LUCIA AND BEATRICE BECCE
TELLING HER OWN STORY IN DIALECT

An audio recording is part of the above slideshow. It is also transcribed below. To download a PDF of the transcription, please click here.

-- Adess’? Parl’?

Now? I speak?

--Si.

--Yes.

--Io mi chiam’ Lucia Santors’. So’ nata a Tolv’, provincia di Potenz’ e so’ stata cresciuta a Tolv’ fin’ a che so’ maritata so’ stat’ a Tolv’.

My name is Lucia Santorsa. I was born in Tolve, in the province of Potenza, and I was raised in Tolve. Until I got married I stayed in Tolve.

Mo’ dic’, u nom’ d’padre e che faci’.

Now say your father’s name and what he did.

‘U padre mi? Teneva la vacc’ e faceva tant’ provolon’. (A raccunta’ lu’ giorn’ (?)) lo provolon’ e lo rimanev’ all over (English): Napl’, Potenz’, tutti chiest’ post’.

My Father? My father kept cows and he made a lot of provolone. He brought (left) the cheese all over: Naples, Potenza, all those places. My father, sell all that cheese. Eh. And that’s the life my father had.

E volev’ pigli’ a scola e la mamma no voli.’

He wanted to take you to school but your mamma didn’t want you to go.

-- Ah. Papà mi voleva anda’ alla scola, ma mamma no volev’ rimanemi alla scola . Allora stav’ a casa, a lavorare.

Ah. My father wanted to send me to school but my mother didn’t want to send me. So I stayed home, to work

 

-Rill’ lu ‘cont’ quand’ papà’ran te la ci lu formagg’ che mangia’e tu non la mangiav e t’imparava a far u formagg’. Dici la storia cominicia.. “Certa volta quand’ papà tella porta alla masseri’. Cominci’ a cosi’ è dice la storia.

Tell about when your father made the cheese to eat but you didn’t. And he taught you how to make cheese. What is the story? The first time your father brought you to the masseria. Begin like that and tell the story. Certain times when my father took me to the masseri’

Here again is one of those passages where she switches back and forth between dialect and broken English.

-- Quand’ ero alla masseri’ dove tenevan’ le vacch’ e papà me facev’ u formagg’ pizz’ di formaggio che mangiava. I nascund’ in the back, the tight, little hard stuff, era hard to work, facev’ le cos’ u cavalluccia, in ‘a ucelluzz’ ricelluzz’ (maybe that’s the word, we’re not sure . My mother says they also made a ring of cheese which they allowed to get very hard so that it could be used as a teething ring for the babies.—Could it be that’s what’s she’s saying she also made here, some kind of ring of cheese? My mother also thought she might be saying that she made a little bowl, or she was working the cheese in the bowl) faceva tutt’ quell’ cosarella che portav’ alli creatur’ alla casa. brothers and sisters. Si. E quand’ na’ volt’ ci fa tanto assai mann’ cascato a terr’, sono’ rott’ perchè it eran’ so hard, eran tropp’ tost’. E quan’ so’ cascate sono rotte. I cried. C’era uno zio mi che si chiamav’ Gerardo, says “alright Lucia I give a little more I make ‘em a do. I start again. a do little things and you bring ‘em home a tutti le kids a front the house e give one each. Ma e così quanda ‘scende all vacc’. Pensava sempre a portare na cosa a casa alle creature non solo le mie, i vicin’ torna alla casa. (?) And it was so hard after nobody can chew. Mama putta le minestra. I cry I want my thing.

 

(?) Mi zi’ Gerardo m’ha fatt’ na doll. Na doll, na regular doll. con la stoff. Era così bella non me caschera’ la man’. No break la doll. Zio Gerardo quante cose m’ha fatto. Fratello u’ mio padre. patient for the kids (?) Due fratell’ e sempre con iti che stat (?) facev’ tutte le cose con me. Perchè ero la figlia sola. Like his own daughter. He like so much.

 

When I went to the masseri’ where they kept the cows, my father gave me a piece of cheese to eat. I went to hide it in the back, it was little, hard stuff, and it was hard to work. I made things with it. Little horses, little birds, (something, not sure here) I worked (the whey) in the bowl, I made all those little things to bring home to the kids. Yes. And once I made so many things I dropped them and they fell on the ground and broke because they were so hard, too hard. And when they fell out of my hand they broke. Mamma put it in the soup. Oh, I cried! I want my thing.

