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Posts Tagged ‘Betty Cottonaro’

It’s easy to “fall down the rabbit hole”. I tend to do it a lot more than I would like to admit. What else have we got to do right now? It’s Jan 3, 2021. We here in Ontario are in full lock-down again/still. Right now the rabbit hole is a welcome distraction from my usual excuses of not wanting to clean anymore. According to dictionary.com

“In the phrase falling down the rabbit hole, a rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation. On the internet, a rabbit hole frequently refers to an extremely engrossing and time-consuming topic.”

In this case, it is the latter. This morning my son-in-law posted a clip titled “A Munchkin Welcome – The Wizard Of Oz” on his wife’s Facebook page. She responded, “The lollipop guild, really?!!! You just HAD to include that!” I laughed to myself and then posted this comment, “I use to drink with one of the higher ups in Munchkin land”. Apparently I had never shared this info with her before and she was surprised. I explained that we all use to hang out at a Mexican bar/restaurant in Niagara Falls, New York. So I googled the “the mayor of munchkinland”.

That rabbit hole opened wide and swallowed me whole! First let me say the gentleman we are talking about was not “the Mayor”, however, his role in the film had affectionately earned him the title in Buffalo, New York and the surrounding area. The first thing that popped up was an image that I recognized immediately. I recognized it because I had taken the photo many years ago. I assumed (yes, I know what they say) that I had written about him either here or on Facebook at some point. When I clicked on the photo it went to a story by someone I didn’t know in a group on Facebook called The Real “Old Falls Street” People. A fellow named Max Eddy had written a very nice piece on Tommy and Betty Cottonaro on June 17th, 2017. I was not a member of the group. On further inspection of the photo I realized it was not my original photo. It was a picture of my photo that lives in my hard-covered, scrap-booked photo album, with all the trimmings. Did you see that rabbit hole open up wide right there?

This is the photo that led me down the rabbit hole. Tommy & Betty Cottonaro at La Casa Cardenas in Niagara Falls, NY. With Sergio Cardenas in between them and Sergio’s Mom in the background.

I joined the group so I could comment on the photo and told Max Eddy that I was curious as to how he came by the photo. His response was,  “I forget exactly where I found it. Probably a Google or Yahoo search. Tommy & Betty Cottonaro were very good friends of my family.” Dare I say, “curiouser and curiouser”. Sergio and Tommy probably both had a copy of the photo but neither of them would have had access to the scrapbook this photo of a photo came from.

I googled every thing I could think of and the only version of this photo to come up was the one mentioned above. So began the search for where I could have posted it. I went back on facebook and twitter to when I first started using the apps but there was no post. I went through all of my blog posts and none included this photo. At this point I told He-Who. Now, He-Who is big on the whole conspiracy theory way of life so he jumped in that rabbit hole with me feet first. The next step was to go through all my digital files of photos. Every photo (thousands) I ever took with my phone prior to June 2017. Nothing. I went through thousands of digital files of photos from my camera prior to June 2017. Nothing. At this point He-Who hollered from the living room that he had found Sergio on Facebook. The rabbit hole took a detour for a bit.

Now this was making me crazy and there were no little pills to make me bigger or smaller to take the edge off. The only other thing I could think of was that I had scanned the page to get the photo. I have done that before when I needed a picture of something I had already glued to a page. Apparently, I have done this a lot because the folder labelled “Michelle’s scans” had hundreds of photos in it. Again, no joy. In the folder labelled simply “scans” there were but 79 photos. And there it was, scanned on March 4, 2014 was the page from the album.

OK. But how on earth did that end up getting on the internet? Then it occurred to me to do a google “image” search. Of course that Facebook page came up but one other entry also popped up. I still have no idea how Eddy found it but I do know how it got on the internet. Believe it or not it was part of a comment on someone else’s blog.

Mike Allegra has a blog called Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow that I have been following since 2011. He has written children’s books that my nieces and nephews love. Over the years we have chatted on-line frequently. He often runs contests on his blog to win his drawings or doodles. I always enter and am the proud owner of a few of them. In March of 2014 he had a contest to win one of his doodles. All you had to do was leave an “Interesting Tidbit” about yourself in the comments section. This is how it went…

SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS

I have had drinks with “The Mayor of Munchkin Land” and his wife on several occasions.

  1. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW Now this is, I think, the DEFINITION of an Interesting Tidbit! Two names in the hat for you! But I need more detail! Please, oh, please elaborate.
    1. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it in years and your post had me thinking about things I could share that would be OK for the young one pulling the name out of the hat. I have a picture here somewhere. I will look for it to show you.
    2. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW Cool! Looking forward to it!
    3. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS Here is the picture I found.

  1. It is the Mayor of MunchkinLand – he was from Buffalo, New York – and his wife. The owner of the bar was Sergio Cardenas. That is his head in the middle and his Mom is standing behind. The bar was called La Casa Cardenas in Niagara Falls New York. The things that happened there will have to remain classified.
    1. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW This is great! I met one of the last remaining Munchkins a few years ago at a giant antique and collectibles show in Atlantic City. I have no idea why he was there. He was a living antique, perhaps?
    2. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS The photo was taken somewhere between 1993 & 1998. Tommy has since passed. The bar has closed down and I lost track of my friend Sergio. Social media was not yet a tool to keep in touch.
    3. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS In trying to remember more, I was doing some digging and guess what?
      This is dated Sat. Feb. 10, 2001. In this morning’s Niagara Gazette I got a shock when I read the obituary page. I read that Thomas J. Cottonaro, 86 years old, of Ashland Avenue,
      Niagara Falls, NY, died Wednesday, February 7, in Niagara Falls Memorial
      Medical Center after a year-long illness. Who was Tommy Cottonaro? He was our very special Munchkin and was known around here as the Mayor of MunchkinLand. Why? Well, because he had been a film actor and was one of the Munchkins in the original 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. Actually he was the “bearded man of the Munchkins. He was the last surviving Munchkin of the Wizard of Oz.” So all those years I drank with the man, no one ever set me straight that he was not actually the “Mayor”. He was the “bearded one”. All I remember is that both he and his wife were wonderful people. They were fun, funny and gracious.

As you can see, this whole conversation including the picture took place in the comment section of someone else’s blog. How on earth did Eddy find it there three years later? I think I will have to leave this rabbit hole for another day. Now all I have to do is pull He-Who out of it!

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