Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Walking Via Roma

Relatives on the march to the San Giuseppe Festa through the streets of Malfa...Or should that be street?Via Roma sort of snakes up through the town and part of the way it becomes Via Umberto. I did not know when this was taken, but just out of the picture to the right is where Catherine Marchetti Santospirito lives. The procession is for the San Giuseppe festa that ended at san Lorenzo at the top of the town.

In Ground burials

Many of the Bed like burials are unmarked and include some very old ones. The Cemetary is located right beside the Helicopter pad...the Ancestors must love that.


The Cincotta Crypt in the cemetery in Malfa.

Crypts 2

The Cafarella Crypt in the Cemetery in Malfa


A view of the cemetery in Malfa.

The tombs are niches closed on the front by a stone or(in the case of too much expense) plaster or concrete over brick.

Route Signs

The Volcano above Malfa to the west.
Mont Porri and the slope to the right that divides Malfa from Pollara. 2007

In the Church

San Giuseppe in the church of San Lorenzo

Toward the Altar

Inside San Lorenzo in Malfa, Salina 2007


San Lorenzo in Malfa at the top of the hill.

Monte Rivi and Monte Fossa Delle Felci

The mountains above Malfa to the east. The foreground is Monte Rivi the other rises behind it in the clouds.
In 2009 Mary Burrill and I climbed this from the other side(to the right) and descended very dangerously ot the left near Santa Marina.

Toward the sea and the village

This is the Church of San Lorenzo in Malfa...most of our relatives were baptized here and the records are here. The other church has been closed for some time. The entire church was under restoration in 2009. The town is pretty much to the left and below the church.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Col Joe Cafarella WWII

Joe is second from the left.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mary Rose Cincotta Cafarella

This is Grammie's confirmation I assume. Perhaps 1902+-

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mary Rose Cincotta-Cafarella

Here is Grammie at age 15 1/2 with her firstborn, Joseph Gaetano Cafarella 1903

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Having arrived at a certain age, I feel a need to explore family roots.

So many stories abound in any family, some apocryphal and some tainted through time and inefficient transmission through the generations.

I am creating this blog so there will, first of all, be a place for relatives to access on-going work on the family history and to leave a record of their recollections of the generations that we have lost or are close to losing.

I do not want to limit the directions that this may take. We are closely intertwined with many families from the Aeolian Islands and an understanding of the two families I have chosen to explore, would be incomplete without a discussion of the many families that have married into them and the families with whom we feel a common heritage.

I mentioned my age earlier. I feel that many of the younger members of a family have little interest in the past or their roots. They often do not recognize the fact that ancestors shape our attitudes, our thought processes, where we live, health and physical stature. In short our family past shapes a large portion of who we are now, and the courses we may choose in the future.

I do not think that we need to dwell on the past, but remember it, honor it and learn from it.

I think it was the ancient Egyptians who believed that if your name is uttered by future generations, then you will continue to live.

So, lets discuss some old-timers, shall we?

But lets make a bargain. We will be honest about the people we write about, flaws and all, but let us also make an effort to be kind. Nobody needs to read about personal vendettas(despite the Islands' proximity to Sicily) just the facts.


When I think of family history, the first face that comes to mind is that of Grammie Cafarella. She lived with my family in Houlton, Maine for much of my childhood, right through college and beyond. I would go to sit with her to vent my rage with the world or to listen to her stories, though I usually avoided her cooking. What a foolish choice that was.

I remember going to visit Aunt Carolina in Livorno, and virtually the first words out of their mouths were, "does she still cook (this or that) like she used to?"

I guess she was something of a star in the kitchen. Everyone remembers her Baked Beans. Her talents were not limited to Italian fare though they were made with olive oil.

She told me all her stories of the islands and her arrival here in the US.
I remembered many of them, but my youth betrayed me and I did not remember enough of them. Also, I did not recognize the cues to ask the right questions so that I would understand them. I once gave her a tape recorder to record some of her stories but she flatly refused to use it. Also, she was curiously silent about the many years after arriving here. She, like my mother, had a difficult life. Certainly there was joy and laughter, but the grind of poverty and so many mouths to fill robbed her of the happiness we all hope for.


Maria Rosa Cincotta was born in Malfa, on the north side of the island of Salina. It lies in the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the very center of an archipelago of seven volcanic islands called the Aeolians(Eolians). The islands are fertile in general, though often dry with a very unreliable supply of water. Water ships now deliver on a regular basis; but you never knew when you would run out. When our grandparents and great grandparents were living there, they often relied solely on what could be stored from roof run-off in cisterns. The home of he youth had two cisterns. One was under the railing of the patio near the big outdoor bake oven, and the other farther out in the courtyard to the west of the entrance.

