OBITUARY

Mrs. Josephine Scricca

August 1, 1927September 8, 2020
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One thing to note about my Mother is that if you go by the odds, you shouldn’t be reading this right now. That’s because she was born on August 1, 1927 two months premature and weighing only 3lbs. At that time, it was very rare for premature babies to survive, and she was sent home from Waterbury Hospital because they felt there was nothing more they could do. However there were two things that saved her. One was her Grandmother, who placed her crib near the kerosene stove in the kitchen and turned it on (in August!) to act as an incubator to keep her warm. The other was her indominable will. That was best told by her father, who recalled that when he went into the nursery he heard a baby screaming at the top of her lungs, he said to himself, “I hope that’s not my kid”. It was his kid – her crying kept her breathing and alive. She grew up during the Depression, which was made worse for her when her father left her mother and younger sister Delores when she was 12. As a result, at that young age she had to go to work to help support her family. She was farmed out to relatives to work as a maid, nanny, and even office assistant. Still she somehow managed to juggle that and going to school at the same time. She attended Wilby high school and graduated in 1945. Her high school yearbook said she was “one of our quiet, studious senior girls”, and that “Wilby needs more like you, Josephine”. It always bothered her that she never really had a chance to have as much fun in high school like her friends because she ended up having to grow up faster than everyone else. Mom was literally an “Old School Nurse”, since she became a nurse at the time when nursing training was done by the hospitals and before it became a 4 year college program. She went into it in a round-about way. After graduating high school, she worked at Chase Brass and Copper, one of the 3 major factories in Waterbury that at the time nearly there everyone worked for. She was a bookkeeper there, but her heart was not in it. Her true calling was nursing, and she entered the Waterbury Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1954. She starting her nursing career in the Emergency Room, where she got her baptism of fire during the “Flood of ‘54”, which every Waterbury native knows. She recall going to work in a National Guard helicopter since the roads were all flooded and the hospital was cut off. This was made even worse for her because her beloved Grandmother died the same night of the flood, but she had to do her duty in spite of her grief. My Mom met my Dad in 1955. She had been planning to join the Air Force a nurse, and had the paper work in hand to do just that. Of course in a traditional Italian family in the 1950’s this was scandalous (not to mention she was 28 years old and STILL not married!). So something had to be done. That something was my Dad, Antonio Scricca, who literally had just got off the boat from Italy. Based on the immigration laws at that time, in order for him to stay in the US he had to get married. At first my Mom was reluctant to say the least, but then she met him and the rest you can say was history. Many years later when I asked her why she, an intelligent, independent woman even considered going out with, let alone marrying my Dad, who had such a humble background, she said “But he was so good looking!” Josephine later worked in the Waterbury hospital nursery, during the “Baby Boom” years where she met many of the nurses who later became some of her closest friends. Her time in the nursery was the favorite of her career, mainly because she got to work with the “premies”, the babies born prematurely like her. After the baby boom became the baby bust in the 1970’s, she reluctantly left the nursery to work as an industrial nurse at Scovill, which later became Century Brass. She primarily worked at the East Hospital during 2nd shift. She was thought of highly by the people she took care of there, and she thought of them not just her patients, but as “my guys”. She finished out her industrial nursing career at Olin Corporation, retiring in 1990. However, she still continued to work part time in retirement as a substitute school nurse at some of the private academies in Connecticut until she was 72. Of course, Mom was a mom, too. She was the one who organized birthdays, holidays, and family vacations. Being a nurse, of course when anyone got sick she always assumed the worse. But my brother and I always knew Mom was in our corner. Her main goal was to make sure we both went to college, which while she never got the opportunity when she was young, she made sure both my brother and I did. She actually went to back to school part-time over the years, and eventually earned her associates degree in nursing from Mattatuck Community College shortly before she retired. Mom and Dad became Florida “Snow-Birds” in 1994, when they moved to the Lost Lakes development in Hobe Sound. She was one of the original members of the Lost Lakes Woman’s club, was also a member of the Italian club there, and belonged to the Book Club as well. Most importantly, she faithfully attended the Hobe Sound Presbyterian Church of Hobe Sound. She went to the monthly Ladies Lunches, and became close friends with many of the women there. Mom and Dad were not “Ozzie and Harriet”. They seemingly argued constantly. However, there was a bond there that their son didn’t see until almost the end. When my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Mom took care of him to nearly the end, when he became so disable he had to enter a nursing home. When I saw my Mom and Dad there, just by looking at them there I realized they truly loved each other. Dad died in 2011. Mom’s final years were sad. She ended up outliving nearly all of her friends and people she cared about. Her baby sister Delores, who contracted Alzheimer’s died in 2015. She also became increasingly disabled and dependent on others for help, which as a strongly independent individual who was used to taking care of others bothered her a great deal. Yet, in the end what should be remembered about her was how both her faith and her nursing mixed together. She was actually a Sunday school teacher in her youth, and at one time dreamed of being a missionary. During one of her interviews for nursing school, when was asked why she wanted to be a nurse she recalled that for her it was a way to serve God. That was best illustrated by a story she told me many years later of an incident when she was a nursing student. There was a polio outbreak at Boy Scout outing where one of the scouts became seriously ill and was brought to Waterbury Hospital and placed in an iron lung. They needed someone to suction out his mouth so he wouldn’t choke to death. My Mom volunteered to do that, even though they were risks associated with it. She had to stand over the boy for an entire shift cleaning out his airways to keep him breathing. I only learned of this because there was a report on the local news of a medical museum which displayed an iron lung, and when she saw it she told me the story. Sadly she recalled that he boy didn’t make it, which is probably why she never mentioned it before. My Mom may have been one of the last people he ever saw, and who knows, if you believe in these things, when her time came, he may have greeted her and led to the afterlife. She will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by all those who knew her.

Services

  • Visitation for Josephine Scricca

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020

  • Funeral Service for Josephine Scricca

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020

  • Reception for Josephine Scricca

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Memories

Mrs. Josephine Scricca

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Dorothea Wiley

September 17, 2020

Josephine tried so hard to be independent - she loved to join the 1st Friday lunch group but was not always able to be with us. We were happy to know that her Sons were always ready to help her and make arrangements for her to join the "Lunch Bunch". I know that she is looking down at us now! With love, Dot Wiley

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