My great-great grandfather, a musician named Romolo, left his home in Frosinone, Italy to seek greater opportunities. He promised to send money and eventually come back for his wife and children so they could all live in New York together. But the days, months, and years passed; the children grew up, and no money or letters ever came.
In 1919, one of Romolo’s children, Clinio, set out to find his father in New York at the age of 20. He never found Romolo, but he stayed anyway.
A gifted carpenter from a young age, Clinio worked for various construction companies throughout the city, helping to build the tunnels and skyscrapers. He also used his skills to help others; he built and fixed things for everyone in his neighborhood, and always refused to take the money they offered.
After he married his wife Rose, they lived in a tenement in Greenwich Village for several years, but they always dreamed of having a home of their own. In 1935, Clinio built a house for his family in Staten Island, and soon after made this table for family dinners. He later gave the table to my grandmother after she got married and had children. It still sits in her dining room today.
– Elizabeth Higgins