Through His Words: Day Three

24 Nov

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect

Day Three:

Monday, July 18, 1938 
On board ship        
Chapter 3


Today has been a little more active. Got up at 10:00 as a bunch of us sat on deck till 2:00 A.M. I missed breakfast so I got into my bathing suit and went into the pool (salt water) and then out in the sun on a deck chair and got pretty well sun burned. Went to lunch and then came to the sport deck and played shuffle board. It’s a lot of fun and was thinking that you would enjoy this as the sea is as calm as Lake Michigan on a nice day.

Alex missed Maude. They had spent time apart before, but only because of his work. She would later say that her one regret was not going with him on this trip. They were married in 1919 at Guardian Angels in Chicago. In a bulletin dated February 19, 1919, the editor wrote:

In our years at Guardian Angels, we have never seen so touchingly impressive a wedding service in the little church as that celebrated on a recent Saturday morning. The sweet simplicity of it all; the quiet wedding group in the Sanctuary, (Alex and Maude kneeling on white draped prie-deus)… When they came down the aisle, Maude was so attractive in her dainty wedding gown and filmy veil, and Alex so thoroughly justified the pride we have felt in him these many years….


1948, wearing a Georgiana Jordan gown at daughter Marion’s wedding

They have various games to kill time on board as well as concerts, dancing and movies. I have met some interesting people, some from Chicago, and some like me traveling for the first time. One fellow I met from Indianapolis has travelled all over the world and is now going to Turkey, Egypt and Persia. There are 14 nuns on board, all Italians going to Italy to complete their studies, and about 7 or 8 priests, among which is Father Peoria, whom I know. We spend quite a bit of time together.

Alex was not a man used to a lot of leisure time. In 1918, at the age of 24, he enlisted with the U.S. Naval Engineers and was assigned to the construction division of the Bureau of Yards and Docks in the Navy Department in Washington D.C. He was instrumental in the design and erection of various Naval buildings including the huge Navy and Munitions  buildings which, at the time, were the largest buildings in the world in terms of floor space.




Tonight they are showing another movie with Tyrone Power and Loretta Young, which I saw before. I am getting cheated as far as the movies go as I have seen all of the ones so far. But it gives me extra time to write to you. 

Funny thing is, shortly after Alex met Maude, she brought him home to meet her parents. When her mother saw him, she told Maude not to go out with him because he was too skinny! Lucky for Alex, Maude ignored the advice.

When I think of my grandmother Maude, words that come to mind include demure, modest, quiet, ladylike, respectable, and decent. Here’s a photo from her early childhood, perhaps at Confirmation.


Although she hated having her picture taken, she was very social and especially loved her ladies clubs, dancing and going out to dinner.


1915, both 21, before they knew each other

With friends, Maude, (upper middle), with a little mischief in her eyes

With friends, Maude, (upper middle), with a little mischief in her eyes

Unlike Alex, Maude Pacelli was born in America. So was her mother and her grandmother. Little did I know that my great, great, great, grandmother was born in the U.S. Her father worked for Rheingold Brewery from the young age of 16, and was head brewmaster when he retired at the age of 86, a 70 year – one company career. Her brother Bill was a Chicago alderman. 


Maude was a devoted wife and mother and a great cook. Growing up, I remember homemade ravioli spread out on beds when we would go to her house for holiday dinners. Her sausage stuffing was my dad’s favorite. She loved to sit at the kitchen or dining room table surrounded by family and tell stories. And most of all, she loved to laugh.


Mackinac Island, MI: Maude (middle) with Alex and his cousin, date unknown

At 4:00 P.M., they serve tea and cake and dance and generally keep things humming so that there are few dull moments. There was a beautiful sunset on the ocean and I took a movie of it hoping it will come out so I may show it to you when I return.

Regards to all. Love to you, the boys, my little girl, and Ruth and Pa.  

Love, Al

To be continued.


For more information on the Naval buildings, click on the link.

11 Responses to “Through His Words: Day Three”

  1. Charles November 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM #

    Aloha Judy,
    I have seen photos like the one Maude is in and that looks more like her communion dress not confirmation. Children back then made their communion later in life than our generation.


  2. loren larsen November 24, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

    So fabulous. I want to know more and more and more!! These posts are really helping me remember Maude. I adore that picture of her with her girlfriends!


  3. Daryl Muromoto January 5, 2014 at 11:47 PM #

    Hi Judy,
    I stumbled upon your blog while doing a search on my great aunt, Georgiana Jordan. I was wondering how your family knew her.
    Daryl Muromoto


    • blogginginitaly January 6, 2014 at 5:33 PM #

      From what I’ve learned, Georgiana was a dear friend of my great aunt Ruth. Georgiana was a wonderful dress designer and seamstress and offered to make Ruth’s niece’s wedding dress as well as the mother of the bride’s dress (my grandmother Maude), as shown in the photo. I’m told that Georgiana and Ruth took hours to hand sew the beading on my aunt’s wedding dress, and both dresses were beautiful!


      • Michael Eaton January 23, 2014 at 6:39 PM #

        Just wondering… if you are related to Felice Pacelli, female, born around 1950, and grew up in Chicago. If so, I would like to get in touch with her. Bunch of friends getting together this summer to celebrate our graduation from LeMoyne grammar school. –Michael Eaton 503-697-3616


      • blogginginitaly January 24, 2014 at 9:58 AM #

        Michael, sorry but I don’t know Felice. Hope you have a great celebration!


  4. Pamela Pacelli June 10, 2015 at 6:10 PM #

    Hello: I happened on this blog. My grandfather was Antonio Pacelli of Chicago and he was either a brother or a cousin of Bill Pacelli who helped the family start some newsstands in the early 1930’s. That would make Maude either sister or cousin. Grandpa Tony was one of several siblings, some of whom stayed in Ricigliano and others settled in Chicago. Would love to know more of the genealogy from you, if you have it. Pam Pacelli


    • blogginginitaly June 10, 2015 at 7:17 PM #

      Thanks, Pam, for your note. I will talk to my aunt and get back to you soon. Ciao, Judy


    • blogginginitaly June 12, 2015 at 7:28 PM #

      I checked with my Aunt. Her Uncle Bill had 3 brothers and none were named Antonio. She was very close to her Mother’s family and does not recall ever meeting him or hearing that name, although as she adds, there are many Pacellis in Chicago and he could have been a second or third cousin. My grandmother and her siblings were born in Chicago as was her mother, so all of their Pacelli group left Ricigliano early on. Wish I could have been of more help.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: