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Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Special thanks to Abbie's cousin, Kitti Rienzo Bassi for sharing her story and relationship with the U.S. military starting from birth throughout her life. We know being a mother has its pleasures and hardships, but the wife of an officer of the U.S. Navy can be a constant juggle with plans cut short or extended depending on their loved ones' mission. We love, appreciate, and celebrate all of the military wives and mothers who sacrifice for our country. This being National Teacher Appreciation Week too, we thank you, Kitti for your contributions to education at various times and locations during your travels.

Here's to Kitti! Happy Mothers' Day!


I was born in NY City in 1944, during the war. I don’t remember much but it was filled with stories about the "blackout", and how my mother saved the meat she was served while she was in the hospital having my brother because she knew I loved meat. I do remember going to my Uncle Sal’s funeral when they were allowed to return the bodies of those who passed during the war. My Uncles were heroes because they fought in the war. My Grandmother always wore black.

We moved out to Long Island when I was five. Phil Bassi played on my dad’s Little League All- Star Team and that’s how I met him.

After we got married we moved to Annapolis, Maryland and then moved to Athens, Georgia two weeks before my first child, Rich was born. Phil graduated from Supply Corp school six months later, and left to go for the Mediterranean while I lived with my parents for eight months. Phil returned and we lived in Norfolk, Virginia until he was deployed again, so I went back to live with my parents. That was when my second child, Catherine was born. Phil finally saw Cathrine when she was three months old.

We moved to Williamsburg, Virginia and lived there for two wonderful years. The next several years we lived at Cheatham Annex in Virginia and in England. The children went to British schools while I taught at a nursery school.

We returned to the US and moved to Virginia Beach. Richard and Catherine had British accents, Cath kept hers, as being a first grader she loved the attention. Rich wanted to become American and we’d hear him practice and talking like Fonzie on Happy Days. We lived there for four years, the last two Phil and I decided that I would stay in Virginia Beach with the children and he would go to his new duty station in Gulfport, Mississippi. He was with the Seabees and was deployed twice during this time.

When Phil returned we moved to Rhode Island where he went to the Junior War College for a year and then to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. While there I had to have emergency surgery and was in the hospital for over two weeks. I got better and began teaching an exercise class. Phil was short toured after two years and moved on to the Naval Academy where we stayed for six years. I taught school for two years and even got to coach the Navy cheerleaders.

Phil retired and coached football. We lived in Gettysburg for two football seasons then moved back to Mechanicsburg where he coached at Dickinson College. I had a variety of jobs during this time including a substitute teacher and working at a bookstore. I got a job that I loved working with pregnant teenagers working towards getting their GED and learning life skills.

We are now retired, enjoying our many grandchildren and our fishing boat "The Mama Too".

Kitti's husband, Phil Bassi retired as a Commander, her son, Richard Bassi retired a Captain, and her daughter-in-law, Shannon Bassi retired as a Lieutenant all from the United States Navy.


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