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What happened to Jennie Monica?

By M Davies   /     Aug 20, 2015  /     Into the Void  /     10 Comments

I will preface this blog post with the following statement:  It may seem morbid.  My apologies.


A good part of my childhood summer vacations were spent at my Grandparent’s house.  After my Grandmother had triple bi-pass surgery in the early 90s, she was required to start walking more frequently.  It was supposed to help reduce the swelling of the surgery done to her leg to harvest the veins inside.  Ew, am I right?  Anyway, in order to add more steps to her exercise routine, my Grandfather would drive her up to St. Mary’s cemetery in Hanover Township, drop her off where the road started and pick her up close to where my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather were buried.  I would go with her.  It’s always better to take walks with company because there is someone to talk to.  We’d take a variety of paths in the cemetery on our walks, but we’d always end up in the same place – by my Great Grandparents’ graves.


Every once in a while, we would walk by a particular grave and my Grandmother would purposely point it out.


“That’s the lady that was murdered” she would say.


I never really thought about it much, until recently when I was making a visit to the cemetery for some genealogical research.  I stopped at the grave and looked it and remembered what my Grandmother had told me.  Here’s a photo of said grave:




And a close-up:



The tombstone reads “She died rather than sacrifice her honor.  May she rest in peace.”  It seems to indicate something bad had happened to her prior to the murder, perhaps an assault or rape.  I had a sick fascination to find out what happened to Jennie who was taken away from her family at the young age of 20, so I turned to Google and  I didn’t think I’d find anything, but was shocked when I found a bunch of interesting information about what happened!  First, the death certificate:


death cert



It’s kind of small, but the cause of death was listed as “From Gunshot wounds in the head.  One bullet entering the brain from the right cheek, and one entering and leaving the skull and lodging in the scalp.”  So my Grandmother was indeed right about the murder.  I did the math, my Grandmother would only have been 7 at the time this happened.  My Grandfather would have been 8.  It must have been a big news story at the time for her to remember something about it.  I decided to do a simple Google search to see what came back…


I found a listing in a page called “The Wilkes-Barre Almanac“:


One of the most horrible murders in the history of Luzerne County in a lonely spot near Pittston; two Wilkes-
Barre girls, Edith Fonzo and Jennie Monica found along the road shot and stabbed, with signs the girls had 
struggled fiercely.


I also found an old Times Leader article from 2007:


When the bodies of Wilkes-Barre residents Jennie Monica and Edith Fonzo were found along a road in Jenkins Township on June 2, 1927, no one could have known that 80 years later the case would remain a mystery. The two young women had gone on a double date the night before, The Times Leader reported. The slayings remain among Luzerne County’s few unsolved murders.


And then I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across the American Mafia Yahoo Group page:


The bodies of Genevieve (Jennie) Monica, 19, and Edith Fonzo (or
Fonza), 20, were found at an abandoned mine near Pittston on the
morning of June 2, 1927. Police believed the women, who were cousins,
had been sexually assaulted. One of the women was shot to death. The
other was beaten with a club.

A Chrysler sedan reportedly used by the girls’ attacker(s) was found
abandoned in a “mine cave hole.” The car belonged to a 33-year-old
Pittston man named Carmel Marranca. Carmel said he lent the car to
his brother Samuel (married with two children) the previous evening.
Carmel reported the car stolen early on June 2.

Samuel could not be found immediately, and he became the prime
suspect. A few men, who said they were with him on June 1, told
authorities they saw Samuel and another man pick up the two women.
Those men said they left Samuel at about midnight, while he and the
other man were still in the car with the women. Edith Fonzo’s sister,
Vera, informed police that the women had a date to meet two men at an
amusement park at Rocky Glen that evening. State police combed
through the local Italian neighborhoods looking for the suspect.

Police records indicated that Samuel Marranca had also been a suspect
in a somewhat similar murder in November, 1926. Another 19-year-old
woman, Jennie Visato, was killed at that time.

