51-Serrapede Family in America April 18, 1931: It’s a girl! (Part 1)

Introduction: Events around Brooklyn on April 18, 1931

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Close-up of page 1 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle edition for April 18, 1931.

Weather forecast for April 18th-19th, 1931 in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

On Friday, April 18th, 1931 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s weather report stated that “at 8 a.m. the temperature in New York City was 52 degrees.” A milder day was ahead on Sunday, April 19th.

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Short news items from page 1 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Page one combined headline stories such as a crisis in Nicaragua and a movement by Catalonia to separate from Spain with many short news items that were not the stuff of headline news. They provided bits of information readers could discuss with their neighbors or co-workers. In Florida, Conkey P. Whitehead was being sued by a woman claiming breach of promise. Jack Guzik, a business manager for Chicago gangster Al Capone, pleaded guilty in Federal Court to income tax evasion. And in Brooklyn, New York restaurant owner Patrick White was taken to Greenpoint Hospital after a former employee punched him in the jaw.

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Mrs. John Krall of Queens is pictured with her three sets of twins on the day her youngest ones were baptized.

Page 2 featured a photo of Mrs. John Krall and her three sets of twins. Her latest pair was baptized on April 18th. Mrs. Krall had three other children not included in the photo. She lived in Middle Village, Queens. We know a family in Bath Beach, Brooklyn who were also celebrating a happy day on April 18, 1931. Sam and Josie Serrapede welcomed their first child, a girl, into the world. This baby girl’s birth never made it to the newspapers but in our family history it was big news.

The baby Josie and Sam named Emily Leatrice grew up to be Sammy’s big sister and my Mom. Her birth certificate provides many details that enable us to create a snap shot of what life was like at the time she was born.

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51a-Serrapede and Muro Families in America: How a baby book started the family history project

Introduction

Greetings to all. It is good to be back after Summer Break. Thanks to Michael Muro, Giuseppe and Vincenzo Carnicelli, the family of Antonio Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello, and the Dell’Amore family for the enjoyable entries they contributed to during June through August.

With this posting, Uncle Sammy and I begin a shift in the presentation of the Muro and Serrapede family history. While we still have official documentation to draw on, we realize that after the 1940 Federal Census there needs to be other sources of information that will add to or verify the narrative.

We are taking a creative approach by combining family stories, local history, news coverage, pop culture, and personal history. With all the resources available through the internet the possibilities are dazzling. To start, we won’t aim for dazzling or sparkling but hope you will enjoy this story about how the family history project got its start. If it touches the heart and warms the spirit that will be more than enough feedback for us.

EmilyAnn’s story: The Our Baby Book

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Cover of Our Baby, A book of Records and Memories.

I didn’t know what to make of Mom’s idea to use the “Our Baby, A book of Records and Memories” as a starting point for writing down her childhood memories. She bought this book while working at Brooklyn Union Gas during a long term temp assignment in the early 1990s. She said it put her into a cheerful frame of mind and provided the prompts she needed to recall specific times in her childhood. There were other journals and memory books on her bookshelf that she used to record other periods in her life. The end goal was to collect all these brief entries into a collection of vignettes and anecdotes about her life from childhood to young adulthood.

In the early 1990s through 1996 the internet was not part of our lives yet. I had taken creative writing courses in college but it was for the most part tedious and heavy handed. We read selected samples of different styles of writing. Then based on the sample we had to create something like it. There was no free writing, no prompts, nothing that got the creative juices going to take us on a journey into the flights of fancy creative writers can experience today. Thanks to the internet there is a wealth of techniques and exercises available. And then there are wonderful writing tools like 750words.com that keep one disciplined in their daily output. I’ve no idea where Mom got her unique approach to writing but it was working out well for her. As I watched the small collection of memories take written form, I thought there was something to the free form process she took using only illustrations to get started.

