Family Story: “Please Stay!”

Introduction

Nick and Rose Muro are my maternal Great Grandparents through my Grandmother Josie Muro Serrapede.  Philomena and Rosie were my Grandmother’s sisters and my Great Aunts.  Since I was so close to my Mom and her generation I called them my Aunties.

This story is about Auntie Philomena.

Philomena’s mother Letizia passed away when she was a young child.  Nicola married again a few months later.  His new wife, Rosina, was a widow with a young son.  Rosina had five small children to become a mother to upon marrying Nicola.  She enforced her new role through the strict manner in which she ran the household.

Everyone in Wilmerding called Nicola and Rosina by their American names, Nick and Rose.  Their American names are used in the telling of this story.

Family Story

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Philomena Muro circa early-mid 1930s.

Title:  “Please stay!”

Time Period:  1930s through 1940s

Locations:  Wilmerding, PA and Brooklyn, NY

Summary:  Coming to America dealt a change in lifestyle Nicola never expected.

Nick journeyed to Calabria after the death of his first wife Letizia.  He met and proposed to Rose while there.  Rose, a young widow with one son, accepted his proposal.  They were married within the year.  Rose had a big job waiting for her in America:  to become mother to Nick’s 5 young children by Letizia.

Rose soon began having her own children by Nicola.  As the household increased in size Letizia’s oldest children got more chores to do everyday.  Rose wanted to be a mother to all the children but her strictness did not lend itself to that perception amongst Letizia’s children.  Although Letizia and Rose’s children got along very well and had good relationships for all their lives, Letizia’s children were never completely on-course with Rose.

Letizia’s three daughters were, in this order, Josie, Philomena and Rosie.

Josie was the first to leave in the late 1920s to get a job in Brooklyn.  She married within 18 months and made Brooklyn her new hometown.  Back in Wilmerding, the extra chores then fell on the next of Letizia’s daughters, Philomena.  Every morning she had to clean the floors in the children’s rooms.  Philomena was up very early mopping the floors and scrubbing the corners of the rooms.  All this was completed before she went to school.

After graduating school at age 14 Philomena decided she had enough.  Once her sister Josie was married and living on 66th Street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, Philomena slowly considered, prayed and eventually realized her plans to came up to Brooklyn.   This happened within a few years of graduating.

Nick pleaded with Philomena to stay in Wilmerding.  His sons Louis and Peter were also going out-of-state in search of work.  Nick said, “Dearest daughter, per piacere! Stay with us.  My blood is going all over the country.”  Philomena was not moved.  She proceeded with her plans.

Philomena got on board the train and made it up to New York.  She headed straight for Josie and her brother-in-law Sam.  Once she had gotten a job, Philomena had a discussion with her brother-in-law Sam.  Sam said it was better that Philomena get her own place.  The apartment he and Josie shared could not accommodate another adult since his daughter Emily needed her own room. Sam and Josie wanted to have another baby, too.

Philomena persevered and succeeded.  Her hard work and gentle nature won over a family in the theater who hired her as a nanny.  That was an experience Philomena always treasured and a story for another time.

In time Rosie came up to Brooklyn, too.  She had the assistance of Josie and Philomena.

Nick was saddened by the movement of his children away from the town he had settled in.  He had expected them to remain close so he could see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in future years.

This was America and the family dynamic had changed.  Even if Letizia had not died the Muro family was no longer in Agropoli.  America offered opportunities family never had back in Italy.  Sooner or later, the movement away from the first generation who settled here was going to happen.

—As told to EmilyAnn Frances May by Philomena’s son
November 1, 2015

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

I received a few photos and an update from Michael Muro today.  The weather in Agropoli continues to be very hot and very humid.  Michael is staying with the family of Giuseppe Carnicelli, the cousin I met during our May meet-up in Brooklyn Heights.

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July is a festive month for Giuseppe and his brother Vincenzo.  They both celebrate birthdays this month.    Vincenzo will turn 23 on July 29th.  This photo of (left to right, Vincenzo, Michael and Giuseppe) was taken at Nero Cafe in Agropoli.  I love the bright, upbeat colors in the décor.

Giuseppe’s birthday was on July 11th.  The combination of birthday cake and champagne is irresistible!   Uncle Sammy and I wish both brothers a very good year ahead.

