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CROSSING THE ATLANTIC, 1965


Genoa to New York May 1965

We had been sailing for a few days already and the seas were fairly smooth. My father was quite proud of the fact that his family did not get seasick. Unfortunately others aboard did not have the same Moscovio family sea legs. On one particular morning we went to the dining room for breakfast where only about half of the tables were occupied. I was really awed by the fancy place settings, silver coffee pots and starched linens. Also the floor was made of some kind of material that absorbed sound, so when I dropped my fork, there was no clanking sound! I remember our waiter was a very tall man with a booming voice who at first seemed a bit intimidating to me. His warm laugh and huge smile soon put me at ease. He was very nice and called me missy. I remember he went out of his way to make us feel comfortable and well cared for. Somehow we communicated despite the fact that he spoke no Italian and my parents only knew a few words of English.

On that particular morning my mother was ready to try something other than our usual “Italian” breakfast of Cappuccino, brioche or croissants with jam etc.

She had noticed some flat round things on other diner’s plates which smelled wonderful. After some pointing and gesturing he understood and my mom was served a beautiful tall stack of pancakes with warm syrup. They were delicious. So many new tastes and smells and we weren’t even in America yet!

As we sailed closer to our new country we found ways to occupy ourselves. Cruise liners back then did not have all the glitz and non stop activities like now. You played cards, read a book or just chatted with other passengers during the day. One afternoon my father spotted a piano in one of the lounges and began to pick out some tunes. They were mostly old Neapolitan love songs and pretty soon people had gathered around for a little sing along. Santa Lucia, Anema e core, Torna Surriento. Some of them were crying as they sang. I realize now that they were not only shedding tears for the home and loved ones they had just left behind, but perhaps for the fear and uncertainty of what lay ahead.

#italy #family #immigrants #sailing #ship

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