Mary Leone

November 1923
March 2023


The photo was taken on my mom’s 23rd birthday in November 1946, at Croname Inc. in Chicago, IL. When WWII began she was given Edward Leone’s job--he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. Ed’s dad, Jim, worked at Croname, as did two of Mary’s sisters. When Ed returned on leave, he was eager to meet his replacement and visited the company. It was close to “love at first sight” and my parents were married in 1947. It seems like everywhere we went--museums, zoos, weddings, even in other states, they would run into other "Cronies" as Croname employees were called; they'd spot each other and call out a greeting and stop to chat and reminisce. If introduced to someone with the same last name as a fellow Cronie, Mom would ask “do you know so and so who worked at Croname during the war?” and often the answer was yes. Mom and Dad went to Mundelein, IL one Sunday in 1949 to visit fellow Cronie, Alex Patino, and his wife, Lupe. When Mom complimented their home, Alex told Dad there was only one vacant lot left in the development. Mom and Dad were to see it, but Dad only had $10 in his wallet. The builder accepted that as a deposit on the house to be built at 155 Walnut Court, but they had to wait 8 months to move in. The builder had gone bankrupt so my folks had to finish the yard work and paint the house. In 1953 when I was three, I “helped” Dad plant a tiny spruce tree seedling. That tree--quite tall now--can still be seen in Google Earth photos! My sister and only sibling, Nina, was born in Mundelein in 1955. She has practically no memory of our house but I have MANY fond memories of it. My mom made that house a HOME, as she did with other places we lived. She was born to Italian immigrant parents but learned from everyone she ever met and made friends everywhere.

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