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A festival was recently held during the time Michael has been in Agropoli.  Here we see the Piazza all lit up.  I love the way the colors of the lights are so vivid against the night sky and the old buildings surrounding the piazza.

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Michael also had time to visit another cousin from the Carnicelli family, too.  Michele lives in Santa Maria which is about 20 minutes from Agropoli.  His mother is from the Carnicelli family.  I think I see some resemblance between Michael and Michele.

Giuseppe continues to take courses online with the school in Pittsburgh where he studied English conversation, reading and writing this past Spring while he was in the U.S. visiting Michael.  On Saturday, July 25th Michael and Giuseppe head to Calabria for another get-together with the newly discovered relatives of his Grandma Rose.  Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello and their children will spend a day with Michael.  He’s promised more photos along with all the details.  Eugenio is Rose’s nephew.

Uncle Sammy and I wish Michael safe travels, sunny weather and the continued pleasure of good company during this last phase of his vacation in Italy.

 

Family Story: “Made with Love”

Introduction

 

Zia Elisa circa early 1940s.

Elisa Scotti was born on September 4, 1891 in Agropoli.  She came to the United States in 1912 and settled in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania where her twin sisters, Concetta and Letizia were living and raising their families.  In the 1920s, Elisa and her husband Vincenzo moved to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York.  Elisa was Letizia’s youngest sister and played a role in the life of Letizia’s daughter Josie that was very close and very important to Josie.  Elisa’s youngest daughter Rita and Josie’s daughter Emily grew up as cousins and best friends.

Letizia had two more daughters, Philomena and Rose (Rosie). This family story is from Philomena’s son.  I hope you will sense something about Elisa from the telling.

Everyone called Elisa, Zia Elisa, even her Grand Nieces and Nephews.  This is how I address her, too, since this is how my Mom and Grandmother Josie discussed their memories with me.  There was no separation of the generations and no designations such as Great Aunt, Grand  Aunt, and so on.  Zia means Aunt, but the manner and tone in which we used it, Grandma Josie, Mom and me, was more in the sense of Auntie.

Family Story:  Made with Love

Place:  Brooklyn, NY

Time:  Mid-Late 1960s

Summary:  A blanket made as a gift over 50 years ago keeps on giving love and warmth.

“Zia Elisa crocheted a very large, thick blanket for me.  I was headed off to grad school.  She said she wanted to be sure I was warm in the winters.  I was to attend university in Upstate New York.   Winters up there are always colder than downstate.

“The blanket endured dorm life and several moves.  Here it is.  It’s been washed and cleaned and hung to dry over and over.

” It was not only made with love but was made to last.”

I was amazed when I saw the blanket.  It’s of the kind we call an Afghan.  It is well used but is still in good condition.  The design of tan and dark brown chevrons looks like it was made with acrylic yarn.

Zia Elisa’s Great Nephew wasn’t the only one who used the blanket made with love.  Zia Elisa passed away in 1988.  She did not live to see that her niece Philomena would also use the blanket when she needed care and went to live with her son, the one for whom Zia Elisa first made the blanket.

 

As told to EmilyAnn Frances May
September 30, 2014 Tuesday 6:44 p.m.

 

Family Stories: “Free samples”

Introduction

Nicola “Nick” Muro, 1950s.

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to share some very short stories that are finally being attached to the family members of the Serrapede-Muro Family tree.   I began writing down the stories in 2013.  They vary in tone and content.  Some are vivid, others more a recall of an event so long ago.  All are recorded in a manner that I hope conveys something of the people in the story.  The way in which each one is told also reveals a little about the person telling the story, too.

The following story is about my maternal Great Grandfather Nick Muro.  He ran a small grocery store located on the ground floor of the building he owned on State Street in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.

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Family Story:  “Free Samples”

Time Period:  Late 1940s to mid 1950s

Location:  Wilmerding, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA

Summary:  Nick’s attempts to attract new customers doesn’t work out as he expected.

Nick was a very generous man.  He had a kind heart, too.  If anyone from the plant(1) was laid off or had a decrease in hours they often experienced hardship.  Nick would extend credit to them when they came to buy groceries.

One customer, though, took advantage of Nick’s kindness.  This customer’s wife came into the store and told Nick not to give her husband credit.  “The money he saves here, he drinks away at the bar,” she told Nick.  Nick understood the wife and put up a sign that said, “Do not give any credit to Mr. _____.”  When the other shopkeepers heard the story in private from Nick, they also refused to give this man any credit.

