it's in my blood
You know, it's not every day you hear your father referred to as "grandson", however, this did happen today.
Norma Menga e-mailed me today and wondered if I was the grandson she remembered from Massachusetts. Nope. The grandson she remembered was my father.
I gave her my father's e-mail address and she was nice enough to carbon-copy me on what she sent him, which said the following (and I don't think she minds that I post this here). The "Cousin Richie Sr." is in reference to my father.
Cousin Richie, Sr.,
Hi, just found out today that my brother, Bobby, the violinist passed away at age 72 in New Zealand. He moved there recently to be closer to his son Justin Menga. Then I started looking up menga in the internet and saw your son's website. Seems like he is musical also.
No, I am not Norma from Fall River. That was Zia Faustina's grandchild, daughter of Louisa who was named Norma Regis. I am the daughter of Fortunato Menga who was Uncle Joe's youngest brother and the youngest of 9 children. His mother, Fortunata, died at childbirth in 1900 giving birth to my father. They were all born in Verzino, Calabria. Your grandfather, Giuseppi and his father Santo came to this country first, then brought the rest over. My Dad came over in 1909. I found record of it in the Ellis Island website. But Fortunato wasn't his legal name, it was Pasquale. You can do a search Giuseppe Menga came here in 11/18/1902.
I fondly remember Zio Giuseppe and Zia Chiara on Newton Street, Mansfield.
Interesting stuff, indeed, particularly the music part. Certain Menga's have been gifted with musical talent and I happen to be one of them.
If you ever wondered why I'm able to play well both classically and otherwise, this is a strong indicator of why.
And yes, my father's side of the family is as about as Italian as you can get in the USA without physically being in Italy. 🙂