Salina is the second largest of the seven islands, with it's two volcanoes called Monte Porri to the west and Monte Fossa delle Felci to the east. From a distance the Island looks like a bra floating on the sea. The other islands, Vulcano, Lipari, Panarea, Stromboli, Alicudi and Filicudi were all under the political control of the capital at Lipari, while Salina has, for a couple of centuries, been independent of the others.

Salina is the greenest of all the islands, and is noted for it's riot of color, especially yellow, in the spring. Mediterranean Maquis covers the island(that which is not under cultivation). This is a mix of herbs like Artemesia, sub-shrubs, capers and stray figs, succulents, other shrubby plants and pelargoniums that have escaped into the wild. There are also the ubiquitous pines, olive trees Eucalyptus(High up) and grape vines that Italy boasts so many of.

All in all, you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place, this green, craggy place set in the vivid aqua sea, it's mountains wreathed in clouds or backed with startling blue skies. And there are sugar cube houses clustered here and there in the little villages round the island.


People from the mainland started to repopulate the islands starting in the second half of the fifteen hundreds. The islands had been depopulated by Turkish and North African pirates, particularly the elder Barbarossa, and poor conditions. The local church was anxious to make use of the rich lands on the islands and invited families from Calabria, Campagna and other areas of the mainland to re-settle. By the seventeen hundreds, the islands were back in business. Our ancestors began to cultivate the islands and did well, especially by trading the products of the land with the mainland and Sicily.

When Napoleon tried to conquer Italy it became necessary for British troops to be stationed in Messina where he could be blocked from advancing farther.

The English loved Malvasia.

Malvasia(Malmsey) is a wine which has been, for centuries, made dry or sweet depending on their treatment. This grape was cultivated first in Crete, and does very well in the Aeolians.

Trade with the English became manic as trade also increased with Sicily, mainland Italy(through Naples), and a number of other ports. They also traded in Marseilles and many other countries. Some of the local people cultivating grapes and making wine, people cultivating capers, raisin grapes and those mining pumice also became ship owners. As trade increased, so did the number of ship owners and the size of the ships sailing the Mediterranean.

By the third quarter of the nineteenth century the islands were dependent upon this trade(Malvasia being a very large part of it) and many islanders became quite wealthy as a result.

Now several threats appeared.

An aphid carried a parasite that killed many of the vines throughout Europe beginning about 1870. Islanders believed that they would escape the problem as they were twenty odd miles at sea. One year after Grammie was born, 1889, the vines were attacked and the economy was destroyed. Half of the population of the islands emigrated by the beginning of the century as a result. Of course at the same time, steam was slowly replacing sail as a means of transport, making it harder for them to compete. As fortunes drained away, it was impossible for most to convert to steam.

On the mainland, the train system was expanding.  Lines were extended in increments from Rome, to Naples, Naples to Reggio until it was a major threat to sea based trading. 

Grammie remembered her father saying that because of the advent of steam vessels in the Mediterranean, he had to sell his ship(s) as there really was no way to compete.
The people of Liguria where a large portion of the merchant fleet originated, in the north, proposed that the health of the fleet in that area was necessary for the health of the young country. After all, Italy only coalesced into a single country in the 1860s and 70s. Merchants in the north were provided with subsidies and contracts to help modernize.

Meanwhile, commercial relations with France deteriorated in the 1880s which resulted in a tariff war that lasted from 1887 to about 1890. This put a terrible strain on the wine producers in the south of Italy, and finally killed the wine based economy of the islands.

Australia, the US and many other countries got a burst of fresh blood, including six sons and one daughter of Giuseppi Cafarella and Rosa Cusolito and three daughters and one son(a second son born in the US) of Anerio Cincotta and Giovanna Cafarella(Giuseppi Cafarella's younger sister) Grammie was the oldest of Anerio and Giovanna's children.

Most people remember that the family was from Malfa. In fact, the Cafarellas seem to have been living in Capo Faro, which is a couple of kilometers east along the coast. It was a separate village, but still a part of the Commune of Malfa. Their local church was Santa Anna. There is also a Via Cafarella there.


We have all heard stories from our elders that include: walking to school, three miles, uphill (both ways) in snowstorms. Some were not kidding! I know that I have seen conditions change dramaticly in my home town in northern Maine.

Grammie would not be party to any of that when talking to me about her childhood. She did not really tell stories. She did, however, give me little snapshots of the things she remembered.

My sister(Mary Mitchell Burrill) and I actually tried to take her to Salina for a trip once in the late seventies, but she did not cooperate and the idea fell apart.

She moaned and complained so much about wanting to go back(she also said she wanted to go live with the nuns) that we were shocked at her admission that she thought the island was something of the armpit of the earth; and there really was nothing to go back for.

She always related her memories of childhood to me. You were happy as a child, carefree. Of course she did not see the full tragedy of events on the island at the time. So, what I heard was magic.