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Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto: Her life, her times and her legacy

Introduction

Over 120 years after her birth, my maternal Grandpa Sam’s sister Filomena is now among one of the most famous women from Agropoli.  Thanks to guidance from Michael Muro and Giuseppe Carnicelli, an Italian language article about Filomena is now available to our readers through the use of Google Translator.

Please note:  This is a translation from the Italian language version to English using Google Translator.  No attempt has been made to edit or change the original content.   The original material was created by Ernesto Apicella  for InfoCilento.  What we offer here is a translation for educational and informational purposes only.

The only changes made were to correct errors in the translation as follows:

*The pronoun his  was replaced with her  when describing Filomena’s parents.

*The words Saturday and Italy are replaced with the proper first names of Sabato and Italia. They were Filomena’s siblings.

*Giuseppe D’Agosto’s residence at 83 Baxter Street was located in Manhattan’s Little Italy, not in Brooklyn.

*Filomena’s daughter married into the Dell’Amore family.  The translation described her daughter ‘s married name as Love.  The Dell’Amore sauces were similarly translated as Love.

*Frank Dell’Amore was described as first her nephew and then her grandson.  We have translated that into Grandson.

*Turi is not her nephew but her Great-Grandson.

The article mentions Filomena and Giuseppe’s children by their Italian names:  Raffaela (Lillian), Franco, Emilia and Marta.  They were also known by their American names:  Lillian, Frank, Emily and Martha.  But most of the family used Emilia when addressing or mentioning the daughter of Filomena and Giuseppe D’Agosto.  This was done to distinguish her from Emily, the daughter of Sam Serrapede.  Both were named after their Grandmother Emilia Papplardo Serrapede.

Please use the link to the Italian language article.  There you will find photos of Filomena, her family and Old Agropoli.

The close-up of Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto  used below is from a photo in the collection Josie Muro Serrapede left to her daughter Emily.  In turn, Emily bequeathed the collection to her daughter EmilyAnn and brother Sammy.  These photos are watermarked to provide necessary credit for their source and direct any questions  about them to us.

Filomena’s grandsons have done honor to her memory and her culinary legacy  through the fine Italian sauces they offer.  Uncle Sammy and I like them all.  You may visit the Dell’Amore site at:  http://dellamore.com/

 

InfoCilento article about Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto

 

Close-up of Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto, mid-late 1930s.

Filomena Serrapede … the most famous Agropolese woman in the world
By Ernesto Apicella
Published on  March 7, 2017

InfoCilento
English translationhttp://tinyurl.com/y9u8eden
Italian Language (original article)http://tinyurl.com/y8clz8ko

The story full of sacrifices, renunciations, courage … of an Agropolese woman emigrated, in 1924, to the United States of America.

Between 1884 and 1930, the Agropolis population oscillated around five thousand people, half of whom lived constantly in the countryside.  The economy was predominantly agricultural, followed by fishing, sheep-farming and trade.  There was a good production of wine, oil and figs that were mostly sold in Italy and abroad.  Sheep, goats and pigs were raised for meat and milk production.  For jobs in fields and transport, donkeys, horses, buoys and buffaloes were used.

The most important districts were: High Agropoli (N’goppa Aruopole), residential and social center;  The “Marina” (Abbascio ‘a Marina), the naval and fishing pole;  C.so Garibaldi (‘U Cumune), the new shopping and tourist center;  The “Station”, the hub of the city and Cilento’s mobility.

” N ‘ Goppa Aruopole ” was the heart of Agropoli.  In its ancient walls was the social, economic and religious life of the Agropolises.  There were shops, taverns, a Salt and Tobacco Shop, two Pharmacies, a Post Office, three Churches, and all that could serve the primary needs.  At the song of the rooster, the village, as if enchantingly, was home to a thousand people who, going to work, crossed the ancient door and descended the stairs.  Peasants, fishermen, furnace workers, craftsmen, merchants, ready to face a long, tiring, grueling workday that ended at the fall of the sun.  The homecoming, a poor hot meal, the bed … what a life!  Between the ancient and narrow alleys, under the medieval arches, in the poor and neglected houses, in a few square meters, lived together: pains and joys;  Odi and amori;  Misery and nobility !!!

