Harriette and Joe Frisino sharing a kiss on their wedding day at Harriette's mother's Victorian home, on 30th Avenue South just off South Jackson Street.
Here’s a belated Valentine from Harriette and Joe Frisino sharing a kiss on their wedding day, Nov. 4, 1943. They met that spring after Joe and six buddies, all Signal Corps officers, landed in a wartime Seattle that was desperate for housing.
Fortunately, Harriette’s forceful mother, Marion Bowen Knox, found room for the seven soldiers in this, her Victorian home, on 30th Avenue South just off South Jackson Street.
Once inside and invited to climb the spiral stairway to their rooms, Joe first saw Harriette. She was at the top of the stairs dragging a vacuum cleaner and obviously not happy with her mother, who once more had rented her room to a soldier.
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But all is fair in love and war. Within a week, Harriette and her mom gave a party mixing Harriette’s friends with the seven soldiers, four of whom married girls they met at the party.
The couple was married at St. Mary’s parish during Joe’s return to Seattle after five months in Alaska. The Italian priest also offered to teach Joe Italian, but with only seven days remaining before he was shipped off for two years in the jungles of Burma, Joe declined. Subsequently, Harriette and he had four children — Joe, Denise, John and Tim — and the third of these, John, now lives with wife Lori in the old home.
Joe claims that for 64 years, every time he revisits the old Victorian on 30th he celebrates. Once inside the front door, Joe begins his climb up the spiral stairway only to pause and imagine Harriette at the top of the stairs. But this vision is mildly clouded by another small reality of married life: He and Harriette do not agree on what she was wearing.
“Washington Then and Now,” by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased through www.washingtonthenandnow.com ($45) or through Tartu Publications at P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.