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Personal Essay: Trials And My Grandfather

1030 words - 5 pages

A Bay Tale
Motivation is perhaps the most valuable aspect to one’s personality, and its something that I believe you are born with. I support the idea that what you’ve got in your blood really does make who you are. Thats why I always take pride in representing my family and our heritage. Being brought up by dad, a classic Italian, I guess you could say I am a proud individual and I have got a decent set of morals. The Firenzi family, has gone through their fair share of trials and tribulations to end up where we are today.
Originally my last name was spelled Firenze with an ‘e’ at the end instead of an ‘i’. My dad said that when our ancestors immigrated here from Italy that the people working at Ellis Island had so many people to deal with that they disregarded how our last name was spelled and just threw an ‘i’ on the end. Translated to Italian Firenze directly translates to Florence which is a well known city in Italy. When interviewing my dad he did not know all too much about our family tree but he seemed to be sure that our family started in Florence. Since my dad didn’t know why the Firenzis initially immigrated to America, I did a little research and found some of the main motivators of italian immigration in the early 1900s. I discovered that a lot of Italy at that time was extremely crowded and there wasn’t much to hope for when it came to opportunities. If you had a job with a low wage that was probably going to be your job for life. Wages in Italy were noticeably much lower than those in America. A carpenter in Italy on average made around eight dollars a week while an Italian immigrant with the same job in America could make eighteen dollars week. Making double the paycheck was definitely a huge factor in my family’s decision making process. Since so many people lived in poverty, which was probably the case with my family, most immigrant families could only afford to send one person at a time to the land of opportunity. The husband of a family would save up enough money to voyage to America and restart saving money to pay for another family member to take the voyage, and so on until the whole family was together again.
A generation or two later when my grandfather was a young man, he found himself in a similar situation as a lot of the men portrayed in Crown of Dust; except instead of a gold rush town he sought a place to fish, and instead of Motherload the place he went to was the San Francisco wharf. At the time the wharf in San Francisco was a gold mine because of the high demand for seafood and increasing bayside population. There he learned how to become a commercial crab fisherman and lived the life as an italian fisherman. My grandfather interestingly enough had become friends with Giuseppe Dimaggio who was Joe Dimaggios...

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