She remembered that her father took her aboard his ship(The San Biagio). She also said that when she was very small, she would climb into the window sill after all had gone to sleep and sit watching the volcano (Stromboli) on the horizon. She told my sister that it was her nightlight, and that there were three of them. I wonder if she was talking about the two above her head and Stromboli or if she was thinking of Panarea as being a volcano and did not remember the number correctly. I do not think that you could say that it would shed any light into a room, but it must have been a magical sight for a child.

When her father returned on his ship, The San Biagio, she remembered her aunt on shore letting down her hair so that she could hold on to her braids. Then she put Grammie to her back and swam out to meet the boat.

We never understood why Grammie had the habit of holding her hand beside her right eye and pointing when she was concentrating on seeing something. It turns out that the house she grew up in in Malfa was quite tall and she was on the roof watching the men playing Bocci below. She leaned over too far and fell head first to the ground below. Her eyesight on one side never fully recovered.

She also said that her aunts had a loom in the cantina below the house (There are several arches allowing entrance to the space under the house), where they wove linen for the household. She had many pieces of this fabric most of her life, and she embellished it with embroidery, cutwork and her handmade lace.

I suspect that things were getting rather tight for the family by 1896 and 7, and there would already have been thoughts about emigrating. Grammie, now 9 years old was sent to Naples. There she lived with her maiden aunt, and Uncle John(I assume Cafarella till I am corrected) who was a Monsignor in the church. There she was taught to cook and clean and to keep the house and in turn learned English. This would also have taken a bit of the financial strain off the family(this is an assumption on my part).

The following year, they left the islands for for America. Grammie always emphasized that they did NOT travel in steerage! They traveled on the SS Ellen. The group included: Her mother, Giovanna Cafarella Cincotta, Grammie, John, Jennie and Carolina(all that I know of)(Jake was born in the US and returned to the island with his parents only to come back to the US later.)

A new world

A new world
Anerio, Grammie's father had been in the US for a while and had no idea that the rest of his family were on their way to join him. He owned a fruit store in Malden near the corner of Cross and Main Street(later known as DeLuca's),
Outside, stood his wife and all his children. My great grandmother said to Grammie,"Do you see that man in there? Go in and ask him for an orange." She did so and when he recovered from his shock, he looked outside to see the rest of his family standing on the sidewalk.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Malfa from the cemetery. The picture is taken from the Malfa side of the ridge that separates it fom Pollara. This is also the location of the cemetery. In the foreground right is the area where Col. Joe's mother's family lived. She was a Cincotta. In the middle ground where the cliffs seem to move farthest inland is the general area where Grammie's family lived on Via Gelso. The distant ridge is near the beginning of a village called Capofaro. This is where the Cafarellas and Sangiolos lived and where the church of Santa Anna is located.

Sinistra in dietro e Vulcano, Lipari Panarea, Salina in dietro, Alicudi a destra. from Costa Concordia , Feb, 2008  Costa Concordia later capsized off the island of Giglio on January 13 of 2012.

Lipari, Salina and Filicudi From Costa Concordia Feb. 2008

Filicudi and Alicudi in the distance from the Costa Concordia Feb. 2008

Stromboli again on our return from Egypt on a Costa cruise. Feb. 2008.  The Costa Concordia later capsized on the same route we took on the island of Giglio, off Tuscany.  It was a beautiful ship.

Stromboli from our recent cruise past the islands on our way to the eastern Med. Feb. 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spelonca della Ninfa Egeria detta volgarmente la Cafarella

This is a copy of a print by Piranesi. The text below translates: Grotto of the Nymph Egeria commonly called the Cafarella. Piranesi was very famous in the 18th Century for his prints of Views of Rome. Any serious collector of antique prints will have at least one of his works. Many of his final prints were quite large, and, in fact there is a large version of this one. I believe that this was a preliminary print, done prior to his final large one. I tried to buy the large one as well, but I lost out by one bid...I really couldn't afford it, but I thought it was important for family history. I do, in fact own this one, purchased from a gallery in Belgium. This ruin still exists south of Rome in the Caffarella Park. This is a huge rural park that is used as a recreational area and as an outdoor museum of the antiquities there from Roman and Medieval times. It is located outside the San Sebastian Gate along the Via Appia Antica, near the famous catacombs and just south and east of the church known as Domine Quo Vadis. This property was purchased by the Cafarella family in the 15th century and was held by them till the 18th century. I will post text describing the park and it's history separately from this post. What I find interesting is the spelling of the name. The Cafarelli, Caffarella and Cafarella family I believe were all one and as evidenced in the 18th century print were spelled Cafarella at least by some. As spelling had no hard and fast rules at that time, this is not much of a stretch. I passed a copy of this print on to Dusty and Anna Burrill, by another artist in the nineteenth century who spelled it with two F's.