And I had this uncle named Gerardo, my father’s brother. My father had no patience for the kids. My father had two brothers. He, (her uncle) did everything with me. He like so much. Like (his) own daughter. Gerardo Santorsa and he said “Alright Lucia I give you a little more. I make ‘em a do. I start again a do little things and I bring them home to all the kids from the house and he give one each. We made them where we kept the cows. He always thought to bring something to the house for all the kids, not just me. And everyone would gather around the house. (?) And it was so hard nobody could chew (?). I cry I want my thing. My uncle Gerardo made me a doll. A doll, a regular doll. A doll with the stuff’. It was so beautiful. It fell out of my hands. I’m a tella you. How many things my uncle Gerardo made me. He was my father’s brother (?). so patient with the kids. My uncle (her father) had two brothers and he was always with them (?). They were always together. He did everything with me, because I was the only daughter, like his own daughter.) He lika so much.)

 

-- Quando Vito è venuto dall’America?

When Vito came from America? (Implied: you want me to tell you about when Vito came to America?)

 

-- E ti eri in Italia

And you were in Italy.

Essentially what my grandmother is saying is that she was in Italy, and my grandfather, Vito Becce, was in America. There were a lot of young men who wanted to marry her. But she had promised herself to Vito and she was really in love with him. She was determined to wait for Vito to return to Italy. She was deeply in love with him, as she had been all her life. She was twenty-one years old and he still hadn’t returned. Her mother was angry with her because she thought she was never going to get married. Twenty-one was considered old to be married at that time in Tolve.

 

At first her father said to his wife, “Leave her alone, let her stay with us.” My grandmother and her father were very close. She used to go to the masserie with him all the time to make cheese. He took her there often during this time, partly to get away from this conflict and problem, partly to get her away from the young men coming around who wanted to marry her and partly to take her away from her mother’s anger.

 

But eventually her father said, “Your mother is right. Are you going to wait until you’re a hundred years old?” Her father was implying that maybe Vito wasn’t going to come back from America.

 

-- E i’ ero in Italia. Tanto matrimonio, tanta giovane’ quello che voleva. E lui diceva sempre . My mother was mad.(English here) Che fai a cosi’? Tu non te mariti più. Ah. Padre mio “lasciala stare la mantenemmo con noi”. Poi dopo è stato è stato. “Luci’ mammà tiene ragione. Se tu (?) Hai dato la parola te la tenne, manche se esso va campa’ cent’anni.” Io dissi tanto m’ha fatto male ‘sta parola. Che esso qui non torna e anche papà (?). Tanto nice o padre mio. Quan’ diceva una cosa era così nice.

And I was in Italy. (I had) Lots of marriage proposals, lots young men. My mother was mad. She said, “Why do you do this? You’ll never get married”. “Ah,” my father said, “Leave her alone, we’ll keep her with us.” But then what happened happened. My father said, “Lucia, your mother is right. I know you gave your word but are you going to keep it even if it’s for a hundred year?” These words hurt me so much. My father was so nice, no matter what he was saying. (The implication here is that although he was always nice to her, now even he wasn’t taking her side.)

 

My aunt, Antoinette Becce Padula, said to me this recently, that someone who left Tolve and went to America told my grandfather that my grandmother had a lot of suitors and my grandfather realized that if he didn’t come back to Tolve to marry her he was going to lose her.

 

If I understand this section correctly my grandmother was always waiting around the front door (or does she mean the town gate?), waiting for Vito to return. When Vito finally came back he shook hands with her father and talked to him about America, saying, I guess what a good place it was. Then her future mother-in-law came to visit and said, this one, meaning my grandfather, isn’t going to stay around for ever. So it was decided, either marry him or lose him. So that was all. They got married.

 

-- Quand’ è venuto indietro papà?

When did Papa come back?

 

--Quand’ papà è venuto indietro? Vito minut’ ma I’ non lo ved’ ancora. Ha dett’ la Papa. Ess imbacche la port’ (instead of infaccia la porta) . E sempre sulla porta aspettava. Ora viene Vit’ Manc’ cinque minut. C’e’ permess’?, proprio come papà a detto. Shake hands (English here) con papà. Tanto parlò nice all’merica. He talk (English here) con papà di tutta la vita che in America faceva. Finisch’. E’ venuta my mother-in-law ( English here) c’ha ditto, ‘Chiest non a stai qui.’ And I get married. That’s all. (English here) E così ho aspettato tre anni.

