This week Amy Johnson Crow‘s Topic for the 52 Week Challenge is “Invite to Dinner.” I have many, pretty much ALL of those who have gone before me I would love to talk to. But If I have to write about one (pair) it would be my great grand-parents Francesco Cavallone (1875-1953) and Rosa Libretti (1879-1956).
They arrived at Ellis Island in 1899 right after getting married in Sassano, Italy. I’d want to know how they experienced life in Central Italy. What drew them to America and specifically Chicago. I’d love to learn their recipes (though I love my grandparent’s gravy and pasta recipes). What made them make so many trips back and forth from Italy. I’d ask “Thetan Cheeck” (that’s what they called Francesco) where he was originally from because there are no records in Sassano of his birth or his parents Giuseppe Cavallone and Maria Giuseppa Furiati. Mama Rosa, yes. I don’t know of any Francesco’s siblings as of yet.
They settled at 4900 South Federal Street (previously Armour Ave) in Chicago and moved after 1940 to 837 West 51st Street. All of Thetan Cheek’s children resided in the same general block. My dad used to tell me that you couldn’t go anywhere without an aunt or an uncle and even older cousins (my oldest great aunt had children before my grandfather was born) knowing what you are up to.
I think it would be a blast to see this in person:
Come to think of it I’d love to be a part of this, my great grandparents and my great Aunts and Uncles back in the late 1940’s at Francesco and Rosa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. They didn’t have much, but Family was important.
(l-r) front: Vincenzo “Jimmy,” Antonia “Dora,” Francesco, Rosa, Catherine, Michael; back: my grandmother Frances Matroci holding my aunt Rosemary, shadowed in the back my great aunt Mary Biancamano, Joseph, Frank Merenda and my grandfather John Cavallone.
Ah, the thought of leaping back in time to learn about the family first hand. I think I’d prefer that over seeing the future.