The Grapevine: Thoughts on Italian Culture, Festival as Well as How it Ties in with Miranda and Lisa Lang

By Rosalyn Queen on August 27, 2020 from The Grapevine via Connect-Bridgeport.com

August has certainly turned out to be a great month.  Although there has been some rain, which I am  sure the gardens need, the weather has been great. 
 
My little patio certainly affords me the opportunity to sit outdoors and enjoy my squirrels and birds.  It has also given me the opportunity to think about the Italian estival and my heritage.  For many years I have thought about that trip that my dad, grandmother and aunt made from San Giovanni to Clarksburg.  I have had the opportunity to trace the first step from San Giovanni to Naples where they boarded the ship. 
 
It is my understanding that they may have taken a train on this first step.  Then I have also travelled across the Atlantic in a ship and experienced that part of their trip.  Of course I was not closeted in the bottom of the ship and cannot imagine the hardships they encountered. As I enjoyed the luxuries it only made me sad to think about what these brave people faced as they made this part of the journey.  Their next stop was at New York at the Statue.  I too, have been there and sat in the big hall where they waited to be processed to enter the United States. Now, for years, I have been at a standstill as to the last leg of their journey.
 
During this pandemic and the opportunity to stay home, I have been going through my archives and found this email sent to me about the route and procedure they probably used to get from Ellis Island to Clarksburg. The route that was most likely used was on the B&O Railroad. 
 
It ran from New York City to Baltimore.  And they would enter West Virginia around Harpers Ferry and continue through the Panhandle to Grafton. At one time Grafton was a very important rail town to the B&O. After they disembarked in Grafton they would find transportation to Clarksburg or what ever  town they had relatives or family that would assist them in settling  in. 
 
I often wonder how many days it took to complete this trip. I often think about the hardships this little five foot, one hundred pound lady with two small children faced traveling alone. It can only be defined as courage and a strong will.  So I guess we can say “and now you know the rest of the story.”
 
As for the restrictions put on us by the pandemic quarantine, it is certainly making it hard for the Festival committee to put on the Festival.  But I encourage you to support their efforts in whatever way you can.  Recently I had a reporter ask me what I was most proud of at the festival and I replied my cookbook.  The reason being that it contains a wealth of information about customs that I hope we will never lose.  But after he left and as I escorted him to the door, I glanced at a photo hanging on my wall of my granddaughter, Miranda Lang, who served as the Regina a couple of years ago.  Yes, this is what I am most proud of because this demonstrates that the mission of the festival is being accomplished. 
 
Passing on our culture and heritage to the next generation.  Yes, my daughter, Leslie Pruitt served as the sixth queen, but I knew I was responsible for her learning her heritage, but Miranda’s came from the next generation, her mother, Lisa Lang. This alone makes me very proud.
 
I hope you were able to observe the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.  The PWA held a small celebration in observance of this momentous event.  The best way you can observe this is by voting
 
Take care, be safe be healthy and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”.
 


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