Uncle Tom and Aunt Joan were fabulous cooks. They tended to fight for control of the kitchen. Uncle Tom cooked me many a wonderful meal ... I still remember steamed mussels, seasoned with a sauce, probably consisting of garlic, olive oil, fresh parmesan cheese, and I don't know what all else, when I brought my girlfriend to New York back in the early 70's.
Yesterday I was visiting with my Aunt Joan on the phone to find out her and my cousin Anna's Christmas plans this year - their first Christmas without him. Aunt Joan gave me quite a few tidbits about Uncle Tom (and the Cafe Rienzi) that were new to me. So here they are:
The Cafe Rienzi was located in what was an old macaroni factory, with a grocery store in front. Uncle Tom, with his architectural affinities, designed the Cafe out of the existing facility - and all the founders worked to turn it into a reality. Aunt Joan has been a prolific writer in her life (not just poetry). I look forward to the day when more of her work is published, because I believe it is a great gift to future generations. Anyway, for a period she wrote plays for Off-Off Broadway, and Uncle Tom built all her sets. Many of Aunt Joan's plays were performed in Theater for the New City currently located at 155 First Avenue, New York