Sunday, May 26, 2019
So, as he slows down at this fast rate, I'm faced with thinking about all the great things about him right now and in my whole life. My father's story is this: He came to America in 1956 and took a ship ( The Olympia, and Andrea Doria, which are famous historical ships) to get here, it was a 10 day journey on his first voyage. This trip he made several times over the first years as he went back and forth to support his family after he made his first minimal money here in the USA.
My father landed on Ellis Island, as one of the last immigrant groups to actually dock there, but obviously the more modern version. He settled in Newark, N.J., where my great uncle put him to work right off the boat. My father also worked for the American Can Company, which was also ( American Can Company ranked 97th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts)
After earning some money, my father religiously sent money back to his mother and sister in Reggio Calabria, literally just to survive.
My parents both grew up very poor and poverty was common in Calabria. Its was a very rural area (farm and agriculture) and with minimal work. Even to this day if you're not in law enforcement, educator or government employee you're basically living the poverty line. Today some families do well with their own businesses, but for the most part many emigrated out of Calabria and still do to this day and go towards either in Northern Italy or another country to sustain economic stability.
After World War II, my father was urged by my great uncle to come to America, so he could work and gain a better life. The reason this all unfolded during that era was my father was the oldest of the family and was basically responsible for the family after my grandfather was killed in World War II. My father's family never received official notice or my grandfather's body back from war, the government at the time sent a soldier to tell you that your loved one was killed in action. It was a tragic time then for my father. For my father when he was a small child he still remembers when German bomber planes were going over the mountains in Calabria and dropping bombs. They were all living in bomb shelters built in the mountains, my father said there were actual true stories where German soldiers took Italian and American soldiers and would drown them in the wine vats. My father also owned a goat who he loved that he said suffered a bomb injury from the shrapnel and eventually died. My father was was just a little boy, can you imagine the horror? Then fast forward to getting on a ship (mind you my father does not swim) to a country you know nothing about because you have to make money and basically hope your family survives, it was the 1950s but even so, poverty was a reality.