Oddenino Family History


John Francis Oddenino

John F. Oddenino at approximately 19 years of age

Luigi (Louis) Oddenino's second son with Mary Delph was John F. Oddenino, father of Louis Lee Oddenino.

John F. Oddenino was known by everyone, even his 12 kids, as Muhss. No one is sure of the origin of this nickname. Here is "Muhss" with his wife Alia and their twelve children:

His daughter Evelyn Oddenino shared these memories of her father, Muhss:

During the day he was always out working on the farm.

At night he would tell us kids ghost stories and he would really delight in telling these stories. After telling one, we kids would ask for more and he would oblige us.

Evelyn shared some of her ghost stories:

Kitty Cat Story - My favorite as a kid. Dad must have told this one "a thousand times." There was an old vacant house which many people said was haunted. A few men had attempted to spend the night there, but "fear"sent them home early. Now, there was on guy who bragged he could last throughout the night. So, he came all prepared to spend the night, lit the lamp, and planned to do some reading before going to bed. All of a sudden, a kitty cat starts walking around the lamp, and said to the man, "there is no one in this house tonight but you and me!" The scared man said to the cat, "there is going to be no one but you in this house tonight!" You bet he did a fast run from that place!

True story - time was 1937 or 1938. It was a very hot summer night, and I couldn't get to sleep because of the heat. After some time of lying awake, all of a sudden, it felt like two hands gave a hard push under my mattress. Up I went, but out of that bed into the other one in the same room. I felt "it" would not follow me. Knowing that my parents would not believe "my story" - I didn't run to them! Never told them, but many years later, my Dad was annoyed with the same problem. He felt "someone pushing" under his bed a few times, which really bothered him. Sorry, we have no answers to this weird stuff!

The year was 1971 - another mattress story - same house. This involved "quick movements or vibrations" in a top mattress, I could feel them "from head to toe." This went on for about 3 weeks (enough!) - I was glad to return to my bed in Arlington!

I was not to get off so easily on the same trip (1971). While there, I really got the scare of my life. At 3:00 a.m. one night, I was awakened to the sound of heavy foot-steps on the porch roof. As "it" went by my window, I "felt fear" about to take my heart! I yelled to my Mom downstairs to ask her if the cat ever got on the porch roof. She gave "a cool yes," which didn't help me at all. ( I had heard the cat story before.) Anyhow, I'll never believe "some animal" could make that much noise!

Same house:
Back in the mid 30's, my older Sis and I were doing dishes one night when the kitchen door-knob kept turning. It was quite dark outside, so we had already locked the door. We ran to our Dad to check behind that door. What do you think? A very large black dog was "pawing" that door-knob - our Dad had not seen "it" in the community ever! Was it really a dog, or what? (Some spirits can take on the form of certain animals.)

Same house:
Back in "the mid 50's," my parents were awakened one night to the strong smell of onions which seem to be coming from the kitchen area. At this time, my Grandpa (93) was very sick, on his way out. Fried potatoes with onions was his favorite dish. Keep in mind, this was his home long before my family. We think ha had com home to cook his "favorite dish" before passing over. Ha. My parents did not have any onions that day, and none in the house!

Coming up now will be ghost stories that I have heard over the years - believe them or not!!!

When as a young girl, one of my aunts went inside her house to get something one day. She "swears" that a deceased aunt of hers was playing her organ in the parlor!

When my grandmother passed on in 1961, one of her daughters was in the same room with her. She had turned off the light, but planned to sit up all night. She saw "a white light" flash through the room as her Mom passed on. Was alive just moments before the "white light" - true story.

A neighbor lady (in Aroda) was dying of cancer in a nearby Nursing home. The husband visited her on the night she died, but all the way home, (2 mile drive), a big black bird kept flying in front of the windshield. By morning, she was gone - the husband really believes "that bird" was trying to tell him something!

An older woman and her grown son moved into this old haunted house for a few years. The son "swears" that his mom returned there two weeks after passing. One day, the door opened, in walked Mom who asked him, "How are you doing" - then disappeared! Years before, people who lived there always complained about hearing the rattling of dishes in the kitchen area early in the mornings.

This is a true story-believe it or not! Come along with me to early July, 1940, around 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. My youngest brother, Al (age 9 at the time) goes upstairs to get a hammer which had been left there by my Mom the day before (Kids know everything, don't they?). While upstairs, he hears music playing, it seems to be coming from the attic area. He stopped by the kitchen to ask me if sister, Jane was playing records in the parlor.

At this time, Jane and several others were "playing house" nearby in the woods. So, Al, Charlie, (another brother) and I decided to go upstairs to check things out. Like "brave kids," we looked in every room, not a sound, until we started down the stairs. Wow! Music which seemed to be coming from the attic area sent the three of us out of that house real FAST!