By June 4, the newspapers reported that two men had been arrested in
Buffalo in connection with the murders. One of them was Samuel
Marranca. Police continued to search for a man named John Falcone.
Police also arrested 24-year-old Carmine Melletti on June 6, and
charged him with being an accessory.


Hold up…first let’s go back to and look up Edith Fonzo, Jennie’s cousin…




It appears that Jennie’s mother and Edith’s mother’s were sisters which makes the cousin statement in the American Mafia board’s post true.  The cause of death for Edith is listed as “Fracture of the Skull, caused by a blunt instrument.  And gunshot wound.  The bullet entering the left side of the neck and passing thru the neck to the surface of the right side.  Murder.”  That also matches up with the cause of death in the American Mafia’s board.  I would have to say that post is accurate and take it to be fact.


My next stop was the Osterhout Library News Archive.  You can search their database of several local newspaper online from anywhere.  All you need is a library card number!  The Times Leader article from 2007 says that the murders were still unsolved.  Why would that be if people were charged (as stated in the American Mafia Board post)?  Well first let’s start with the days immediately following the murder.  The men did flee the area.  An article from the Sunday Independent says that there was a man hunt that stretched across two states – PA and NY.




Of the three men wanted by authorities, Merletti seemed to be the dumb one of the group.  He returned to Wilkes-Barre a few days after the murders took place.  I would love to know why he thought that returning to the area would be a good idea after the brutal nature of this crime, but I digress… not the sharpest tool in the shed, apparently.  The next part of my research was done at




Here’s a sensationalist article from the Scranton Republican at the beginning of the Merletti trial:




I found an article in the The Wilkes-Barre Record from September 17, 1927 that said that Merletti (spelled Merletto in this article) was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact, and Falcone and Marranca were never found.




I can’t imagine where John Falcone and Sam Marranca could have ended up.  There was hardly a mention of them after this trial was over.  Did the police give up and stop looking?  It’s all so sad.  Two young girls dead and no real justice for it.  I will give pause every time I pass Jennie’s tombstone when I visit my Grandparents in St. Mary’s cemetery.  I wonder if my Grandmother ever thought that I’d sit and research this much into a thing she said to me in passing.  I never thought I would, but it was an interesting journey nonetheless.


Rest in peace Jennie and Edith.

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3 for 3

By M Davies   /     Apr 04, 2015  /     30 Day @Neilbytes Blogging Challenge, NEPA  /     2 Comments

And no, I’m not talking about my 3 day streak of blog posts….


It was a violent week to live in Wilkes-Barre.  There’s been three shootings in as many days.  According to the Citizens’ Voice, it’s been over 6 months since the last fatal shooting in the Diamond City.  In the last 36 hours:  an alleged accidental shooting occurred on South Street, a drive-by happened on South Main Street and a suspicious fatal shooting was discovered on Carey Ave.  The comment sections on most of the local media websites are typically a hot bed of troll activity for events such as this, but you’ve got to wonder if sometimes they make a good point…




I don’t think I could have said this better myself.


Zeroing in on the drive-by shooting at (“the club”) Club Envy.  When I first learned of the news of this shooting, I assumed that it happened in downtown Wilkes-Barre or around Public Square since that is where most of the clubs and drinking establishments are.  Nope.  It actually happened at the old “Outsiders” biker bar next to Main Hardware (home of “Christmasland”) on South Main Street.  If you follow the papers, “Outsiders” was a known trouble spot for years, constantly in trouble with the LCB for one thing or another.  It was shutdown after DJ Mo tragically lost his life in a similar incident in 2013, a year which netted 13 homicides in Wilkes-Barre.  You’d like to think that with a name and management change that the culture would also change, but yeahhhhh… not so much.


