Thursday’s Child Vlog – Episode 001: Roots

Before there was recycling, per se, you used to be able to get money. It’s not like there was a deposit back in those days. He just used to collect bottles and turn them in. That was one of his particular things and he was a little bit more of a, I don’t know, if you want to say, an early entrepreneur or…

Hey, good afternoon. It’s twenty-sixth of May, two thousand and seventeen, and I wanted to do something – I’m going to call this, I think, this particular episode “Roots”. Because, well, I was reminded while on the phone with my cousin – and I only have, let’s say four first cousins – which is really kind of strange I mean, I think that’s OK. I do have a pretty good extended family. But, only four first cousins and we were pretty tight for a long time because we only lived about a mile from each other.

And they were here and in Fort Lee, in case you’re wondering. I am at Madonna Cemetery. Here today it’s kind of a little bit cloudy, a little bit sunny, and I figure I’d take advantage of the sun.

I got to see my cousins a lot because of the close proximity. What is it? I think I’ve heard it said that the cousins are like brothers and sisters you didn’t have. Well, we’re kind of that way. They’re all girls, and there were us four boys – my brothers and I. I was talking to one of my cousins who lives down in Charleston, South Carolina, and during the summer they’ve got a place up in Vermont.

Anyway, she gave me a call, and we caught up a little bit. We’re just talking about things – reminiscing a little bit about the family and all and I’m just going to give you a peek back here.

There happens to be mausoleum with my name on it. Well, at least my last name and it’s kind of a big deal because here in the cemetery, there are a lot of headstones but not a whole lot of mausoleums.

My great grandparents are interred here Silvestro and Eusebia. When we talk about being an immigrant country – and believe me I’m not getting political or anything like that, because that’s a very hot topic – but yeah.

All of my immigrant relatives arrived here in the 1880’s, 1890’s, and so. But Silvestro, on my father’s side – he was kind of like, you can’t call him an ‘anchor baby’ because I think when he was a teenager – and I know somebody in the family or correct me if I’m wrong – when he was a teenager, he was sent by his father Michele, over here to the United States and took up residence in what is now East Harlem, Spanish Harlem, up in the 110’s in that area and all and they did whatever they could and he made somewhere around twelve trips back and forth between here in the United States and back to Italy because there are just, maybe, thirty five miles or so northeast of Naples, it was a pretty big deal.

He would come up, go back and forth and he sponsored a lot of people my great-grandmother, Eusebia, she is interred here. But my grandfather and many of his other sibs were all born here in New York City and what have you. They came across in 1915 to Fort Lee and that became where they lived.

My grandmother’s side of the family, they also were in Fort Lee and believe it or not, that side of the family – they were friends back in the “old country”.

Anyway, how does this all work out to roots? There I was in, I forgot where the house exactly was, might have been Ho-Ho-Kus or something. Somebody had a picture of Yankee stadium being built. Now on my grandmother’s side of the family, they owned a stone and gravel and sand company, like all Italians, right?

My grandfather had the distinct honor of driving in the second truckload of sand to what’s being built at that time, Yankee Stadium, back in the 20’s.

Every time that I would hear something like “The House that Ruth Built”, he was to say hey what about Grandpa Albert? Well, that was the deal, he drove it in and I saw this picture and I’ll throw it up on the video here so you can take a look at it.

Everybody’s got a story as to where they came from. When I went back to see some of the things that my grandfather or my great-grandfather had done – I mean he used to collect bottles long before there was recycling, per se. He used to be able to get money; it’s not like there was a deposit back in those days. He just used to collect bottles and turn them in. That was one of his particular things. And he was a little bit more of, I don’t know, if you want to say, an early entrepreneur. My grandfather – not so much he was more of an employee type. And my father he was a little bit of both because while he was an employee, he was doing the dutiful thing every so often he would venture out and try a little something on his own.

So, I think that I probably have a little bit more of my great-grandfather – at least, on my dad’s side of the family.

I mean it doesn’t really matter where you start, or how old you are. Take a look at Silvestro – he was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old? Me I’m fifty seven. You can keep on restarting, it doesn’t matter how many times you restart. It’s just that you keep on going for it, and that’s important.

I’ll leave you with this on this Memorial Day weekend, a little thank you to all of the people who have fought for our country. I even saw my great-grandfather – and if I go on Ancestry.com – he had signed up for, I guess. He was eligible to fight in the Army. This was his new place. Wasn’t so happy about coming over but I think once he got here, he made the best of it.

There’s a lesson to be learned there. Have a wonderful weekend, thank you for taking your time, and I’ll see you next time around.

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