Rose Bo Marenco
(April 2003 -- Sunnyvale, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My father and mother were both born in Italy -- my father in Franchini
which is a frazione of Altavilla (Monferrato). My mother was born
Maria Stanchi -- to Domenico Stanchi and Rosa Zeppa Stanchi --
in Quargnento near Alessandria. Actually it was on a farm between
Quargnento and Fubine. She went to school in Fubine but the family
was really from Quargnento. My great-grandmother (whom I met in
1953) was Giovanna Longo Zeppa. Giovanna had nine siblings, one
of which was the father of Luigi Longo, the Secretary of the Communist
Party. So, Luigi's grandfather and my great-great-grandfather
(also named Luigi Longo) were the same person . My mother's celebration
of her 90th birthday (was) in May 2002. My mother has two children,
myself and my brother Louis Bo. Louis has two sons and one daughter
and they have seven children. I have a son and one daughter and
we are expecting our first grandchild in October. My mother still
drives a car and her mind is sharp as a tack. Her brother is 93
and still living in Torino.
What led them to their destination (relatives
already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
My father was Stefano Bo and his father was Luigi Bo. Luigi Bo
came to America and arrived on June 24, 1911. My grandfather was
called by his brother-in-law Stefano Baralis who was already here
working in the lumber mill in McCloud, California. Luigi was married
to Maddalena Baralis who was born in Acceglio near the French
border and they had two children, my father Stefano born May 8,
1905 and Maria Bo born April 10, 1910.
When my grandfather arrived, his brother-in-law was already living
in McCloud, California but at some time they both went to Copperopolis
to work in the copper mines in California, because I heard him
tell stories of the towns around Copperopolis such as Alta Villa
and Murphy's. Finally Luigi earned enough money to send for my
father, my grandmother and my aunt and they arrived January 31,
1920 and they went to Weed, California. My grandfather was then
working in the mill in Weed.
In Weed, as well as McCloud, there were many Italians and as long
as they worked they really didn't have to know how to speak English.
However, my father Stefano Bo went to night school to learn the
English language. In October 1929 my father went to Italy for
a pleasure trip with three other gentlemen, met my mother, married
her in December 1929 and returned to the United States in February
1930. My brother was born in February 1931. While my father was
in Italy in 1929, he commissioned a house to be constructed in
Franchini for my grandfather. In 1932, my grandparents and my
aunt returned to Franchini as they figured they were rich by the
days' standards. They put all their money in the bank and then
of course after that the lire devalued. But they still had the
property with their house.
Did they emigrate to another location before
or after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
McCloud was a small company town of 2,500 inhabitants with many
Italians, mostlyToscani, some Piemontesi, some Calabresi, and
some Veneti. My father was one of the first founders of The Sons
of Italy Lodges in Weed and McCloud. He also went to the first
convention of the Lodge in Stockton, California in 1925. He was
a member until his death in 1975. We now live in Sunnyvale, California.
My husband was born in San Francisco. His parents had a grocery
store and ravioli factory in the '30s. They called it the Torino
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions
-- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
My brother and I spoke Piemontese until we went to school. We
didn't speak the dialect too much after that but I married a gentleman
of Italian background and I started speaking the language more.
My husband's parents are of Genovese and Piemontese heritage.
He had a babysitter who was Toscana so he speaks good Italian
and understands Genovese and Piemontese.
Did your family return home to visit or to live
after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family
We still stay in contact with many of our relatives and now with
e-mail and telephone rates down, it is so easy that we speak and
write frequently with them. Our families and we have been back
to Italy many times and I was fortunate to meet my grandparents
on both sides and also my great-grandmother on my mother's side.
We still maintain many traditions and love the cuisine. We both
love to cook. My father-in-law came from a family of 13 and I
have written down the family tree on all sides of our family.
We also met many of the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Needless
to say that when we go to Italy for a visit, we don't do too much
sightseeing because all the relatives are tugging at us to visit
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian
We identify ourselves as all four --- American, Italian, Piemontese,
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte?
What was your experience like?
We have visited all of the home towns of our families except for
Ivrea, where my mother-in-law's family came from. We have made
a vow to go to Ivrea next time and try to stay at the Castello
di Pavone. Our experiences have been wonderful, and that's why
we keep going back.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please
Yes, I have studied our genealogies, especially the records in
Ellis Island records. We want to leave the history to our children.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis
or any other organization?
We belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Sons of Italy Lodge and
my husband belongs to the Italian-American Club of Menlo Park.
My husband also belongs to a club in San Jose called the "Amici
d'Oro" -- "a circle of friends of Italian ancestry meeting
for a social lunch for the purpose of maintaining their Italian
heritage." Once a month they meet for lunch and usually with
a speaker. Subject matters usually pertain to something Italian.
There are about 70 to 80 members. Quite a few of the members also
came from the town of McCloud so you can say that we have kept
in touch for more than 50 years.