Sunday, May 4, 2014
La Famiglia -- Immigrant Anniversary: May 4, 1931
This morning, I got an email from one of my many paternal cousins, Christopher Gorman that made me stop, think and be grateful for my large and extended family. Here's what it said:
Just a reminder that on this day in 1931, Giuseppina, Gilda, and Ralph
Aquino came to America. All of these years later, while we are
scattered around the country and the globe, we can take pride in what
unites us all: our collective history as a family. Look at how far we
have come, imagine how much further we will go...
Giuseppina is my grandmother, or Josephine in English, and she's the lovely woman pictured above. My Aunt Gilda and my Uncle Ralph were both born in Cosenza and came to the United States with their mother through Ellis Island to join their father in New York. My Aunt Mary and then my father, Michele, and his twin brother Anthony, were born in the next five years and lived in an apartment above a firehouse on 139th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem. Here's my Aunt Gilda with my father sometime in the 1950s:
I've written snippets here and there about my Italian family -- here's a portrait of my grandmother -- and could probably fill a hundred volumes with stories about growing up with such a rich heritage. Both grandparents, Aunt Gilda and Uncle Ralph have died, and we all miss them so much, but we are still very rich in numbers and heritage, connected by the simple peasant couple from southern Italy who, I can imagine, never dreamed what might happen when they landed on that tiny island 83 years ago.