Monday, April 10, 2006

Info on Why Martha and Ben go to Italy, Part 2?

The following story was written by Martha S. Taccarino.

Today's blog entry is a continuation of another blog posting titled "
Info on Why Martha and Ben go to Italy?", dated Wednesday, March 1, 2006.

To enlarge Figure #1 below or any of the photographs, please click on the image.

Where did we leave off? My nonno (grandfather, Tony) had gone to sea at age 12. His first voyage started in Napoli on June 26, 1890. The woman who was to become his wife was just 2 years old. She was born in June, 1888 in nearby Sorrento. His seaman’s log shows that the voyage lasted 5 months and 23 days.

He was steadily promoted. His last voyage started in Nice, France in April, 1909 and ended in Naples on May 5, 1909. That was his last voyage as a seaman. He had been at sea a total of 188 months and 23 days. He was 31 years old. Along the way he had somehow met the woman who was to become his wife, my grandmother, Marianna Maresca. (Somehow in America she became known as Anna) The family stories that I have heard, tell that she was the daughter of a ship outfitter. She was from a well-to-do family who opposed her marriage to a seaman. She was being trained to sing opera. But she defied her parents and married my grandfather anyway on December 31, 1908 in Meta. Here is a copy of their marriage certificate.
Figure #1 - Marriage Certificate

They must have lived in Meta or Naples for a while because my grandfather was still at sea. His younger sister, Concetta, had married and emigrated to the United States. She and her husband were living outside of Ocean City, New Jersey. My grandfather left Italy on the SS Indiana on May 31, 1909 and arrived at Ellis Island on June 14, 1909. I had a hard time finding the records of this. Finally, Fred, the husband of my cousin Jeanne, was working on the Ellis Island web site putting in combinations of spellings of the last name and found the entry. The entry (under the name Jaccarino) shows my grandfather going to live with his sister and her husband. I understand that he went to work in the lumber yard and saved money. My grandmother left Naples on October 18, 1909 on the SS Verona and arrived in Philadelphia on November 1, 1909. She arrived without money and my grandfather had to pay for her travels when she arrived.

Grandfather continued to work in the lumber/building trade and they built a house which still stands in Ocean City. I have a copy of a picture (that doesn’t reproduce well) showing the two of them with their growing family. A sign over the porch says “Rainbow” because they felt they had reached the end of the rainbow and were truly living a good life. They went on to have 8 children. Here are some of the pictures of them growing up. My grand parents are the 2 adults to the right. The other young woman was my grandfather’s niece, Lucy, the daughter of his sister, Concetta. My father, Frank is standing between his parents.

Photograph #1 - Family on bench
In this photograph below, my uncle Lou is the baby on his mother’s lap so these pictures were probably taken in 1919 or 1920.

Photograph #2 - Family in automobile

This is a picture that I just received from my Aunt Pauline who now lives in Florida. It is undated but shows my grandparents before my grandfather became ill.

Photograph #3 - Grandparents

Two more children were born after this. In 1923 my grandfather went to work as the Chief Engineer of Ocean City High School a few blocks down from their house. He worked there for 26 years, retiring only a few months before his death. These pictures were probably taken in 1946 or 1947. All the sons were home from fighting in WWII. My mother is proudly holding up my brother and you can just see Frank, my father, next to him.

Photograph #4 - Family in kitchen, Ocean City, NJ

But this is not the best picture of them all. The best picture and the one that I have framed and hanging is this one. Those are my uncles and one of my aunts standing. My grandparents are seated and my great aunt, Concetta, (grandfather’s sister) is seated on the arm of the chair. My grandmother and great aunt have on party hats! Look at the angle of Concetta’s hat. It looks like they were having so much fun.

Photograph #5 - Family in living room, Ocean City, NJ

Ocean City is a small town. All these sons and daughters grew up, married and took responsible positions. They became a teacher, a nurse, a plumbing and heating contractor, the police chief, the fire chief, a restaurant owner, a shop owner, and a bar owner. A few moved away but most stayed in or near Ocean City. You can still go today and use the Taccarino name and anyone who has lived in Ocean City for more than a few years will recognize it. The children of those first sons and daughters have now grown up and followed in their parents’ footsteps, choosing the same careers or just continuing the family business. And some of them have had children of their own who have now had children.

Photograph #6 - August, 2004, descendants and their spouses of Tony and Anna Taccarino

I have just finished reading two books by an Italian-American author, Paul Paolicelli (Dances with Luigi and Under the Southern Sun). In these books he recounts his experience tracing his grandparents. The quote I like from Under the Southern Sun is “As Nené Troncale would say, our people brought values with them to America, not valuables.”

The first installment of this [blog entry] celebrated my grandfather’s birthday. This part celebrates, April 10, the anniversary of my father’s birth and the wedding anniversary of my cousin, Bonnie and her husband Pete.

In 2008, it will be the 100th anniversary of my grandparents’ wedding. I hope to be living in Italy by then and continuing to search for more cousins. Whether I live there or not, I plan to visit Meta on December 31, 2008 and drink a toast to Tony and Anna who were adventurous, made sacrifices, took risks, worked hard to provide a good life for their family and gave me a heritage that I am proud of.

That's it for Monday, 10 April 2006: lunedì, 1o aprile 2006

Ciao, Ben

Today’s quote is an Italian proverb, author unknown.

"Tutto è bene quello che finisce bene."
All's well that ends well.

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