Pauline Spatafora reads from Dear Sister: Letters Home to Sicily from Wartime America (Reed & Quill Press, 2009)

Following the death of her sister Teresa in 1938, Anna La Camera left Paradiso, a hamlet of Milazzo (Messina province), Sicily, and set sail on the ship Vulcania in order to raise her sister’s children in Brooklyn. Approximately six weeks after her arrival, Anna married her brother-in-law, Louis Cacciola. Dear Sister, an epistolary account of the decade she spent in this country, is comprised primarily of letters from Anna to her sister Maria in Italy. Pauline Spatafora, the only child born to Anna and Louis, found the letters while visiting her cousins in Paradiso in 1977. In the correspondence, her mother Anna conveys a factual account of the daily challenges she faced in the United States, from the hardships of World War II to her battle with breast cancer, and demonstrates the relationships that existed between immigrants and their loved ones in Italy.

“A unique insight into the lives of Italians and Italian Americans during the tumultuous World War II period.”–Tony Avella, New York City Council Member