The old Coastside, where “everybody talked Italian” (1)

Note: I wrote this story in the early 1990s.

It was the 1940s, the beginning of World War II and the army was building a several million dollar airstrip at Princeton. When Rina and Italo Pacini received the official notice to vacate their condemned two-bedroom rented house nearby, they did not take it seriously.

“Italo was from the ‘Old Country,’ explained Rina, “and as old-fashioned people we didn’t believe we would really have to move.”

The first notice had given the farming family a comfortable three months but they were taken by surprise when the three-day order to vacate arrived in the mail. “We had to get out because they needed our site for the new airport,” Rina said.

Although they didn’t have much time to pack their personal belongings, gather the tools and round-up the horses, the Pacinis would hardly miss the old house that once stood behind the Princeton Inn.

“The water came in when it rained and the wallpaper buckled when the wind blew,” she recalled matter-of-factly. Skunks were serious pests and sometimes they died beneath the house.

“One times friends came a rat was rotting between the walls. My husband said, “Thank God, it’s not a cow!”

…to be continued…