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Delia: History of immigrants of Stamford
We felt that the Italian American community needed a little pat in back for the contributions Italians made to this great country.Right here in Stamford we are largest ethnic group in the city of Stamford. Italians (17.0%), Irish (10.5%), German (6.6%), Polish (5.6%), West Indian (5.4%), English 2%).
Our contributions to this great City span across every field.
from construction, arts, politcs
science sports our name stand out with the best of them …….and we are proud .
later on in the show mr Joe Pampena will tell you about some of the most famous italians that made a difference to the history of the united states.
But for now I want to talk about simple people like you and me…. You will not see our names written in any history book but we did make a differnce .
Let me take you back for a moment to those last days prima di partire.
when the suitcases and the trunks for so full we had to sit on them to close them.
Can you imagine what is like for a person to leave all that they have always known
all that they have always loved to sail the ocean for the unknown . A land sooo far away it took 30 days of voyage to arrive. Can you imagine what is like to say good by to your children or parents or spouse to your best friend not knowing if you’ll haver see them again. It’s heart wrenching.
And for us, we went to church to say our last good good by the Madonna di Canneto or San Vito San Teodoro or Santa Maria Infante to name a few. We sought the blessings of our parish priest . He blessed us gave us i Santini e said “don’t forget your little town. You are sooo scared of the unknown so scared of leaving that you wish you could turn back and never hear that dreaded word :America.That was a word dreaded and loved by many of us, but we came in the hundred of thousands …….millions in fact . In the immediate after war some 7 millions came. I think 6 millions settled in the West Side.
We passed trough Ellis Island it was sooo bad it came to be known as l’Isola delle Lacrime.The Island of Tears. we came full of hopes and dreams eager to make a difference in our lives………We came to the promise land.
No, we did not find the street paved in gold ……no. We found something much more
important we found ………opportunity…………. work
and the chance to be independent and make a living a contribute to the society.
We settled in the West Side.Around 50 years ago. Yes I see many of my friends that came at the same time right?.
We know discrimination first hand we suffered the humiliation of been emarginated from the society ….. we were called names bad names dirty names.
But we persevered. Fieri della nostra cultura con indominabile coraggio continuammo il nostro cammino.Proud of our culture with indomable courage and strength we set out to make a living and conquer the new world…..and we did. You see signs of our presence in every street in every in building in the entertainment center in every field of Stamford spicca un nome italiano- Italian names stand out.
A distinguished family the De Preta family: uncle Vincent to many of us had 7 sons fighting in the same war in the American army. I believe it was the only family in the history of the world that had so many sons fighting in the same war. One of them did not come back the youngest : Jimmy. The city of Stamford dedicated a park
in his honor at the Cove Road. We have here today one of the the doughter-in law Jean De Preta the former Iginia Petrucci and granddaughter Lorraine
Jean come here at 8 years of age from Abruzzi. You can ask her what it was like to come here all that many years ago. As it happens with all societies when one group arrives in an established neighborhood
Pushes the group that lived there before out and up. And so it was with us. We came and the Irish left and moved to better places. The Italians begin to practice their usanze old customs. The green back yards became gardens planted with tomatoes plants, zucchini
herbs and spices.
On the porches hung patted flowers and even some pots with parsley
and basil leaves. The look of the neighborhood was changing. The Italians used to sit on the front steps and converse with friend and passerby. We called out to the comare across the street. And then nonna < we all have a nonna yes? come out with the broom and a bucket of water to wash the steps and the sidewalks.
The Italians were firmly establishing themselves
I’m going to stop now before I bore you. I will continue later on with the history of the church. thank you!