 

(You want to know) when did Papa come back? I hadn’t’ see him yet, I used to stand by the door waiting. Then he finally did come back and he appeared at the door. Vito is coming, no? He’s going to be here in five minutes. (I think she means that someone must have come and told her that they had seen him walking up through the town.--When he arrived at the door he asked) Can I come in? just as my father had said he would. He shook hands with my father, and he talked a lot about America. He told my father about the life he had in America. And that was the end of that. Then my mother- in-law came and told me. This one isn’t going to stay here. And I got married, and that’s all. I waited three years (for him in Italy).

 

Aunt Tony says that while my grandfather was in Tolve to marry my grandmother, his father died in New York. My grandfather was walking in the town square when someone met my grandfather and blurted out, “Your father’s dead.” Papa passed right out, my aunt said. He lost consciousness. My grandmother told my Aunt that that was one of only two times that she saw my grandfather faint. The other time was later in America when they lost a three-year old child in a freak accident. My great grandfather had died quite suddenly from pneumonia in New York.

 

 

Rose, asking a question:.-- Rille esso è venuto all’America e poi gli dici la storia perchè lui ha la casa.

So tell us about when he came to America and then you tell us the story about why he (asked you to come to live in America)…and the house.

 

Rose, asking a question:--Dicci che non piacev’ New York e io me so’ fatta la casa all’Italia.

Tell us about the fact that he didn’t like New York and so you built a house in Italy.

Here my grandmother is switching back and forth between dialect and her broken English. My grandfather said that he didn’t like New York and that he would be back soon. Probably the fact that his father died suddenly in New York made him dislike it even more. At that time he was working in a bowling alley, setting up pins. This was a very menial job, and my grandfather had a lot of pride. Previously he had worked in the mines of Pennsylvania. He said he didn’t come to America to work in a black hole in the ground. That was when they moved to New York where he had family. But the work situation wasn’t any better there.

 

However, he went to visit other relatives or paesani in Waterbury, Connecticut, which was a factory town, but also very rural at that time. There were a lot of farm land and woods. He felt he had found the right place for him: there was a real country feel and the factories could provide work, until he had the money to buy a farm. Eventually he did so. Waterbury’s a town built on many hills, so no doubt it also seemed familiar to Vito, like the hills of Basilicata. My grandmother assumed Vito was going to return to her in Italy as he promised and that they were going to stay there. So she built a house for them. She was very proud of her house and spoke throughout her life about “her nice house that she built herself out of stone.” In broken English she would say, “So nizza housa, atsa real hous’. He made ‘em outta stone.”

 

Here again is a section where she switches back and forth from dialect to English so often it’s hard to indicate it.

 

He says he now I like New York, he no wanna come back, (English here) e io ho fabbricato na casa. ‘U padre mio ma dato help (English) e ciò fatto la casa e ho fatt’ na casa in Italia. After one year I was in that house, he come to Waterbury. Da New York come to Waterbury. He said, Now I like Waterbury I no come back no more. E così m’ stata un anno. Esso say you me back here. No I wanna stay all’Italia, I had to leave all my people e tenev’ una bella famiglia e allora so e non volevo venir in America. Ho fatto storie n’anno, one year. Egli (?) Poi papà a detto “you wanna lose your husband, your husband no come back no more se tu non te ne vai”. E so stata costretta come back l’America (?)

 

He said he didn’t like New York, and he wanted to come back, so I built a house. My father helped me and I made a home for us, I built a house in Italy. After one year that I was in that house, he went to Waterbury. From New York he went to Waterbury. Now (he told her) I Like Waterbury I no come back no more. And so I stayed like that for a year. He told me to go to America, but I wanted to stay in Italy, I had to leave all my people and I had a nice big family and so I didn’t want to go to America. I complained for a year. Then my father said, “You want to lose your husband? Your husband will not come back here, you have to leave.” And so I was forced to go to America.)

 

-- Ci pareva tanto male.

It seemed so bad.

 

-- Partito co cugino mio. Cugino di Papà, Pasquale. Arrivati a Napoli o isso l’hanno fermato perchè teneva una cosa all’occhio. E so venuta sol’. Pasquale e venuto fino vicino (?) e ha detto “Lucia io non posso venire”, io cio’ detto yes... Perché papà a mannato a dic’ chi non passa (?) Non lasciate se uno può passare. Pigliato lo post che io (?). E così ho obbedito la parola sua. Non aggia voluto lasciare Pasquale. E io aggia venuta sola. I’ e la ragazza (?). Come era brutto sulla ship eh. i tempestal, l’acqua tempestal’. Tu non potevi manna’ giù manca water I could keep in the stomach. Tropp’ tropp’ (English here).

