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.

vincenzo-michael-giuseppe20jul2020agropoli_zpsrnjan2fj

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.

agropoli20piazza_zps2pnsidy3

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.

michele20carnicelli_zpsnhmsscao

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 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.

**********

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.)

**********

 

46g-Aiello Family of Calabria-Connecting with the family of Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro

Acknowledgements

Uncle Sammy and I thank Amedeo Aiello for reaching out to us and his father, Antonio Aiello for sharing the results of his research on the Aiello family, as well as photos of the family and their hometown after the 1906 earthquake.

We also thank Michael Muro for his ongoing enthusiasm, support and promotion this blog behind the scenes. Michael is the Grandson of Rosina (Rose) and Nick Muro through their son Raimie (Raymond) and Frances (nee di Fiori) Muro.

A special thank you to Giuseppe Carnicelli for contributing a clear version of the Italian translation.

Introduction

Shortly after a series of postings about Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro, we received an email from her Grand Nephew, Amedeo Aiello in late February. His father, Antonio Aiello, is Rosina’s nephew. Antonio is also a family historian and found our blog while researching Martirano, the Aiello family’s ancestral hometown in Calabria. Amedeo and I exchanged emails about the research I had done on the town and gave me the reason why it is so difficult to find much about the late 19th-early 20th century history of Martirano. It turns out that in 1906 an earthquake destroyed what we could call the old town of Martirano. Rosina’s parents lost their home and had to build a new one away from the area where they had been living.

Learning more about the Aiello Family

Antonio sent me a photo of the area where the new house was built along with a photo of his father, Amedeo Aiello, who was Rosina’s brother. Yet another wonderful photo included in the email exchange was of Rosina. All three photos are now part of our family tree. Then there were the fruits of Antonio’s research on the Aiello family that has extended Rosina’s pedigree chart further back in time. The information also adds more depth to her family background which we had only touched upon in our research findings and our previous postings. Thanks to Antonio we can now go back in time and trace Rosina’s lineage to the late 18th century.

rosina update chart

Updated pedigree chart for Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro (work in progress) as of April 28, 2017.

Continue reading

43-Muro Family in America-Nick, Rose and Family 1922-1930

Relationship Notes

Josie Muro was the daughter of Nick and Letizia (nee Scotti)  Muro.  She was:

–Sammy’s Mother
–EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother

Elissa Scotti Errico was:

–Letizia’s youngest sister
–Wife of Vincenzo Errico
–Josie’s maternal Aunt

Rosina Aiello Marasco was known as Rose by the family after her immigration to America.  We will use that name in this and future postings.  Nick Muro married Rose about late 1921-early 1922 after the death of his first wife Letizia.

Introduction 

Josie Muro is not recorded as a member of the Muro household in the 1930 Federal Census.  In the late 1920s she went to live in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York and got a full-time job.  Uncle Sammy and I were never sure who Josie stayed with during this time.  We reviewed the earliest photos we have of Josie, as well as the 1930 Federal Census entries for our relatives in Brooklyn.  Through our discussions we were able to create a timeline that helps us narrow in on who Josie stayed with and an estimation of what year she came up to Brooklyn. 

The timeline provides the backdrop which validates two family stories about Josie which I have been told.  The version my Mom told me differs only slightly from the one my Uncle shared with me.  Postings number 43, 44 and 45 will present the story as we go through the timeline.  Preparing this series has helped me finally make sense of both versions of the story.  I’ll wait until posting number 45 to let you know which one I now believe is the correct version. 

The Muro Household 1922-1930:  A growing family 

43-193020fed20census20muro20family20wilmerding20nick20and20rose_zpszbz911t9

43-193020fed20census20muro20family20close-up_zps7siq3fsv

Close-up of the 1930 Federal Census entries for the Muro household.

According to the 1930 Federal Census, Nick now owned the building where the family lived.  This was the property Nick received as a settlement after the death of his son Ernest.  The building, which had a store on the ground floor and an apartment above it, was located at 298 State Street.  In 1930 it was valued at $4,000. 

We don’t know what caused the Census Enumerator to list Nick’s wife as Lucy instead of Rose but we’ve entered a correction at Ancestry.  Another error which made it hard to find this record was an error in the data entry to Ancestry’s database.  The surname Muro was misspelled Mino.  Thanks to the help of Ancestry forum participants we finally found the record. 

Between 1923 through 1925, Rose had three children by Nick.  They were: 

Raymond (Raymie), born October 14, 1923
America (Igo), born October 20, 1924
Albino (Beno), born November 26, 1925 

With three children so close in age, Rose needed the help of the oldest daughter in the household.  This is where Josie’s assistance with housework and babysitting were necessary.  By 1930 the family totaled 11 people.  Josie is not one of the household members listed since she was already in Brooklyn by this time.  In addition to Nick and Rose the household in 1930 consisted of: 

Peter 17 yo
Louis 15 yo
Philomena 13 yo
Rosa (Rosie) 10 yo
John 14 yo
Raymond 6 yo
Americo 5 yo
Albino 4 yo

Philip Gimelko, a 31 year old tinsmith, living with the family as a boarder.  

Nick worked as a machinist for Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  Since he was employed full-time we are not sure who was minding his grocery store during the day.  Rose would not have time since there were too many children to care for. 

Josie Muro:  The earliest photos we have

 43-josie20in20wilmerding201920s201_zpsjtwxbgfe

Josie Muro circa mid-1920s.

