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The Damiano Family!

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FC: TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE. | Our Journey to America! By the Damiano family

1: Here's my father. His name is Arlo Emiliano Damiano, and he is a 42 year old Sicilian. He has nine children, and he is married to my mother Angelica. Back in Palermo, my father was a newspaper printer. | We will never forget. | Making Memories. | Hey it's me! My name is Luco Cosmo Damiano. I'm 15 years old and I was born in Palermo, Sicily. I am the oldest of my eight siblings. | My mother Angelica. She was born in Palermo, like the rest of my family. She is 33 and has been married to my father for over 15 years.

2: These are my brothers and sisters. Back in Sicily, my mother and father enrolled them in ballet school. Their names, from left to right, are Marea who's 14, Armondo who's 9, Fiametta who's 8, Guido who's 13, Zarah who's 7, Leopoldo who's 10, Liona who's 11, and Orsino who's 12. Other than dancing, in Palermo my siblings and I enjoyed running around with our cloth dolls or tossing our marbles.

4: I come from a region in Italy known as the Sicilian Autonomous Region. That's because I was born and raised in Palermo, Sicily, In school, I've learned that Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Here we speak Italian, and use the Italian lira for money. When we eat, we usually have four parts to our meals. First comes the starters, which normally in my family is caponata. Next we have the pasta, or manicotti. After the pasta comes our main dish, mainly fresh fish cooked with many vegetables. At the end is my favorite, the dessert. In Sicily we had many delicious desserts to choose from, but my favorite was always to have a cannolu. Cannolu is Sicilian for little tube, which is made from sweet pastry dough and is filled with a creamy filling mostly made of ricotta.

5: The flag of Sicily | A connolu with ricotta filling.

6: Being an Italian family, we've been questioned a lot about why we came to America. Honestly, I have no idea why we left. It was completely my parents' decision. But they told me that America would be a new place where we would discover our dreams, play safely and freely in our yards, and swim through a river of gold. After that, we were off. We were only allowed to pack one extra outfit, and we could only bring our favorite stuffed toy. Everything else mother and father sold to afford our ten tickets. The tickets all together was a whopping $300! I don't know why the tickets were so expensive, the boat was so stuffy, and smelly, that the whole ten day trip I was sea-sick!

7: "To travel is to live." -Hans Christian Andersen

8: This is the day we arrived on Ellis island. I can't even begin to describe the emotions I was feeling on that grateful afternoon! I was a little bit scared, because a few men in big army coats came and were looking at my brothers and sisters and I. One of them asked father to follow them, and he was taken away. We didn't get to see him until a week later! He told us he was taken to quarantine, because of his limp arm. Thankfully the doctors understood his injury, gave him a sling, and sent him back to us! Other than my dad being quarantined, we all had a similar experience with the examinations. The doctors would look us over, open our mouths, look us in the eyes, and then we'd be sent down the line. The hardest part was when they started asking us questions! Thankfully we had mother there, because she answered most of them for us.

10: Ever since we arrived in America, mother got a job cleaning big houses in New York, and we've been living in a small apartment room in the center of Brooklyn. When father got back from quarantine he got a job at the meat packing store, and my siblings and I were hired to run newspaper all around town. New York is a big fast-paced city, and I'm thankful of mother and father for teaching me English. Without their help I'd be so lost! As for the vast riches of America, mother gets paid $120 a year and father $300 a year. My siblings and I only make a few cents per hour, but we're thankful for every penny. God bless America!

11: Let the journey begin

12: Dear loved ones back home, I want to start off saying that I miss you all dearly. I just got the news, I won't be home for Christmas this year. Don't worry about me though, I've learned to keep my head high around here and I hope you're all doing the same. I got Armondo's letter, he's becoming so smart in school! Don't tell him but I bought him a baseball glove for Christmas! I'll send it with this letter, try and keep it a secret from him. Guido hasn't wrote to me in a very long time. I wonder what's keeping him? I miss him very much, and I miss all of you too. Yours forever, Luco Cosmo Domiano

13: To my wonderful son, it makes me so happy to get a letter from you. Armondo loved his present! He looks up to you so much, and whenever he hears from you he instantly starts smiling. The letter you sent really lifted the mood of the entire family. These days, the mail is sad and depressing. I'm afraid that your brother Guido, whom you've not heard from for sometime, has been killed while fighting on the Western front. I am so sorry that you're hearing about this so late, but the entire family is heartbroken and no one could write such a letter. His funeral will be next Sunday, Pastor Arheni will be sending him away. You're always in my heart! Mama Angelica

14: Dear Mama and Papa, I miss you so much. Last night while fighting on the Eastern front, I witnessed the death of one of my dear friends. His name was Private Wilson, and I've been stationed with him for months while we've been in service together. I feel so torn apart here-when will I be able to come home? Our Sergeant told us that the war is nearly over, been we've been hearing this for weeks. I just want to go back in the day to our lovely apartment in Brooklyn with my eight brothers and sisters. Even the thought of you all gives me comfort in the darkest of places. Love, Luco Cosmo

15: Dear Armondo, I have written to both Mama and Papa, but they haven't written back to me. Is there something wrong at home? Hopefully you can get back to me. In the meantime, I've still been stationed on the Eastern front at the same spot for the past week... I'm so tired and sick of fighting. New soldiers have taken the place of my old friends and now I feel all alone. Your letters are the only things that are giving me faith out here. I love you brother, and I am counting the days until I'll be next to you again. Yours, Luco Cosmo Daminano

16: TRENCHED IN | Soldiers don't know who will come out on top after fighting for months on the Eastern Front. "We thought we had the upper hand," says Private Peterson, "but after each day more and more soldiers from each side are being killed. With all of the these deaths, it's impossible to decide a winner." | Private Peterson

17: WAR BONDS FOR SALE! SUPPORT YOUR TROOPS! | As of today, liberty bonds will be sold to the general public. By buying a War Bond you can support your nation without even enlisting in the army. "A simple investment by everyone can cut war costs down substantial sizes," says banker John Phreedman. "Imagine how much money we could raise if everybody chipped in a few dollars." | Banker John Phreedman explains the uses of liberty bonds.

18: Primary source: Wilson's Fourteen Point Primary source: A soldier's diary from WW1

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  • Title: The Damiano Family!
  • Jacob Stadler's 8th hour U.S. History project.
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  • Published: over 5 years ago