Spelonca della Ninfa

The modern Grotto of the nymph outside Rome in the Caffarella Park. This was known as the Cafarella as in the print discussed earlier.

Archeological park

Map of the Parco Caffarella outside Rome. Rome's gates are to the left just at the edge of the map.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I am afraid that I know very little about the youth of the Cincotta family. I know that John, went to work with his father in the store. I would assume that the others would help as necessary, but they were all rather young, and young women at that, preparing for the home rather than the business. However, stores were in the family blood, and Jenny, at least, would certainly work in her family's store. Also Mary Cafarella (Gaetano's daughter) Always says:" We did not know anybody in the family well. That store was open 12 hours a day and that is all we did. When the snow was bad sometimes they would call other family stores and see if they thought the weather was too bad. When everyone agreed, they would close up and get together to play whist."
One thing that I know for certain is that the 1910 Census listed Anerio as Philip and that they lived on Center Street in Malden. Both Jake Cincotta and Carolina Cincotta lived with them at the time.
Carolina would eventually marry Antonio Cafarella(a cousin) and move back to Italy after 1924. Jake would be taken back to the island soon after this and would not return till he was 19.
The Philip and Anerio thing is a common theme in the family. I suppose that men named Anerio probably got sick of spelling it to people, but he is listed in early records as Anerio, however he called himself Philip. I will have to find original records in Salina to solve that issue, though when I found the house there on Via Gelso, he was listed as Anerio.
It is certain that there was a devotion in the family to Saint Philip of Neri(Philip Anerio) and one documented ship owned by the family was the San Biagio(Saint Blaize). The Vasquez family ended up with Onofrio after the saint. Other saints particularly revered in the islands were Giuseppe, Bartolomeo, Stephen, Lorenzo and as always in Italy...Mary.
John was in the first world war in France. He sent cards and one souvenir card to Grammie that I passed on to my sister, from France with a lace pocket and handkerchief of diminutive dimensions on the front. Other than photos, this was one of the few things that Grammie always kept with her.
By the time she was 15 1/2, she had married her first cousin John Cafarella. This occurred at Sacred heart in North Square in Boston. This is what Grammie told me. This seems a bit strange to me as they were Maldenites, but this is what she said. Here is another subject for research, as there is also the Sacred Heart in Malden and there may be some confusion.
At the top of Summer Street, now found as Summer Street extention, John's brother Gaetano owned a piece of land. commonly called "The Mount" amongst the family. It is almost a promontory that bordered wild lands in Melrose. There were cliffs and a big Rock there.
This was where Grammie and Grandfather John set up housekeeping. There were wild blueberries and other attractions to this land. A perennial draw to the family kids for excursions and picnics. There they built a tar-paper shack and moved in. There too, they began to raise their family, starting with Joseph Gaetano Cafarella in 1905. Grandfather John was a barber, though I do not know just when he took this trade up. He could easily have worked in one of the family stores as well. His Barber shop was on the corner of Washington Street and Clifton Street in Malden. The back of the building seems to hang over the MBTA tracks there.
After that the new family moved to Hyde Park somewhere. This has been reported to me as an apartment house. Here, sometime in 1917 or18 if my math is correct, Grammie looked out of a window to see her young daughter Jenny playing by the incinerator barrel, when her hair caught fire. Grammie, pregnant at the time, fell down the stairs trying to get to the child and damaged her unborn child, John. Jennie died.
They moved back to Malden on Eastern Ave.
John was born with issues that defy my description as all those who knew him are now gone. By the pictures, it seems certain that he was retarded and that he had physical issues as well. He died in his teens.
Next it seems that the family moved to Linwood Street, where they are listed in the Census in 1920. They had by now, Joseph age 15, Rosa aged 11, Philip aged 9, Lawrence aged 5, John aged 2 and my mother Mary at 11 months. Grammie was to ultimately have 11 pregnancies and would by the 1980s, be survived by only 4. In about 1950, My mother wrote down all the names of relatives and their relationships to us. In that list, she included brothers Bert, Robert and Tom.
Grammie bought the property at 31 Palmer Street in Medford about this time. Uncle Laurie's daughter Linda told me recently that her father once said that they spent the first winter there before the foundation was poured in a tent. Pretty good with all those kids. This plot of land would become a hive of activity that would only end after a slow decline in 2008 when it was finally sold out of the family a year after Aunt May's(Joseph Gaetano's wife) death.
At this time, Grammie was evidently somewhat estranged from Grampa John. She shifted her dependence to Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe did the best he could, and was the major player in pouring the foundation there, that would become home for the family until almost the time I came along. Grammie just put way too much pressure on Uncle Joe. He was just too young and vigorous to become Grammie's surrogate husband. He soon left to join the Marines, but never stopped lending support to his family for many years. He may not have had what would be termed a brilliant military career in terms of high rank, but I suspect that this man who served in most of the major battles in the South Pacific won the respect and admiration of everyone he ever met. This was a genuine hero in the eyes of every acquaintance I ever spoke to. He was a member of Edson's Raiders in the Marines.

Now I will walk in dangerous territory. Grammie was a force of nature. Tough as nails, hard working and very stern. This was news to me. I always knew her as a little stubborn perhaps, but very sweet in her way. She was caring and nurturing, gentle and smiling despite her reclusive and almost disappointed nature. You have to understand that she lived with my parents and me for many years before retuning to Medford not long before she died. It is obvious that she had softened...not completely mind you, but a great deal. She was likely a hard person to live with, which probably contributed to the separation. That being said, my grandfather was loved by most of those he knew, including his children. But there were obvious faults there as well, if even half the stories were true. This is a very difficult thing to write about as emotions can run high on this subject. One thing I realized in going through my divorce, is that there is no way that anyone can understand what goes on between two people who are married. Even family and children cannot see both sides of a story when they only get one. It is not that people lie. It is more like they shade events in their favor. I do not blame either of them and have no right to. I was not there and neither was anyone else really. Let us just say that their separation, though hard on all, was probably good for both of them. I suspect that both were happier in their own spheres.
Bill Cafarella came along after 1920 The last of Grammie's brood. The foundation of the house was poured. It was just a little bit crooked. The front, northwest corner was just a bit too far out. Uncle Joe always pointed this out as the house that came later obviously had to have square corners. I do not think that they had a great deal of experience in pouring foundations, so the fault cannot justly be pinned on them. There was certainly not enough money to build the house. If you have ever been to Salina, you know that the houses there are all masonery and generally look like cubes...sugar cubes when whitewashed. This was probably a very comfortable look for Grammie as the houses of her childhood looked very much like this capped foundation. The entrance to the resulting house was on the North side. This was used as a garden entrance after the house was built. Stepping inside, the ceilings were quite high. There were only a couple of steps down to floor level, as the ledges it was built upon meant that the foundation was sitting very near the ground surface on 2 and a half sides. As you entered the house from the middle of the north wall, you were standing on an outcropping of ledge that ran from there at the door to the left, all the way to the corner.The space was divided in two, from East to West with partitions. Almost strait ahead was a large opening like an archway, and there were smaller openings at the east and west ends. The near half was the kitchen and utility area of the space. The kitchen with the stove was against the East wall and backing up to the ledge. There were tables and shelves for oil lamps and tins of this and that. The top of the ledge was filled with garden implements and other storage, but in a prominent position near the stove was Mike's cage. Mike was the green Amazon Parrot that stayed in various family homes right up till the 1970s. More on him later. In the middle of the space was the dining table with just enough space to form a narrow corridor on either side. A Morris chair and an alcove for the washing machine completed the area near the archway. On the west end of this space were the sink, under the window, and a partition that formed a coal bin to the corner. In the middle of the west wall was a closet for the toilet.
Standing in the archway and looking into the other half of the space, the living space, the East corner held Grammie's "bedroom", which was more of an alcove, separated mostly by an overstuffed chair and Uncle Phil's piano, set perpendicular to the wall. Next along the South side was a large sofa and a 6 foot flight cage for the birds that Uncle Phil and Grammie loved so. Opposite the sofa against the arch wall was the Victrola and it's miscellany of Caruso and other 78RPM records. Between that and a large overstuffed chair and phone table was THE CLOSET! Drapes covered the entrance. It was huge by my sister's child-sized perspective. It was actually flush with the wall and intruded considerably into the kitchen and utility space. It scared my sister Dolly, as she was called then, and was filled with all sorts of interesting and scary things.. In the south-west corner, partitioned only slightly from the living room, was Uncle Phil's room, at one time also shared with Uncle Bill.
This space, decorated with bits of lace, drapes of floral fabrics and all the handicrafts that Grammie loved so, became sort of an icon of what the family was all about. Grandchildren filled every available space and Nelson Eddy would occasionally show up to sing while Uncle Phil played. There was always some activity there and probably constant cooking! The early years are a mystery now, but seven children from Uncle Joe( in his last year before joining the Marines and his infrequent visits) to teen Rose, pre-teen Laurie and Phil and infant Mary and Billy trouped through and grew in that place. There were piano lessons and cousins drawn by the activity, goats, chickens and acres of wild forest covering rocky promontories surrounding it. Today the play ground forests are occupied by the radio towers, hospital and dozens of houses.
Rose was known as Chick by her younger siblings. She used to sign my mother Mary out of school and troupe to the movies or to lunch or some other activity the two of them could share. Rose was a bit boy crazy, a trait that she passed on to my mother to some extent. She married very young(I have found no record as of this writing). There were issues however as it turned out that the young gentleman was heavily into "The Mob" as the story goes or some other facet of organized crime. Does this refer to the Mothers And Fathers Italian Association? Who knows, but when this was discovered, his picture was cut out of the wedding photo, he was divorced and was deported to Sicily by the government. DIVORCE! This was a big issue for most Catholics, and was a big issue for Grammie. This drove a rather large wedge between Rose and her mother which evidently never healed. Rose remarried to Roy Henderson, a sailor from Alabama, and were evidently happy for a time. He was sent overseas during World War II and was decorated after excellent service at the invasion of Italy. Rose, meantime (according to a story told by my mother) was trying to see Grammie. As I understand it she was going to Palmer Street while sick in a winter storm. She collapsed on Belle Ave. with full blown Pneumonia. She was returned to her apartment where she was evidently robbed by other tenants in the building before dying of the pneumonia at age 19.
Philip was hit by a rock on his lower leg and developed tubrculosis of the bone or osteomyelitis. He worked at the Revere Knitting Mills in Malden for a time, as an elevator operator at the Plaza in Boston and learned to play piano and other instruments like no one else! He eventually earned a degree from the Sherwood School in music. As I understand it he also worked in a metal fabricating business at one time and made cookie cutters for Grammie that passed on to Mom and then to me. They are now, sadly, lost through my divorce. He gave lessons to about everyone in the family at one time or another. I think that all liked him, he was a bright and interesting guy, but he was a tough teacher. A slap on the wrist is an understatement. He would slam your hands on the keyboard or you could end up on the floor. This harshness ended alot of piano careers. However, everyone experienced his teaching style differently and many thrived and loved him dearly. He had many many jobs as church pianist and organist both in the Boston area and in Maine. He took part in a number of musical theater productions in Maine through Ricker College. He loved Gilbert and Sullivan. He had his own Radio show in Boston and was frequently on the radio in the Houlton area. When Grammie moved to Littleton, Maine on the Johnny Farm(More on this elsewhere) He came with her and his brother Bill. Ater a time, the farm, twelve miles from town, proved to be far too remote for young men who wanted to have a life. The two boys eventually rented a house on Fair Street in Houlton. As my sister said in her letter, elsewhere in the site, that they literally had to drag Grammie out of the farm to live there in Houlton. Eventually Uncle Phil bought a modest house at 44 Park Street where he lived the rest of his life. He collected antiques which fairly took over the house along with his piano and organ. He gave lessons in piano, organ and voice and took in boarders from the college to make ends meet. There was a type of dinnerware available in the fifties that was a dark baked bean brown with a dripping frosting of white and cream glaze at the top rim of everything. Half of the house was not wired for electricity. It was not much of a house, but it was all his. He also taught Summer sessions at Colby College for a number of years. He took in boarders from Ricker College to make ends meet.
In 1973 Phil was diagnosed with lung cancer. He spent much of the following Summer in bed in his dining room and died with his mother present later in the year. He had kept the diagnosis a secret from Grammie along with it's prognosis till the end.

