Tuesday, December 6, 2011

GraceAnne (Graziana) Andreassi DeCandido, Reviewer, Part-Time Lecturer in Children´s Literature

My maternal grandmother, Grazietta Silverio, came to this country
from Chieti, Italy when she was 7 years old in 1913. She came with
her mother and sister on the Napoli and arrived through Philadelphia,
joining her father first in West Virginia and then in Western
Pennsylvania, where she lived the rest of her long life. (She died at
98.) She lived in coal and limestone mining country, and it was the
custom to take in boarders from the home country who also came to
find work. At age 16, she fell in love with one of these young men,
and when her parents thought them too young to marry, she took to her
bed in her room - my feisty, utterly practical grandmother - and
would not come out until her parents relented. One morning when she
was five months´ pregnant with my mother, he took his lunch bucket
and went to work and never came back. She later heard that he had
died in a train accident, but we never knew for sure. She married the
man I knew as "Tata" when my mother was two years old. My mother is
the girl on the far right of the photo, Grazietta is next to her with
dark hair, Tata is behind them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Betsy Bird, NYC Librarian and Blogger

"When I was a kid looking at my family's roots I was overwhelmed by the blahness of it all. Mine is strictly Western Europe stock. A German, English, Irish, Scottish background. The spiciest country in there is Norway (telling you something right there) when my great-great-grandfather Edward Hanson immigrated in the 1860s. No fool he, the man made for nice warm Oklahoma where he started his bakery. It was only as I got older that I learned to appreciate, if not the countries my people hail from, then at least the people themselves. For example, I don't know how many of you have photos of your great-grandmother goofing off in front of the camera circa 1901 with their sister-in-law, but I sure as heck do. That’s Edward’s daughter Clara (though for historical reasons of weirdness she preferred the name “Eunice”). So it gives me great pride to know that not only am I descended from strong farm folk who made a new life in a new country, but that some of them were goofballs as well."