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     Alessandro and Lina Urso: Oral History Transcript Summary 

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Carlo & Lina 

Rudy & Rita 

Mary Biollo Doyle

Tony Falcone

Bill Nigro

 Sabatino Roncucci

Spinelli Family
Alessandro &
Lina Urso

Fiore M. Vecchio


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  • The Il Congresso newspaper, on a smaller scale, is like the Church-a community institution; believes it's an essential service to the community

  • Opinion about the Italian community and where it is going: have "graduated" from the 97th Street area-most people live away from "Little Italy"; have built three community centres (Italian Cultural Centre, Santa Maria Goretti Centre, Seniors Centre); have the Dante Alighieri School; many societies reflecting differences

  • Big change is the Italian government's interest in Italians living abroad, the re-instatement of Italian citizenship; this has potential to split the community into Italian-Canadians and Italians; while as much as he wants to maintain Italian culture, does not think that the political linkage with the Italian government is important; this has split the community; this could become very political in 2003 when Italians abroad can vote in Italian elections

  • About the issue of what they want to pass on to their children and grandchildren: Lina: pride in being Italian-the food, the traditions, culture, close family ties, Nonna's cooling and baking (for Easter and Christmas); when her Mother died three years ago, children devastated that food traditions wouldn't continue; she and her sister have now learned to make some of these traditional foods

  • Alessandro; this passing is not rigid; their daughters went to the Dante Alighieri School; Lina was instrumental in setting up the Italian language program at Cardinal Leger School with the three Tony's (Tony Falcone, Tony Caria and Tony Petrone); then, continued at O'Leary

  • Traditions-Lina: on arrival in Edmonton only 4 or 5 families, tiny house but 40-60 people would gather for special occasions (Christmas, Easter, etc.); wonderful times, after eating, the parents would dance; poor but happy; everybody helped each other, through childbirth, taking care of kids, etc.; as immigration brought more blood relatives, this resulted in distance from friends; Alessandro-learned to make wine from his Father-in-Law and is a great winemaker (when her Father made wine initially it was illegal but as a result of this influence anyone can make it now)

  • Both: sadness about the stated intention of the Scalabrini Fathers to leave Santa Maria Goretti Church [as an order that tends to immigrants, they are focusing on other areas of the world]; her Father is heart-broken about their living; if they are not there, people won't come from all over the city to the church; the church as "town square"; also the importance of the Italian Centre Shop-Frank Spinelli's death also means the end of an era; the patio at the Italian Centre Shop was a gathering place, a way of getting the pulse of the community (politicians, community leaders, professionals, etc. went there); now a time of transition; Frank Spinelli was a rare man, generous; helped many people; gave credit to those who didn't have work; notion of the "don" who was a noble, looked after others, important in a rural society; was respected; have lost this, live in a different society

  • Our children don't share same values and interest; Alessandro: "you are Italian but you have to live as a Canadian and be proud of being Canadian!"

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