 

I left (Tolve) with my cousin. My dad’s cousin, Pasquale. When we got to Naples they stopped him because he had something wrong with his eye. And so I came alone. Pasquale came with me up to (Naples)…and then he said, “Lucia I can’t come” I said yes…My father had told him that if someone couldn’t go the other one should go ahead. And so I obeyed my father’s words. I didn’t want to leave Pasquale. And I came alone, me and the girl… It was really bad on the ship. There was a storm, the water was stormy. You couldn’t hold anything down. Not even water I could keep in my stomach.

Rose, asking a question:-- Quand’ tu va ascen’ che t’hanno fatto con le cass’? Dicci, quand’ va a scenne che t’hanno fatto con le cass’

-- Dicci tutta a story, quan’ i via ascen?’

You want me to tell the whole story of what happened when I got off the boat?

-- ‘U legno. Le casc’ son venute con me. Tre casc’. Biancheri e roba da mangiare. E non me volevano – fà passa’ me ma le casc’ le lasciavano là. Io c’ho detto, io no lasci qua se non vengon’ con me. Ma c’erano ma tanti che fastidios’. No dice, tu va ten’ queste partono con te. (?) Ma io non lasci’ i cass’ se non vengono con me. Ma so’ soltanto tre casse. E so stat’ finchè non è venut’ un italian’ (?) è venuto un italiano e m’ha detto signora queste so’ tre carte. E m’ha dato tre carte. No worry you no lost (English here) queste cass’, le cass’ i partono appress a te. (?) Tu pigli nu boat (boat=barca, English here) (?) Allora già Zi Donat’, my brother-in-law (English here) e ho detto a isso, “What you want from me?”(English here) L’aggio guardato e aggio detto, “O Danny. Benedetto Dio you’re here”. E allora o perso tutto la paura. (?) Ho detto a Danny, Chiete so le carte per le tre cass’ Oh a detto (?) ma esso teneva n’amica di New York (?)

E ma’ aiutato con le cass’ (?)

 

The trunks came with me. I had three trunks, with linens and things to eat. And they didn’t want (I think she was about to say that they wanted her to leave the trunks there so that they could go through customs)– they let me pass but they left the trunks there. And I said I am not leaving here if these trunks don’t come with me. And there were so many people. No, they said, I had to get out of there they leave with you…But I wouldn’t leave the trunks. I wouldn’t leave unless they came with me. Only three trunks. And I stayed there until an Italian man came to me…and he said ma’am these are the three papers (claim checks). And he gave me three cards, Don’t worry, you will not lose these trunks, they will come with you…you take the boat…

Then her brother-in-law, Donato, arrived and Then I looked at him and said to him, “O Danny, Thank God you are here.” And all my fear went away…I told Danny these are the cards for the trunks and he said…He had a friend in New York…And he helped me with the trunks.

 

-- Arrivo qua non trovo nessun. E me sentivo tanto male. Perchè era persa ero venuta alla fine du mond for you. Me sentivo male. Ero venuta o fine du mond’ e io ero sola. E il marito mio (?) E io ero più solitaria. Poi arrivato o cugin’, uncle Pat (?) nu mese dopo. E cos’ so stat unita con questa famiglia marito e moglie, un poco, little di compagnia. Ma it was terrible quando arriv’ here.

(I got here and there was no one (there waiting for me.) I felt so ill. I had come to the end of the world for you. (Implied: for her husband Vito) I felt sick. I had come to the end of the world and I was alone. And my husband…(Implied: I’ve come all this way for Vito and I felt so alone). I was more sole a sole all alone. And then my cousin came, Uncle Pat, a month later. And so I was reunited with this family, husband and wife, and I had a little company. But it was terrible when I got here.

 

Em beh. Che sai la lontananza dalla famiglia troppo malament. What are you gonna do? (English here) A uno devi fa’ contento o alla famiglia tua o a marito (?) Cio fatt’ dei chiant’ (?) And that'sa da life. (This is very broken English, but to me it’s wonderful because I hear her voice saying it. It makes a perfect ending, indicating her resignation and acceptance of her difficult fate.)

