(April 2003 -- Los Altos, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My father was Secondo Gado emigrated, in 1909, from Viarigi, which
from what I can find out, is the town from which most Gados were
from. I visited in 2001 and could not believe how many Gados were
buried there. The name Gado is rather unusual and there are only
around 40 telephones listed to Gado in the US. Most of the others
are in Piemonte and located around Viarigi.Viarigi is located
on a hill, near the center of a triangle formed by the cities
of Casale, Asti and Alessandria. He lived most of his life in
New Jersey, where I was born and moved to California in 1944.
My mother Claudia Marconi Gado emigrated in 1916 from Zogno, near
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Secondo originally emigrated directly to Connecticut, where his
older brother Philip, managed a large farm. Evidently this did
not suit him so he moved to New Jersey shortly thereafter.
Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina,
France, England, etc.)?
My father had many Piemontesi friends. He was a member of Il Monferrato
Club which met in Mazzini Hall in Union City, N.J. There were
many Piemontesi in New York City. Most of the men worked in Restaurants,
as did my father.
Many of the women were dressmakers. One of the largest
clubs in New York City was the Fubine Club which would have a
large ball annually in a hotel ballroom.
I remember going to a dinner attended by about one hundred people
from Viarigi in Sarazin Restaurant on October 28, 1934. It was
set up by Agostino Sassone. I'm able to confirm this because I
have a photograph taken at the event.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language,
culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
Our family did maintain both Piemontesi intermixed with Bergamasco
traditions, cuisine, language, both dialects and history.
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
My mother visited Italy three times to visit friends and family.
My father went only once. He no longer had relatives but did visit
friends in Viarigi but spent most of his visit with my mothers
family and friends in Zogno. Unfortunately while there he suffered
a heart attack and died.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
I find that as a World War II Marine that I feel very American,
but I do identify with both Piemonte and Bergamo. I can speak
somewhat in both dialects and somewhat better in Italian.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
Not having any relatives left in Piemonte I did not spent very
much time three, during three visits to Italy. I did spend several
days there in 2001. I stayed in a beautiful azienda agricola called
Dre Caste in Vignale. It was originally the castello of Cardinale
Callori. From the southern part of the town the Tower, Il Torre
di Viarigi was visible. I did visit my friend (with whom I'm probably
a distant cousin), Amadeo Gado's older brother, who was 102 years
old. Amadeo will be 100 this year. He lived in Casorzo. I think
that that whole region is beautiful, with its hills, many of which
have a town on the top and well maintained vineyards and farms
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain
I have done my best to make family trees of both the Gado and
Marconi clan, but I find it difficult to go beyond my grandparents
generation. I want to leave this with my children so they know
who they are and where they came from.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis
or any other organization?
I have been a member of Piemontesi nel Mondo, the San Francisco
group, for around 15 years. I also belong to two other Italian
organizations, the Italian American Social Club of Menlo Park
and the Amici Club.