Gelsomina’s Story of Caesar Lucchesi
The book is an early 20th century immigrant story of two young Italians meeting, marrying and chronicling their family and businesses. Although Michigan-centric, the memories they share of cultural differences and final integration into the American society may remind families throughout the United States of their own heritage.
Young Gelsomina recalls her first chance meeting of Caesar Lucchesi as a four-year-old in Italy. Ten years later, in America, they both meet again. Their secret love affair and elopement is just the beginning of a lifetime adventure for Gelsomina with Caesar in the remote northern peninsula of Michigan.
It was the turn of the century and copper was king in the wild range towns of Michigan. Starting as a copper miner, Caesar soon realized it was not the life for him or his young sixteen-year-old bride. Vivid stories of growing up in a small town with its bordellos, the mining strike of 1913, an Italian Hall tragedy, flying biplanes and raising six children are richly described in Gelsomina's voice. Caesar fulfills the American dream with his rags to riches story through hard work, luck and tenacity. Gelsomina is his partner in the grocery business, livery stable, bus line and gas distributorship business. As the years pass, the family grows and prospers.
Gelsomina shares highlights of the half century together with Caesar and their family life during one of America's most progressive times. A sixty page family scrapbook with photographs and memorabilia of their travels to Italy, World Fair visits, Air Races and more, make the past come alive visually.
Polenta Publishing, 2011
Paperback, 200 pages 60 b&w photographs, 6 x 9 in