Saturday, March 15, 2008

AMICO DELLA COSTA: LUIGI 'MORO' DEGLI ESPOSTI



Top photo: Luigi 'Moro' Degli Esposti (right) with brother-in-law Dante Rodoni, on the Rodoni Ranch, 'su per la costa', c.1950.


Bottom photo: Luigi Degli Esposti (center-front)in his Italian Cavalry Uniform, c. 1920s.
Photos courtesy of Roberto and Deanna Degli Esposti.

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SOMETHING SPECIAL FROM GINO CAMPIONI ARRIVED IN THE MAIL TODAY:
'AMICO DELLA COSTA; LUIGI 'MORO' DEGLI ESPOSTI IN ITALIANO. THANKS GINO.

Nel libro "La Nostra Costa" scrivo della famiglia Degli Esposti. Il seguente appare in pagina 204:

Un giorno, al solito, feci una camminata con mio fratello al rancio Rodoni per aspettare l'autobus per andare à scuola. Quando siamo arrivati Mario Rodoni ci ha portati dentro la cucina ed in una camera dietro. La, sempre nel letto, appena svegliato, era un uomo sorridente. Un uomo scuro di complessione. Era la prima volta che vidi Luigi Degli Esposti. Poi fu conosciuto dal nome "Moro".

Questa occasione era in 1948. Da quel tempo la famiglia Degli Esposti sono sempre stati buoni amici. In tutto questo tempo non sapevo quello sotto scritto da Roberto, figlio maggiore di Moro (assistito da sua bella sposa Deanna).

Ivano:

Luigi Degli Esposti, cioè "Moro", il 29 Marzo sarebbe stato suo compleanno.

I genitori di Luigi erano Pasquale e Maria, ambidue di Bologna. Quando si sposarono, sono andati à Sao Paulo in Brasile per operare una piantagione del caffè, dunque era qui che nacque Luigi con un fratello ed una sorella in Sao Paulo.

Mio padre parlava spesso di andare à cavallo sulla piatagione da ragazzo. Uno dei cavalli gli calpestò un piete, schiacciandogli un dito. Quando Luigi aveva circa 8 anni, sua madre muorì, e suo padre tornò in italia, lavorando in una fabbrica della carta in Lucca.

Quando Luigi era un giovane di circa 18 anni, era nella cavalleria italiana. Poi andò in etiopia, lavorando da chauffer per una compagnia d'ingegnieri che facevano strade.

Tornando in italia lavorava da barista alla bottega locale in Ponte à Moriano. Ogni mattina arrivava un uomo per ordinare un caffè reale per sua moglie, e Luigi lo portava à loro casa, ben che era pochi passi dalla bottega. Questo uomo e sua moglie erano genitori di una bella fanciulla dal nome Vanda. Così moro ha fatto la conoscenza di Vanda, che sarebbe mia madre nel futuro.

Nel 1939, 1940 Luigi fu chiamato di nuovo nel esercito italiano. Questa volta era cuoco.

Mi ricordo giocare con i nipotini di Mussolini nella piazza. Egli (Mussolini) aveva una casa estiva vicino à Ponte à Moriano. Mi ricordo essere nascosto in una caverna per 18 giorni durante la seconda guerra mondiale, con 20 altre persone. Questo era durante il ritiro dal' italia dell'esercito tedesco verso nord.

I primi Americani che vidi erano Americani neri. Credo che erano dalla tersa divisione del'esercito degli Stati Uniti. Questi tempi erano molto difficili per tutti. C'era pochissimo da mangiare perche i tedeschi nel ritiro avevano preso tutto. Le cose buone, se si poteva trovarle, erano farina di neccio e polenta, niente di carne.

Dopo Mussolini muorì tutti sono tornati à loro case.

Miei genitori volevano migliorarsi e fare una vita buona per me e mio fratello. Dante ed Andreina (Rodoni) fecero venire prima Luigi, poi mia madre (Vanda) con mio fratello Fabrizio siamo arrivati "su per la costa". (LNC: Andreina era sorella di Vanda.)

Arrivato in America nel 1948, Luigi lavorava nel Rancio Rodoni, per suo congnato Dante Rodoni. I lavoranti lo chiamavano Moro, per sua complessione scura. Poi in 1949 noialtri siamo arrivati da Ponte à Moriano, viaggiando in bastimento à New york, poi via treno traversando gli Stati Uniti, arrivando in San Francisco. Non sapevamo nemmeno una parola inglese, ma grazie à tanti parenti ed amici su per la costa, mio fratello ed io imparammo la lingua presto.

Luigi (Moro) ha sofferto una serie d'attacchi cerebrali nel 1982 a l'età di 76. Dopo il primo era in ospidale per circa una settimana. Vanda ci disse, "lo porto à casa e lo faro confortabile e lo tengo in cura", non sapendo che lo avrebbe dovuto fare per tanti anni. Mio pardre ha vissuto fino 1988.

