|Michele Spadoni on his farm in
Shore Acres, Gig Harbor, WA
I want to give you a progress report on how the family you
started a bit more than 100 years ago is doing. When you took that ship to
America in 1909, Italian immigrants were treated with hostility and suspicion.
The governor of Louisiana, elected two years after you arrived, described
Italian Americas as “just a little worse than the Negro, being if anything
filthier in their habits, lawless and treacherous.” Knowing this, you did your
best to teach your children and grandchildren to be loyal and productive
Americans. Each generation has learned honesty, patriotic values and a strong
work ethic. You taught us the inestimable value of family love and
togetherness. You farmed your land to put food on your family’s table and
worked at jobs that others refused to do. And then you helped your siblings,
nephews and nieces become established in America as well.
|Anita Seghieri in
her 20s, in France.
|Dr. Leon Spadoni, son of
Michele's nephew Alfredo.
I await the day we can all be together again at that big and
eternal dinner table. For now, on behalf of our family, I thank you for your
courage, foresight, persistence and strong moral standards. Your work is done,
your burdens lifted. Go and dance with the angels.
Tuo nipote, Paul (along with many others)
The image in this
charcoal drawing by Lita Dawn Ancich now adorns
* * * * *
Author’s note: I was inspired to write this after reading a
similar essay by author and friend James Pantaleo.