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 My Mother, Susanna (aka Susie), who in our declining years, provided the storia.  

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When Salvatore arrived in Norristown on 23 February 1901 he joined his DeBlasio cousin, at 334 Lafayette Street.   According to the 1910 US Census, his wife Caterina Nave, daughter Carmela, born in Casalduni 23 October 1898, and son Nicola, born in Mogeetown 26 July 1906, were living at 9 Chestnut Street, Plymouth Twp. (Mogeetown).  Also living with them were his brother Lorenze and three other boarders who may be cousins, namely, Domenico D'Aloia, Filippe D'Aloia Francesco Frangiosa and Filippe Cartone.   Lorenze eventually returned to Casalduni.  On the next available census, 1920, Salvatore with his two sons, Nicola and Antonio were living with his son-in-law Luigi DiMeglio and daughter Carmela and their children Frances, Louise and John at 444 E. Main Street.

Caterina was very sad to leave her family in Casalduni; but when Salvatore sent her the money to join him in Norristown, she and Carmela tearfully boarded the SS Calabria from Naples on 7 October 1905.  On 26 July 1906  Nicola was born; then there were two more births.  In 4 October 1910, Susanna was born and the family grew larger on 23 October 1912 when Antonio was born; (also Caterina's seventh anniversary in America) sometime between these dates and 1918 the family moved to Black Horse, PA. 

Although Salvatore was doing financially better than had he remained in Casalduni, his laborious work at the Quarry was strenuous and the wages were minimal. Farming, once his livelihood became his hobby; utilizing whatever land was available to provide food including bread from wheat grown from seed sent from relatives in Italy.  When Susanna asked him if he would return to Italy, he replied with a resounding No.  And went on to describe the deplorable conditions of being in the Italian Army.

According to Susanna, this was a loving happy home with two caring parents.  For example, on Saturday night both parents prepared the children for church on Sunday by bathing them in a large tin pan with two handles, known as a wash tub and the water was heated on the cast iron pot belly stove, used for cooking and heating.  She especially remembered her mother heating bricks in winter in preparation for warming her father's feet on his return from the quarry.

There are no pictures of Caterina, but Susanna vividly remembers a beautiful woman with beautiful white teeth and long shining black hair and olive skin and that her brothers Nick and Tony resembled her.   

Susanna had many happy memories of her mother, specifically, accompanying her to deliver lunch to Carmela, who though a child herself was working at the mill as well as how clean her mother kept their home; scrubbing the wooden floors, a difficult common task in the early 1900's. 

The fifth child, born on 12 April 1915 and named Lorenze was infected with Spinal Meningitis as was Susanna; Lorenze died on 3 April 1917 and Susanna survived the illness.   However, when Susanna returned to school, it was noted through testing that she needed to go to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf but Caterina was fearful and refused to let go of her daughter.

Almost a year after the death of Lorenze, another son was born on 3 February 1918 and in keeping with Casalduni custom, was named Lorenze.

Also in 1918 there was a furious flu going through the world and for this family it had personal tragic meaning. Imagine the stress of being so ill and at the same time being concerned about leaving an eight month old baby; and adding to this stress, the eldest son was in the hospital with pneumonia. Having lived without a mother since she was seven years old, it was personally depressing leaving six year old Antonio and her eight year old deaf daughter. On 15 October 1918, one month to the day before her 42nd birthday, Caterina was deceased.

Susanna recalls sitting on her father's lap while he viewed his Caterina and the horse and carriage ride to St. Patrick cemetery. She also related to me that Nicola, still in the hospital, learned of his mother's death by questioning an arm band on his father's arm.

On 29 November 1918 application was made for eight year old Susanna to traumatically enter The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.  Lorenze was taken by a childless friend of the family and Nicola and Antonio remained with their father.

On November 1920 Salvatore married Marianna Cosantino,  born in Petralcino (Padre Pio's home town) 22 November 1888, also widowed with children. Susanna laughingly remembers being kissed by her new step-mother and brushing the kiss away with her hand. She also remembers her brother Nick being put in the chicken coop as punishment and secretly bringing him bread smeared with sugar. Although the details are not fully understood by the writer, it is commonly known that all the problems of  step-parents and step-siblings existed in this scenario.

Unfortunately, on 23 November 1921 a son was born to Marianna and Salvatore senza vita but on 10 March 1923 a healthy baby boy was born and named Salvatore. As Susanna remembers it, when Salvatore retired to his favorite chair, he and Salvatore Jr. enjoyed many playful evenings. This second marriage ended about a year later when Marianna died suddenly and my cousin Gloria often relates her memory as a two year old of the viewing in the living room.

My own memories include exciting trips from Philadelphia to Norristown on the P & W and  occasionally on the Reading train. By the time I came along, the living room in his house had been converted to a store containing counters with large glass coverings and under these coverings were various kinds of wonderful candies. A smiling face saying scopa scopa while handing me a giant broom is one of my precious moments as well as the small brown bag filled with the wonderful candy for my return trip. There was a very steep closed in ominous looking staircase to the second floor with a bedroom to each side of it and on the first floor the kitchen was on the other side of the staircase.  Situated in the middle of the room was a large oak table and chairs and a special oak chair where each evening, after closing the store, Grandpop sat reading his Italian paper and missile and smoked his stogie--- having had a glass of his delicious homemade wine with dinner.

This household consisted of devout catholic men; there was an interdependence between Salvatore and his eldest Nicholas that lasted throughout their lifetime and Salvatore Jr, the youngest son, remained forever devoted to his father's needs.

It is said that a person is religious and or devout because he goes to church every Sunday but Grandpop not only obeyed all the rules of the Catholic Church on Sunday, he "lived" them each and every day; he had a quiet kindness, was nonjudgmental, never raised his voice nor spoke a nasty word--- in short, his spirituality was felt.  And testimony to this was the pastor's inspiring eulogy  at mass when our spiritual Grandpop died at 94 years of age on  24  June 1964.  

He was the devout Christian most christians wish to be and others claim to be.

Holy Saviour R.C.Church

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Children of Salvatore DeBlasio and Caterina Nave


Birthdate Spouse Marriage Children Death
Carmela 10-28-1898 Luigi DiMeglio 8-30-1913 Five 07-08-1976
Nicola 07-26-1906 Esther 04-10-1937 Two 1970
Susanna 10-04-1910 Nicholas Mattera 10-13-1928 Two 01-03-1998
Antonio 10-31-1913 Louise 07-24-1940 Four 12-04-1976
Lorenze 04-12-1915 N/A N/A N/A 04-03-1917
Lorenze 02-07-1918 N/A N/A N/A 06-16-1969


     Children of Salvatore DeBlasio & Marianna Consantino      


Birthdate Spouse Marriage Children Death

Senza Vita

11-23-1921 N/A N/A N/A 11-23-1921
Salvatore 03-10-1923 Teresa Ranieri 09-1-1951 Two
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