Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Nanny and Poppa lived in Yonkers. (Antoinette DeFranza and Salvatore Porcello)
Antoinette, also known as Netty, was the first born child of Italian immigrants from Ariano Irpino, about an hour outside of Naples. DeFranza means from France. Apparently, the DeFranzas were French Huguenots who fled during the 1600’s. Great Grandma DeFranza was a Protestant when she arrived in this country, living in Newark, New Jersey. Since all the other Italians went to Catholic church, she dropped her Protestantism and became Catholic. Salvatore was born in Sicily and came to the United States by boat in 1904 when he was two years old. He worked in a carpet factory and a boat factory. Severe asthma plagued him for most of his life.
Nanny was an amazing Italian cook. I was her favorite grandchild. We traveled to Italy together in 1979, when I was 17. On an American Express bus tour. While visiting Assisi, we happened to run into friends of mine from high school, Megan and others, who were on a school trip.
The two youngest children are my cousins, Scott and Christina. Today, Scott sells cars. Christina is a hairdresser in Florida.