The story behind Yesterday's Wreath

A family tradition begun in 1960 is renewed in a place where memories continue

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  • Provided phioto On Sunday, December 3, William Kudla, 92, and members of his family came to Yesterday's for lunch. The wreath was a total surprise and they posed inside for another photo. Rear from left, Yesterday's owner John Christison, Kim Kudla, Darlene Kudla-Grasso and Patricia Kudla Front from left, William Kudla, 92, and his grandson Bryson Nieves.

By Roger Gavan

— Visitors to downtown Warwick may have noticed that this year there is a huge wreath encircling the entire entrance to Yesterday's restaurant on Main Street.

The story behind that wreath begins with World War II veteran William Kudla and has been kept alive by the Kudla family and William Kudla's daughter Darlene Kudla-Grasso, a bartender and waitress at Yesterday's. .

After serving with the Marines in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Kudla married and then became the owner of a small floral supply business, where he made grave covers and wreaths in his garage during the holiday season.

The tradition begins in 1960And in 1960, being proud of the new home, he and his wife, Mary, had built, he decided to craft a giant wreath.

"Our favorite part of Christmas Day," said Kudla-Grasso, "was always the Kudla family photo inside the wreath."

Through the years, the family grew to six children and the tradition continued until Kudla, getting up in age, found it harder to continue making the wreath and had passed that skill down to his children.

Visions of dancing sugarplums"Over the last few years," said Kudla-Grasso, "busy holiday schedules have kept the tradition at bay. As a new employee at Yesterdays, I was welcomed with open arms. John and Peggy Christison treat their employees and customers like family. So, I felt very at home right from the start.

"One night as visions of sugarplums danced in my head," Kudla-Grasso continued, "I awoke with the idea of Yesterday's being the perfect place to hang the family wreath.

"With permission from the Kudla sisters, a perfectly orchestrated assembly line and 55 years later, another magical wreath was born. It now proudly hangs at Yesterdays, made with love from the Kudla family elves, William Kudla, Mary Kudla, Marion Kudla-Velechko, Patrica Kudla, Barbara Kudla-Rissman, Kenneth Kudla, Kim Kudla, and me."

SurpriseOn Sunday, Dec. 3, William Kudla, 92, and members of his family came to Yesterday's for lunch. The wreath was a total surprise and they posed inside for another photo.

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Warwick, NY