left behind (with Mom and Dad both gone now) the five of us Zizzi siblings who shared beds, baths, meals, secrets, and of course hopes and dreams, such as ME's dream of making the Olymics as a gymnast, before breaking her wrist and having to set her sights elsewhere.
As many have noted, Mary Ellen did excel at many things, all her life, right up to the end. I don't think it wrong to look, gratefully, skyward and call it a "family tradition."
Now it is the Hi-Way Fruit Market rock'n'roll band keeping up the tradition of our family's musical excellence, but let's not forget how ME loved to sing her heart out in Ithaca's community choir. In fact, the last time I saw my beloved sis was at a "band gig," where I got up to "sit in" and sing the song, "Roadhouse Blues." Afterward, ME told me "that is a song I would love to sing with them myself, sometime." I guess we can all relate to the song's ending: "The future's uncertain, and the end is always near."
So, on behalf of myself and Mary Ellen's two Colorado nephews, my sons Adam and Burke Zizzi (as well as her cousin Ben Zizzi and wife Kay, they of Denver), I thank you all for loving my sister. Whether "as" family (deepest shared condolences to David, Michael James, Samantha, and all Spragues) or "like" family -- we are all family at times, like this, of great loss. Here's to you all.
And to you, my sister in Heaven, thank you for all you did to set the pace for the rest of us, from the cradle to. . . forever. – Your loving brother, Michael -- Golden, Colorado.