Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. viii

For translating Italian words and phrases into Calabrese dialect, I thank Erminia Angilletta and the Calabria Exchange, Francesco Vollero of Locri, and Agatha Stellato of Calabrese Associates. Thanks also to Cathy Cerrone Fratto, who shared oral histories she conducted ...

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The Rise and Fall of Antonio Del Negro

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pp. 3-23

Antonio Del Negro walked two and a half hours out of San Procopio and back looking for work. He gauged distance by the color of the earth. When it was a sheen of bright green spikes in the lowland, he was a long way from home. As grass began to thin and fade, he approached halfway on his return trip, ...

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St. Odo’s Curse

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pp. 24-51

To deliver his noon meal of bread, olives, and wine, she followed a path on the hillside, passing stumps of trees chopped down for firewood when they had become too parched to bear fruit, too parched for their withered leaves to cast an umbrella of shadow. The land in Calabria was so dry after another summer with no rain ...

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Hell and High Water

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pp. 52-61

Mam

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Giorgio’s Green Felt Hat

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pp. 62-68

The river was muddy, the color of sun-baked earth, and the hat floated on its murky waters. It was the hat my grandfather wore the day he came to this country, and only when it was drowning in the river’s bliss did I believe that if I could rescue it—if I could somehow swim across the amber stream and hold it in my hands ...

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Jesus behind Bars

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pp. 69-77

Not far from St. Patr ic k’s Roman Catholic Church, from its sanctuary smells of melting wax and replica of Rome’s Holy Stairs where worshipers ascend on their knees, Jesus is behind bars, his nose rubbing against an iron fence on Liberty Avenue. ...

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Catina’s Haircut

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pp. 78-84

There once was an Italian woman named Catina who had most unusual hair. From the front, she looked like any other woman her age. She had black-framed glasses, a shade of rouge to give her cheeks some color, and a flowered silk scarf over her head, her soft, gray curls slipping out to drape her face. ...

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Flash Light

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pp. 85-95

From t he kitchen window, Maria Ungaro spots someone dart past the lilac bush toward her back door and is so startled that she drops a spoon into a pitcher of juice. Citrus drops splash Maria Ungaro in the eye as her neighbor pounds on the door with the meaty side of her fist. She opens it, squinting. ...

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Mirage

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pp. 96-103

It took exactly twenty-six minutes for a mother, a daughter, and a chicken to board a bus to San Procopio. The driver, a slight man with narrow sideburns who was sitting on a bench near the parked bus, appeared to move at a pace that habit had timed for him rather than a schedule. ...