A mia madre, Luigi mancava molto. Essa lo raggiunce in morte 2 anni dopo. (Venerdi Santo 1990) Miei genitori sono sepolti al Cimitero Holy Cross, vicino la sopoltura di Andreina e Dante, e non tanto distante da Bronco e Valentina (Comelli).

Grazie a voi, Pa, per averci portato à "L'America". Saremo sempre gradevoli per tutto che avete fatto per noi.

Ed ora, Ivano, sai il restante della storia. Roberto (e Deanna).
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IN 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' I WRITE ABOUT THE DEGLI ESPOSTI FAMILY. The following appears on page 204.


"One morning, as usual, my brother and I walked to the Rodoni Ranch to wait for the school bus. When we got there Mario (Rodoni) told us that his uncle had just arrived from Italy. Andreina (Rodoni) then took us inside the cookhouse and led us to a small room in the back. There still in bed, just waking up, was a very thin dark-skinned man, with a big smile on his face. This was the first time I saw Luigi Degli Esposti. Later his friends gave him the nickname Moro. Italians often use the word moro to describe a man with dark skin." *


The above event occurred in 1948. I have known the Degli Esposti family since then. In all this time I did not know what is described below, as written by Moro's eldest son Roberto (with help from his lovely wife Deanna).



Ivan0:

Luigi Degli-Esposti, AKA, 'Moro', March 29th would have been my dad's birthday.


Luigi's parents were Pasquale & Maria, both of them born in Bologna. When his parents married they went to San Paulo,Brazil to run a coffee plantation,thus he was born there along with a brother & sister in San Paulo.
My father always spoke of riding horses as a child at the plantation. One of the horses stepped on one of his toes which flattened it out. His mother passed away when he was 7-8 years old and his father went back to Italy,working in a paper mill in Lucca.
When Luigi was a young man 17-18 years of age ,he was in the Italian cavalry; after that hitch, he went for 2 years to Ethopia working as a chauffer for an engineer company, that was building roads.
Upon his return to Italy he was working as a bartender at the local coffee house in Ponte A Morino. A man would come every morning an order a coffee royal for his wife and Luigi would then deliver it, since it was only 1 block from the coffee house. The man and his wife were the parents of a lovely girl named Vanda. Thus, did Luigi meet Vanda, my future mother.

In 1939-40 Luigi was called back into the Italian army. This time he was a cook.
I remembers playing with Mussolini's grandchildren in the plaza. He (Mussolini) had a summer house close to Ponte A Morino. I remember spending 18 days in a cave during WWII, with 20 other people. This was when the German Army was retreating north out of Italy.
The very first Americans I saw were Black-Americans. I think they were from the 3rd US Army Division. Those were very difficult and hard days and times for everyone. There wasn't much of anything to eat because the Germans had taken everything as they retreated. The good staples if they were available were chestnut flour and polenta, no meats.
After Mussolini was killed everyone went back to their homes.

My parents wanted to better themselves and make life better for my brother and myself. Dante & Andreina (Rodoni) had sent for Luigi first; later my mother (Vanda) with my brother, Fabrizio and me arrived 'su per la costa'. (LNC: Andreina was Vanda's sister.)
Coming to America in 1948, he worked in the fields on the Rodoni Ranch, for his brother-in-law Dante Rodoni. The field workers called him Moro because of his dark complexion. Then in 1949, we arrived from Ponte Morino, travelling on a ship into New York and then on a train across the United States arriving in San Francisco. None of us spoke a word of English,but thanks to all the relatives and many friends up La Nosta Costa, my brother and I certainly learned the language very fast.

Luigi (Moro) suffered a series of strokes in 1982 at the age of 76. When he first had his stroke he was in the hospital for a week or so. Vanda said to us, I'll take him home and make him comfortable and take care of him, not knowing that she would do that for so many years. My father passed away in 1988.

My mother missed my father dearly. She passed away two years later on Good Friday (1990 ). My mother and father are both 'buried' at the Holy Cross Cemetery, very close to where Andreina and Dante are 'buried, and not to0 far from Bronco and Valentina (Comelli).

Thank you Pa, for bringing us to "L'America". We are forever grateful to you and Ma for all you have done for us.

And now Ivano, you know the rest of the story. Roberto (and Deanna).



IVANO SAYS: AND QUITE A STORY IT IS. IT IS THE STUFF THAT MOVIES ARE MADE OF. THANKS, ROBERTO AND DEANNA. HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE.


*As it appears in Ivano's book: 'La Nostra Costa', published by Authorhouse, http://www.authorhouse.com/, copyrighted 2006.

7 comments:

Canadian Furlan said...

