By JESSICA ARSENAULT RIVENBURG
ILION – When Rose Cacciatore came into the world, Woodrow Wilson was president, there were 48 states in the U.S. and gasoline cost 30 cents per gallon. World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic had just ended, and the Roaring 20s were just beginning. Cacciatore lived through the Great Depression and WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the moon landing and JFK’s assassination.
Rose Cacciatore turned 101 Saturday.
Cacciatore was born May 15, 1920, to Joseph and Rosalie Caiola, who had moved to Frankfort from Sicily, Italy, making Rose and her five siblings first-generation American, said Cacciatore’s son, James Cacciatore. Growing up on Mann Street in Frankfort, the Caiola family grew grapes and fig trees and made their own wine and grape jelly. They raised chickens in the backyard and made pasta and bread from scratch daily. Rose dropped out of high school in the 1930s to get a job and help the family survive the Great Depression, said her niece, Mary Ann Condon.
On one occasion, as teenagers, Rose and her sister Bea were approached by a limousine while the two were in front of their house. A man inside tried to lure them into the vehicle, but their mother saw the car and ran out of the house yelling for the driver to get out of there. While the occupant’s motive remain a mystery, the limousine was known to belong to the Italian mafia, said Cacciatore.
In the early 1940s, Rose married James Cacciatore and, for a time, the newlyweds moved in with James’ parents, who had a farm in the Frankfort Gorge. Rose gave birth to her two sons – James and Joseph – while living on the farm. Later, the family moved into the village of Frankfort.
Rose worked as a sewing machine operator at Duofold for a time, and the Joy Tailor Company in Mohawk, along with two of her sisters, Condon said.
Rose Cacciatore has lead an active, adventurous life, said James.
“She was going on the fast and high rides at the fair well into her late 70s and probably early 80s,” he said. “She would go horseback riding and was still gardening, canning, cooking and baking every day.”
When she wasn’t working and keeping house and raising her boys, Rose enjoyed hairdressing, cutting and styling hair for friends and family, James said.
“She was really good at it,” he said. “She could have been a hairdresser but she never asked for money. She just did it for fun.”
It has only been within the past five years that Rose experienced some medical complications and had to move into The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing, said James.
“She’s always been a hard worker. Always keeping busy,” he said. “She never smoked or drank, never swore. She always lived by the saying about everything in moderation.”
Extended family gathered outside The Grand Saturday for a birthday celebration, including a vehicle parade.