La Vita E' Triste, Ma Pure Bella! depicts the life and times of an amazing woman of Italian descent, Maria Elena Francesca Calabria, who faced many difficult situations in her eighty-seven-years of living in Italy and America. Throughout those years, Maria experiences much sadness and many very humorous situations. The reader recognizes that the common pattern of life is that the same things that bring us joy will also at some point in life bring us sorrow.
My story will take the reader on Maria’s journey from rags to riches and then from riches to rags. Maria’s life followed a winding road that took her to a strange land where she learned a little about prejudice and a lot about courage, strength, perseverance and love. These years also covered some political history of Italy during the time when Benito Mussolini was a rising star. Maria and her brothers were very lucky to have left Italy just before Mussolini’s liaison with Adolf Hitler, and just before the arrival of the Nazis.
Maria’s first American residence was in the little town of Madison, New Jersey, where she met and married Pellegrino Marra. The reader will travel with Maria from Madison, New Jersey to a section of Newark, New Jersey, known as “Newark’s Little Italy.” Newark’s Little Italy proved to be an Italian-based city with many unique commodities and denizens. For example, there were some interesting characters that walked the streets of Newark selling fresh goods. This was a city where the locals had the ability to buy fresh tripe and fresh lamb’s head from a man known as “U Trippaiole.” Two other street peddlers were “U Pizzaiole,” who pushed a cart carrying the best home-made pizza I have ever tasted. The next peddler, riding a horse and carriage, delivered the most delicious baked sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts. He was known as “U Fumo.” Finally, the colorful grocery store of “Spezzafero” offered fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, along with Spezzafero’s talking parrot, Cheech, who spoke fluent Italian and had no problem cursing at customers who came in and thieves who attempted to steal!
The reader will be delighted to read about the different restaurants that provided excellent Italian cuisine to some very famous stars such as Jimmy Durante, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Jackie Gleason, Enrico Caruso, Abbot & Costello, Rocky Marchiano and others. Other noteworthy patrons were Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and many others. Another famous person who grew from the streets of Newark is Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who would later be known to the world as “Mother Cabrini.”
Readers will have the good fortune of meeting many humorous characters, some of whom Maria acquired after coming to America. These characters range from Maria’s husband, children, her siblings, aunts, uncles, in-laws, family friends, a murderer and a promiscuous woman! It is through the various personalities of these characters that Maria’s many attributes will become visible. Maria’s entire life journey will bring tears of laughter and sorrow to many readers. All in all, the story lives true to its title, “Life is difficult, but also beautiful!”
My mother was such a rare, fascinating, kind, classy and humble woman, that I felt I had to share this story with others. It is truly a tribute to the greatness of women and mothers!
About The Author
Mary is a former legal-secretary/paralegal who has worked for Connell Foley, L.L.P.; Stein, Bliablias & McGuire and Blume, Goldfaden, Berkowitz and Donnelly. Mary has also worked for the New Jersey State Judiciary in just about all of its divisions. She has worked for the Honorables Philip S. Carchman, Carol A. Ferentz, Murry D. Brochin and Steven Lefelt. She is a single parent who worked in that capacity for over forty-seven-years, allowing her the ability to support her three children, Louis, Marissa and Joseph, alone. During this period of time, Mary also assisted in the caretaking of her stubborn, elderly Italian parents. Mary also has four grandchildren, Anthony and Brianna Pagano, and Nikolas and Core Adamo, who are the light of her life! Her own dreams were put on hold for many years so that she could focus on supporting and caring for her family.
Mary’s writing credits include several poems that have been published through the American Poetry Association. She managed to attend college classes in the evenings in Caldwell, New Jersey and is about 22 credits away from a Business Management degree. Her life philosophy is one lovingly taught to her by her mother: her children, grandchildren and family are her most precious treasures and her pets, Isabella, Sabina, Chance Giuliano, Sir Lancelot, Lady Guinevere and Peanuts follow closely behind them!
Although a new author at writing novels and novellas, Mary believes in writing what you know and what you feel in your heart and soul. Mary also enjoys skydiving, good wine, cooking, bicycling, exercising and gardening.
Can be ordered at any of the following links: http://outskirstpress.com/bookstore http://www.amagon.com/dp/1478713860 FACEBOOK and Barnes & Nobel Nook.