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Summer 2017: Michael Muro’s Trip to Italy, Part 3-A visit to the Aiello Family

Updated on 8-13-2017:

Thanks to Antonio Eugenio Aiello this posting is updated with the name, address and screen shots of the restaurant where Michael and the Aiello family had lunch.  The caption for the fifth photo was corrected.  Updated info is in italics.

Introduction

Cousin Michael Muro vacationed in Italy this July. He stayed in Agropoli with relatives including Giuseppe Carnicelli.  Giuseppe accompanied Michael when he travelled south to Calabria to visit Antonio Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello.  Antonio’s daughters Stefania and Sandra were also in town.  This was such a good development for Michael and Giuseppe.

It looks like the day in Calabria included lots of good food, good scenery, good company, and good conversation! Uncle Sammy and I are very happy that Cousin Michael had a chance to enjoy La Dolce Vita during this trip to Italy.

We introduced Giuseppe Carncicelli in two earlier postings.  Please see links in the Related Postings section.

Relationship Notes

Antonio Eugenio Aiello is the nephew of Michael’s paternal Grandmother Rose Aiello Marasco Muro.

Michael and Antonio connected after Antonio’s son Amedeo Aiello contacted me earlier this year. It is a beautiful thing to have facilitated the introduction through this blog and watch the relationship grow.

Ristorante Pesce Fresco

The Aiello family, Michael Muro and Giuseppe Carnicelli dined at the Ristorante Pesce Fresco.  The following screen shots from Google Maps provide the location and street view. 

Aerial view from Google Maps.  The orange dot denotes the restaurant location.

Street view from Google Maps. 

Michael Muro’s Photo Album: A visit with the Aiello Family of Calabria, July 2017

The white strip you see running across the sand on this beach is a concrete walkway. People can walk along it to avoid the hot sand.  When you reach a point where you want to be you can then go onto the sand.

At the beach (left to right): Antonio Eugenio Aiello, his wife Aldisa, Michael Muro, and Antonio’s daughters Stefania and Sandra.

The restaurant where Michael and the Aiello family had lunch is located near the beach. Around the table from left to right are:  Michael, Antonio Eugenio, Aldisa, Sandra and Stefania.

Michael enjoyed the meal which started with this dish of marinated fish, tuna and pink marinated onions.

The next course consisted of a choice of pasta with fish, spaghetti with claims and ravioli with scallops. Here are the raviolis.  Is anyone getting hungry?

Michael described the third course for me when I asked about how this fish was prepared. He told me that “There was a choice of swordfish or fish that was cleaned of the bones and split open with seasoning and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. This fish was served with the head which I had the waiter remove. Sorry but I don’t remember the name of this fish. But it was very good.”

At home with the Aiello family.  Left to right: Antonio Eugenio, Aldisa, Michael Muro, Sandra and Stefania.

Michael’s beautiful day in Calabria concluded with Antonio asking for some photos of the family members back in the U.S. And so the relationships will continue to grow and, we hope, flourish.

Related Postings

Summer Break 2017: Michael Muro’s trip to Italy, Part 1

Summer Break 2017: Michael Muro’s vacation in Italy, Part 2

 

Links to postings with photos of 1976 trip to Agropoli

One of our blog subscribers, Amy, asked about photos of the Carola Hotel which was featured in a family story in the previous posting.  I’m sorry to say that during my move into my current apartment things got lost including those photos.  The rest of the photos from the trip to Agropoli were included with the very earliest postings to this blog.  My Uncle and I decided to use them as a starting point for presenting different members of our family past and present.

I have compiled a list of all the postings that contain the photos.  It is not necessary to read through each posting since each photo has a caption that tells you where the photos were taken and who is featured in the photo.

