My father was a shepherd and grew up in great poverty. He had five brothers and sisters but his father chose to take him on a ship called La Patria to fulfill their dreams in the USA. I used to love when he told us that the only woman he adored beside my mother was the "lady" standing in the harbor who welcomed him to a free country. It often brought tears to my eyes as he loved this country.
He lived in Central park for about 6 weeks eating dandelionas and sleeping on the benches until a cousin gave my grandfather a room and a job washing dishes in his retaurant. It was a memory that was difficult for him because it reminded him of how hungry and cold he was and watching his father work many hours. He swept floors and helped out where he could working sometimes 12 hours a day.
Later a cousin, from upstate New York, came and took them both to Newburgh where they worked in his small bakery. Slowly my grandfather brought my grandmother and his other children to this country but it took 13 years before they would all be together.
My father met my mother in her father's barber shop. She was Calabrese and really beautiful. They had three daughters. My father established the largest Italian bakery in the state of New York, named "LUNA BAKERY" which became quite a landmark in Newburgh and the surrounding areas. He delivered and serviced the cadets at West Point, at what was then Stewart AirForce Base, and many hotels and reataurants in the Catskills and Hudson VAlley.
He was one of the happiest people I ever met...when I think of him I remember his broken English, his kind spirit, but mostly his smile.
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