Monday, December 12, 2011

A letter to Sal from his mother, translated from Italian: Letter 18

           Waltham Mass 29 March 1949
Dearest son I answer immediately your letter that tells me that you are well. Greetings and I can reassure you that Gioseppina said that I wanted news from you: sure I want them, because a mother that longs for her son far away is always eager to get news. So I was happy about this letter in Italian that I read with my eyes and I thank the person who wrote it for you. I see that you go to the cinema and the boys do all those evil things but you are a good boy and I hope it is really so: do not look at the girls that do wrong things, but only to good and honest boys, understanding that honesty always prevails. Bad boys one day or the other find themselves in bad troubles and you have to be watchful [inintelligible words]. I seem unable to write correctly, instead of Antonia I write Antonio as if I was a man instead of a woman, if afterwards you wrote Antonio not them but your brother but if the name is amended write A not O is it clear? Enough now. Please let me know about your health: are you always nervous or are you better? I would like to see you always in good health, because when you were here you were quite weak, and I worry that you may not be well. You should know that we have a new Corricolo*. Your father bought it and he goes to school and now I am happy that he has the Corricolo. Please let me know whether you are coming for Easter. Let us cut now, this has been too long. I send you my very best wishes and kisses. Best regards from your brothers and sisters, from your father and again from myself. I am your mother Antonia Coraccio. Please send my very best regards to whoever wrote your nice letter. See you soon. (Hope to get) good news and a timely answer.

*A Corricolo is a kind of tilbury: a small, light horse-drawn two-wheeled carriage designed to seat a single person.

This letter, which is the background image for the Letters to Sal blog, was also received in the stack with the other letters. I have been trying to find someone to translate it, and finally that goal has been accomplished. I am happy to discover that the letter is affectionate and amusing to read. Antonia was wise to the ways of the world! Her personality shines through this letter, which is filled with news, worry, advice, and love.

Antonia was always worried about Sal's health -- he described himself as "the runt of the litter." She often fed him a medicinal elixer that Sal later realized was mostly alcohol, much to his amusement. "She sent me to school half drunk!" he used to joke. As it turns out, he listened to her advice to look after his health, and was able to live until the age of 80. Too young for those who loved him, but still much older than many sickly children. After his time in the US Navy, Sal returned to live with his mother until the age of 32. He never once said a negative word of her, and I don't think a son could love a mother more.
Antonia with her husband Salvatore Sr.

Special thanks to Claudio Di Veroli for kindly translating this family treasure!

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