Last December 19, 2006, 2 female customers put their bingo dimes in a plastic cup and smiled at John and Mike, the grandsons of long time bingo caller, Sam, as the 2 boys prepared to call the numbers that Tuesday Bingo Night at the Park Avenue Seniors Apartment in Burbank. Dorothy Dunn, 1 of the 2 female customers, said they all love these boys for what they are doing for them and the community.
One of the players playing that night, Anne Pisano, looked fondly on her grandsons, Mike Pisano, 24 years old and John Brillantes, 23 years old. Her late husband, Sam, would have appreciated what his grandsons are doing for them. Before Sam died almost 2 years ago, it was he who was calling the bingo games every Tuesday night, always mingling and joking with the customers as he called out the numbers. Now his 2 grandsons, John and Mike, are calling the bingo game in his place. John said that their friends even know that every Tuesday night, they are at the bingo hall calling out the numbers.
When their grandfather's health began to deteriorate and there was the incident where he had to stop in the middle of a bingo game and tell his bingo players that he could not do it anymore, there was only one thing his grandsons could do - take his place. Donna Brown, manager of the complex, said that after Sam died, she called the bingo games for a couple of weeks and then one evening, John showed up and asked her if he could call one of the bingo games.
Brown added that afterwards John came back and asked her if he could call more games. She thought that it was just a passing fancy that he would outgrow, but he didn't. After that, he even brought along his cousin, Mike. The 2 cousins agreed that they could use this as an opportunity to spend more time together.
They also started having dinner with their grandmother every Tuesday night before they call the bingo games for their grandfather. Donna said that she was a little worried that John and Mike would not be rejected by the regular players because they were fiercely loyal to Sam, but fortunately, they have accepted the pair with open arms. Some of the ladies at the bingo hall, Elsie Nelson, Julia Young and the others even prepared cake and punch for the 2 boys that night after the bingo game. The ladies even gave John and Mike a Christmas card each with $50 in cash inside and told them that their grandfather would have been so proud of both of them.
Sunday, February 04, 2007