time in Savignano and Usa: what I remember from my young time.
by Grace Maglione
Hi this is Grazietta Maglione from Florida. I would like remember my
time spent in Savignano before leaving it. And I would like to write the
presentation in my language, Italian language. I apologize for my mistakes,
but this is what I remember of Italian language.
Sono nata a Savignano nell'anno Domini 1933 and cresciuta al Castello.
Dopo la guerra mondiale, nel 1947, mio padre, che era in America chiamò
me e la mia cara madre, per venire in America. Io avevo 14 anni non ero
tanto contenta di lasciare il mio bel paese, i miei cari amici con i quali
siamo cresciuti insiemi... mi ricordo quel giorno che li ho lasciati,
come ieri. Tanti amici che piangevano mi accompagnarono alla stazione
ferroviaria. Ci siamo imbarcate a Napoli e dopo di 2 settimane in mare,
ci trovammo in America; passammo la statua della Liberta` alla mattina
ed era bellissima. Dopo ore nel treno siamo arrivati nel paese del mio
padre. Mi fece molta impressione di vedere le case fatte di legno. Sono
entrata alla scuola perche` io non sapevo la lingua Inglese e mi hanno
messa nella prima classe per imparare i numeri e l’alfabeto (i ragazzi
erano curioso perche` non parlavo).
La scuola era molto difficile per me. Dunque, ho finito le classi grandi
e dopo sono andata a lavorare come segretaria ( la vita per noi e stata
un po’ difficoltosa per tante cose). Cominciammo e vivere e dopo
di tanti anni di abitare nello stato di N.Y sono “scasata”
alla Florida per ragioni di salute. Sono ritornata a Savignano dopo di
25 anni e mi fece molta impressione come era cambiato: le strade erano
tanto belle, il paese era pulito, le pecore non camminavano nelle strade,
alla fontana Angelica ancora si poteva bere l'acqua. Ma piu` caro per
me fu di vedere i miei cari amici della fanciullezza. Ed ancora oggi ci
ricambiamo parole. Con l'aiuto del Signore prego che l'anno venturo posso
ritornare al mio carissimo paese specialmente per rivedere il mio Castello,
la tombola, la chiesa madre, dove ho preso il battesimo, la prima comunione,
la cresima (eh….ma si sapa dove si nascia` ma non si sapa dove si
This my italian language, sorry for my mistakes, so now i will use my
English to continue my story.
Growing up in Savignano, was very unique: I remember going to all’Asilo
at the age maybe 4 or older, mother making me the uniform, all the children's
wore them they were white, there were 5 or 6 suores' there one for cooking,
another for cleaning etc..one suora would take us outside where we would
play with other children's, we usually had lunch, than a nap, Nicolina
Masiello would come and pick me up..when mother was busy (she was a seamstress).
School was was 3 hours a day… in the winter was really difficult
the rooms were not heated.. we used take hot coal in a can from home to
warm our feets... i went as far as 5th grade.. my mother did not send
me to Ariano for high school because we were coming to the States... i
had a great childhood.. i grew up with so many Castellari, such as the
Miano family, Olga, Vittoria, Cristina, the Masiello Family, the Candela's,
Corragio's, and the L. Lombardi's family and so many too numerous to name
them all, and to this day I'm still very much in touch with all of them.........
I grew up with lots of children, the Castello was full of them... people
had big families, during the second war, there were hard time, some of
the people had nothing to eat, lots of families would go to bed hungry...
we were lucky, we had grain, which mother would take the grain to the
molino, to be grounded into flour, with that she used make bread, pasta,
she would make pizza with little oil and garlic, take to the forno and
get it baked.. it was simply delicious, she would share with some people...i
remember going on the Tombola and see far away when Napoli was bombed,
some of the people would come to our town as refugee's. As children's
we could not wait till le feste used to come, especially la festa di Santa
Anna… there were bancarelles/lined up on the Vittorio Emanuele Corso,
the vendors used to come from other place to sell nuts, candy, clothing,
shoes etc..sweets and gelato were a treat we only had them during feste
time... our food would consist of home made pasta, and greens, peas, fasullis,
cicatielli and minestra, still to this day its' one of my favorites,
I have never had a doll, than of course none of my friends had them, we
would play hide and seek, hop scotch, we usually would go to church every
night, especially at the Novena time, that was a must...
