46d-Spring Break 2017 (Part 1)

46d-S[romg Breal-Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_Gathering_of_Auspicious_Signs“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione.  Painted in 1723.
Public Domain.

I have one very vivid memory that recurs each year around the time of my Mom’s birthday on April 18th.  No matter what the weather was like or what was going on in our lives Mom said a birthday is a time to celebrate.  Each day is a gift no matter what we find in the box we open each morning.  We each have a role to play and bring our own unique gifts to the setting in which we participate.  Mom also held that each day is a re-birth because at the end of the day we should leave off the exhaustion, the gains and the losses and put them behind us.  Sleep was a renewing process.  All that happened the day before could be recycled and of use in the present or the future.  We just need to get on with the day ahead and not dwell too much on the past.  Answers will come in the course of time.

To illustrate this point Mom once told me that the newly found realizations are akin to Spring.  From within will blossom the knowledge we need if we just quiet the ramblings of the conscious mind and spend some time in a sweet solitude where we gather ourselves together.  “In springtime, the world is born anew!” Mom always said when it was her birthday.  She used that as a way to encourage me in the practice of seeking time out and spending it in quiet reflection.

Each year Uncle Sammy and I take a Spring break.  It is a time to rest, to socialize during the Easter holidays, visit the resting place of Josie and Sam and pray for those we are with in spirit but cannot make the visit to, whether at home or at their resting places.  We hope everyone is awakening after a very long winter and taking time to attune themselves to the cycle of renewal and rebirth going on in nature right now.  May it also happen for all of you, too.

To add an element of learning to this posting we have showcased a painting by Giuseppe Castiglione.  He was a Jesuit missionary who became a painter in the court of the Chinese Emperor during the 18th century.  We have also learned that Giuseppe Vivaldi, composer of “The Four Seasons”, wrote sonnets to accompany each of his concertos.  We present here Vivaldi’s sonnet to Spring in Italian and English which come from the website BaroqueMusic.org  Acknowledgements and links follow the sonnets.

We will return to WordPress in mid-May.

–EmilyAnn Frances May
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–April 9, 2017

Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Allegro
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

Largo
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Allegro
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

 

Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
 Allegro
“Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti;
Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:”

 Largo
“E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme ‘l Caprar col fido can’ à lato.”

Allegro
“Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all’ apparir brillante.”

————————————–

“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione
Giuseppe’s Chinese name:  Lang Shi’ning
Public Domain.  Wikimedia Commons.
http://tinyurl.com/m9g54j4

Giuseppe Castiglione
Bio
The Art History Archive-Chinese Art
http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/asian/Giuseppe-Castiglione.html

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Sonnets
BaroqueMusic.org
http://www.baroquemusic.org/vivaldiseasons.html

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Spring”
YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

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39b-Muro Family in America: The Death of a Young Mother

Introduction

There are two versions about the circumstances surrounding Letizia Scotti Muro’s death in 1921. The Death Certificate provides the official version of the story. The other version is the story provided by my late Mother to me. In this posting we will consider the Death Certificate and the events as related by my Mom and try to make a sequence of events that piece together and make sense out of what happened to Letizia.

Relationship Notes

39b-letizia20chart_zpsqmx3ixwx

Pedigree chart for Letizia Scotti Muro.

Letizia Scotti Muro was the daughter of Carmine and Maria Scotti. She was born in Agropoli, Italy in 1888. Letizia had a sororal twin named Concetta. Both sisters married in Agropoli and immigrated to Wilmerding, Pennsylvania in the late 1900s-early 1910s.

Letizia Muro was:

–Sammy’s maternal Grandmother (through Letizia’s daughter Josie)
–EmilyAnn’s maternal Great-Grandmother (through Josie’s daughter Emily Leatrice)

Continue reading

38c-Happy All Hallowstide

halloween-1

Wishing all who celebrate these Holy Days a blessed All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

halloween-3

All Hallows Eve is a night celebrated by Trick or Treating and telling ghost stories.  The deeper meaning is found in the approach of Winter, the season of cold, stark landscapes where nothing grows.  It is a time poised between the end of the season of growth and the season of rest.  It serve s as a reminder of the growth and decline that precedes the renewal of Spring.

Autumn is shading into Winter as the days continue to grow shorter.  The chill outside drives us indoors.  Flowers no longer bloom, trees become more bare as the days go by.  The bounty of summer has been harvested and preparations for sustenance during the winter months continue.  There is a lull that calls us to think about the cycle of growth that has passed in the current year.  During this time it is good to part company with laptops, cell phones, tablets and find company in the memories of loved ones who no longer live with us in this world.

I have found that this time dedicated to the beloved departed has a powerful effect upon renewing our memories of those who have taught us, loved us and inspired us.  Although they are physically gone, we revive their good examples within our hearts and minds.  In a way we are renewed.  The influence of our loved ones can once more be felt in the world as we do our best in memory of them.

–EmiyAnn Frances May
–October 30, 2016


Resources

The illustrations used here come from My Book House, edited by Olive Beaupre Miller.

