The American Dream....
The year was 1970. The Jackson 5 were at the top of the charts, Nixon was president, The Mod Squad was a popular TV show, the Kansas City Chiefs were the champs and the Ford Pinto was about to be introduced. Here at Misquamicut Beach, Maria and Nicolo Bellone were about to buy the Breezeway Motel from the former Westerly Police Chief, Ray Meikle and his wife Helen.
The image on the right is a postcard of the Breezeway Motel from that era. The back side of the card reads, "14 modern comfortable units, private showers-quiet location, beautiful grounds". The private showers seemed like a luxurious amenity for the time, but the truth is that 4 of those units had to share an out door shower located near where our laundry area is now. Maria and Nicolo wasted no time in upgrading and modernizing the property. You'll be glad to know that by opening day of 1971 each room had a "private shower". The showers were just a prelude to what the future would hold. Like the countless immigrants who came before them, Maria and Nicolo would create their own American Dream.
The photo is of Nicolo applying stucco in front of room 215 in 1975.
(back then it was room # 25)
Nicolo (Nick) who emigrated from Tusa, Sicily in 1959, arrived at the dock in New York City with wide eyed ambition, little to no money and a canvas bag with some masonry tools. It didn't take long for him to go into business for himself as a mason. At this point all he had was an old Sedan and didn't have the money to buy a truck, so he did the next best thing. He pulled the back seat out and made a makeshift truck. This creative thinking, hard work and the help of his new bride Maria would enable him to buy the Breezeway 11 years later.
The photo is of Maria behind the front desk in 1971.
Maria , also from Tusa, married Nicolo in Westerly on June 18, 1964 (and no, this wasn't an arranged marriage like you may have seen in Godfather part 2). By the time they purchased the Breezeway, they had 3 children, the youngest was in diapers... me. Armed with her teaching degree and good looks she was a natural to manage this new venture while Nicolo went out looking for more real estate to buy. The original multi-tasker, Maria managed to raise a young family, operate a business and throw some serious dinner parties. Often times, guests were invited up to the kitchen for dinner. Yes, back then our home was adjacent to the lobby.
Now after 46 years we look back on the changes and the success of the Breezeway and the couple who made it all happen, Nicolo and Maria Bellone. Through their determination and hard work, my parents and the Breezeway exemplify the American dream. Though my beautiful mother recently passed away, I can assure you, that this dream will never die.
John for The Bellone Family