Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

In a little town in Italy, called Torre de Nocelle, with the area of Naples, on March 22, 1889 Achille Todisco was born to Joseph and Saveria Todisco, my grandparents. He had a sister, Angelina, the oldest of their children, Uncle Joe, Uncle Fred, Uncle Roberto and a sister, whom they did not talk about or mention. [ed: Her name was Alfonsina Emma Eutilia, born 19. Dec. 1893 and died 26. Nov.  1896.]

Grandpa Todisco was a shoemaker. In those days or period most shoes were custom made. The customer would put his or her foot on a paper. The next thing was to trace the foot, take measurements and in due course a pair of comfortable custom made shoes would appear.

Grandpa T. must have done well economically as he was able to send my aunt, Uncle Joe and Uncle Fred and my father when they were 16 years old. To Aunt Angelina as she was married when each boy was shipped out. He also saw to their future. He sent Uncle Joe to a barber to learn that trade, Uncle Fred must have been taught by Grandpa as he was a shoemaker amd my father to a tailor as he became a journeyman custom tailor.

Aunt Angelina was well established when these boys arrived. She was married to Emanuel DeCristoforo. He was a sculptor and worked with granite and marble. In those days there was no workmens law or safety laws and as a result he died young. Leaving my nine cousins. Margaret, Chris, Annie, Angie, Dick, Raymond, Manual, Joe and Fred.

My uncles and father thought the world of their brother-in-law. They thought of him even in their later years. I was old enough to remember being at the wake when he died [ed. 1926] He was waked in his home, as was the custom in those days.

His funeral was well attended. He lived on Cottage Street at the intersection at the end of the G.E. factory which manufactured electric products. And if the bulb failed you could take it to the factory and get another for free.

At that time we had gas light in our house. In fact, the electric era  was in its early birth. He had a huge funeral and the horse drawn cart was still in use although slowly going out in favor of the motor vehicle. He died from breathing the dust from his work. Emanuel's work can be seen on the steps of the Boston Library [ ed. BPL Main branch at Copley Sq.] two lions one on each side.


  1. Wow, CJ, that lion is really impressive. A wonderful memorial to Emanuel.
    Are you feeling better?

    1. There are two lions on either side of the staircase. They were dedicated to two Civil War infantry regiments. The artist for the memorials was Louis Saint-Gaudens. I have not been able to verify that Saint-Gaudens outsourced work to Boston stoneworkers. I just have the family lore from Dad that Uncle Manny worked on the lions

      Feeling better. Thanks for asking. I can breathe a little. Energy levels aren't up to snuff yet. Good excuse to hang out in the sun room and watch Netflix

  2. Aren't you lucky to have this in your father's handwriting! I wish someone in my family had thought to write down at least names and dates. Glad you can breathe...that's always a good thing! ;)