Nick wanted to get more customers into his store so he had his wife Rose cook up some dishes using the fresh vegetables he was getting into the store.  Corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions–all were made into tasty dishes which Nick put out for anyone to try.

Many people started coming in first on their own, then with their children.  Rose told Nick, “We should open a restaurant if you’re tired of the grocery business.  What’s going on here?”

Nick told Rose he wanted to extend the experiment a little longer.  When no new customers resulted from this promotion he stopped offering the free samples.  None of the people who had come to eat at the store came back to buy groceries from him.

 

—As told to EmilyAnn Frances May  by one of Nick’s grandsons, who is still living in Brooklyn, on January 9, 2016.  His mother Filomena was the daughter of Nick by his first wife Letizia.

 

(1) WABCo (Westinghouse Air Brake Co.)

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

Introduction

In this posting I share some updates on the Memorial Day Carnicelli-Muro family meet-up I joined and some details about Michael’s current trip to Italy.

Relationship Notes

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Michael Muro’s and EmilyAnn May’s pedigree charts showing our common ancestor, eNicola (Nick) Muro.  EmilyAnn’s shows just her maternal line.

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EmilyAnn’s Pedigree Chart showing descent from her4th Great Grandmother, Giuseppa Carnicelli

–Michael Muro, Nick Muro and I share Nicola Muro as our common ancestor.
Nicola (Nick after coming to the U.S.) Muro was Michael and Nick’s paternal Grandfather.
Nicola was my Great Grandfather through the maternal line.

–Giuseppe Carnicelli is descended from the branch of the Carnicelli family from which my 4th Great Grandmother Giuseppa Carnicelli came from.
Like other descendants with ancestors from Agropoli, Michael Muro also has a connection with the Carnicelli family.  Micheal and Giuseppe are cousins.

We have not discovered the common ancestor between Giuseppe Carnicelli and me but perhaps in time we will.

Like Michael, I consider the connection a living one.  And in keeping with the Muro family approach, we call each other Cousin.  There is no such thing as First, Second, Third or Cousin 1 time removed, 2 times removed and so on.  We share bloodlines and a common ancestral hometown.  Good enough–it’s all family!

Our Memorial Day Get-together

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At the Brooklyn Wine Bar.  Left to right:  Giuseppe, Michael and Nick.

During Memorial Day weekend I had a very pleasant meet-up with Cousins Michael and Nick Muro.  I met another relative I now consider a cousin, Giuseppe Carnicelli.  Giuseppe stayed with Michael for three months while they toured several towns and visited relatives in the U.S.  At the same time Giuseppe took English language conversation, reading and writing classes in Pittsburgh during the times they were not travelling.

We met up at The Brooklyn Wine Bar in historic Brooklyn Heights.  The venue was much, much smaller than the way it appeared on their website and the menu much more limited on a weekend.  What made the afternoon memorable was sharing our family stories and catching up all recent developments.  After lunch we took a short walk around Brooklyn Heights to make sure we sent Giuseppe back to Agropoli with some scenes that included shots in front of brownstones, old townhouses and a park in the area.

Photos from the Muro-Carnicelli Get-together, Sunday May 28th, 2017

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Nick Muro, Giuseppe Carnicelli and Michael Muro in park across from the Brooklyn Wine Bar.

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Giuseppe Carnicelli outside one of the historic townhouses in Brooklyn Heights.

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Pretty townhouses aside, we couldn’t leave Brooklyn Heights before getting a photo of Giuseppe in front of a brownstone house.  Many of these brownstones are 100 years old or more.

Update from Michael Muro while he is vacationing in Italy

I heard from Michael this past week.  After July 4th he returned to Italy with Giuseppe.  Giuseppe continues with his English studies via Skype three times a week.  Michael thinks he will do well when he takes an exam on his English langage skills for admission to the University in Torino next month.

On either July 28th or 29th Michael and Giuseppe will travel to Calabria to visit Antonio Aiello, the nephew of Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro (Michael’s Grandmother).   Antonio and his wife Aldisa will be there.  Antonio’s son and two daughters will be in town as well.  Michael is looking forward to meeting more of his newly discovered relatives from Calabria and learning more about his beloved Grandma Rose, as well.  Antonio shared many letters and photos during the last visit.