Reported our story to Mom - who quickly brushed it off with, "It's all in your imagination!" However, a few minutes later, she said that she would check it out, but all the kids must stay outside. This 14 year old (1940) came right behind her, no permission asked! Well, my Mom had gotten half-way up the stairs, and my feet were on about the second step when "it" started to play, (I just felt a little chill again after all these years!). My Mom turned "very fast" on those steps, yelling for Johnny (Dad), so loud that any nearby neighbor might have heard her.

The music sounded like more than one instrument to me - it was "really loud" - I could never forget this part! My Dad was soon on the scene, hoping to quiet our fears. He found nothing - heard nothing. Removed from the attic an old Victrola with a broken arm to an outside building, thinking that might comfort us. In no way did it help! We, kids, would not go upstairs at night to sleep until our older sister got home at 10:30 p.m. from her job in town. This went on for a month - "got orders" then to return to our normal hour. The music was never heard again! I have to tell you this (my theory) - the ghost experts will take a little of the blame. Ha. I think Uncle Lawrence was back in his home "for a visit" that day - he had met tragedy at a young age - this can happen when "they" don't get to live out a full life. Who really knows??.

Son Charles Oddenino recalls:

Dad had a touch of humility, never made a big show, this was probably intensified by having a wife and 12 kids. Taking care of my mother was a full-time job for him. When she hollered “Johnny” she expected him to come running.

He was the calm one of the two parents. Never saw him get excited or argue with people in public. He always kept a low profile.

I used to go buy livestock with him up in the mountains where Skyline Drive is. Before the mountain people were removed and resettled in Oak Park area, we would go up in our Model A using a crate on our running board to haul pigs and calves out of the mountain. As years went by and the mountain people got battery operated radios they would listen to Baltimore stock prices and then we didn’t get such a good price because they wanted full retail price.

I remember some of the mountain people's names: Lambs, Weeklys, Taylors and others. They were real nice people but they wouldn’t deal with you until they got to know you or knew someone that had dealt with you. They were suspicious of revenuers.

We’d bring the animals we bought back and then sell them. In 1931 or 1932 we were buying little pigs for about 25 cents a piece. They used to feed on the acorns we had on our land as well as other food. It was fun going up with my dad to buy the livestock in the mountains. One time we bought a wild boar, hauled him home in a crate. Penned him in a pen, cut off his two inch tusks with a hacksaw, then Otis Bazzle castrated him and then we fed him corn and a few weeks later slaughtered him and that meat was so good. It was mostly lean meat. We would fry the “mountain oysters” and we thought they were delicious.

Muhss was usually a very kind father, I liked my dad. He did the best he could. He read a Catholic missal book and Bible pretty often and this was a good example for all the children. At age 7 or 8 we went to Culpeper to the Our Lady of Precious Blood Church near Main street near the 522 towards Sperryville, for catechism.

We never had much money but we always knew we could count on Granny Bazzle as well as our grandfather Louis Oddenino.

Muhss's son, John Jr., shared these recollections:

Muhss was a very hard worker. He also made money delivering mail for a number of years later in life.

Muhss also would keep old cars and sell the parts. Ma finally convinced him to put the old cars in the woods out of sight.

All the kids knew that Ma was the boss but everyone loved Muhss.

Ma yakked about Muhss’s junk but Ma ended up keeping it after he died.

Muhss would go out in the car and sell the produce from the farm. Often he would get John, Jr. to go in the car with him and John, Jr. would help sell the produce.

John Jr. on the name Muhss:

I think one of the older kids called him that and the name just stuck. Everyone just called him Muhss and he was called that until the day he died. My sister Teresa was called “Teeter” by the young kids who couldn’t pronounce Teresa but Teresa never liked that nickname but Muhss never seemed to mind.


Son David Oddenino recalls:

Ma could get upset at times and everyone knew she was upset.
All Muhss would say is “She’s got the hell in her” when Ma was upset.
Muhss never responded to her being upset, he was just calm and let her go on and he would walk away. He never argued with her.

Muhss worked hard and so did we. We didn’t have much, times were hard before the war. You were lucky to have something to eat, though everybody always did. Seems like we had fried potatoes and corn bread for supper almost everyday.

We worked during summertime thinning corn. All of us Oddenino boys would do it during the summer to make money from 7am to 6pm with an hour for lunch, then walk home, all for 50 cents a day. Later it was increased to $1 a day.

We would buy Pepsi Cola, peanuts and then pour the peanuts into the bottle for a real treat. We also used money to buy pants and shirts for school as well as books.

Mr. Joe Good would hire us Oddenino boys to run the thrashing machine to thrash wheat, oats, and barley. His place was in Ely, Virginia.
He treated us real nice. Joe Good paid for a whole day. Other farmers were much cheaper than Joe Good.

In spring, in fall and in summer, we always went barefoot to Radiant school. We always walked to the school.

Muhss always treated us kids good though.

Below is the Pedigree Chart for John Francis Oddenino:
Here is the Oddenino Family cemetery in Aroda, Virginia and a close-up of John F. Oddenino's tombstone: