The End of Our " New Orleans Ustica " ?

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Posted by StanN (Ingargiola ) on 22 APR 2012 23:43:31

I think many of us who visit this site regularly are middle-aged and /or seniors with a common link of being New Orleanians with direct Usticesi predecessors. I think we are also somewhat sadly the last of an extremely unique group in genealogic terms. And like all things human, the cohesion that kept us so unique cannot escape the dual inevitability of Time and the changes that Time brings.
With the death in 2012 at age 98 of my father's last sibling ( of a group of 12 ), one of the last links to " The Old Ustica in New Orleans " passed into history. My father's generation is probably a representation of your own parents generation and a representation of what made the " Old Ustica in New Orleans " remain both intact and unique in this melting pot of America. the exception of one brother and one sister who did not marry, my Ustica-descendant father and his 9 brothers and sisters all married Ustica-descendant spouses. To put this in perpective, my father's sister who died in 2012 at 98 was the daughter-in-law of of a man and woman born on Ustica, the man born on the island in 1888 and later emigrating to New Orleans. And this same marrriage connection repeated with all of these 10 brothers and sisters. All of his sisters married into New Orleans families who were Ustica descendants as did he and his brothers. My own mother remembered well her Ustica-born grandfather. My own father and all his siblings were adults when his Ustica-born paternal grandmother died at age 90 in New Orleans in 1933. ?...I personally know of none of the children of these 10 brothers and sisters themselves to be married to Usticesi-decendant spouses. Though all these children were born in New Orleans, some still reside there and some do not..and the children of these chidren have homes in Ohio, Florida, California , etc, etc. The St. Joseph's Day alters, the homemade gigi and fig cakes, the Italian hard cookies from Brocato's on Rampart St, the old Lamana, Pallo and Fallo Funeral Home, also on Rampart St., along with these Usticesi-based marriages among New Orleanians made our aunts, uncles, grandparents all part of a core community bound together primarily because Ustica was a small island where everyone new everyone else and when it was time to immigrate this island of sailors clustered in a port city where who they knew on Ustica they now knew in New Orleans. And the daughter of an Ustica-born mother and father would primarily meet the son of an Ustica- born mother and father and that unique link to Ustica in the Mediterranean was transplanted to New Orleans in America. Chris Caravella and his helpers, and the renewed CSBA, again thanks to Chris Caravella and his helpers, is a testament to the appreciation of his generation to the better life that his and my generation has in America thanks to the hope of a better life the original Ustica emmigrants undertook so long ago. An things like a common language, traditions and kinship kept this core community together and because it was relatively small in big America, it staying together helped it succeed, but it also created a unique inter-relationship among it's American born children that kept that core together longer than many other melting-pot Americans. course my own. Others will perhaps see it differently. But as my own generation's children marry non-Usticeses and their own children spread far and wide across this country, as is already the case, it is inevitable they may never even hear of that tiny island and even their own connection to New Orleans itself will dim. more than the loss of a relative, it also means one of those last links to the Old Ustica I personally heard about through those who were so close to that island's native born, has passed also. it gives those of us interested in it a better sense of who were our family members who proceded us, what motivated their lives perhaps, and how we ourselves fit into the chain of our respective families, and maybe even past that information on to those who will follow us. of today is not the Old Ustica our ancestors left to come to New Orleans, but among genealogy fans, it is the Old Ustica and the " New Orleans Ustica" of the early last century, that brings many of us to this site. " Past Times " is what genealogy is really all about, and when I and others, also, lose those personal links who could say " I remember that "..instead of " I read about that "....we realize we are getting further from those original sources, and our own links to that unique period and it's unique traditions and unique people gets a little more weakened.

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