When I first started out on my journey, I never had a notion that I was onto something that was yet to come. The owners who owned Perry Lanes Bowling Center were great gentlemen: James Lomanto, Valdo Danti and a silent partner.
Jim Lomanto, as we called him, was great to everyone. His wife, Rose, did the cooking there and prepared the food daily; they were a working team. The son, Roy, bowled in the leagues there for a long time; after a while, he took over the pro shop to drill out balls for area bowlers after Matt Goot retired. John Zemanek helped out at the front desk; he always had a kind word to welcome in the customers. Joe Masala was the bartender for the guys who bowled on the 6:30 and later shifts. Joe Herrkind was the pin chaser.
I was bowling for a long time, but never took notice until someone asked me about how many years I had bowled in the Midnighters Bowling League. I said I didn't know, so we started to add the years.
A lot of guys knew I never missed time. When I first started, we bowled 28 weeks a year. We bowled on Monday nights on the 9:15 shift, then Jimmy had an opening on Fridays about 12 years later, so we moved to the early 6:30 shift. We started bowling 32 weeks, so that covered Hi-Lows.
By the time we had added it all up, I had 20 years in and was working on 21. Next thing I knew, 25 years had come. Still going, and I had 35 years in. Never thinking about it, it crept up on me that I was at 40 years in the league.
That golden year was gaining as I was approaching my 45th year. By then, a lot of guys were saying I might as well go for 50 years. It's tough to go that far, as there is sickness, deaths, etc., that goes with a streak like that.
So finally, on April 11, 2014, it was over at 9:30 that night. I had completed 50 years of perfect attendance.
I don't know how long I will go, I'll just let the future take its course and see what it will bring.
Our team that bowled together for years consists of Ron Ellis, Mike Suchy Sr., Bernie Nellis, Paul Meher Sr. and myself.