Vicoli’s North Bellmore has changed, of course. The Chase Bank on Bellmore Avenue was once a saloon with swinging doors, she said. Stretches of grass and plants could be found between houses. And because her husband was the only one in the family who could drive in the 1950s, Vicoli used to walk to pick up ice cream at a long-gone grocery store, books at the North Bellmore Public Library when it was a two-story house or slices of pizza that cost only a quarter at a local pizzeria.
“She liked that everything was so close,” Cheslock said. “A 15-minute walk was the furthest you had to go to get anything you wanted.”
Cheslock and her brother said their mother is still always on the move, as she has maintained hobbies that she has practiced for years. One of Vicoli’s favorite parts of her home is her garden that stretches from the front to back yard, which she called a victory garden well into the 1980s.
For years, Vicoli crocheted and knitted baby blankets for neighbors as gifts, as well as made needlepoint pictures, until her fingertips went numb. Her needlepoint creations decorate the walls of her home, and Vicoli plans to give them to her children.
Vicoli still cooks. Cheslock said her mother has never bought jarred sauce. Vicoli added that she loves to make homemade pasta and pizza dough.
Vicoli credits the garlic and olive oil in Italian food with helping to keep her healthy for 100 years, in addition to all of the walking. She added that she maintains a calm approach to life, allowing little to nothing to bother her.
“I’m never stressed out,” she said. “You have to take the time to relax when you can.”
Cheslock, however, said that her mother was and is still unafraid to speak her mind. She cited a phone call that her mother made to her oil company three years ago, in which she demanded to speak to the owner when her monthly rate rose.
“She said, ‘Well, I don’t really do long distance calls, but I guess if I watch what I eat for a couple of days and I don’t spend that much on my food I can make the call and I will speak to [him],’” she said. “They decided to put her back on her regular rate.”