Vuci Lutani

My great grandfather, Salvatore Di Leo moved from a tiny town in Italy to Brooklyn in the early 1920’s and met my great grandmother Serafina who was from Mulberry Street in Little Italy. My great grandfather brought over his traditions and his ability to write. His ability to write wasn’t common because most people who spoke Sicilian weren’t able to write it, but he was one of the only people who could. So with this, he wrote Vuci Luntani a book of poems and became an author. This book is in a dialect of Sicilian that was only spoken in his small town, because of this no one in my family learned the language from my great grandfather since he was very old fashion and never spoke to the grandchildren (my dad and his siblings) until you were old enough to speak to him. From some of the titles of the poems in the book we can make out that he wrote about his experiences in coming to America and how his life was like since leaving his home in Sicily. After so many years since he came to America the world has changed so much and with that change, my family changed also by (not intentionally) disconnecting ourselves from our native language. I wish that my family never lost that touch of being Italian. I wish I got to meet him so I could learn how to speak Sicilian, ask him if writing poetry was a way for him to escape the things around him and how his experiences were with coming to America for a better life.            

Place(s): Sicily
Year: 1920

– Emma DiLeo

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more