Vincent Fausone, Jr.
(July 2003 -- San Francisco, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My mother and father were both of Piemontese stock, but both were born in California. My father Vincent Fausone Sr. was born in 1910 in Madera, Calfornia. His father Bautista Fausone immigrated to California at age 18 from Costigliole d'Asti in 1904. He married my grandmother Erminia Pia in 1909 in Madera. She had been born in Piemonte (Mongross. Provincia di Asti) and came here in 1900 with her mother and father Giuseppe Pia and Teresa Capra Pia. They settled in Madera and at that time were engaged in farming. My mother Margaret Madelena Plano Fausone was born in Merced, California in 1912. Her father Delfino Plano and her mother Celestina Plano (both last names are Plano, but they were not related) were from Mattie, Grande Tanze, a small town near Suza (sic) in the Alps, very near the French border. ... I was born in Merced in 1936. I left the farm and attended UC-Berkeley and UC-San Francisco, attained my M.D. degree. I specialized in obstetrics and gynecology for 35 years before I retired in 1999. I live in San Francisco with my wife Shirley. We have four married children and eight grandchildren, all of whom live nearby. I have a brother David Plano Fausone, who after graduating from Fresno State University, returned to the farm and raises cattle, almonds and pistachios.
What led them to their destination (relatives already there,
hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
Both of my grandfathers already had relatives in California.
Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina,
France, England, etc.)?
My maternal grandfather Delfino Plano left Italy at age 14 and traveled extensively, finally settling in Argentina for over 10 years, before, at age 36, he returned to his home town in Piemonte and married my grandmother. They through Ellis Island in 1911. My maternal grandfather returned to Italy with three children after his father died and my mother went to school there for two years.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members
of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Piemontese was spoken in all these households and I learned Piemontese from my grandparents before I learned English. In my particular farming community in the San Joaquin Valley of California there were a number of relatives and a number of other Piemontese families. There were also a number of other Italian families, primarily Toscani from Lucca.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions
-- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
My parents were very proud of the Piemontese heritage and maintained Piemontese traditions. My grandmothers and my mother cooked Piemontese food, i.e. bagna cauda, polenta, tajarin, gnocci, etc. Being farmers, they grew most of what we ate. My wife, though not of Italian descent, learned to cook Piemontese cuisine from my mother and grandmothers, for which I and our entire family is grateful. Unfortunately they are all gone now (parents and grandparents).
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
My mother, especially, kept close contact with family members in Piemonte. I remember that after WWII, as soon as was possible, my parents sent food packages to our relatives in Piemonte. My maternal grandfather and my mother often told stories about Piemontese history; the story of Ivrea, for instance.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
As to identity, I identify myself as an American of Piemontese-Italian origin.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
I have had the pleasure of visiting with most of my Italian relatives on two visits to Italy and one of my cousins has visited us here in San Francisco. Almost all of them now live in Torino. It fascinates me that although these families were poor contadini when my grandparents emigrated to the United States, after WWII they were able to accomplish very much the same standard of living and upward mobility as the family that came to the U.S. Many of my second and third cousins have gone to university and amongst them are a physician, several teachers and even a professor.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis or
any other organization?
I am a member of Piemontese nel Mondo of Northern California. I regularly attend a Piemontese language and literature course here in San Francisco and my wife and I enjoy Piemontese social events. I also continue my studies in Italian grammar and literature at the Museo Italo-Americano in Francisco.