On a White Horse He Came
My grandparents did not come to America until the year 1915, long after the Civil War of 1861-1865 transpired. So, I have no "white guilt" when it comes to slavery. CRT is an anathema to our country, in my opinion and I refuse to take on the sins of the father which is an unBiblical ideology.
I was named for my great grandmother who grew up on the Island of Sicily as Rose Rizzoli. Her father and mother had arranged for her to marry the mayor of the town of Camerata, but the man was senior to her by twenty years and Eve hated the idea of marrying him under any circumstances, even though he was quite wealthy. Her heart was set upon a young and handsome man named Salvatore, a simple farmer who lived in Castronuevo. One evening, as Rose was forced to entertain him with Neopolitan songs, after a particularly filling ravioli dinner, she realized she would have to disobey her parents and all convention on Italian marriages and run away to save herself from a fate worse than death—a loveless marriage.
Salvatore rode up on a white horse without her ever having asked him too, on the following night, and they were gone for many hours; in fact, they were gone overnight. It was scandalous. In the morning, there was nothing left to do but agree that they were to be married; regardless of nocturnal activity, she was no longer an innocent. Over the years, Salvatore and Rose had nine children, five of whom died as babies or young children because there were few to no antibiotics available. Salvatore worked installing cobblestone streets for street cars in Chicago and after that job he worked a garden that was six city blocks long; during the Great Depression he fed numerous Chicagoland families with his generous gifts of home-grown vegetables.
Rose made ends meet working in a clothing factory, folding shirts by hand and packaging them. In the winter, she had to wear a heavy coat and a scarf around her head; there was no heat in the building. She wore gloves with the fingers cut out so she could still sew and stay warm. To stay warm, Salvatore would walk the tracks and find coal that had fallen off steam locomotives. I believe in immigration that is done in a legal manner, as those who were Italian, Scandinavian, Irish were required to do.
I love the scandal and the determination my great grandmother had to live a better life than the one planned for her and expected of her. Here is to all the woman who say, "I WANT MORE."
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