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Memories are made of this

June 23, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

I can remember as a kid watching my dad, the late Jay W. "Pidge" Hout, shave and hearing him sing Steubenville native Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody."

He sang it with animation, this good looking fellow who was my father, who had the same hairline as Dino, and he sang it well, come to think of it.

I shared this little family history tidbit with Deana Martin last week when I waited in line at the Hollywood Plaza Kroger to have a picture taken with her and to buy a copy of her book, "Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter's Eyes."

Article Photos

Steubenville resident Jerry Krupinski and Deana Martin

"Isn't that a great memory?" Deana Martin agreed with me as she digested the story and prepared to autograph the book, which is her account of what life was like with her famous father and family.

I bought this copy as a gift for my sister Cathy in honor of her upcoming birthday and had Deana Martin autograph it accordingly so I think that makes for a pretty unique present.

I also got her to autograph the liner of the Dean Martin CD that I listen to almost daily during my early commute to the newspaper, especially "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You." In my head I'm dancing with incredible grace and skill while I'm listening to this, at least until I pull into the Herald-Star parking lot and hope nobody hears how loud I have the volume cranked up.

That I didn't share with this celebrity who graciously visits the town each year over the Father's Day weekend. I didn't want her to think I was completely goofy.

I stood in line during this piece of the 16th-annual Dean Martin Festival and realized Dean Martin's fan base is solid and growing as people come to appreciate him not only through his music but through the DVDs you can get of those great star-studded TV shows of his in "The Dean Martin Show."

There in line with me was former state Rep. Jerry Krupinski, on hand to get a book autographed, too, but for a different reason than mine. He was motivated because it specifically mentions his wife, Eileen, in her capacity as the state representative from our area who worked to have June 7 passed in the Ohio Legislature as Dean Martin Day in Ohio.

This happened in 2002, which is mentioned in Deana's book along with what happened after the bill's passage by a vote of 97 yes, 2 no. Everybody sang "That's Amore."

"We had a lot of fun with it," Eileen would tell me later of that whole experience. Jerry had bought Eileen this book for a Christmas present. Having it autographed made it extra special.

Any way, Krupinski and I kept each other company while we waited our turn to meet with Deana, who probably had a gazillion photos taken of her during her visit here. I took a picture of her and Krupinski, and Krupinski returned the favor. Unfortunately, I feel like a giant next to the very petite Deana. I know. I know. Cameras don't lie.

At one point in the line, I met first-time out-of-town visitors to the Dean Martin Festival in Angela Howe and her mother, Sharon Howe. The two made a mother-daughter weekend out of the festival, making the trip here from the Indianapolis, Ind., area.

Angela told me her mother was always a huge Dino fan and that ultimately made her one, too, as she came to really like his music, movies and shows. They were thrilled to be at the festival and quite taken with Steubenville and its hospitality.

At the Steubenville Post Office, I watched people line up for what is a tradition of the festival - an autograph and photo opportunity again but also the official time to begin getting a special stamp cancellation for a limited time. Postmaster Anita Petrella tells me the only special cancellation that the Steubenville Post Office does is the Dean Martin Festival, which it has been doing for the past nine years always on June 17. For a 30-day period only , it's available, and it's very popular in the U.S. and abroad, according to Petrella. There's a different one each year so it's something special for collectors.

I chatted there with Maria Hayes, one of the Dean Martin Festival Committee members, who was manning the Dean Martin souvenir T-shirt table. In the Kiaski household, it just wouldn't be Father's Day if I didn't buy Better Half a Dean Martin shirt or two to add to his collection so I did.

Born Dino Crocetti, Dean Martin worked for Hayes' uncle, the late Cosmo Quattrone, back in the day at the Rex Cigar Store on Market Street in downtown Steubenville. Hayes said she had occasion to hear many stories because of that.

On a side note, from time to time, I hear via e-mail from former Steubenville resident Helen Bonitatibus, who lives in Florida.

In her latest e-mail she happened to ask if I made it to any of the Dean Martin Festival festivities. When I responded that I had, the 95-year-old told me her family and the Crocetti family were friends.

She wrote that she had a band when she was 18 and that she played the accordion. It was during the 1930s, and the band included her; Dino, who played the drums; and her brothers, Mario and Larry Camerlengo, on the violin and saxophone. "We played mostly Italian songs," she wrote.

Ain't that a kick in the head ...

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