Large family gatherings were the vogue in Berkshire County yesterday, according to the response to an article in Monday's Eagle. By the time the telephone stopped ringing at 2 p.m. Wednesday, the title for the largest family group was held by the Michael Cocos of Dalton with an imposing 56 relatives and three guests coming to dinner.
(A check with the Cocos this morning indicated that the holiday storm decimated their guest list somewhat as it did to many others in the area. The final count was 48. Road conditions prevented family groups from Connecticut, New York State and elsewhere from attending.)
It was in a sense, a busman's holiday for the Cocos, who own Michael's Restaurant in Dalton. They closed the place for the day to accommodate the crowd. Two 35-pound birds were used to feed all who attended.
Matriarch of the clan, Mrs. Peter Coco, was guest of honor. Others attending were Mr. and Mrs. Michael Coco Jr. and two children, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Vickery and six children, son and daughter of the hosts.
The other descendants of Mrs. Peter Coco present were Mr. and Mrs. Louis Coco and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Coco Jr. and one child, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Fraley and two children, Mrs. Clair Coco St. Peter, Dominic Coco, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Coco and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Van Alstyne and three children, Mr. and Mrs. George Lane and two children, and the Lanes' son-in-law and daughter, Mrs. and Mrs. Edward Crebs and two children.
Mrs. Michael Coco's side of the family — she was a Guarda — was represented by Mrs. Fiona Guarda and one child, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ranieri, Mrs. and Mrs. Joseph Guarda and two children, and Mr. and Mrs. Americo Guarda.
The guests were Mr. and Mrs. James Haskins, and Miss Josie Cardello. Mr. Haskins is publisher of the Dalton News.
Largest of the home gatherings, so far as we know, was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Dimanche, 506 Gale Ave. They hosted 42. Some of the guests didn't have far to travel. Mrs. Dimanche's father, Earl Squires, bought 48 acres of land on outer Gale Avenue and three of his children have already built homes there, and a fourth is planning to build in the compound next spring.
When queried on the logistics of feeding such a crowd at home, Mrs. Dimanche said that she had enough glasses and platters, but used plastic throw-away plates. She used four tables, with the children downstairs in the playroom and the adults in the dining room.
"We would have invited more," she said, "but I just don't have room."