I’ve gone to the old “Outsiders” 3 times when I lived in the city.  Once with a friend, once with my husband, and once alone.  The (last) time I went alone was a liquid lunch after I lost my job at Frontier on October 31, 2007.  I did not run into trouble on any of these occasions.  Am I missing something?  Are people being specifically targeted?  What exactly is going on here?  The likely answer is that the incidents were drug or gang related.  Regardless, the violence and loss of life is stupid and senseless.


I hope the police get to the bottom of it before another incident occurs.

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Migraines, Deviated Septums and Lack of Sleep…Oh my!

By M Davies   /     Apr 03, 2015  /     30 Day @Neilbytes Blogging Challenge, Medical Issues  /     1 Comment

I’ve been under the care of the neurologist since last September for my recurring migraines.  I’m actually experiencing one right now…joy!  It feels like it could be sinus related, but it also could be the fact that I’ve been up since 1:30am and I’m too tired to think.  I let the prescribed medicine figure it out for me so I don’t have to.  I’m on a pina colada of medication which I take at the onset of the headache.  Somedays, when I get one, I get these weird eye flash things that render me blind.  My only option when this happens is to close my eyes and wait until it passes.  What does it look like?  Well, like this…





Flashy flashy flashy flashy.  According to Wikipedia, this phenomenon is called  “scintillating scotoma”.  Usually, when I see one of these bad boys pop into my field of vision, I know that a migraine is imminent.  There’s nothing I can do but try to head it off with a pass with the medication.  Although there’s nothing I can take that will stop the eye flashes specifically.  It is possible to get the migraines without the flashes.  There’s no rhyme or reason as to why the flashes appear sometimes and other times do not.  Luckily, my current migraine had no eye flash associated with it.  Just pain.


In doing all of the tests required by my doctors, I found out that I have a deviated septum which may or may not be causing me to snore like a water buffalo and wake myself up throughout the night.  The snoring may also be coming from sleep apnea.  There’s only one way to know for sure…a sleep study…which is what I’ll be doing on Monday.  During.  The.  Day.  It was the quickest appointment they could get me in for and to assist with the day sleeping, they are drugging me up with 2 Ambien.  Swell.  I’ve never been for one of these type of tests before, but I’m told it’s harmless, its just very difficult to sleep with the amount of machines and wires they hook up to you.  (And during the day)


The deviated septum and/or sleep apnea is affecting the quality of my sleep.  The lack of quality sleep is causing the migraines.  Everything is supposedly related.


I’m not sure what the next steps will be after the tests, but from a few friends I learned that getting a CPAP may be an option.  What’s a CPAP?  An ugly ass mask that forces your airways open so you don’t snore and wake up throughout the night.  It’s not sexy.


Would you want to sleep next to this?




It’s enough to frighten small children away.


We’ll see what happens, but for now, I’m going to lay down in a dark room with my Amerge and Naproxen Sodium.  Weeeee.

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The 30 Day @Neilbytes Blogging Challenge

By M Davies   /     Apr 02, 2015  /     30 Day @Neilbytes Blogging Challenge  /     1 Comment


Twitter instigator @Neilbytes has challenged me to start updating my blog every day, sorta like Andy Palumbo.  I’ve been itching to write more, I’ve just been wayyyy too exhausted to do so.  For me, blogging ranks behind my job, family, life, sleep and whatever else.  I was supposed to start this challenge several days ago, but with limited time on my hands and then a stomach bug, I put it off.

Blogging stopped being fun for me around the time when I noticed anonymous commenters calling out other bloggers for lack of research and spelling errors on their blogs, particularly on the LuLac.  Researching and proofreading everything 5 times over exhausts me.  I don’t have the time or the energy for that.  I write about what I know, which is mainly only my life experiences.

Work hasn’t been easy these last two months.  I’ve been stuck on an early AM shift until one of my co-workers gets back from sick leave.  I’m exhausted all of the time, I haven’t been sleeping well and I never see my family.  I’m awake when everyone is asleep and vice versa.  My days off are during the week when everyone is at work or school.  I’m just kind of hanging in there until something improves.  I have no idea when that will be at this point.  Hopefully soon.