I know this is a lot of clicking and scrolling but if you have the time you can take an armchair journey back to the Agropoli of 1976 when convenient to you and at your own pace.

3-The Byzantine Gate 1976
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/3-beginnings/

4-Agropoli Through the Centuries
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/4-agropoli-through-the-centuries/

5-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Luigi and Angela Maria
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/5-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-luigi-and-angela-maria/

6-Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Sabato and Filomena
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/6-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-sabato-and-filomena/

7a-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Gennaro and Rosa
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/7-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-gennaro-and-rosa-part-1/

30b-Muro Family in Agropoli-The house where Josie was born
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/30b-muro-family-in-agropoli-the-house-where-josie-was-born/

31a-Bella Italia in 1976:  Paestum
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/31a-bella-italia-in-1976-paestum/

31b-Bella Italia in 1976:  Amalfi
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/1258/

31c-Bella Italia in 1976:  Positano
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/31c-bella-italia-in-1976-positano/

31d-Bella Italia in 1976:  Gaeta
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/31d-bella-italia-in-1976-gaeta/

31e-Our last week in Italy, July 1976:  Back to Rome
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/31e-our-last-week-in-italy-july-1976-back-to-rome/

 

Family Story: The Carola Hotel

Title:  The Carola Hotel

Location:  Agropoli, Salerno, Campania, Italy

Occasion:  Visit to Muro and Serrapede Families in Our Ancestral Hometown

Time:  Summer 1976

My Maternal Grandparents, Josie (nee Muro) and Sam (Sabato) Serrapede, took me on a three week trip to Italy in the Summer of 1976.  The main purpose was to celebrate my Grandmother’s retirement and to reconnect with the family in Agropoli.  Both my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather were born in that town which is near Salerno in Campania Province.

Grandma Josie was firm that we were going to stay at the hotel because she wanted the comfort of all the modern conveniences.  I did not understand her emphasis until after we arrived in Agropoli.

The Carola was situated at the foot of the Old Town, a slight distance from the high hill upon which the Old Town is located.  There was a view of the beach from our room.  It was especially beautiful at sunrise.  I remember how the water looked bronze and the side of the hill began to light up from the base to the top as the sun climbed higher in the sky.  At night we could see the night fisherman out in their rowboats carrying lanterns.  I was told the light would stun the fish and make them less likely to escape from the nets.

The weather was very hot and on some days slightly humid, on other days dry.  I ended up taking two showers a day, frequently washing my hair.  The hotel did not have air conditioning at that time.

My Grandmother and I shared a room while my Grandfather had a large room to himself on the floor above us.  We could hear him from the terrace right above ours as he talked to friends who passed by on the street below.  Our room was very simple by American standards.  There were no rugs or fancy drapes or slip covers.  I’m glad there weren’t because the room would have felt too closed in during the hot weather.  The walls were smooth and painted a neutral color, beige or sand.  The furniture was very simple, too.  Everything was very neat, well-ordered and very clean.  Given how bright the sunlight could be and how hot the long days were, I found that simplicity and order all I needed to be satisfied with the comfort the room offered.

I didn’t appreciate just how much the conveniences at The Carola Hotel meant to me until we visited Grandpa Sam’s sister Italia.  She lived in a very, very old Pre-WWII building right at the foot of the stairs leading up to The Old Town.  It was quite an accomplishment that Italia’s family had gotten running water up to her apartment.  The toilet, though, was still a shared facility.  It was situated in a little room in the hallway of the floor where she lived.  Other tenants on the floor also used that toilet.  There were times a bucket of water had to be thrown down to ensure everything got flushed away.

I wasn’t aware that the Carola Hotel was owned by the family from which Mary Angela (née Carola) Muro’s father was born into.

Mary Angela was my Grandma Josie’s sister-in-law.  We always called Mary Angela by her nickname of Angie.  Angie was married to Grandma Josie’s younger brother Peter Muro.

