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
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
- 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.
Listen to Oral
History | Read Short Biography