Handmade Face Towels

Handmade Face Towels
Handmade Face Towels

It all started in 1910 when my great-grandfather came to the United States from a Calabria, a small region of southern Italy, in hopes of finding a better life for his family. In 1915, he summoned my great-grandmother who would come to the United States and marry in that same year. They stayed in a small town in Massachusetts for 7 years and returned to Italy in 1922.
My great-grandfather realized that in order to support his family of 7 children, he needed to return to the United States. In 1946 my great-grandfather joined his two sons in a small town in New Jersey called Jersey City. My grandmother, along with her mother and her brother Frank, joined the rest of their family in 1948. At this time, my grandmother was 16 years old. Elena, Alfonzo and Joe stayed behind in Italy.
My grandmother was very close with her only sister and leaving to start a new life in America was scary. The only thing that my grandmother brought with her from Italy were two handmade face towels. The towels were made by her sister Elena. They are delicate and intricate and hold great sentimental value. My grandmother never used the towels but instead used them as decoration and as a reminder of her sister. 
My grandmother was very close with her older sister of 11 years and would visit her in Italy. They would also talk on the phone almost daily. Elena never came to the United States because of a fear of airplanes. 
My grandmother Rose is still alive, but her sister passed away over a decade ago. 

Place(s): Italy
Year: 1948

– Amanda Ackaway

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant