A Trio of Lies
by Frank Barry
The D'Alessandro family has unknown secrets, till a present day sleuth discovers the shocking truth. Suicide, infidelity and abandonment compel the story. In spite of a trio of lies, the three branches of the family are finally united in a joyous celebration of life. They meet in Italy and truly become la famiglia. Period photos enhance the exploratory mood.
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About the Book
Andrews had a quest. After experiencing the trauma of breast cancer,
she decided it was time to find her roots. She knew her mother's side
of the family. There was a strange void on her father's side.
Starting with the oral history, she gradually uncovered strange truths
and bold-faced lies. The family's real name was D'Alessandro, from
the small village of Salandra in southern Italy. Her grandfather Marcello
didn't leave the Old Country to escape poverty and starvation like
his countrymen. Marcello felt dissatisfied with arranged marriage
and broke his heart in a juvenile relationship with Donata. He fled
through France to avoid the draft!
Settling in the US after a rigorous ocean voyage and the uncertainty
of Ellis Island, he discovered the Itanian colony of Vineland, New
Jersey. He looked for a better life than working in the sweatshops
of Manhattan. Marcello still burned with desire for his childhood
sweetheart. She responded with a letter stating her husband from the
arranged marriage had deserted her. She immigrated, and the pair started
a family, ultimately of eight children.
Life was good till Donata's health deteriorated. Marcello strayed,
into the arms of his sister-in-law, Donata's sister, Rosaria. On April
4, 1917, they boarded a train and left Vineland, their spouses, and
all the children.
Changing their names to Frank and Elizabeth Andrews, their ultimate
destination was San Francisco, California. Frank worked, Elizabeth
took care of their three children. She was never truly content, however,
and she suffered from anxiety. Frank became increasingly irritable
after their their child. The kids took him away from his passion,
making fine wines. Elizabeth, torn in different directions, committed
suicide, abandoning Frank, Josie, Charles and David for the last time.
Frank couldn't handle the children, so he placed them in the famous
San Francisco Nursery for Homeless Children. Shortly thereafter, the
Stock Market Crash of 1929 initiated the Great Depression. Times were
tough for everyone, most of all the children. They remained in the
orphanage for almost eight years.
Josie the oldest child rebelled at the work she had to perform back
home. She ran off and got married, and started her own life. Frank
didn't speak to her till she presented him with two grandchildren.
The middle child, Charles, developed an incredible work ethic. He
and his brother David lived at home till December 7, 1941.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Charlie, as he was called,
went to sea. His merchant marine convoy lost half their 80 ships to
German submarines. Undaunted, Charlie joined the US Navy and served
during the massive Okinawa invasion, nearly loosing his life to an
Charlie returned home and cared for his father while marrying and
starting his own family of five girls. With all that, he had time
to amass a considerable fortune in California real estate. His father
Frank died of emphysema. Frank felt angry, bitter and deprived of
the finer things in life.
As the years passed and Charlie retired, he supported Janet's quest
to find the family roots. They shared the surprise of Vineland. They
travelled together to their ancestral home in Salandra, Italy, for
a joyous reunion with the Italian branch of the D'Alessandro's. Charlie
invited his long lost relative for a family reunion in San Francisco
Charlie sought out his half siblings from Vineland. Virginia, the
youngest child when Marcello and Rosaria ran off, still lives there.
She told Charlie about her life. She, too, was placed in an orphanage.
A barren Italian couple adopted her and moved back to Italy before
and during World War II. After the war, she learned her true name
when she applied for a marriage license. Only then did her older sister
Margaret write. "Please, come home to New Jersey! The family should
Everyone, siblings, spouses, children and friends gathered at the
dock. Vinginia and her husband came down the gangplank. She threw
herself into the waiting arms of Margaret and the others, and decided
to settle in Vineland. She still lives there today, testimony to the
importance of family to all Italians.
|About the Author
Frank Barry is married to a member of the D'Alessandro family. After years of oral history stories, he decided to find the truth. He has written Make the Change for a Healthy Heart and The Healthy Heart Formula, published by John Wiley. He writes and practices medicine in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He loves the outdoors but never has enough time to practice all his favorite sports. He's too busy writing!