31 Palmer Street

The basement of the present house now sold out of the family after the passing of Aunt May Cafarella

The Johnny Farm just after it was built.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mike et al

This as taken at the Johnny farm in Littleton, Maine. Though it is not of Palmer Street, this seemed like a good time to see Mike. The cockateils were Pete and Repeate, though only one is here. That is me in the highchair. 1953 probably

Bill Mitchell and John Thornton in Cefalu

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Six Brothers

Left to right and top to bottom are: Bert, Tony, Frank, Joseph, Tom (Gaetano) and John(my grandfather)
Gaetano(Tom) was the first to arrive from Salina by way of New York in 1898. He arrived in Malden about a year later. The rest of the brothers arrived in Malden within a few years. Giuseppe and Rosa, Their parents, arrived with Josephine in 1913.
The family home was 52/54 Sterling Street in Malden. Tom and his family lived upstairs. Bert, Tony, Josephine, their mother, Rosa, and their father Giuseppe lived downstairs. (Giuseppe died there in 1922) Some time in the 1930s, the four moved to Biltmore Street in Malden. Rosa, the mother died there in 1942. (Coincidentally, John died and the funeral wake was held there for both at the same time.)
Bert also died at home on Biltmore Street. Tony and Josephine lived to a ripe old age after moving to 38/40 Judson Street (when the house on Biltmore was torn down to make way for a stadium) into their nineties.
In 1923, Tom built a house at 54 Chester Street (just across the back yard of the family home on Sterling Street). Gaetano had six children: Rose, Mary, Joseph(the Colonel), Felix, Rudy and Elena. He owned a fruit and variety store at 278 Pleasant Street in Malden.
Frank and his brother, Joe, lived at 54/56 Judson Street in Malden. Joe was shot and killed there in 1923. Joe and his wife, Jennie had four daughters: Rosina, Jennie, Mary and Annie. Frank and his wife Jennie(Sangiolo) had one son, Dr. Joseph L. Cafarella.
My grandfather, John, Married Mary R. Cincotta, and had Joseph(the Marine), Philip, Lawrence, Rose, Mary(my mother), William, John and Jennie. There were several still born and children who died very young. He became a barber with a shop on Washington Street in Malden. As the years passed, his marriage to my grandmother did not go well and he tended to live with his siblings till his death in 1942.