 

Well, when the distance from your family is great it’s very bad. What are you gonna do? You have to make someone happy, either your husband or your family (?) I cried many times over it. And that’s the life.

at him and said to him, “O Danny, Thank God you are here.” And all my fear went away…I told Danny these are the cards for the trunks and he said…He had a friend in New York…And he helped me with the trunks…)

 

-- Che pensavi dell’America? Te mi hai detto che hai venuto qua e hai visto case fatte de legno e tu eri abituata alle case fatte de - Aspett aspett –

What did you think of America? You told me that when you got here and saw houses made of wood, and you were used to houses made of – wait wait

 

-- Chiest’ barn, I say. When I see the house, Zi’Donato era con me, me parevan’ tutte case de campagn’, fatte de legname. E my brother in law started to laugh, o cognato mio started to laugh, “That’s the house where tu live”. (Laughs) Non tenimmo case così de legname. Tutte brick le case all’Italia brick and stone. That’s the house you live, that’s the house. De legname le case son fatte qua. O cognato mio laugh and laugh. Quando io gli ho detto, “cosa vado ad abitare in una casa così una a casa di campagna e fatta di legname. O resto du paes hann’ tutte le pret’lei case e brick ross’.”

 

That’s a barn, I say. When I saw the houses I thought they all seemed like barns to me, made of wood. And my brother-in-law started to laugh, “That’s the house where you will live”. (Laughs) We didn’t have houses like that made of wood. They were all made of brick, houses in Italy, brick and stone. That’s the house where you live, that’s the house. The houses here are made of wood. My brother- in- law laughed and laughed. I told him, “I am going to live in a house like that, a country home all made of wood? In the towns in Italy the houses all have walls of stone and red bricks.”

 

- (…) con la farm

(Tell) about the farm

 

-- Quand’ (?) la farm

When…the farm

 

-- Annai (?) l’erba la zap.pai (?). Tenev’ la vacca. Facev’ lo formaggio e facev’ everything for the house. Formaggi

I worked the ..ground…We had a cow. I made cheese, everything for the house. Cheeses.

 

-- Dicci (?)

(Tell us…)

 

-- Una vacca tenemm’. After (?) buy more and he made cow for the milk business and peddle the milk, peddle the milk. Ha m’ fatt’ sett’ anni. Wash the bottles, pull the milk and my husband bring in the morning, 4 o’clock in the morning, deliver the milk for the house. E questa è la vita che abbiamo fatto la farm per six years. After I so tired I say my husband sell the cows I don’t want to do no more. Only keep one cow for the house. Stop the milk business stop the cheese. It was too much. The kids were all small e una grande. Quella grande aiutava a little bit. Keep the kids home. I go around the farm (?) e quella povera guagliotta che era più grande take care i piccoli. Fino a quand’ è venuta my mother-in-law dall’Italy. E’ stata con noi a little bit with us e (?). Teneva i kids. La guagliotta grande teneva la scuola poi dopo. And my mother in law helped me a lot. After poi he went a New York. There was one boy who went to the army (Uncle Rocco). He come back from the army dice (?) He no wanna stay a Waterbury. Ha morto last year. Se n’anna’ a New York (?) vado a New York e la’ è stato (?) la famiglia.

 

We had a cow. After (my grandfather?) (?) buy more and he made cow for the milk business and peddle the milk. We spent seven years. Wash the bottles, pull the milk and my husband bring in the morning, 4 o’clock in the morning, deliver the milk for the house. And that’s the life we led on the farm for six years. After I so so tired I say my husband sell the cows I don’t want to do no more. Only keep one cow for the house. Stop the milk business stop the cheese. It was too much. The kids were all small and one older. The eldest girl helped a little bit. Keep the kids home. I go around the farm (?) and that poor girl that was the eldest(?) the little one. Until my mother-in-law came from Italy. She stayed with us a little bit and (?). She kept the kids. The eldest girl had school later on. And my mother-in-law helped me a lot. After a boy went to New York (her brother in law, Rocco, who was a boy when he came I think with her mother in law). There was one boy who went to the army (Same brother-in-law) (?). He come back from the army and said (?) He no wanna stay a Waterbury. He died last year. So he went to New York. She went to New York and that’s where she stayed with the family. He no want to stay a Waterbury. He died last year.