38b-Muro Family in America: The Accident, 1920

Relationship Notes

In this posting we consider the stories we have learned about the death of Ernest Muro, son of Nick and Letizia Muro. Ernest was 1 year old when he died. The official record of his death is in direct opposition to the cause we learned about during research and family discussions. To help you understand the relationships discussed in this posting we have outlined them in this section.

Ernest Muro was the son of Nicola and Letizia (nee Scotti) Muro. Ernest’s siblings were:

  • Josie
  • Peter
  • Louis
  • Philomena
  • Rosie

Ernest is related to EmilyAnn and Sammy. Ernest was:

  • Sammy’s Uncle (through Josie, Sammy’s Mom).
  • EmilyAnn’s Great Uncle (through Josie’s daughter Emily Leatrice).

Ernest’s sister Josie was:

  • Sammy’s Mom.
  • EmilyAnn’s Maternal Grandmother. 

Introduction 

In our previous posting we reviewed the safety issues that surrounded the use of horses in an urban environment in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. We also considered the manner in which pedestrians utilized the pavements and streets. The automobile eventually eclipsed the use of horses by the 1920s. Pedestrians were made aware, through public safety campaigns, that the street was for vehicles and the sidewalk was for people.

George Westinghouse ensured that Wilmerding had a mass transit system within the town when it was first built. Yet even as the 1920s began, there were small companies within Wilmerding that still used a horse drawn cart as a means of transport. As we researched the children of Letizia and Nick Muro we learned about their next to youngest child, Ernest. The family never spoke about him and we were ready to accept the story which official documentation gave about his death. That was until we interacted with other relatives at Ancestry and compared family stories we heard. This is how we learned that Ernest’s death may have been hastened due to an accident caused by a horse drawn cart.  Continue reading

Coffee Break: Change in posting schedule

Greetings to all readers and subscribers of “Through the Byzantine Gate”.  After a long, hot summer it’s good that Autumn is here.  We’ve resumed our weekly research and discussion sessions.  There will be many, many more chapters to the Muro and Serrapede family history forthcoming.

To accommodate our work and travel schedules the frequency of posting will change.  We’re moving to a twice monthly posting rather than a weekly posting.  This provides more time to proofread and tweak the drafts created in the past.  My Uncle and I are roughly 6 months ahead in our progress.

As we near the 1940s, the availability of Federal Census records ends.  With the end of available census records a change in our approach is needed.  The question under consideration is how to move the narrative forward and keep our readers engaged.  We intend to continue looking at the story from the family perspective as well as the bigger picture.  It is our purpose to always provide a take-away for the reader.

Continue reading

30d-Mother’s Day 2016-In Memory of Our Matriarchs

Lord Frederick Leighton “Mother and Child”
Public Domain.  Image from Pinterest.

We give thanks for all the matriarchs in our family line.  Their lives, love, care and sacrifices have contributed to who we are today.

Serrapede Family

Angela Maria Borrelli
Anna Maria Conte
Filomena Ruocco
Antonia Ruocco
Nicoletta Cuoco
Teresa Marino
Giovanna Battista
Teresa Patella d’Alessandro
Emilia Pappalardo

Muro Family

Anna Maria Monzillo
Carminela Cavollo
Clarice Serrapede
Giuseppa Ruocco
Anna Maria Baldi
Rosolia Patella
Maddelena Montone
Irene Guzzi
Maria Giovanna di Giaimo
Letizia Scotti
Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro

Through Josie Muro Serrapede and her daughter Emily L. Serrapede we have had the presence of these earlier mothers in our lives.  Through the flow of time the contributions each has made live on.

Our prayer is that you all may  now be rewarded for the work which you did in this world and that one day we will meet in the world to come.

 

–EmilyAnn Frances May

–Sam Serrapede, Jr.

Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, 2016

15a-Station Break: Sunday Afternoon Dinner in an Italian-American household

In North Boston, Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day (1969)

When this commercial was made, Uncle Sammy and his first wife Annie lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. I attended New Utrecht High School and lived at home on 79th Street in Dyker Heights. The predominant ethnic group was Italian-American but the customs were not like those depicted in this commercial. Wednesday was a weekday. Children had to do homework and get to bed early. Parents had to clean-up and get ready for the next day. Meals were never so elaborate during the week. The scenes depicted in this commercial were more typical of dinner during a Sunday afternoon amongst the families we knew in our part of Brooklyn.

Relationship Notes

Sabato Serrapede was the son of Gennaro and Emilia (nee Pappalardo) Serrapede.  Josie Muro was the daughter of Nicola and Letizia (nee Scotti) Muro.

Jose and Sabato married in 1930. They were:

–Sammy’s parents
–EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandparents

My Memories of Sunday Afternoon Dinners

Sunday was the day when all the stores were closed because the Blue Laws were still in effect. These laws required certain places of business like bars to be closed because it was the Sabbath day. There were restaurants that were open but little else. There was a sense of stillness and a suspension of the routine we lived during the rest of the week.

Among the people I knew, families went to church if they were religious.  Others got into their cars early for a drive to someplace like Shore Road where they’d relax and enjoy themselves.

In the Italian American community the Sunday afternoon dinner was the main social event of the day. Preparations began on Friday . Shopping was done between Friday and Saturday afternoon. The tomato sauce was started Saturday night in some households or early Sunday morning in others.

Continue reading