Michael will share more about his vacation in the weeks ahead.

For more details on Michael’s first meeting with Antonio and Aldisa please visit this posting:  https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/46g-aiello-family-of-calabria-connecting-with-the-family-of-rosina-aiello-marasco-muro/

Summer Break, July 2017

Update July 5, 2017:  I have received many positive responses here and by email to the inclusion of the YouTube clip featuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Scene from the 1977 film “Saturday Night Fever”.  The film was shot entirely on location in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Bensonhurst and other nearby neighborhoods.  It tells the story of a young Italian-American named Tony Manero.  The story is about coming of age and coming to terms with the serious issues of what he wants to do with his life.  Stephanie Mangano, his dance partner, has the ability to both enchant him and bedevil him which makes for a believable and ongoing tug and pull between them.  She is the only one who challenges him to become  more than what he is when they meet, to work on becoming good and having a direction.  Even with her flaws, Stephanie just might be the right woman for Tony.   Below I have included another link to the clip featuring Tony and Stephanie at the disco dance competition.  After the bridge scene, this is my favorite.

Greetings to all our WordPress friends, subscribers, readers , relatives and paesani!  The weather here in Brooklyn, N.Y. is absolutely perfect right now.  Warm, dry, bright and slightly breezy at times with the bluest of skies all day.  It is the perfect time for long walks and being outdoors.

Today I walked along Shore Road all the way up to John Paul Jones Park.  From there I walked down towards the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to take photos.  The bridge was named after the early 16th century Italian explorer, Giuseppe da Verrazano.  He was the first explorer on record to sail into New York Harbor.  The bridge was opened in the early 1960s and was an occasion of great excitement and a mark of progress for residents of Brooklyn, and Staten Island.  Prior to the bridge’s opening, the only way for Brooklynites and Staten Islanders to access each other’s boroughs was by ferry.  The bridge also offers another way to travel to New Jersey via Staten Island.

The Verrazano-Narrows bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.  It is also famous for being featured in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.”  Here are some photos from my walk today.

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The bike and walking path continues along the Narrows all the way up to the 90s Streets. In the background is Staten Island.

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The view in the distance is in the direction of the lower numbered streets where my walk began.

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These large ships dwarfed the pleasure boats that zipped past before I could focus to get a good photo.

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View of the Brooklyn side and Tower of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

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This close-up of the Staten Island Tower and side of the bridge was only made possible by the use of a 35mm camera.

Resources

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verrazano-Narrows_Bridge

Saturday Night Fever 1977 Verrazano-Narrows Bridge movie scene
BaoziPork

Saturday Night Fever – More Than A Woman (Bee Gees)
frontera2032

 

 

 

 

50a-Serrapede Family in America: Family and Match Making

Introduction

After the posting of 50-Serrapede Family in America: Josie and Sam get married, 1930 I heard from Cousin Michael Muro. He sends his regards to Uncle Sammy and our readers. Michael has spent the last three months hosting Giuseppe Carnicelli of Agropoli during his stay in the United States. Michael has travelled with Giuseppe from Pittsburgh to New York, Florida and other locations. Giuseppe has also been studying English conversation and reading during this time. Michael and Giuseppe will return to Italy after the July 4th holiday.

Michael shared with me additional information about his own family’s connections with Josie and Sam. Based on these relationships Michael offers up some scenarios that expand the possible ways in which Josie and Sam were brought together.

Relationship Notes

50a-michaels20pedigree20chart_zps4cza8w2vPedigree Chart for Michael Muro with maternal and paternal lines.

50a-emilyanns20pedigree20chart_zpsvqpheu0pPedigree chart for EmilyAnn Frances May showing her maternal line only.

Michael and I share Nicola “Nick” Muro as our common ancestor.

Nick Muro was:

–Michael’s Grandfather along his paternal line.
–EmilyAnn’s Great Grandfather along her maternal line.

Michael’s maternal Grandparents were:

–Raffaele (Ralph) and Pasqualina (nee Camperlingo) Di Fiore

Michael’s paternal Grandparents were:

–Nicola “Nick” and Rose (nee Rosina Aiello Marasco) Muro 

Michael’s parents were:

–Raymond (Raimie) and Frances (nee Di Fiore) Muro

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