Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Gift - La Mia Famiglia - Part 3

Uncle Artie and Rose in 1961

Very little was mentioned in the album about Uncle Artie (my dad's mother's brother). But his is a story worth mentioning. I've heard a few versions of "Artie" stories growing up. Which are fact and which are embellished, I'm not certain.

Born in 1898 in Italy. (I'll talk about the family's immigration to the United States in Part 4) Uncle Artie is the reason the family came to California. Some say it also had to do with many family members working in the entertainment industry in the movie studios. But it seems that's the work they found once they came here. Once they had to come here. Fled here may be more accurate. All my aunt stated was that Artie made some unwise choices; choices that led to great wealth and power, but unwise choices nevertheless. It seems Uncle Artie was a high ranking member of an organized crime family in Massachusetts. I've heard that he was the head of a family. And then recently I heard that he was only in charge of money and never got involved in any killings or rough stuff. Hmmm. I'm not so sure what to believe here but I'm not sure how you get to the high ranking status if you never got your hands dirty. Since I don't know any specifics, I guess I always kind of romanticized this part of the family history. We were tied to the mob? The Mafia? Wow.

At some point, it seems Artie did something to upset some people. Given his line of work that's not a stretch of the imagination. The family promptly headed west to California. All except Artie and his immediate family. They "vacationed" in Europe for several years until things settled back in the states. Sounds kind of Michael Corleone-ish to me. My father told me stories about when he and Uncle Artie went to a movie theater when my father was still a child. Upon exiting the theater, Artie recognized some people from back east and promptly grabbed my dad's hand and said, "Let's go see that movie again." Eventually things calmed and Artie was notified that "all was forgiven."

I don't think I met Uncle Artie until he was in his 80's. Nice, sweet, quiet old man I thought. I kept thinking, "Him?" "He's the one?"

So I guess I have Artie to thank for me growing up here in Southern California instead of back east. So what would have happened had things not worked out as they did? Maybe I'd have been another Michael? Sonny? (Nobody wants to be a Fredo!)


Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

Love the music! Perfect!

And LOL! It didn't end well for Fredo, did it?

Anonymous said...

"Take the cannoli,
leave the gun."


Melissa said...

ahaha...wonderful, interesting and a bit scary family history!!! Isn't it amazing what you can uncover when you go looking into your family's past...I sure had fun...and got a few surprises!