how brave can you be?

The story you’re about to read is true. Very true. It didn’t just happen to the people in the story; it happened to thousands of people during the 1940s and 50s.

There was a young Italian couple. He was 27, she was 16 and no one thought he was a creep. They had just said their vows to one another and everyone from their small town heard them. World War II had just ended and the two wanted to start their new life together in a place that wasn’t in ruins.

The Young Couple Moments After Committing To One Another

The Young Couple Moments After Committing To One Another

Around all of Europe, stories were being told about how people were leaving their homes and setting up new lives both in the United States and Canada.

The young man began exploring the idea of immigrating.

He started looking into departure and arrival times of transatlantic ships and transcanada trains. Finding the right information wasn’t as easy clicking the right button. The young man had to speak face-to-face with ship owners, tickets had to be purchased in-person and there was no guarantee that their passage across the Atlantic would succeed.  Even if they succeed in getting to North America there was no guarantee that upon arrival they would be allowed into the country. And even if they were allowed into the country there was no gurantee that they would have a roof over their head and a job in their hand.

But belief is unstoppable force.

The newlyweds believed that it was possible and they believed that it had to be done. Without knowledge or certainty they set out and searched for the right signatures and the right documentation. They searched for the right signatures and papers that would allow them to permanently  leave their friends and family, security and familiarity, all for the possibility of having a new life.

The Young Italian Man Looking For The Right Documents

The Young Italian Man Looking For The Right Documents

I’ll continue the story tomorrow morning, after I hear the “young” man speak tonight.

It’s 58 years later and today I’m headed to Niagara Falls for a very special event. My nonno – grandfather in Italian – is having a book signing. He has published his second book and it’s in English; a language he had to learn 58 years ago after he and his wife arrived in Canada, shortly after just saying their vows to one another in front of their entire town. The book is about what happened once him and his wife arrived in Canada.

It’s impossible for us to truly understand the significance of their decision and the bravery that they demonstrated, but the question I keep asking myself is the same: How Brave Can I Be?

How Brave Can You Be?

“Imagine how brave I’d be if I knew I was safe.” – sleeping at last

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3 Comments on “how brave can you be?”

  1. estolte
    December 14, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Amazing! Can’t believe how much you boys, especially Vince, look like your Nonno. Looking forward to the next installment. Thanks!

  2. .
    December 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    For me, communicating with my parents and grandparents is what opened my eyes to the ‘real’ world at a relatively young age– aside from the otherwise self-centered, sheltered world of a Canadian child. I can’t help but wonder ‘ What will my story of ‘bravery’ and struggle be to be passed down to my children?’ , the stories of past family will be shared down, but it can only be relevant for so long before it gets lost among the generations.

    • December 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      One of the main reasons why its worth writing down the stories our parents and grandparents tell us. If for no other reason then keeping them safe.

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