.. this is a real good one. Judging from the dates given by Roberto ... Moro was born in 1906. The photo with the Italian Calvary is good keep sake, nice historical keep sake. And yes as noted during WWII in Italy when the Germans were retreating it was brutal. My Father recalls when his Father (my Grandfather) who was the Guardiano of the town.. or Police he would organize people throughout the town to hide all their livestock to ensure the retreating Germans would not have any of it. He would organize various households to move Cows horses and poultry at night to keep it out of the hands of the Germans.
As a matter of fact during one Nazi raid my Father's younger Brother my Uncle was captured by the Germans since they believed he was a Partisan that killed a few German officers. They were prepared to shoot him in cold blood up along the wall to the cemetary. Fortunately for a brother in law who spoke fluent German convinced one of the officers otherwise... Many years later when I asked my Uncle he said to me when he spoke to the officer in German he played on the fact the officer was older and more than likely had children of his own. My uncle confirmed he was not a Nazi but rather a part of the Wehrmacht a regular officer in the Third Reich. If it would have been a Nazi my uncle would have been gunned down in cold blood.
Also in the North Central portion of Italy where Moro was from Bologna.. the retreating German armies committed some real brutal acts of desperation against civilians. Such as poisoning wine in the local Osteria... Pub just to ensure non of the men in the town were able to do any harm. During these acts of barbism entire families were wiped out..
This is what it's all about... the history and lives all the Italians had prior to making it to the US.

Good one keep them coming!!


Ciao e Mandi Doriano

Donna Rodoni said...

Hi Ivano, I really enjoyed the story about Moro and Vanda coming to the US. Donna

Anonymous said...

Luigi and Vanda with their sons Roberto and Fabrizio were delightful friends. We would often have them come to our house "à veglia". (literally "a wake", meaning to spend the evening together.) The arrival of television put an end to those happy times.

The last time I saw Moro and Vanda was in October, 1982. I took a flight to San Jose and a rental car to Santa Cruz, where I stayed at El Dranel Motel on Mission St. I went to see some cherished old familiar places. Of course I had to stop at 714 Seaside St. to see the Degli Esposti.

Pulling into the driveway, I saw Vanda come to the door. She went back inside and wheeled Moro out in his wheelchair. She asked, "Chi è quello la?" Moro replied, "è Gino!" I had not been aware that he even knew my first name.

Vanda then told me that these were the first words Moro had been able to say for six months. Sadly, this was the last time I saw them.

Unfortunately, I could not visit many others whom I would have liked to see again.

Gino Campioni

LaNorma said...

Ivano:

The Blogga is such a wonderful thing – I love it!!

The story of Moro and Vanda was so touching (thanks Roberto)! Weren’t

All our folks just the greatest – they all went through so much. They were

Grateful and so thankful to be here in the good ole USA!

I remember Moro and Vanda talking a little about the war – did not know all

That was in the story (again-why oh why didn’t I pay more attention!!) Guess we

Were all busy just being kids.

I do remember Moro and Vanda saying that several times there were air-raids and

They put the boys – Roberto and Fabrizio by the side of the road or in a ditch and

Vanda & Moro laying on top of them to protect them. Loved Vanda and Moro.

I too remember the first time I met them and the boys coming to school. Roberto was put

In my 4th grade class at Laurel School – teacher was Mrs. Gilson. I was in charge of helping him as he did not know English and I was now an expert as I knew it for three years when I reached the 4th grade!!! Wow – we have all come a long ways!!! Norma

iL Fabrizio said...

Ciao Ivano,
I just opened the wonderful story and pictures you did on my dad. It was very heart warming and of course, it made me cry...but good tears because the pictures and the story my brother wrote made me remember what a wonderful man my father was. I had forgotten about the pictures...hadn't seen them for many, many years. Thanks for keeping alive all those wonderful memories about "La Costa," and my family. Again, what can I say but "mille grazie," from a very, very grateful son of a wonderful, caring father that was Luigi. Grazie, e grazie ancora. Ciao, and I'll keep in touch.

Jaio said...

What a nice story again:-)

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

I received the following message from the 'Canadian Furlan', reminding me that April 3 was Friuli's National Holiday.

The Degli Esposti's were Toscanos. As I write in "La Nostra Costa", Toscanos and Friulanos sometimes
didn't get along 'su per la costa'. On the other hand some strong friendships were created between Tuscan Families and Friulian Families. Such was the case between the Comelli Family and the Degli Esposti Family. (What was there not to like?)

Therefore, I would like to extend and invitation to the Degli Esposti family and all our Toscano Friends, to celebrate
Friuli's National Holiday with us. Ivno


Ivano Mio Caro Amico Furlan

I have been extremely busy ...... lately a lot of things going on sorry for not keeping in contact.. ......yesterday April 3, 2008 was Friuli's National Holiday... so Ivano go out and have yourself and Nice piece of Polenta and Salsiccia and wash it down with some Grappa !!!
Long ago on April 3, 1077, Friuli became an independent region when the German Emperor Indri IV gave full autonomy to Sigjar, the Patriarch of Aquilea. Through the years, this day became known as Friuli's National Day.

Give my best to all the Furlans Sur per la Costa !!


Ciao e Mandi

Doriano










--
Doriano A. Degano