-- Last spring

June

-- Essa (?)vole sape’ che hai fatt’ tu sulla farm. Il pane

 

She wants to know what you did on the farm. The bread…(This she refers to the woman who was making this television show about our family)

 

-- (?) Fatt’ nice little oven my husband (you see when you go alla farm) I did my bread all the time at that oven. Everyone la famiglia morro manda morro faceva pane. Do the bread at that oven. Teneva’ la vacca. Facevo la treccia, Facevo little cheese. I did everything all the time, I cooked the bread, (?) for the kids. Facimm’ (?) It was a lot I did (?) Vegetable I did. Tutte le cose I did. My husband, clean the ground, he fix, now you plant what you want and I plant what I want. I do the row, threw seeds (?) E quest’ è la vita della farm (?) Fatt’ sempre (?) Tutte cose ca volem’. Everything that we wanted. No cu sell ‘em/ Not to sell ‘em, ma for us. We keep for the winter. And a little we keep for eat everyday.

My husband made a nice little oven. You’ll see when you go to the farm. We must have made these tapes at my mother’s apartment. (The nice little oven is still there although in disrepair. No one has used it for years.) I did my bread all the time at that home. Everyone in the family made bread. Do the bread at that oven. Due tre settimane, two or three times a week. We had the cow. I made the cheese, the braided cheese. I made the braid [mozzarella made into a braid], I made little cheese. I did everything all the time, bread, (?) for the kids. We made (?) It was a lot I did (? Tomatoes, peppers. Vegetable I did. I did all the things. That’s a what it is. A lot that I did. Tutto cose. My husband he clean the ground, he fix, now you plant what you want and I plant what I want. I fa the rows, threw the seeds. And that’s the life of the farm. A m’ fatt’ sempre. This is the way we always did it. No cu sell ‘em. Not to sell.A little we keep for the winter and a little for eat every day.

 

Mi’ marito m’ammazzai nu maiale. Ma big one. He raise ‘em one. 400 pounds big one e facevo nice prosciutto, e facevo capicolla, e facevo la salsicc’, e facev’ la soppressat’. Tutte le cose da (that) maiale. Facev’ la provvista per tutto l’anno, everything. ‘Cause una a big one. Everything (?) Tutte squaglia Lanzogna. Faceva tutte cose di maiale.

 

My husband killed a pig for me. A big one. He raise one. 400 pounds big one and I made nice prosciutto, I made capicolla, I made sausages, and I made soppressata. All the things made from pork. I made provisions for the whole year, everything. It was a big one. Everything (?) Lanzogna. All things made from the pig (?)

 

In my family the belief was that if you had a dream and told it before you ate something in the morning it would happen. But it was common for everyone to share their dreams in the morning. Our parents did, our grandparents did. You woke up and we all recalled our dreams together. However if one of us started to say, I had a bad dream last night, another person in the family, usually my mother in our household would break a piece of bread off very quickly and say, “Don’t say it, until you eat something, and hand you the corner of the bread. Eat first.” If you ate the bread then you were allowed to tell your dream. If it was a good dream then you were allowed to say it without eating anything.

My family believed that the dead came to visit you just as they died. And many of my relatives have had that experience. They’d see a relative coming to see them in a very intense experience, “right next to me. Standing there, just next to the bed. He walked toward me.” Then the news would come the next day that they had died at that moment. There’s a lot of belief that you can be in contact with dead loved ones.

 

This dream experience that my grandmother is talking about is a series of dreams that she had about losing a child, about clothes being on the water etc. in the time just before she lost her small son, named Pasquale. The family story goes like this:

 

A lot of people were visiting on the farm as they often did on the weekends and holidays. The farm was a gathering place for our relatives, our paesani and for other Italians in both Waterbury and New York. One Memorial Day weekend—an important holiday in America—my grandparents were entertaining a great number of people and my father’s brother and cousin asked if they could take Pasquale with them to a picnic that was taking place up the road. This road ran between two lakes. It’s quite narrow. My grandmother said, “No Vito I don’t want them to take Pasquale with them.” And one of the young men said, “If he doesn’t come back, then we won’t either,” teasing her about her over protectiveness. They hitched a wagon to a horse and started on the road between the lakes when a bus came from the other direction and frightened the horse pulling the wagon. The horse jumped over the rails at the side of the road and dragged the cart into the water and all three of our relatives drowned and died. I don’t think they found the bodies until the next morning. My mother remembers people running up to the house, the house filling with strangers. My grandmother mourned the loss of this child all her life. My mother also claims that her father was a changed man after that. She remembers him singing and laughing all the time before the death of her brother. She said the first time he came in the house angry and yelling she didn’t understand what was happening. “I had never seen him like that. I didn’t know him angry. I remember him both angry and singing and laughing and telling stories. But I remember a sadness about my grandmother all the time that seemed at least in part to arise from the death of this child. Of course she was also deeply sad all her life about having had to leave her parents and her sisters and brothers, her town, her nice stone house. Tutte le cose.