Josie wrote the date and location where a photo was taken on the back of many later photos.  She did not do this for the earliest photos which made it hard for me to figure out where they were taken.  I had never seen these photos until my Mom told me about them shortly before she passed away.  At first I did not recognize my Grandmother in many of the earliest photos.  This showed me how narrow my outlook was when it came to the older generations of our family.  I didn’t think about my Grandmother’s life as a young woman.  Yet here she was, smiling and looking at me in what I believe were her late teenage years.  Uncle Sammy and I think this photo was taken while Josie still lived with her parents in Wilmerding.  When we looked at the houses in the background and compared them to photos of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn in the early 1930s most of the homes in Brooklyn were brick and of uniform shape and height.  

 43-josie20in20wilmerding201920s202_zpslxuxnjuv

Josie Muro, circa mid-1920s.

We also date this photo to the mid-1920s and think the location looks more like Wilmerding than Dyker Heights.  In the section of Brooklyn where the Muro sisters came to live and settle, each one or two family home had a stoop that was level with the sidewalk.  The steps leading to the front door were usually straight up from the stoop.

Another indication of the time is how understated Josie’s appearance is.  There is no indication of the fashionable woman Josie would be when she posed for a studio portrait in 1929 and also took photos at a location we can identify in Brooklyn.

Josie had an appreciation for fashionable clothes and accessories.  Her favorite designer was Coco Chanel.  She loved perfumes and pearl necklaces.  As I view the photos of 1929 I understand why she did not want to stay in Wilmerding and continue helping Rose with the younger children.  All these things are communicated in the studio portrait which is part of a future discussion and posting.

The next thing we had to clarify was who Josie stayed with when she came to Brooklyn.  This is where her Auntie Elisa Scotti Errico plays an important role.  In our next posting we’ll focus on Elisa and her husband Vincenzo.  They moved from Wilmerding to Brooklyn shortly after Letizia passed away. 

Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, November 1, 2015

 43-grandpa20nicks20store20and20building-fran20marasco_zpsxvt1847m

The corner building became the site of Grandpa Nick’s grocery store and home in the mid-late 1920s, after he fixed up the property.  The store was on the ground floor.  The family lived upstairs.  Photo courtesy Fran Marasco. 

Uncle Sammy and I do not know how Nick got the grocery store up and running during the early years of his marriage to Rose.  He worked full-time in a machine shop at Westinghouse Air Brake Company according to the 1920 and 1930 Federal Census entries.  The reason we ask this question is that we want to create a time-line of developments within the family history.  Since official records cannot always offer all the details we need it becomes necessary to mine the information available through family stories and memories.  While this is not always a sure and certain method, at least we collect what is available and have a starting point for further research and reflection. 

In the late 1940s and through the 1950s, Uncle Sammy spent 4-6 weeks every summer in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.  He stayed with his Uncle Peter and Aunt Angie.  Peter was his mother’s younger brother.  Uncle Peter and Aunt Angie had three boys:  Nicky, Robert and Petey.  He was closest to Robert and Petey.  Since Nicky was older he had his own friends and went to different places.  Uncle Sammy, Petey and Robert loved to go to the playground up the hill from Nick’s store on State Street. 

Uncle Sammy said that in some years Nick was not working at Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  He’d be at the store full-time.  When Nick and Rose’s daughters Sylvia and Susie were old enough they sometimes helped in the store, too. 

Uncle Peter had his own shoe repair shop downstairs from the home he owned.  He worked there after coming home once his shift at Westinghouse Airbrake Company was completed.  Uncle Peter worked at his shoe repair shop from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  We think that Nick may have run the grocery store along the same lines.  If so, the store assured Nick of a livelihood during the Great Depression since there were many lay-offs or slowdowns at the plant during those years. 

Resources 

1930 Federal Census for the Muro Family

22g-Winter Break Update-Snow storm January 2016-Philadelphia, PA

Greetings from Philadelphia

I just heard from Cousin Rosina Coltellaro in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The snow storm provided some great photo opportunities for her this past weekend.  Here are some scenes taken from the building where she lives.

Rosina is the niece of my maternal Great Grandmother Rosina Aiello Marasco Muro.  You will be meeting her and Great Grandfather Nick Muro in the Spring when we begin our postings on the Muro, Aiello, and Marasco families.

Here’s the view of Washington Square from the entrance of the building where Rosina lives in Philadelphia.  This photo was taken at 8:30 p.m. just as the snow started to fall on Friday, January 22nd, 2016.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 23rd the snow was piled high by the curbs.  Again, this is a view of Washington Square.

This snow laden evergreen tree stands in the courtyard at the back of the building where Rosina lives.  Despite the cold temperatures, I notice that the trees in Philadelphia and Brooklyn did not have any icicles.  When Rosina took this photo the wind was blowing the snow off of the tree.  That is why you see the top  bending towards the left.

Twenty-four hours later, on the evening of Saturday, January 23rd, 2016,  Washington Square in Philadelphia glows in the combination of snow and the light from the street lamps.  Rosina took this photo from the 13th floor of her building.  Usually the view of Washington Square is a winter wonderland of snow laden trees.  Due to high winds the trees in the photo are bare.

–As told by Rosina to EmilyAnn in email of 1/26/2016.

Something to think about

Rosina’s emails to me about the photos contain two quotes in her signature line.  They give one something to think about.  I thought I’d share them with my blog readers.

“Let us remember…that in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.”

“Everything and everyone are interconnected.”