- Entry Date: February 16, 2015
- Video Clip (optional)
My name is Nancy Lou Capizzi and this is the story of my father, Nunzio Capizzi.
On September 20, 1920, my Sicilian grandparents, Annunziata Gatto, from Bronte and Nunzio Capizzi, from Catania, were married in St. Paul’s Church, Philadelphia, PA. They soon bought a house on Stella Street The following year, on August 29, 1921, their first of four children, my father, Nunzio D. Capizzi, was born.
As a teenager, with his movie star good looks and sense of style, Nunzio’s friends nicknamed him “The Baron”.
In 1942, on his 21rst birthday, Baron joined the U.S. Marine Corps and, as a member of the 3rd Marine Fleet Corps and the Marine Amphibious Corps, was quickly deployed to the World War II Pacific Theatre,where he participated in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign. There, he experienced hand to hand combat. He was an anti-aircraft gunner in the occupation and defense of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands.
In 1947, Baron married Nicholina Pizzuro. Soon after, they started a family with the birth of two daughters: myself, and my sister, Annette. Mom cooked on weekdays, Dad cooked on the weekends. Sunday spaghetti and meatball dinners were usually spent with our Capizzi relatives on Stella Street The crowd was usually large, so we ate at the dining table in their basement. My grandfather’s homemade wine was always on the table.
In 1956, our parents moved from Philadelphia to North Miami Beach, Florida, where they opened up Baron’s Barber Shop and Nickie’s Beauty Salon.
Customers were treated like family in both the barbershop and beauty salon, where one could always count on a great haircut, good conversation, a fresh cup of coffee and those little Italian sandwiches, made with eggs, potatoes and salami, that Baron whipped up in the kitchen. No one ever went home hungry! Sadly, after 51 years of marriage, Nickie passed away in 1998.
When he is not with customers in his shop, Baron can be found tending to his garden, where he grows assorted vegetables and a wide variety of hot peppers, from which he produces and bottles (Show bottle of Baron’s Hot Sauce) his own organic hot sauce.
My sister and I know we will be passing on to future generations, the recipes for Baron’s Hot Sauce, the relish made from the pulp of the peppers, as well as the dried ground pepper.
In May of 2013, his only granddaughter), Nicole DeMeo, was chosen to present her Senior Thesis, “The Baron”, as a photographic exhibition at Fordham University’s Center Gallery in New York City. . It was an emotional moment for all of us, but in particular, to Nicole and her Grandfather
At the age of 94, our father is still cutting hair in his barbershop. His greatest joy is having the ability to serve 5 generations of families that come through his doors. His only disappointment is that he has managed to outlive most of his regular customers.