Living room keeps aerial service owner grounded to family history
For The Press
‘My Happy Place’ is a weekly Press series in which local notables take us on a tour of a favorite spot in their home.(tncms-asset)ed661a84-4189-5c42-b4c6-40b6f8ebf6b2(/tncms-asset)
After a day of dealing with planes and banners, the owner of Paramount Air Service, which offers local aerial advertising, likes to reflect on her family’s history that is displayed in her happy place.
Barbara Tomalino, 65, of Cape May Court House, considers the living room of her early 20th-century home her happy place because pictures of past generations are displayed.
When Tomalino’s grandmother, Lillian Wolfinger, sold her home in Philadelphia to move to a downtown apartment, she told her 13 grandchildren to come and take what they’d like. Tomalino asked for the photographs.
“So she sat with me and told me what they were and who they were. Then she ended up giving me other things as well,” Tomalino said, adding that she also has other heirlooms that represent her family’s German, Finnish, Italian and French heritage.
Among the people in the photographs above her centerpiece mantle is Andre Tomalino, her father, who was a glider pilot during World War II. After his service, at 25, he started Paramount Air Service with Grover Kauffman, her uncle, in 1945.
“I can remember so often my dad would say, ‘OK, let’s go somewhere for lunch’ and we’d get in the airplane and fly somewhere for lunch,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”
After Kauffman moved on to the restaurant business, and Andre Tomalino wanted to retire, Barbara and her husband bought the business in 1985. They have been running it ever since.
Also displayed in Tomalino’s living room is a photo of her great-great uncle, who was a Zouave in the French Foreign Legion during the late 1800s.
“Can you imagine that as a military uniform?” she asked in recognition of how unlike they are to anything worn today.
Next to the living room, two French paintings from the early 1900s that were made for her grandparents as wedding gifts are showcased.
Throughout the house are Persian rugs her grandfather liked to collect.
Tomalino also enjoys her living room because it is near the kitchen, where she loves to pull out her KitchenAid and bake.
“It’s sort of a release, if you will, just from the stresses of everything,” she said. “Worrying about my pilots or worrying about anything else that might be going on at work.”
Homemade cookies and cakes are some of the many pastries on her new counter.
The kitchen recently went through a remodel after a hot water pipe burst, which ruined it “from top to bottom.”
Tomalino added new cabinetry, marble, back splash and flooring.
“Every plane that went by when I was a child was Dad,” she said.
Now, her father, along with the rest of her family, is within her “happy place.”