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    Raffaele Albi:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Raffaele Albi

Mr. and Mrs.
Enrico Butti

Mr. & Mrs.
Domenico Chiarello
(Nella Anselmo)

Gus & Assunta Dotto
(Emilia Raffin)

 Attilio & Stella Gatto

Gus Lavorato

Giovanni Paron

Louie Protti

Mr. & Mrs. Sartor

Sam Scrivano

Silvio Tona

Paolo Veltri

Page 1 |   2

A summary of the oral history transcript of Raffaele Albi in which he discusses growing up in Italy, and making the move to Canada.

Growing Up : 

  • Raffaele was born in Grimaldi, in the province of Cosenza, on September 14, 1913.
  • He had one brother, Giuseppe (Joe), and for recreation they played football (that is, soccer). In Italy he went to school up until high school. When he was 21 he joined the military and was stationed in Africa, Bologna and Cosenza.

  • He remembers his childhood home having two bedrooms, two kitchens, a beautiful terrace, a big fireplace, and a basement.

  • One of his most vivid memories is of his grandmother's death in 1926. He cites her as the biggest influence in his life. She particularly loved him because he was born after her son's leaving the country. She had six sons, all of whom went to Spokane.

  • He doesn't remember much about his father, Giovanni, because he passed on when Raffaele was about two years old; his Father went to school, his brother was already in the US; he joined the military and then left Grimaldi in 1913 before his birth; went to Spokane, Washington, to join family members; then, went to Revelstoke to work on the railways because a cousin, Giovanni, was a railway contractor there; died in 1916 in Revelstoke. 

  • He had two uncles in the US who supported the widow and her two children as well as their sister, his paternal grandmother, until her death in 1926; both sons went to school and were apprenticed to trades, Raffaele, as a carpenter and Giuseppe, as a mason.

  • Community events that he remembers include Easter and Christmas celebrations. At Christmas, they would have big fires in the town square, and people would make different types of Italian dishes and pastries. The boys from the town would collect all the wood needed for the fires.  He provides extensive information about the baked goods and also the bonfire traditions.  Christmas Eve, around 4 pm, the young boys would pile up wood in the main square for the bonfire. In May and June there would be  processions of the Blessed Virgin accompanied by a band.  Grimaldi had two bands; most knew how to play instruments.

  • He was in the military in Ethiopia and returned to Grimaldi from Africa in September of 1938, and met the woman, Estera Potestio,  who was soon to be his wife. They were married in May of 1939.

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