News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Milestone celebrations generally happen infrequently, whether they be birthdays, anniversaries or some other accomplishment. Typically, it’s one a decade, when the chronological odometer moves more than number at a time.
The Sabino family of Thornwood gets to rejoice two major milestones on this week.
Mike Sabino, the patriarch of the family that has called the Mount Pleasant hamlet home since 1955, hits the century mark on Tuesday. His grandson, Eddie, also turns 50 years old.
Last Saturday, the family held a double celebration at Tesoro D’Italia in Pleasantville to mark the occasion.
Susan Sabino, Mike’s daughter and Eddie’s mom, said they share more than the same date on the calendar; her father is Eddie’s best friend.
“They have a lot in common, the two of them,” she said. “My father and son can fix (things) and do anything with their hands. My father built this house that I’m living in. He built my uncle’s house.”
Mike was born Jan. 30, 1924, in the Bronx and grew up near the Parkchester section. He attended James Monroe High School, but at 16 left school because, as he said, “you went out to make a living.”
He said he worked in the trades until nine days after his 19th birthday when he learned that he was drafted into the Army as World War II raged abroad.
“I didn’t enjoy going,” Mike said. “In those days you had to go. Things were different, and (parents) thought it was your duty to go – and they wouldn’t fight for you.”
He saw combat in Germany and also spent time in England. He was discharged in time for Christmas in 1945, several months after the war ended. He still remains part of the local American Legion.
Sabino worked for the beverage company Canada Dry when he returned home, then took the test for the MTA and would spend 27 years as a train brakeman.
He met his wife, Maria, at a weekend dance night at Fordham University. They were married in May 1947. Maria, who was three years younger than him, died in 2016.
With two young daughters, the family relocated to Thornwood in 1955, and Sabino has been living in the same house he built on Carlisle Avenue ever since. Following his retirement from the MTA, he also bought other real estate.
His daughter, Susan, said he still gets out to cut the grass on his property. In fact, he suggested to his daughter last summer that he should continue to cut the grass on his lawn despite his age to save money, she said.
“I cut grass for 69 years,” said Mike Sabino, who is actually a great-great-grandfather. “That’s what kept me going. You’re outside all day long.”
For Eddie, born on Jan. 30, 1974, and grew up in Thornwood, he agreed with his mom that his grandfather is his best friend. Even today, despite living in Boca Raton, Fla., he makes sure to call multiple times a week.
“I have so many different memories with him,” Eddie said. “I lived with him for a lot of years. He taught me a lot of things. I’m a car dealer now. A lot of the things he taught me I’m using today. I mean I call him three, four, five times a week to keep him involved, tell him what I’m doing in Florida. It’s a special thing to share with him.”
Although Mike generally doesn’t stray too far from home anymore, he’s largely self-sufficient, Susan said. He is able to occupy his time, whether it’s with jigsaw puzzles or television or some other activity.
“He doesn’t need any help taking a shower; he goes in on his own,” Susan said. “He knows what he’s got to do. I cook for him, I clean the house, and other than that he does the rest.”
His nephew, Arnold Sabino, said there has been one constant throughout his uncle’s life.
“One important thing about Uncle Mike, and that’s his love for his family,” Arnold Sabino said. “It may not come across as extremely demonstrative at times, but check his eyes; they will speak for themselves.”
You won’t get an argument from Mike on that point.
“That’s what kept us alive. Family kept us alive,” he said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/