This is a picture of Rosa Cusalito and Giuseppi Cafarella

These are my Grandfather, John Cafarella's parents.
Col. Joe Cafarella said that he came home on leave and found both his grandmother and his Uncle John in coffins in the family parlor. These are the parents of the seven Cafarella siblings.
My friend Maria Salvi has recently sent me some information concerning Giuseppi's father.
Obviously I do not have a photo, so I will place the info here. It seems that though some of the Cafarellas landed on Via Gelso in Malfa, the family previously came from Capofaro. This is only about four kilometers from Malfa, and is still a part of the commune. Therefore this is a rather fine distinction, but when you are looking for someone's house, it can make all the difference in the world. There is a Via Cafarella there in Capofaro, and the local church was Saint Anne.
Anyway, this info got me one step further in my quest for information. The entry is as follows: 1438870 Capo Salina: April 23, 1835 Gaetano Cafarella 40 Shoemaker and wife Giovanna Vasquez had a child and named him Domenico. Not really very much, but this confirms his wife's name, his profession and their first born child...Quite a jump forward.
Upon calling Jennie DeFina about this, she remembersed that in her childhood, relatives talked about U puntu Capo, referring to the town where the Cafarellas were from and that the church was St. Anne's.

Josephine Cafarella

This is sibling number seven of the Cafarellas. Josephine never married and lived with her brother Tony for the rest of her life, first on Sterling Street then on Judson Street. I remember her Gardenia in the front window. when Colonel Joe and his wife Mary moved back to Massachusetts, Joe had to go elsewhere for a time. Josephine took Mary under her wing, taught her to cook, and tried to make her feel at home and a part of the family.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jennie and Anerio (Philip) Cincotta

These are Grammie's parents. Other children were: John Cincotta, Jennie Vasquez, Carolina Cafarella and Jake Cincotta. Her hair was white by her late twenties, but she lived to just short of 105 years old. After settling her children here in Massachusetts they had their last child Jacob. theyreturned to the island with him where he spent a number of years before returning. They stayed in Salina til after Anerio's death. Her son John then went to Salina, spent about a year there and returned with his mother to Mass. She lived with him for a time. She lived with several relatives for a time till she entered a nursing home on Summer Street in Malden where she died just short of her 105th birthday. Pictures of her return trip with John follow.

John Cincotta

This is the older of Grammie's brothers. He brought Jennie, his mother back from Salina, late in her life, on the Saturnia. He ran a store with his father on the east side of Main Street near Cross Street. He later owned a trucking company. He married Rafaella Tellerino and had children: Anerio and Jenny.

Jennie Cincotta Vasquez

This photo is in terrible shape, but I just love it. I think she was always pretty with a devilish look. She was Grammie's sister. She later married Onofrio Vasquez and had: Marion, Jenny, Frank, Julia, Eleanor, Dorothy, Gertrude and Anerio.

This is Carolina Cincotta Cafarella

This is Grammie's youngest sister, Carolina. She returned to Italy and married Tony Cafarella(not one of the seven siblings) While she mantained ties with Salina, she lived in Livorno in Tuscany. I met her in 1971. She was functionally deaf from the loud Tinnitis in her ears. Her children are Domenico, Salvatore, Rosa, Giovanna, Anerio, Christina and Gaetano.

Grammie and Uncle Jake

This is in the early 70's in Houlton at Uncle Phil's house on Park Street. Jake Cincotta was her youngest sibling. He was born in the US and moved back to Salina with his parents as a child. He returned here as a young man. This is not the best photo of them .

John Cafarella

My grandfather arrived a few years after 1899, following his older brother. He married Mary Rose Cincotta. They lived at the top of Summer Street in Malden with Grammie and the ensuing children on land owned by his brother Tom. They later lived in a tenement in Melrose. He lived much of his later life with family in Malden. He was a well known barber working in his shop on Washington Street in Malden. He and Grammie had a stormy relationship, but everyone I have ever met referred to him in a kindly way and always said he was a wonderful guy. He and his mother were buried in a double funeral.

Mary Rose Cincotta Cafarella

This is Grammie's confirmation I assume. Above is her husband and below are her children.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Joseph Gaetano Cafarella

Uncle Joe was recognized by all who knew him as a real hero of the second world war. He was a member of Edson's Raiders and saw action in most of the truly horrendous battles in the Pacific theater. See him as a baby in the photo with Grammie at the beginning of the site. He married Mary Augusta Robb and had three children: Mary, John and Nancy.

