Lucia Bisceglia Lariccia In Correspondence, 1917-1937
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Quite a few family members vouch for the stories in the correspondence which include the death of a future sister-in-law, the anticipated perils of crossing the Atlantic during the U-boat attacks on passenger ships, a young daughter's fight to survive extensive burns, Lucia's Mamma Antonia's transatlantic attempts to bolster the young burn victim, and sadly, the bitter news of this Mamma Antonia's death as it appears in Francisco Musacchio's letter to Gennaro Lariccia.
Lucia Bisceglia's correspondence shows the rich experiences of a woman who knew the risks of leaving her native land and those of beginning life in a totally new one---as part of a new family. More importantly, the letters show the love and strong relationships that she maintained and carefully nurtured across "the wide ocean full of dangers," in most cases with relatives that she would never see again.
All these messages, whether penned by her or others, became part of a precious cache of letters, the record of a life, that I have gathered for all of us to read and enjoy.
Ben Lariccia Jr., July 18, 1999
In regard to primary genealogical records, I wish to acknowledge the helpful people at the LDS Family History Center in the Logan Section of Philadelphia for the use of their microfilms and equipment. And yes, I would like to recognize Napoleon Bonaparte who mandated that civilian vital records be kept in Italy beginning in 1809.
Caterina's Letter to Lucia.
Please tell Gennaro De Michele, Rosa Perratta's son, how much his mother laments not having received any letters from him, while he not only writes to his mother-in-law, but...It's a pity to see the pain this poor old woman is in and how she remembers the sacrifices she has made for her children! Now her life has become very difficult, and full of privations, now that she is old and needs help. A troubled son that lives in America doesn't think about his aged mother, and he's very mindful of his wife's mother who's not in need or poor or old. See if you and he can talk or perhaps your husband can talk to him.
We received the post cards and forgive me if I've been late in answering you. Let me know if I can help you with anything. Regards to all of you. Everyone in the family says hello.
Hugs from your sister, Caterina
P.S. At the moment we are awaiting the war, which will be terrible. God have mercy on us. If it's not today, it will come tomorrow.
Francesco's Letter to Lucia
I'm getting your St. Anthony magazines and I'm sending you the bread recipes that you wanted. I hope they turn out well. I'll send you the other ones that you like in another letter. Let me know how the recipes turn out. If you make a mistake, you can always correct it. Whatever you need let me know and I'll try to direct you. These are family recipes but you can make candy, liquors and other things for the store. I can't help you with the soft drinks because you need a machine. My brother Angelo has one and makes gassoso. It's not difficult, but without a machine it's useless (for us) to talk about.
Say hello to all your children, to your brothers-in-law's family, and giving you a handshake your brother-in-law says good-bye. Signed: Francesco Musacchio
The Recipes from Caterina and Francesco's Letter
1 kilo =2.2 pounds
1 gram =0.04 ounces
1 liter =2.11 liquid pints
There are no instructions for setting oven temperature. Gas ovens were rare in rural Italy in 1939. Most all baking was done in wood fired brick ovens. These were built away from the main kitchen of the house either in a shed attached to the house, or outdoors. Women would gauge the temperature or "speed" of the oven by the color of the bricks inside, the length of the firing, and other time honored means. Since oven interiors were large and wood was often a scarce resource many villages had public ovens in which lots of items were baked at the same time or in close succession.
*Ammonium carbonate is still used in baking in the Scandinavian countries. It makes cookies crisper. It's also known as ammonia powder or Hartshorne.
Rosolio (home-made liquor)
Pizza Dolce or Pasta Reale or Pane di Spania
Chocolate Ice Cream
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Laundry Bleaching Agent
If you want lye water with a fragrance, add 50 grams of ? essence in every 100 liters. You need to add the sodium hypochloride. Let it stand in a cement or a white wood vat; never use an iron one. The sodium carbonate is cheap; you can find it in a drugstore as well as the hypochloride.