 

Rill’ Dicono che quand’ uno sogn’ una cosa che tiene, che vuol dire qualch’ cosa. Tu te piensa così. Dicci io me credo che quando uno sogna ‘na cosa (?) Dicci come tu te sient’ quand’ sogni ‘na cosa.

Tell. They say that when you dream of something it always means something. You think this. Say, I believe that when you dream of something. Tell us how you feel when you dream of something.

 

-- (?) Se c’era che la cosa che sogn’. Con (?) io mi so’ sognata che perdevo nu figlio. Mi sogn’ na cosa ma non ha proprio chiaro. My mother-in-law dicci tu io no sacci perchè me sembrava che tutti I sogni s’avverano dopo (?) Sacci tu perchè è così? (?)

 

If there is something I dream. I dreamt that I lost a child. I dream of something but it’s not always clear. I tell my mother-in- law I don’t know why but I thought that all dreams would eventually come true. (?)

 

-- Quand tu avut’ sogn’ che perdev’ nu figlio. Dillo n’altra volta. Io c’ho avuto u sogno che perdevu u figlio. Rill’ Dillo n’altra volta.

When you had the dream where you lost a child. Tell it again,. I had a dream that I lost a child. Tell it again.

 

-- Me so sognat’, mi son sognat’ che perdevo na creatura. E io dicevo, no, io non perdo na creatura, io le tengo tutte quante qua, all here. E poi è success’ che I lost na creatura. Mo non solo na creatura; a brother in law and a cousin. Three people all at once.

 

I dreamt, I dreamt that I lost a child. And I said, no, I won’t lose a child, I have them all here, all here. And then it happened: I lost a child. But not just that child, a brother-in-law and a cousin. Three people all at once.

 

-- Tu cred’ nu sogno, quand’ tu fai u sogn’ tu credi che vien’ na cosa vero. Di’ come te sienti.

You believe that a dream – that when you dream that it will come true. Tell us how you feel.

 

-- Che na cosa (?) è poco ma sempre c’è na cosa. Ma se c’è something. All the time che dream c’avevo na cosa. Na volta pesant’ na volta legger’, ma più pesant’ che leggero. Ma perchè ho detto queste cose?

That thing…it’s little but there is always something. There is always something. All the time that I dream there was something. Sometimes heavy, sometimes light, but more heavy than light. But why did I say these things?

 

-- Ma tu credi ch’u sogn’ –

But you believe that dreams –

 

-- La vita è stata so long…

Life has been so long…

 

-- Quando tu tieni u sogno vuol dire una cosa

When you have a dream it means something

 

-- C’era una cosa. Se non assai è poco ma c’era una cosa. All the time I dream. (?) My mother in law (?) ho fatto sto sogno. Oh non me lo contà! I sogni tui non sacci come sono. I dream troppo assai (?) I tell my mother-in-law a lot of time. I dream troppo sogno malamente. Ah sti sogni tuo non me le raccontà, non me dici manco a me. Pure essa get scared.

There was something. If not a lot a little, but always something. All the time I dream…My mother in-law…I had this dream. (She said) “Oh don’t tell me! I don’t know what your dreams are like”. I dreamed a lot…I tell my mother in law a lot of time that I dream too much and have bad dreams. “Ah. Don’t tell me these dreams of yours, you don’t tell anyone not even to me.” Even she got scared.

 

-- La mente mia era aperta pure o night time. La capa mia era aperta pure o nighttime. I dream (?) big thing. Pure when I (?) my husband I dream.

My mind was open even at nighttime. My head was open even at nighttime. I dream…big thing. Even when I (I think she was saying even when she lost my grandfather)…my husband I dream.

 

-- What did you dream? Dillo.

What did you dream? Say it.

 

-- I dream che essi (?) l’acqua. E (?) panni in cucina (?) No e (?) E mio marito m’ha revegliato. Essi (?) ha detto ma che hai all the time (?) e non c’ho voluto raccontare manco u sogno. I no tell him the dream. I think I find the clothes on the water e chiamar’ Vit’ Vit’ e m’ha svegliato marito mio “Ma che tiene. Revegliate.” I dream a lot of things.] I dreamed that the water. My husband woke me up. He asked me what was wrong with me all the time. I didn’t even want to tell him the dream. I no tell him the dream. I think I find the clothes on the water (I think this was a symbol of death to see these clothes floating on the water) and I call out Vit’ Vit’ (?) and my husband woke me up “What’s wrong? Wake up.” I dream a lot of things.