On February 13, 2014 Claudia Muro, daughter-in-law of Angie and Peter Muro, told me the Carola Hotel was closed some time ago.  Claudia is married to Angie and Peter’s son, Robert Muro.

Claudia told me that the Carola Family operated the hotel and its restaurant separately.  She knew one of the cooks who worked at the restaurant.  He wanted very much to work in America and he loved Wilmerding, the Muro’s home town in the U.S.A.  He was unable to complete the process, though and could not come here to live and work.

As much as I loved visiting all the relatives, I was thankful we had the hotel room to retreat into each night while we were in Agropoli.  I enjoyed the quiet company of my Grandma Josie and the view of the beach each morning and night.  I needed that quiet time after all the sightseeing and visiting each day.

EmilyAnn Frances May

May 14, 2014

Family Story: “Special Conversations”

Introduction

This short story is a distillation of many memories I have of family get-togethers at holidays and throughout the year.  My maternal grandparents were not close to my paternal grandparents due to the friction between my parents as the years progressed.  Yet in that tug and pull that worked on me there was always a little oasis of calm wherever Grandma Josie’s sister Philomena was.  In her company I could even enjoy prolonged conversation with my paternal Grandmother Blanche.

Here I will share with you the bond I observed between Philomena  and my paternal Grandmother Blanche.

Relationship Notes

Philomena  was the sister of my maternal Grandmother Josie.  Technically she was my Great Aunt but because I was so close to my Mom I grew up calling her my Aunt.  There was no separation of the generations for me.

Blanche was my paternal Grandmother.

Family Story

Title:  Special Conversations

Summary:  Philomena was one of the few relatives who enjoyed long conversations with Blanche.

Place:  Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY 1950s to mid-1970s.

Grandma Blanche never backed down from a question and always had the confidence to stand firm on an issue.  One thing I always respected her for was her encouragement that I be consistent in my views and behavior.  Grandma Blanche said I was too easy-going and too eager to appease everyone, too quick to want to quell a conflict.  “Sometimes you have to stand ground,” she said firmly.  “You can’t always have peace between two people.  It’s not important if they like you or not.  They have to respect you.”  If I continued to make getting everyone to agree with me or with each other, she warned, I’d be here, there, everywhere and nowhere in terms of having any kind of a moral compass.

The relatives were polite to Blanche but kept their conversation to a minimum and of the most topical kind.  I’d watch my Aunts seek a retreat because once Blanche got started it was hard for her to stop.  The conversation could roll on and on and go back and forth between different time periods in her life .

At some point Grandma Blanche lapsed into the role of the Great Mom who knew everything and was going to make sure you learned about lessons her mother taught her or what she learned from experience.  Not everyone was always in the mood for a lesson, especially at holiday dinners.  There was never any offense taken but more a sense of wanting to be distracted by something else.  I’d watch whoever Grandma Blanche was seated next to offer to help wash the dishes or make the coffee.

The only person who sought Blanche out was Grandma Josie’s younger sister, Philomena.

Aunt Philomena was a quiet, modest woman of great faith.  She was especially devoted to the Blessed Mother and would share her experiences of prayer and divine intercession with whoever would ask her.  Aunt Philomena always said  she persevered through the many difficulties and challenges in her life only because she had a powerful advocate in the Blessed Mother.  Like Grandma Blanche, Aunt Philomena was also a teacher.  She just had a softer way but she was always insistent that God is in all things that happen to us.

Given Grandma Blanche’s belief that there were very definite forces for good and evil in the world I can now see how they would enjoy each other’s company.  I think that Grandma Blanche’s upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish home and Aunt Philomena’s great faith in God through devotional worship shaped them in different ways.  Yet they could look past the differences and find a common bond.   They both believed that in God there is mercy and justice, instruction and guidance.  Given how loquacious Grandma Blanche could be and how low key Aunt Philomena was they were an example of complementary forces in action.

 

EmilyAnn Frances May
Sunday, December 7, 2014