|The story of my
family has been told to me by Antonia who still
resides in Italy and told to me the story of my
great grandfather Armando, who was the brother of
begins like this ...
"They loved each other and
before leaving for America, Armando asked his
sister Antonia (grandmother of narrator) for one
hundred liras. Since she had no money, she went
to ask it to her daughter's godfather, offering
him her little gold in pledge. He gave her the
money without taking the gold, but with the
promise Armando would send money back once he was
Armando left and a year after
he sent his sister five hundred liras and the
godfather one hundred liras, coffee and sugar to
Too many years later, a friend
from America arrived and Antonia asked him news.
He told her Armando wore new and clean shirts now
and he didn't change the collars to the only
shirt as they used to do in Italy because they
were very poor. Probably he meant Armando
couldn't afford the journey since he spent his
money to live as Americans did.
In that same month Armando
arrived and the first person he met was my mother
while sitting in front of the weaving loom. She
didn't know him and when he asked her why she had
no shoes she readily answered she had shoes but
didn't put them on while weaving, and she added
her family needed nothing since her uncle Armando
sent them money from America while her sister
Annina sewed dresses for others.
Just then a relative came
downstairs and gave Armando a warm welcome so
that the mother realized she had refused to kiss
her uncle because she hadn't recognized him.
Everybody in the little town knew about Armando's
arrival and when Antonia came, they embraced and
cried. They stood like that for two hours then
she said to him: 'You shall not go away any
He met his wife Eleanora
Rossomanno and Antonia was sure Armando would
have lived in Italy forever but when Armando's
first son Marzialo Pantaleone was four years of
age, Armando asked his sister to follow him with
her two daughters, Annina and Agata to America.
She refused and he told her they would have to
meet in the next world."
Armando never forgot his sister
and when he died in 1937, his wife went on
sending something to his niece Annina who was not
married and some dresses for Agata. But after the
death of Eleanora in 1956, no one in the family
wrote Italian and the letters stopped. Annina had
died with the desire to meet their relatives and
Antonia promised she would go to the American
consulate in Rome to get news, but she never did.
Still it seems destined that
the family in America and the family in Italy
would meet. In the summer of 2007 Antonia's great
granddaughter Adele found this website and
emailed me. I can say with all honesty and much
sentiment, that our family in Italy has opened
their heart and home to me. Family is family. We
have missed, but never forgotten the other.