PART ONE: NEWCOMERS
1. The Great War
Di Gregorio family portrait in 1923.
Front: Raffaello, La Ida, Bice.
Back: Leonata, Serafino, Mafalda, Maria, Algisa (in lap).
AN ITALIAN MIGRANT WORKER riding the rails in 1902 finds that America is not an open door. There are stark contrasts between America and home. At home, the community is of utmost importance. The migrant worker’s oldest son, Serafino, nevertheless opts for America, sparking a family fight. Serafino wins. He and his reluctant wife, Maria, move from Italy to the company housing of an Iowa cement quarry. The customs and habits of the old country prevail in the immigrant enclave. Many children are born. Life is good. But then there is a shocking blow.