Monday, 12 December 2011

From Livia to Dante August 8, 1958

This letter speaks volumes, especially to those of us who know of the "players" personally. Others may be able to relate some family dynamics with their own experiences.
A little background information is in order. Livia's parents and particularly her mother did not like Dante. He was a man who worked with his hands and was a talented craftsman. But Livia's mother expected her to marry a doctor or a professional, university educated person. In fact for her entire life, Livia's mother did not like any one in Dante's family, but had no problem using their talents as craftsmen! 
Livia was a conflicted woman. On one hand she loved Dante and wanted to please him. On the other hand she wanted to keep her mother happy. To that end, she tried to improve Dante by teaching him English and later encouraging him to apply for more stable jobs so that her mom may someday approve of him. Love prevails and the people who are lied to and deceived are Livia's parents. 
Letters to Livia were sent to a address of a friend that her parents didn't know. Clearly another family believed in the power of love and supported this relationship despite family objections.

409 Sixth Avenue,
Port Arthur, Ontario,
August 8, 1958.

Dear Dante:
            I realize that it is going to surprise you very much to see my letter written in English, nevertheless, I hope it’s going to be a pleasant surprise. I am purposely doing this so that you may get some practice in written English. Needless to say, I would like your next letter to be written in English. I think that is a very good idea since neither the recipient nor my mother can read English too well.
            Enough of that for now. I received your letter yesterday, I like it very much except for the fact that I thought it was a little “too sweet”. I was very pleased to learn that both you and your brother have found a job; let’s hope it lasts for a while.
            In your letter you didn’t mention anything about coming to town, be sure to let me know before you do come in because I think I will not be here much longer. I haven’t found a job yet, but lately I have been contemplating on the idea of applying for a position in the vicinity of Toronto or Hamilton. That is, of course, providing my mother grants me permission. What do you think of it?
            Mother is still very angry at us. During the past week I woke up twice at approximately 11:30 to hear her in the kitchen swearing at us. Finally, when I was tired of listening I went back to sleep. Last night she came in at about 10:30 and she started telling dad that I was going to have a baby. She was really convinced about it too. She said that she always suspected it, but for the last month she had been sure because I looked so sick. She said that the least I could have done would have been to go and tell her before everybody knew so that she could have sent me away. She also told my dad that everybody knew because you went around and told them. She explained that you had probably gone to Camp 40 and there entertained everyone with such lies as those. Dad believed her. I think that in another three minutes they would have decided on the day on which he was to be baptized too, but dad got mad and went outside. To-day she seemed to be in a better mood. She came in to tell me that if I told her I was sorry for having been so bad, and if I promised never to do it again, she would forgive me and allow me to remain at home.
            Changing the subject…Work here goes on the same as usual. I am working a little harder at school now because I am afraid I’ll find it rather difficult to get a job unless I improve my marks. I still work at “New Method” but I don’t put in as many hours as I used to because now there are 5 of us working. (sorry, mi sono dimenticata di scrivere il cinque cosi ho scritto solo il numero)
Transalation: Sorry, I forgot to write the five as a word and did it just as a number.
            Oh! Before I forget, I wanted to tell you that Dante gave me a ride home a couple of days ago. I was over at Giovanna’s giving a lady a permanent when I remembered that I had forgotten your letter in my purse on my bed. I was afraid mother would find it so I decided to go back and get it. It was already five-thirty so and I still had to finish giving that permanent, go home to get the letter, and then go to work, so I asked Dante if he would take me home. He took me to the corner of High and Sixth Ave, I told him not to bother waiting for me because I would walk back (just so he wouldn’t think I was two-timing you), so within 10 minutes I was back at Giovanna’s. Please let me know if you didn’t like it.
            O.K., I guess I better sign off now since you are probably tired of reading this senseless scribbling so until I see you again, I remain

Sincerely Yours

P.S. (LATIN- post scriptum) Be careful when writing letters; remember a sentence must be only one complete thought. It begins with a capital and ends with a period. (punto)
e.g. Mary is my sister she is going to school.
        Mary is my sister. She is going to school.

Tu ti confondi la virgola con it punto, stai attento. (PALEESE, non arrabiati)
You confuse the comma with a period, stay attentive. (Please don’t be angry)

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