My Grand Father, Jasper Addotta, came to this country to avoid Mussolini’s Draft. Of course he came by boat to Ellis Island. There was a paper sign pinned to his back that said, “Kishwaukee St.” This sign told the immigration people where he was going. You see, in those days, one had to already have a job in order to enter our country. The paper sing, on his back, told the authorities where to send him.
Kishwaukee St. was in Rockford, IL and there were many furniture factories there and Jasper had a job at one of them.
Jasper Addotta worked there for about a two tears, saving every penny he could so that he could win his citizenship and go back to Sicily to get my Grand Mother, Francesca and bring her back to America.
During his two year absence from Sicily, Francesca was living in a convent. This was done so that she would have some protection from the men or soldiers of Mussolini’s army.
Jasper got on another boat and went all the way back to Sicily, to our ancestral home Porto Niko. He arrived at the convent in the wee small hours of the morning. He shouted out, “Francesca” several times and, finally, The Mother Superior appeared at a window, high up near the top of the structure. “What do you want?” she yelled down at him. Jaster said, “I am here to take Francesca to America. I am her fiancé, Jasper. The mother superior closed the widow and disappeared. About forty minutes later the large main doors of the convent opened and there stood Francesca with all of he belongings. The two of them got married and then got on another boat to go to America. This time, since Jasper was already an American citizen, with a Passport, they could go wherever they wanted, so they went to Brooklyn, New York and set up a home and began their family.
It was years later that Francesca and Jasper moved their family to Rockford IL to get the kids away from gangs, (My Uncle Victor stayed in Brooklyn where he was connected to the Gambino family) In Rockford IL Francesca would give birth to four more children to bring the total to eight.