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.