Chapter One (excerpt): I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950

My loving Nonnis had decided to make the ultimate sacrifice for me. They would accompany me to Detroit, Michigan, where I would “meet” my mother and become a member of the family she had started there.

Our dear friend Giuseppe was anxious to drive us to the seaport of Genoa, where our four trunks had been loaded aboard the luxurious passenger liner Andrea Doria. The ship was known for transporting many immigrants seeking the American Dream. We were confident that it would give safe passage to family belongings, my First Communion dress, Persian rugs, handmade blankets, and stylish Italian sweaters on a transatlantic crossing.

“You’d better get in the car,” Giuseppe instructed. “You don’t want to miss the boat.” His teasing was meant to help lighten our mood.

Nonno gestured for Nonna and Nonna Apollonia, my sweet great-grandmother, to get into the black sedan. It was a great comfort having Nonna Apollonia, the strongest bond to our motherland, accompany us.

But my closest pals were not coming along. I ran to my loving farm dog Titti and my “baby” cat Carla, my playmates when my friends weren’t around. I hadn’t been crying yet, but now the tears couldn’t help flowing. I sobbed. It was all sinking in.


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