Thursday, February 16, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:  

[ed: Dad stopped mid-notebook with directions to continue with another notebook he started. He referred to this notebook as the Lehman notebook, but out of the 3 notebooks I have, none of them have that written anywhere on them.

In this second notebook, I can see the signs of Alzheimer's that I missed with Dad. Most of my focus was on my mother after her stroke, This notebook is a bit harder to decipher the writing. Not Dad's usual  bold, neat penmanship, but hastily written. Lots of things crossed out. The notebook begins with a directive or a notation.]

Insert forgotten much that I can't remember

My Life as I Remember and Lived It

To The Son, and Grandson, my Daughter, Daughter-in-Law, Granddaughters, and my Son-In-Law. It's as the title states. And before anyone can have a life there must be parents.

In a little town in Italy called Torre di [ed: le] Nocelle in the area of the city of Naples, Achille Todisco was born to my grandfather, Joseph [ed: Giuseppe] and Saveria on May 22, 1889 [ed: the correct date is March 22, 1889] He was my grandparents third child. He had an older sister named Angelina followed by Joseph, Achille, Alberto, Alfredo, and a little sister whose name I never hear nor when she was mentioned , did anyone in the family ask nor did her brothers and sister mention her name. They just referred to her. [ed: through genealogy research I found the sister. Her name was Alfonsina Emma Eutilia. She was born in 1893 and died in 1896 at the age of 3 years old] Our parents did not talk about their lives in Italy with us. Once in a while they would so so among themselve or in sotto vocce  indicat whom they were talking about but not in our presence.

My Grandfather Joseph, I think was a shoemaker and he evidently did well economically as he manage to send the eldest daughter and [her] three brothers to America. And may have done better as his sons sent money to their parents.

Angelina came first She married a man name Manuel DeCristoforo. And each brother when my grandfather was ready and asked his daughter, he sent each member of his family to her. Each lived with Zia Angelina until they married. Uncle Joe came first and Achille came next he was 16 years old when he came to America. In fact each brother was 16 years oldwhen he dame. Each had a trade and each was sent to a person who apprenticed them had the trade of barber, tailor. Grandpa was a shoe maker he not only repaird shoes but he also would have a person put his or her foot on a [ed can't make out the word] paper and measure and make a pair of shoes.

Uncle Joe was the first to get married he was a barber and when I met him as a child he had his own business. In Framingham across the side of the street of the town hall.

He also had other barbers working for him and in the back of the barber shop he had another room where women did the latest hairstyles for women.

He also owned his own home. Zia Angelina was not happy with Uncle Joe's wife. He married Aunt Clara a divorcee with two daughters. Two lovely girls. He did not adopt them.

Uncle Fred was a shoemaker and he had a shoe store wehre he sold shoes and also made them and repaired them. He also owned his own home in Wellesley. He married a lovely woma whose name I have forgotten. [ed: Esterina] She died young leaving four boys Tootsie, Charlie, Arthur, Freddy and Ellie. Zia Angelina was not happy with this marriage as Uncle Freds wife was closely related to the Todisco a close cousin [ed second cousin]

Alberto [ed another brother in Italy] did as I remember visit America. I was a few years old at the time and he was a handsome looking guy rather shy and he had his son with him. At the time he had come to say goodbye to my parents as he was returning to Italy.


  1. Wow! That's a lot of aunts and uncles to keep track of! ;)

  2. CJ...

    how cool is this that your dad chronicled the family history; how many times I rise to hold onto something and kick me own azz....

    weezer and bum, my grandparents mothers side; the history they told, and we were going to write it in journals, and record it on tape....later, on another day ~~~~~

    and the days passed.....

    and it never came to be

    I wonder what the latest hairstyles for women were back then !! ♥♥♥

  3. Partly Dad wrote things down because some friends suggested he leave a legacy for us. I also think it was a way to cope with the Alzheimer's which was not officially diagnosed. He used to tell me he felt like he was losing his mind and couldn't remember things. We just chalked it up to aging.

    As to hairstyles, go watch Downton Abbey. The producers/writers were very true to the 1920s period for clothing and hairstyle. Women began cutting their hair short what was known as a Bob, and Marcel waves made with heated irons was another popular style.

  4. I spent the past two days out of town with my friend Kathy, so I've been MIA. I just got home and rushed over to see your latest posts.

    Seems like Zia Angelina didn't like ANY of your dad's uncles wives. Too bad there was tension like that. So glad your dad documented all this, though. Sometimes I wish someone in my family had done that.

    1. Times were very different and what is accepted now was taboo. The family was Roman Catholic so to marry a divorced person meant, you couldn't get married in the Church. Though you could be married by a Justice of the Peace and your marriage recognized by the state, in the eyes of the Church (God), you were not married but living in a state of sin. If you were Catholic and divorced, it meant you could not receive Communion at Mass.

      As to marrying a second cousin, I think she felt familial ties were too close.

      I'm glad Dad wrote stuff down. Reading through the notebooks is almost like being with him. I started my genealogy research a little too late, but he would have been so pleased his stories have helped me connect dots.