We did not have running water in the houses...so we used go to the Fontana
Angelica, to get water, to stand in line for it, the women would get into
disagreement and misunderstanding than of course arguments would start...
I remember there was a man that used come around with cow and we would
buy milk from him (he would milk the cow right there).
Our depart from Napoli, was a very painful one saying goodbye, to our
family and friends: the ship name was Marine Shark, an American ship.
We were accommodated below deck, no port windows in our cabin. As the
ship started to move, we all went on the deck to say goodbye (maybe) for
the last time to our family: tears were blinding me from seeing anyone..
we stayed there till we no longer could see our loved ones as the ship
started to leave Napoli. I knew that my life from that moment on would
never be the same... the food was plenty, but all American, which i did
not like.. I just ate some biscotti, that mother brought with her. The
motion of the sea made me terribly sick...than we hit a storm.. i thought
that the ship would go down, the waves were tremendous, many were sick.
After 14 days on the Atlantic Ocean, we arrived in New York.. as we passed
the statue Liberty, i marveled of the height of it, the splendor of it..
the very first time i saw the sky scrappers, amazing how tall they are.
Lucia Cavallari and her son Vito were traveling with us. We finally docked,
it was very confusing, everyone was trying to find their relations. Waving
their handkerchiefs, trying to locate their loved ones.
Someone asks me about Ellis Island and tells me that all people arrived
there had to stay in quarantine. They told me that the policeman asked
them about their life in Italy, why they had gone there, and that (not
very beautiful) they gave them some tests and questions (e. g. a policeman
asked a women how she washed the stairs; starting from top or from down.
And she replied: "I haven't gone here to wash stairs") to check
their QI (intelligent ratio). We (me and my mother) were lucky because
Ellis Island, was closed back in late 40's. We did not experienced what
people tell, we were not guaranteed. They only guaranteed people that
had diseases and we were never given a IQ test… to see if we were
intelligent or not. After going thru immigration we were free to go to
our destinations. I know that people went thru some rough time... than
of course like any organization there is always bad people working in
such places. We traveled by train to upstate New York. It took many hours.
As we traveled we just saw mountains and lakes...finally we arrived at
this small town Marathon, N.Y. We went to my father house: the house was
made of wood, what impressed me the most that the house had running water
hot and cold... was comfortable.. I started school, for me it was a difficult,
because of the language barrier, i was placed in the first grade.. the
teacher were very understanding and patience, they taught me how to speak,
after i learned the language made friends.. life was more bearable.. but
i missed Savignano, my friends, the life that i knew.
So, I attended the American school and I would like tell you my time at
American school. The school started at 8:00 A.M. as i advanced in grades,
we had to change classes, from one teacher to another for different subjects
such as English, Arithmetic's, languages etc. I had 1 hour for lunch and
sometimes i would go home for lunch at times i would stay in school. They
had a cafeteria and lunch would consisted of hot food such as meatloaf,
mashed potatoes varieties of food, all around a well balance meal were
served everyday. They also had activities, such as gymnastics, basketball,
soccer many sports: i tried to join as many as i could becouse i liked
sports. School would be out around 3:15 P.M. School was much different
than the ones in Savignano. It is mandatory from the N.Y.State to stay
in school till the age of 16 years old, after that one can quit school.
As years go by one gets used of living in America, customs are very different
from Italia. Grown up i did not associate with Italians, cause were i
lived there were none, and so I accepted the American style. For so many
reasons i could not returned to Savignano, it took 25 years before i could
returned to my home land, I remember as i made that decision to go home..
i wondered if i would be accepted by my friends, but should have had not
any doubt...what i was amazed was that everything looked so small, the
very first thing i done was to go al Castello, la tombola, memories of
the fanciullezza were so vivid, the chiesa madra, were i prayed as a child,
it was incredible, just loved being there, I have lived in America all
my adult life, but my heart and soul will always be al Castello the place
of my birth.