 

-- Lascia’ la casa
You left your house…(in Italy)

 

-- Perchè?

(Why?)

 

-- Beh, I don’t know non sacci manco il perchè. Giusto non la volevo che lasciass’ la casa. The kids. Riman’ all alone.

(Well, I don’t know, I don’t even know why. I just didn’t want her to leave the house. The kids. Left all alone)

 

-- You were worried.

 

 

 

-- Che c’ha detto essa (?)

(What did you say to her (?))

 

(…)

 

-- E ciò detto (?) I believe everyone should stay home. Teneva sempre vicino alla casa. That’s all. Come io ho cresciuto a voi lo stess’. Non volevo mai – aggia voluto mannare alla scuola. (?) Lì vicino a noi. Sempre intorno alla casa. E la capa così. I raise you that way. La famiglia si può (?) Così so cresciuta e così l’aggio portato a loro pure. Same thing.

I beleve everyone should stay home. Keep everyone close to the house. That’s all. Just like I raise io. Always around the house. My head is like that. I raise you that way. Family can…That’s how I was raised and that’s how I raised them too. Same thing.)

(This is me speaking here. I’m asking her if she left her family why didn’t she want her children to leave. But of course it was naïve of me. She hadn’t wanted to leave her family. She felt forced to leave her beautiful family because her husband wouldn’t go back to Tolve to be with her.)

 

 

-- But grandma, but you left Italy, right. Tu, you left your mother, so how come?

Well I got my husband over here. I no wanna come. My mother force me, and my mother-long (in-law) too. They say you don’t go to America you lose you husband. Your husband no come back here no more. Perchè (?) He likes so much over here. Waterbury (?) When he move to Waterbury he like. Detto io non vengo più. Rimango qua so if you wanna come I’m here. If no you stai là io sto qua.

 

Why… He likes so much over here. Waterbury (?) When he move to Waterbury he like. He said he wouldn’t come back anymore. I’m staying here so if you wanna come I’m here. If no you stay there and I stay here.

After WWII my grandmother went for a single visit to see her family. My grandfather refused to go with her, but when he brought her to the ship in New York, he tried to bribe the captain to let him get on too. He didn’t have a passport or a ticket or anything so of course they wouldn’t let him on. My mother says we begged him to follow her, get a passport and a ticket and to go a couple of weeks later, but he wouldn’t go then. My grandmother waited for him to come for five months. But he never arrived.That was the only time she saw Tolve or her family again.

-- When you went go back to Italy to see your brothers and sisters?

 

-- When I went, I went dopo trentacinque anni, 35 years I was here, all the kids was getting married, all got own house. I was free. I say to my husband you wanna come? He say “No, (?) I stay here. Aggia accattato na casa. I bought a house.” E non la poteva lascia’ And he couldn’t leave it. Allora I went all alone. I went to see my mother. I stay 5 months with my mother. After my mother say, “I appreciate tutto questo (all this). I like having you all the time for me but go for your own people,” my mother say to me. Perchè io non la volevo lassare my mother again Because I didn’t want to leave my mother again). I say vuoi venire mamma io te port’ all’America You want to come mom, I’ll take you to America). No I’m too old (?) 80 years old (?). M’ha forzat’ dopo vado per il cart Later she had to force me to take the cart . (She forced her to get on the cart to leave Tolve.) “Go find your people, your husband and your children.” I left five children. They was all get married when I went. Everybody. I no leave before. I leave when the kids had a place (?). O marito mio voleva veni’ ma (?) gas station che non poteva lascia’. E non c’è voluto veni’. I come and meet you. He no come. Five months I wait for him to come. He no come. I cry and I go home. My mother said, “Go my daughter you left all your children”. So good my mother, you know, so strong. Mi accompagnarono a me fino o posto della carrozza. My mother and father both. Beh che say la lontananza dalla famiglia troppo malament. What are you gonna do? A uno devi fa’ contento o alla famiglia tua o a marito. Quant’m’chiant!

 

After “I leave when the kids have a place] My husband wanted to come but he had a gas station so he couldn’t leave. And so he didn't want to come after “so strong”. They accompanied me to the carriage stop. my mother and father both. Well, what to say, the distance between the family is too bad [large]. What are you gonna do? You have to make someone happy, either your husband or your family .O how I cried many times over it.

 

And that’s a the life.