Mary Lamoglia passing at 94 left one more hole in the tapestry of Los Banos history. A true product of Los Banos, she lived her life to help others in so many ways. Mary believed in service witnessed by her devotion to such groups as Our Lady of Fatima Society, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Joseph’s Altar Society, Native Daughters of the American Golden West, and LUSO American Federation. New Bethany residents were one of her special loves.
She loved to plan fun events to add cheer to their lives. I knew Mary as a fantastic friend and neighbor on Page Avenue for more than 18 years. So often my phone would ring and it was Mary asking if I wanted to come down and have some of whatever great thing that had just come out her kitchen.
When my peach tree came in season, I got frequent calls from Mary asking. “ Are they ripe yet?” until the answer was finally yes. How I looked forward to her wonderful peach pies and how I will miss them. After Ron died, Mary frequently had me down for dinner, explaining it took a widow to understand a widow. Before I married Grover I made a point to bring him down to get her approval. So many people in Los Banos will have their own memories of Mary and will feel their own personal losses. I so sympathize with her devoted daughter, Cindy Nocito. I am left with my own trunk of memories of this kind and remarkable lady.
May Day Royalty
Each year everyone looks forward to our main event, the May Day Fair. For a week we all gain a keener sense of community. Our beloved Henry Miller began this tradition that has passed from generation to generation. A highlight of the Spring May Day Fair has for almost 100 years been the choosing and crowning of Miss May Day. I was very blessed to be good friends with the first Miss Day, Margarete White. Margarete still proudly had her crown from the 1928 competition until her death. It was a delight to listen to her stories of the original May Day parades. Ours was once second in the state only to the Rose Parade.
This year’s Miss May Day’s competition was held on March 25 at Espanas. The two contestants — Kiley Pastori and Ryan Vierra — had lunch with the judges. Following the time allowed to get know the contestants over lunch came the interview, as well as the speech portion of the competition. The timely topic for the speech was on the effects of bullying. The girls were awarded their titles after a fun-filled and friendly competition. Miss Day Day 2018 was announced as Ryan Vierra with Kiley Pastori as First Runner-Up.
This year's winning Miss May Day is very personal to me because I have known her since she was born. Ryan Vierra is the daughter of Frankie and Laurie Vierra, and the granddaughter of my dear friend, Lou Vierra. I believe Ryan has wanted to be Miss May Day since birth. Every step of her life has been along that path. Ryan is truly a remarkable girl, academically, in service and in character. It is my hope that next year more girls come out and compete for the title. My granddaughter, Jessica McPherson, was in the competition in 2016 and not only enjoyed the experience but gained poise and self-confidence.
Recently at a monthly meeting of YLI, I was fascinated with the informative program presented by Lt. Jeff Coburn and Sgt. Dustin Witt. Along with the deputies was their special K9 assistant Banshee. Banshee is a 75-pound, two-year-old Bloodhound. They are all part of the Merced County Sheriff's Office. In their canine unit each dog they have is trained for a special purpose such as drug dogs, jail drug dogs, and apprehension dogs. Banshee is part of the apprehension SWAT team. Banshee was born in South Carolina where she began her training at eight weeks. With funds raised from donations from members of the county, Banshee was purchased, and then Sgt. Witt was sent to South Carolina for training with her. Banshee follows a pattern of scent and can track that scent for up to four hours. Banshee is with her human partner all day and then goes home with him creating a very strong bond. The canine unit dogs are able to retire when they are nine years old and are able to stay with their partner. I fell in love with the long-eared, sad-eyed canine who loved to be pet. Banshee and Sgt, Witt will be at the May Day Spring Fair every day and would love to see you there.
Diana Ingram Thurston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.