America Tonight with Kate Delaney features Domenica Calabrese Tedeschi, the author of the book “The Most Beautiful Rose: Memoir of an Italian Immigrant’s Extraordinary Childhood”.
In this interview, Kate Delaney interviews author Domenica Calabrese Tedeschi as she talks about her nostalgic childhood growing up in a rural village in Italy, the tragic loss of her mother, her immigration to America, and the beginning of a new life for her in the land of the free.
Domenica talks about the village she grew up in
It was a small farm village with about 20 families – we were all happy and free to do whatever we wanted. We had fresh food from the gardens, and it was just wonderful. We had no lights, radios, or TVs, but we were happy playing in the fields with no shoes on. Us kids were very happy. It was just love, full of love. Everyone loved each other and helped each other. It was just beautiful.
We had wonderful parents, they did everything for us – we had everything we needed to be happy. I had no fear. It was definitely the way pop culture depicts rural Italian villages.
The origin story behind the book’s name
I was very close with my mom, and one day we were doing something and I sat down with her to ask her, ‘where’d you find me?’ She didn’t know what to say since they didn’t really have the whole ‘birds and the bees’ thing back in those days, so she said that she saw a beautiful rose in the garden one morning, and she saw me in it, so she took me home.
Being orphaned at 14
When my mother passed away, I ended up at the orphanage because my father had too many kids – he had to work. There was a priest that knew my family very well, and he came to my father and asked him to take me to the orphanage. My father wasn’t too happy about it because he wanted his children close by. He eventually decided that it was the best thing to do. I wasn’t happy about it myself – I wanted to stay close to home too. I went, and my best friend was there and everything, but two and half years later my older sister got married, so I had to come back home to be a mother to my little siblings at thirteen years old.
Her memory of immigrating to the USA
It was the worst nightmare – not because of America, but because I didn’t want to leave my town and my family. I had to come because I was a minor, and my cousins in the US who were very close to me in Italy were already very Americanized- they were teenagers, and spoke fluent English. I wasn’t used to it. It was tough, very tough. But I got through it.
What Domenica’s kids think when she tells them her story
They used to ask me questions about where I was born and what I did. I took them to Italy many times, and they’ve seen my hometown. They were amazed. To them it was beautiful. ‘What a peaceful town’, they told me.
The village where I was born is where’d I go back to if I had the chance to go back settle down in Italy, although I can’t. I’d go back and build a house there, even though there are no houses there now. In my house, we eat Italian.
What she hopes people take away from reading her book
I described my life the way it was, and, about being an orphan, I think that could help a lot of little children. Life goes on, even if you’ve been separated from family or if you’ve lost your parents. They’re always watching over us. Never give up being happy, so they’ll be happy too. I’m very Catholic – I believe in heaven, and if you believe in that, things get easier. It’s been so many years since I lost my mom but she’s still here with me in my heart every single day. I have to do what I have to do, so I pray. My faith is very strong, just like my mom. I think that the orphaned children of the world could get something beautiful from my experience.
Can I say one last thing? I would like to thank the staff of ReadersMagnet that published my book, they were very wonderful – thank you to all of you.
For more information about Domenica Calabrese Tedeschi’s“The Most Beautiful Rose: Memoir of an Italian Immigrant’s Extraordinary Childhood”, visit her book’s Amazon page here at https://www.amazon.com/MOST-BEAUTIFUL-ROSE-Immigrants-Extraordinary/dp/1426910142.
This radio interview was made possible by ReadersMagnet’s book marketing services. Visit our official website: https://www.readersmagnet.com