SOMERS, N.Y. - If the face looks familiar, it is because it belongs to Mike Pacella of the Somers Police Department . He has been on the force since 1985, when he decided to switch uniforms from his city blues. That is, he had been with the New York City Police Department for 20 years before opting for the simpler life of a part-time small town cop.
Somers is a law-abiding town, he says. These are people who respect the law. They dont spit in your face. Pacella was a city cop during the turbulent 60s.
He spent his earliest days in war-torn Italy and arrived in New York at the age of nine in 1947. We docked on the west side and went to the Bronx. I went to P.S. 57 on Belmont Avenue and 180th Street in Crotona Park. They put me in the third grade. First row, last seat, and they gave me a coloring book and crayons. I stayed three months with the coloring book.
At that point, the school provided a bilingual teacher who came on Wednesdays, but I really learned from kids in the neighborhood. In a year I was speaking fluently.
Pacella remembers Dion Dimucci, of Dion and the Belmonts. I used to see him in the candy store. Two years ago he saw him again, performing at Mohegan Sun. I was never out of a job, Pacella says. I dont know what an unemployment check is. This is the land of opportunity.
One of his early jobs was delivering items to the concession stands at the Bronx Zoo. He noticed a pretty girl named Kathie, working at the souvenir stand. I knew she was friendly, and they finally had a date. They went to the Westchester Square movie theater and saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Today they have two children and five grandchildren.
The pretty, friendly souvenir seller is now Kathie Pacella, Somers Town Clerk . The highlights of Pacellas career? I helped deliver a baby. And I helped revive someone who expired.
Speaking of his wife, Pacella said, Shes Irish-German but she cooks great Italian. My sisters and my mother taught her how to cook. She makes a fantastic gravy and fantastic meatballs.
It was Kathie Pacella who, after enumerating her many and varied responsibilities as Town Clerk at a pre-election debate, was asked, What do you do in your spare time? and responded, I cook for my husband.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.