Joseph and Stephania (Mosch) Mirota only took one trip together and that was on their honeymoon in 1948 when they travelled to Washington, DC to see the sights in the nation’s capitol.
It was probably Stephie’s idea to go away for their honeymoon. Joe was more than happy to return to Whitehouse Station, NJ and stay there forever. Stephie said that after their honeymoon they never spent one night away from home. When asked why not? Joe said there was no place more beautiful to him than the little valley nestled under Cushetunk Mountain. Why would he want to go anywhere else? That kind of contentment of place is rare today. Maybe it always was rare.
Although he was born in Cherry Valley PA, a coal mining town some 20 miles west of Pittsburg, the family moved to a small farm in New Jersey when Joe was about three. This photo was taken at the Mirota farm when Joe was 5 years old. The other boy is a neighbor. He might be Andrew Vladich. I love the way Joe is smiling at who ever is taking the picture. It looks like he must have spent all of his summer playing outdoors because his short brown hair is bleached nearly white from the sun. Looking at his sweet smile you just know he had a good childhood and that being the baby of the family his parents and older siblings showered him with love and attention.
During the first few years of their marriage, Joe and Stephie lived with her father Rudolph Mosch and her step-mother in their rambling home a few miles away on the other side of the village. Even that was too far for Joe. As soon as they had saved enough money he asked his father for an acre of land at the northeast corner of the farm. He built a lovely 1950’s style ranch house that he and Stephie kept immaculate.
Although he was employed by American Cyanamid in Bound Brook, in the evening and on weekends Joe loved to work until it got too dark in the fields or in his own vegetable garden. Joe liked raising honeybees and after his father’s death in 1961 Joe moved the beehives to his own backyard. I still think the sweetest honey on earth came from those hives.
He was a kind man. Like his father he was very quiet most of the time. Here he is in the 1950s with a passel of children hoping for a ride on the tractor. Even when we nearly burnt down the barn playing with matches he was pretty good about it. Years and years later we found out why. He had apparently nearly burned down that barn himself as a child playing with fire. He thought it might be a good idea to not tell us about his own misadventure until we grew out of the pyromania stage.
The only time other than his honeymoon that Joe was away from home was during the 3-1/2 years he served in the U.S. Army. Joe signed up in August 1942 and was released in January 1946. Prior to being shipped over to the Philippines he was based at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Joe was always good at making and fixing things and tinkering with mechanical objects, so for at least for some part of the war he had a good job as a movie projectionist on the Army base in the Philippines. He was a Technician 5th Grade and that is noted on his veteran’s memorial stone.
Joe and Stephie are buried together in Rural Hill Cemetery, Whitehouse, NJ, just a few miles from their home.