So that’s it for now.  I’ll be back tomorrow and for the next 29 days to talk about God knows what.  I’m open to any suggestions you may have.  I have a few ideas and things to get off of my chest.

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The standard shovel bitch

By M Davies   /     Jan 28, 2015  /     Annoyances, Wacky PA Weather  /     2 Comments

Snow in Northeast Pennsylvania.  It’s nothing new.  It happens every year.  I know this.  You know this.  Still it doesn’t get any easier.


On Saturday morning, we had our first major snowfall in NEPA.  The official measurement at my place of employment was 5.5″ of the evil white powder.  Unless you are filthy rich and pay someone to do it for you or use a blow torch, chances are you probably have to clear said evil white powder from something you own.  If not, consider yourself lucky.  Much like most of Microsoft’s software, snow is a necessary evil.


To give you a little background, the road that I live on is a private shared right of way, so unless someone plows it, the snow will sit there until spring.  Some days the neighbor that owns a quad/four-wheeler will plow it.  There’s also another neighbor who may be related to a person that drives a plow truck or something.  Anyway, once in a while, he’ll come by and do the road and offer to clear out driveways for a nominal price.  It’s worth the money if its a big accumulation and/or heavy snow.  I usually can make it down my road with no problems…it’s the roads from my house until I hit I-81 that worry me the most.  PennDOT seems to forget about Rtes 29 and 118.  They are usually a mess.


For that reason, I tried to hold off a little bit on the drive in on Saturday morning in hopes that a plow would come by my house.  Fat chance of that happening at 3:30am.  I would have felt guilty calling off, so I had no choice but to risk death and drive in.  I warmed up my car for a good 20 minutes while I shoveled a path from my house to my driveway.  I spent another 10 minutes clearing the snow from my car.  Once all of that was done, it was finally time to make the drive to Moosic.  A ride that would normally take me 40 minutes took me 90.  I didn’t get to work until 5:30am.  It was not a fun time for me, but the roads were mostly empty, so even if I did spin out it wouldn’t have mattered much.  The only tricky part was surprisingly Rte 309 and I-81.  People think they can still drive 75mph in poor conditions and gave me a damn near heart attack while trying to pass me.


Once I arrived at work, my nerves were shot, my arms ached and I was mentally exhausted.  No time to think about that because it was TIME TO SHOVEL AGAIN.  Ugh.  All told, I probably shoveled for 2 hours taking frequent breaks.  I think I burned up every calorie in my body.  By the end of the day I couldn’t move.  The next morning I ached all over like I was an 85 year old woman.  I am still not quite right.  I think I tweaked my back.  Last night I took a muscle relaxer to relieve some of the stiffness and it was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.


I honestly don’t mind shoveling.  My husband always calls me a “Poconos Princess” because I spent the better half of my life growing up in Blakeslee.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  My Dad always made my brother and I work hard.  I shoveled coal, split and stacked wood, and shoveled snow.  The only thing he wouldn’t let me do was drive the tractor/cut grass because “I couldn’t drive in straight lines”.  To me, shoveling snow meant a day off of school.  Shoveling snow still takes me back to High School and having snow days.  Unfortunately now, it just means a lot of manual labor, messed up schedules and terrifying driving.  I miss the old days.


That brings me back to the original point of this post….what the hell is with “ergonomic” shovels?  I appreciate the thought of trying to make me more safe, but lets be real.  These are the fucking worst.  At work we have one of these bad boys:



It was the only one I could find on Saturday morning and I have to say it is honestly the most awkward shovel I’ve ever used in my life.  I’ve used a lot of shovels….good and bad.  I can tell you for sure.  This is the worst.  It was so awkward to lift the snow and the snow kept sticking to the shovel.  I had to keep banging it off of stuff to get the snow off.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled the length of my work.  I will never ever EVER buy one of these shovels.  They should all be melted down and recycled into something useful.


