The lives of Angelo Cavallaro and Angela Gravagna are entwined in a backdrop set in the coastal areas of the Province of Catania, Sicily, and moves onto the northern hillsides of the active volcano, Mount Etna. They are traced from their early childhoods, where they lived as peasants during the reconstruction of Italy and Sicily, through their immigration to America. The journey of Angelo, Angela, and their six children begins in the tiny village of Passopisciaro and continues as they travel to Palermo in1913 to board a ship and sail across the Atlantic Ocean. You share and experience their fears as they pass through Ellis Island, and their joys of eventually arriving to their new home in Rochester, New York.
In this sensitive memoir, the author attempts to do what most Italians only dream of – to piece together all the stories parents have retold their children over the generations; from their struggles and humble beginnings, to the joys they shared with their extended families in later years. In chapters that examine individual members of his family and highlights their life achievements, the reader gains a better understanding of the unique characteristics that all immigrants have in common.
The memories recorded are a tribute to the legacy they left; lessons about life, responsibility, self-respect, and love of family. It is written with gratitude to all immigrants; our ancestral grandfathers and grandmothers, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles. These were the risk-takers and pioneers, who were willing to sacrifice personal comfort in order to provide a better life for their families in an unknown world. A narrative that honors our link to the past through the memories they left behind, My Sicilian Legacy is a chronicle focusing on the importance of family life and the pride in maintaining ethnic roots. It is a description of how the ordinary events that shape and mold character, thinking, aspirations, and joys can be achieved through hard work and perseverance – the early immigrants gave of themselves so their children would attain a better lifestyle.
Richard Cavallaro traces his own ancestral history to this area of Sicily and paints a vivid picture
of the events that occurred through three generations, which eventually led to the creation of My Sicilian Legacy; a tribute that many Italians and Sicilians will share with pride.