Lately, I’ve been working on a little family history project for my cousin’s daughter. Missy and I put together a short family history and I’ve pulled out a few of the pictures to share some of our Bomarito family SPIRIT with you today.
The couple in the picture is my Nonna Rosie and Nonno Joe who were the first of my family to immigrate to America from Sicily. Guiseppe- or Joe, as he came to be called- was sponsored by one of his older cousins and was able to come in 1911. He worked for two years and earned the passage for his wife, Rosalia, and daughter, Grace. He and Rosie moved to St. Louis where there was a large Sicilian community to support them as they adjusted to living in a foreign country. He took a job with the railroad. They were doing well until some of Joe’s extended family who had already come over to the land of opportunity started pressuring him to join their mafia family. He had purposefully left all that trouble and pressure behind in Sicily and wanted a new start, but here it was again.
The railroad gave its workers a vacation once a year and one of the perks was a chance to ride to any destination along their lines for free. Joe grabbed his family and they left with all they could carry, taking advantage of this to move clear across country to Monterey Bay, California. Joe had more relations who settled there and worked in the fishing and canning industry. Thus, he eluded getting dragged into the Mob and finding a better situation for his growing family that now numbered eight children including my Nonno Dom (the single male in the picture).
During the WWII years, part of my family including Joe and Rosie lived in an internment camp because all first generation Italians were considered as much as a potential threat as the Japanese living within fifty miles of the coast so they had to register and then leave their home for the duration of the war. The internment part happened when Joe and a few others went back to check on their homes and were caught. I had the opportunity to visit a couple internment camps this past summer, but that is a story for another time.
My grandfather, Dom, and his next oldest brother, Vito, fought in the European Theater of the war with distinction. After the war, they opened a bar (see the picture). I draw attention to this because for all those John Steinbeck literature buffs out there, the bar and the crowd of guys there is featured in Steinbeck’s book, Cannery Row.
So, there you have a bit of my family SPIRIT. Any fun stories from your family history? Do Tell!
If you are interested in the details about this challenge hosted by Anna @ HCBS, here is the link: http://theherdpresents.blogspot.com/2017/12/blog-all-about-it-challenge.html