|Exclusive News and Interviews
By Ron Weber
I first met Wendy Trombetti (Parsons then) in my first year working for Amusements Of America. Wendy was the office manager for Phil Vivona's American Unit and she ruled with an iron fist. If there was any doubt who was running the unit, all you had to do was look in the office. Wendy stuck strictly to her office policies. Employees had to be clean shaven before they could come to the window for draws, you were to speak courteously at all times, if there was rule or a policy you were to follow it. Even Phil, try as he might, had a hard time getting around the rules she had set forth. If Phil needed money for some bills he had to turn in, he better fill out the paperwork like everyone else. There was no getting past Wendy and she ran a profitable, efficient office for the company.
Wendy was a huge promoter of the carnival business and its workers and she never let an opportunity pass where she could let the local people know of the positive economic impact of the show on the town. She was always the first to help local charities and disadvantaged children with tickets or food donations but she also wanted to be treated fairly by the businesses she would frequent while on the road. When getting a haircut in a town along the route one day, the owner, upon learning of her position asked her for free tickets and cotton candy. "Sure", said Wendy, "as long as I can get a free haircut"!
In addition to her office duties, Wendy was also an excellent host and cook. When Amusements Of America first received the contract for the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Wendy's trailer and court area quickly became an important stop on any trip around the midway for fair staff and carnival managers. Wendy cooked bean dips, cheese dips and various other snacks throughout the three weeks, keeping everyone in ample supply. She graciously hosted all visitors and her trailer was a place of fond memories and full stomachs.
In 1998 Wendy's husband Duke, Avery Wheelock and I launched a new carnival company, World Wide Entertainment Group. It was a daunting proposition and we had many positions to fill but, lucky for us, Wendy was able to cover most of them by herself. Wendy ran the new popcorn stand, helped Duke (or at least let him think she was only helping) with the game operation and ran the show's office. She dealt with committees, helped with p.r. and advertising, hiring and setting policies and procedures for the show. Wendy had unlimited energy and her enthusiasm was infectious. She was our biggest cheerleader, always encouraging and leading us forward and also our biggest critic, taking us all to task when we slacked off or didn't give 100%.
Wendy even enlisted the help of he mother June and her stepfather Dick Johnson. Dick and June had a freak animal show for many years and Wendy traveled with them. She worked on Strates Shows, in Conklin's office and later for Amusements Of America. Dick was now an accomplished ringmaster for many circuses and June was enjoying a semi-retirement. Wendy soon had them running stock, helping in the office and probably working harder then they ever had in their lives.
Wendy was very happy in life with one exception, she desperately wanted a child. Duke and Wendy had tried for several years without succes but undiscouraged, Wendy researched and continued to perservere. Early in the year 2000, Wendy and Duke's prayers were answered; she was pregnant with a baby girl. Wendy now took on another major project, preparing her house and her family for the arrival of Katie in October. Redecorations were made, assignments were handed out, parties were held and doctor's office visits were made. Through it all, she continued to run the office and bear all the responsibilities almost up until delivery time. In October Katie made her debut and Wendy was as happy as any mother could possibly be.
After Katie's birth Wendy had to make some reassignments. "Grandma June" was now head of child care and Wendy's duties were centered more and more around her house trailer and Katie's daily schedule. No matter who took over the jobs, Wendy always kept a watchful eye and offered plenty of help and advice.
In the offseason, Wendy was busy in the Ruskin area working with showmen's clubs, visiting family, hosting parties and entertaining visiting friends. The annual trade show was always a festive time at the Trombetti house. Whenever I would attend the trade show, Wendy's house was filled with an array of guests , food and drink. Duke invited practically everyone he knew to the house each night and Wendy always played the gracious host with visiting fair managers, business associates, friends and family.
When Wendy was first diagnosed with cancer, it came as an unbelievable shock to her friends and family. As usual, Wendy burst into action, researching every possible treatment, gathering the facts and information and keeping us all informed. She did this all while keeping Duke's business affairs in order.
As time went by, surgeries were performed, treatments attempted but the cancer still remained. Wendy moved on to another task, the planning of her own funeral. Wendy showed her characteristic strength and poise even in the face of death and began to make her own final arrangements, picking funeral plots and giving instructions for services. She was her own woman right to the end.
I last saw Wendy at the trade show this year in Gibtown. She had rallied her strength to come out to the place she loved so much and to attend the memorial service. She looked frail but she had a big smile and an inner strength that just radiates throughout her whole being. She asked me if I had been praying for her and I told her that I had and that all her friends had been doing the same. God of course had other plans but we have to trust that His vision is clearer, His purpose greater an His love deeper than we could ever imagine.
It is unbelievably sad and difficult to lose a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, especially someone so young and vibrant. We all feel the loss and will for a long time to come. On the other hand, we also have to be thankful for being so fortunate to have had such a strong, unique person person in our lives. Thankful for the impact she had on us, the example she showed and the great memories she left us and the beautiful daughter she left behind.
Wendy, thank you for all you have done for me and for all your friends, you had an enormous impact on all our lives.