Memories of usticesi in San Jose

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Posted by Bill Principe on 28 NOV 2005 10:52:37

My grandmother Camilla Messina was born on Ustica and came to San Jose CA as a baby. Just before my mother died in 1987, she told me all about her life. Here is what she said about her mother and grandparents and their life in San Jose. There isn't much here, but I thought you might enjoy reading it and perhaps it will resonate for you. My comments are in [brackets].

. . . to Evergreen near San Jose, where my grandparents, Anna and Vincent [Vincenzo] Messina, had a ranch. Mother [Camilla Messina] had four sister and one brother. She arrived in US as a baby, boy [her brother] was born here. Vincent was a "building contractor" a carpenter, who helped build the prison on Ustica. Grampa was a dapper little guy with a roving eye himself. He drank a glass of olive oil every day. They moved t o the city [downtown San Jose] and bought a corner lot with two houses, and a garden in the back. He built a big "Igloo" oven in back where Anna baked bread. They had an arbor in the back with grapes, and they did much of their living in the basement. They slept upstairs, but basement was living room. A big table covered with oilcloth and 25 chairs, and whenever someone would visit, she'd cook mo re pasta, and everyone would stay to eat.

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