Like this shovel, for example:



I own something similar to this shovel at home.  I bought it in Sam’s Club sometime in the mid 2000s and it’s held up good ever since.  It’s easy to handle, holds a lot of snow and as an added bonus, it has an ice chopper on the end.  The ice chopper especially came in handy during this ice storm.  I’m sure you remember it.  I know that I do.  I had to chop roughly 2 inches of ice from my sidewalk.  My wrist ached for weeks, but it got the job done.


We also have one of these at work (below).  It’s a good idea in theory, but it’s awkward to handle and heavy as all get out.  I’m not a fan.




I’ve used several of these standard issue models (below).  They flat out suck.  They don’t hold enough snow to be useful and they break down easily.  Maybe they are built more sturdy now then the last one I bought, but I doubt it.  Avoid if you can.




I’d be curious to see how one of these works (below):




The next time it snows, I’m probably just going to bring my shovel from home.  BYOS.  I am not trying to be nasty, it’s just that I don’t want to spend any more time outside than I have to.  Fin.


Oh my god.  Did I just write an entire blog post about snow shovels?

Yes.  Yes I did.

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Rigby on the Swarm

By M Davies   /     Jan 26, 2015  /     Family  /     4 Comments

It’s been over a year since my dog Trumpy and the neighbor’s horse was put down and I’m still not right about it.  I’m not sure that losing a pet is something you ever completely get over.


I really don’t know how this conversation started, but my husband started looking into new pets over the late summer…mainly cats.  We talked about Bengal cats before in passing, mainly because my friend/pen pal Jacqui has two rescue Bengals.  I talked about the funny antics they get into and their intelligence level (a.k.a. basically Gabby in feline form).  I guess at some point, this sold my husband and he began researching them and looking into breeders.  Really, I’m not sure how this whole process got started.  I just know, one day we had no pets in the house (besides a guppy fish tank) and the next we had put down a payment at a breeder for a cat.


My daughter always wanted a cat.  I secretly always wanted a cat too, however, I am HIGHLY allergic to cats to the point that my throat closes when I’m around them.  For this reason, cats were never a pet I seriously considered.  I don’t want to die, thankyouverymuch.  I was also extremely worried about my son who has been plagued with breathing and skin issues since he was 6 months old.


Well first of all, and this is all based completely on my Internet research*, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat.  They all have saliva and they all have dander.  Dander and saliva are the two biggest things that humans can develop an allergy to.  And no, I’m not sitting here and spending 8 bazillionty hours researching why.  You have Google.  Use it.  I’m not a cat scientist or veterinarian.  At any rate, after spending several weeks with this cat, we haven’t had any MAJOR medical reactions to him.**


At his first vet appointment, the front office spelled our cat’s name as “Rugby”.  STOP THE PRESSES.  He’s a Davies!  The cat’s name is actually “Rigby” based on the Regular Show character, but based on the track record of misspellings with our names, this makes him fit right in.



(Rigby, Regular Show)


Many people spell my name with one L.  Wrong.  It’s always been two.  Many people call Gabrielle “GABRIEL” or “Gabriella”.  Also wrong.  All of us have been called “DAVIS” at one point or another.  Again.  Wrong.  It’s Davies.  There’s an E in there, please don’t ignore it.


Alright, I’ll shut up and show you the thing the Internet was truly invented for….CAT PICTURES.***





(Five seconds before I snapped this photo he was dive bombing my slipper)




(He’s on the hunt for my foot, however, I’m a terrible cat mom…I gave him a plastic bag to play with)




(The damn thing only likes sleeping on my desk)


You can find more obnoxious cat photos and videos on my Instagram, Youtube and Flickr.  See you there!  If you want to learn more about Bengal cats and their bratty behavior, check out Bengals Illustrated.



*Alert:  Take this with a grain of salt.

**I’ve broken out in hives and have swollen up after he’s scratched me.

***With apologies to Al Gore and Mike Burnside.



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