Through His Words: Reflections From and About My Grandfather

2 Oct

I am about to begin an incredible adventure with my paternal grandfather. We will venture to Europe, via ship, and spend a month together touring Italy. During our stay, we will visit his birthplace, Pietrabbondante, a town he left with his parents when he was four years old to emigrate to the United States.

In the year 1895 on the 9th day of January, Mr. Ruggiero di Salvo, Mayor and official of the Bureau of Vital Statistics for the city of Pietrabbondante, received information that at the hour of 4:00 A.M. on the 7th day of Jan. 1895, was born in Pietrabbondante a male child to whom the name of Allesandro was given, son of Vincenzo Iacapraro and Maria Emerenziana Vitullo.

Meet Alexander V. Capraro, my grandfather.  An old, warn picture perhaps but a very handsome man indeed. We think this may have been his wedding day.


Now you may be wondering….born in 1895? 118 years old and taking me on a month-long trip? Exactly.

Although the Internet didn’t exist, and my grandfather only lived to the young age of 61, he was a blogger. Oh, they didn’t call it that at the time, but like so many others, he wrote about his experiences in the nearly lost art of letter writing.   Fortunately, the letters were kept and are now in my possession. Thanks, Aunt Marion!

My grandfather was small in stature but large in accomplishment. He was the first Italian-American architect licensed in the state of Illinois and fortunately, a few of his buildings still stand for us to admire. Unfortunately for his grandchildren, however, he died before we really had a chance to know him. But now I plan to change that as I read through and relive his journey to his homeland in 1938. It was his only visit to Italy, and since my grandmother didn’t want to leave their three children, he wrote her daily. Over the next year, I will include parts of his story in my blog. Next summer, Len and I will visit his hometown and perhaps even find the home where he lived.

I am so excited to begin this journey and to share my experiences along the way. My love and connection to Italy continue to grow as I research the past and partake of the present. And while studying history is one thing, studying my paternal ancestors’ history through my Grandfather’s words is clearly another.

Over the next year, Through His Words: Reflections From and About My Grandfather will unfold as I read his letters, follow his footsteps, and get to know better the man I called Grandpa so many years ago.



11 Responses to “Through His Words: Reflections From and About My Grandfather”

  1. loren larsen October 3, 2013 at 6:15 PM #

    WOW!!!! Let’s get cracking!!! When is the next installment? I am on the edge of my chair! Thank you so much, Juju. I can’t tell you how much joy and pride this post has brought me. And how happy that the spirit of Papa will continue through the tales of his father. What a tremendous gift you are giving us. Buona fortuna per la vostra missione. Grazie mille. Baci!


    • blogginginitaly October 3, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

      You are very welcome! I am so excited about this journey and very happy to have lots of family members along. Will keep you posted soon! Grazie e abbracci! Juju


  2. Deborah Capraro October 9, 2013 at 8:24 AM #

    Thank you for this Judy. Mike, Alicia, Michael and I are forever grateful.



    Mobile: (773) 617-1866

    Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2013 00:47:40 +0000 To:


    • blogginginitaly October 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM #

      You are so welcome and I look forward to sharing all that I find.


  3. Jim Capraro October 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

    Wow, this s so incredible – your grandfather, my uncle! I can’t wait to watch your blog & your journey unfold Thanks so much Judy! Jim Capraro


    • blogginginitaly October 22, 2013 at 2:58 PM #

      Jim, I knew you’d be interested! So much more to tell. Stay tuned.


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    • blogginginitaly March 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM #

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  5. Magdolna Csaszar January 29, 2017 at 5:44 PM #

    Dear Judy,

    What an out standing story teller you are. I spent all afternoon reading all about your life in Italy, through your blogs. I am so jealous of your talent in writing, because I still don’t have any help in trying to write our story. Unfortunately Albert left it all up to me and I have a hard time to get going on it. My Family is still to busy working for a living, but i hope someone will retire before I’m gone to help me tell our story.

    Admiration, hugs and kisses, Magda


    • blogginginitaly January 29, 2017 at 5:52 PM #

      Thanks, Magda, I am so happy to have you along with us on our journey. As for recording your family history, if you don’t feel like writing, get a tape recorder and start talking. One of the girls can transcribe it for you later. You can also speak right to the computer through various programs, and it will transcribe for you. Either way, don’t lose that wonderful history! Xoxo


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