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My American story started when…
My American story started when I was lost in NYC Harbor. My father had just welcomed my mother, my older brother, and me, a three-year-old, from our trans-Atlantic crossing aboard the S.S. Independence in 1956. An Italian WWII POW, poor and emaciated, Papa returned to a war ravaged homeland. He chose to become part of the post-WWII Italian diaspora. Working in Venezuela proved to be untenable. He gazed towards America. She smiled back. Employed as a steelworker in Youngstown, Ohio, he summoned his family. Leaving our medieval Italian town of Pacentro, our ship awaited in Napoli. The arduous voyage was assuaged by the excitement of reuniting with Papa. While exchanging hugs in the Harbor, I wandered off. My family panicked, but eventually they found me playing in some old crates. My mother lovingly blamed my father.