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being more "american"
Posted by: Jozette Longo-Dunlap Date: September 05, 2001 at 21:44:17
  of 218

While my grandfather did not change his name, he decidedly rejected a lot of his Italian heritage. My great grandparents died when I was very young, and I did not know them. My mother says that they only spoke Italian. My grandfather refused to speak Italian and claimed not to even know it, although my mom says that he would always listen and knew what was being said at the family gatherings. He married a methodist american girl, and tried to lead the great american life from the 1940's on. He did not have much to do with any of his sisters or brothers after that point, either. He always refused to talk about Chicago, his family, and anything Italian. I always wanted to know so much. When he passed away several years ago, his last few months were spent at home on hospice with a morphine drip. I know he was drugged, but oddly I think he became himself. He would ask for old Italian records, talk about seeing his mother, mutter some occasional Italian phrases, and confided that he had always wanted to play the accordian. It was so sad that he had kept so much of himself bottled up, and so moving to get to know him, if only for a matter of months. There must have been a lot of discrimination or something to make him want to shed his Italian roots, perhaps surrounding WWII and Mussolini. That's the only reason that I can see Longos of that generation changing their names and trying so hard to be "american".


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