Dear Great-Grandfather Gennaro:
Look at how far we’ve come over the course of three generations in America! It is a little over a century since you made your trips to this country.
Your son Sabato Serrapede, my maternal Grandfather, went on to become a member of the Building Worker’s Union. For over 25 years he was a doorman at a luxury apartment building in New York City. He and Josie owned a two family home with spacious grounds including a garden large enough to grow roses, a little fig tree, zucchinis, tomatoes, basil and marigolds. Sabato retired with a generous pension and enjoyed a long and productive life.
Your Granddaughter, Emily Leatrice Serrapede, graduated high school with a Commercial Diploma in Secretarial Studies. Upon graduation she worked as a Legal Secretary and Office Manager for the Law Firm of Charles Graham. After returning to the workforce in the 1970s she attended night classes at New Utrecht High School. In the 1980s she attended the American Institute of Banking for Business English and Communications coursework. In the 1970s she worked executive secretary at European-American Bank. In the mid-1980s to early 1990s she was a Branch manager’s secretary at NatWest Bank on Graham Avenue in Brooklyn. Her entire life was all about learning and growing. She took that spirit into her personal life as well.
Your Grandson, Sabattino, graduated from college, served his country in the National Guard, and went on to be co-owner in a software development firm.
And then we come to me, your Great Granddaughter, EmilyAnn. I graduated Hunter College college with a B.A. in Language Arts and also took a three year course in dressmaking and patternmaking. I am employed as an executive assistant.
In my quiet times I can almost hear you and Grandpa Sabato talking about those writers from “The World’s Work” and laughing. “Well, we proved them wrong,” you say. Grandpa Sabato replies, “What would they know anyway? They weren’t Italian to begin with!”
I am writing this letter during the last week of 2014. I’m praying and looking forward to learning more about you in the year ahead. I do not believe that the 1913 trip to America is the last thing I’ll learn about you!
Your Great Granddaughter
The Serrapede family settles in Brooklyn, NY
The SS Normandie enroute to New York (circa 1935-1941). The New York skyline had changed since Gennaro travelled to the U.S. in the 1900s.
View of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1933. Several of Gennaro’s children settled in Brooklyn during the late 1920s into the early 1930s
Gennaro’s eldest child, Filomena, immigrated to America after her marriage to Giuseppe D’Agosto in the mid-1920s. Filomena’s brother Sabato stayed with her when he arrived in 1927. Sabato got married in 1930. In the early 1930s they moved to the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn where they raised their families. Their youngest brother Alfonso also settled in Brooklyn. We will be researching the immigration and census data for Filomena, Sabato and Alfonso in the months ahead.
Gennaro Serrapede was EmilyAnn’s Great-Grandfather along the maternal line.
Note: This posting, 11c, concludes the series “To my Great-Grandfather Gennaro”.
Photos of the SS Normandie and the Brooklyn Bridge
from the NYC Municipal Archives and posted at The Atlantic
“Historic Photos from NYC Municipal Archives”, April 27, 2012