Rose Catherine Cafarella Henderson

Rose(Chick) Was my mother's "best friend" as well as her sister. She married young, evidently to a gangster.(see his shoulder in the photo) She divorced him and he was deported to Sicily. Despite the circumstances, Grammie never forgave her for divorcing. She remarried to an Alabama navy boy named Roy Henderson. While he was in Europe during the war, she contracted Pneumonia and died at age 19.

Philip Robert Cafarella

Uncle Phil, was often known as "Unkie" by the youngest cousins. He had a condition of his right leg(Tuberculosis of the bone or Osteomyelitis as the result of being hit by a rock) as a youth that left him virtually crippled the rest of his life. It did not really slow him down much. He became a brilliant Pianist and Organist, with radio shows in Boston and Houlton, Maine. He taught voice and both instruments most of his life and lived modestly but well. He taught in Summer sessions at Colby College for years. His involvement in Ricker College in Houlton earned him a memorial fund for a monument which was never built. He was Organist for a long succession of churches and did the music for a number of Gilbert and Sullivan productions in Houlton. He was also a brilliant cook. There were always fights over the chicken or turkey hearts at family meals as well as an on-going competition between him and my mother over the size and number of meatballs from a pound of meat! Lung Cancer took him in his 60's.

Lawrence Cafarella

Uncle Laurie was called by his oldest daughter, the black sheep of the family. I always loved his infrequent visits along with Aunt Millie(Mildred Stevens). He had a temper and a temperament, but produced some great kids. He lost part of his ear when he stopped short in a truck, sending a pipe, loaded on the back, through the rear window of the cab, severing part of the ear...He made it into the Globe because of the bizarre nature of the accident. Ater a short time living in Littleton Maine, he lived much of the rest of his life in North Hampton New Hampshire till his retirement. He retired to Florida. Aunt Millie got Alzheimers and spent the remainder of her life in the care of her son John. Their children were Mildred, Linda, John and Alice.

John Cafarella

That is my mother in the background. As I understand, there was an older sister Jennie, whose picture I am not sure of yet. Her hair caught on fire while Grammie was pregnant with John. She fell trying to get to her. Jenny died and John was born retarded as a result. He died in his mid teens. This picture was taken on Palmer Street in Medford.

Mary Carolina Cafarella Mitchell McLaughlin

This is my mother. I recognize that this photo is a bit over the top. As a young woman, she would stop people in the streets along with some of her cousins. Aunt May described her as "vivacious", and amongst her things I found a beach vamp permit. I suppose that tells it all. She was pinned against a wall by a runaway car on the Fellsway East in Malden and had her nose broken. I am told her personality changed completely after that, thinking her beauty was gone. She led a very difficult life including the death of her first husband from a prolonged, poverty and isolation shadowed illness and many years with MS and severe RLS. The one bright thing was her marriage to Lowell Paul McLaughlin. He supported and cared for her and her children till he death. She had three children: Mary, Richard and William.

William Cafarella

Uncle Bill was a great guy. He was friendly and patient. He went to an agricultural college. He married Christine Mitchell(no relation that we are aware of) from Patton, Maine. Lived many years in Santa Rosa, California where he had his two children: Billy and Kathy, and returned to Houlton years later. They divorced, and he remarried to one of my mother's good friends(Nadine) and moved to Amity, Maine.
He had Epilepsy, probably as a result of a crash during his time in the military, which limited him for the rest of his life. He was a gunner flying patrols over the coast of the US, probably patrolling for submarine traffic as they carried a torpedo. They crashed in a Douglas A24 Dive Bomber or a Grumman Avenger off the coast of Georgia. He had many burdens in his life, yet he was still one of my favorites.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gaetano Cafarella (Tom)

The oldest of the Cafarella brothers, he arrived in 1899 in New York and later came to the Boston area.

Mary Cafarella

Mary was born in 1917. She worked from an early age to 1963 in the family store at 278 Pleasant street in Malden. From 1963 to 1983 she worked at the Malden court house as a criminal clerk till retirement. She never married and still lives in the family home at 54 Chester Street in Malden. Despite her age she is as sharp as a tack, and funny to boot.

Col. Joseph Cafarella

Colonel Joe is Gaetano's son. He served in the second world war in Europe and went on to a long and well respected career in the military. He was commander of a base in Athens for a number of years and lives quietly now with his wife Mary on Judson Street in Malden

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Antonio Cafarella

Uncle Tony was born in 1888 the same year as Grammie. He never married and he and his brother Bert owned a fruit store at 523 Broadway in Everett. He lived at 54 Sterling Street in Malden on the lower floor wih a number of relatives. By the time I met him he lived with his sister Josephine on the first floor at Judson Street where Col. Joe now lives upstairs.