|Grandma & Grandpa at my wedding in 1977, |
11 months before he died.
Today's readings speak of accepting foreigners. I am not going to write about the political rights and wrongs regarding immigration and protecting our borders as that is too political an issue for me to deal with. I first want to write about my grandfather. Sergio DiTerlizzi was born in 1908 in Bisceglie, Italy, a farming town on the Adriatic in the provence of Bari. Unlike many immigrants who came to our shores via Ellis Island, Grandpa came here illegally. He arrived in Brooklyn, NY and found work delivering ice with men from his home town who were already established there. He met my grandmother, Josephine, a first generation Italian American whose father was also from Bisceglie. He married her, eloping since her family did not approve of him, maybe because of his illegal status, maybe because they didn't think he would make anything of himself having harldly any formal education. Eventually, years later, he had to go to Canada so he could legally enter the United States and become a citizen.
He came here to find a better life, and his was one of the great American success stories. Grandpa went from delivering ice to delivering coal, and eventually started his own home fuel oil business in Brooklyn. The business was so successful that in his early 50's he and Grandma retired and became "snow birds" with homes in Florida and New York. He also dabbled in real estate and even owned a race horse. My Dad took over the business until he sold it in his early 50's when he and Mom also retired to Florida.
|Jeus and the Canaanite Woman |
Someone gave my grandfather a chance. Someone didn't look upon him as someone to be despised and rejected despite how he entered our country. He made a good life for his family and for the generatios that followed. Whatever our political views on the issue of immigration one thing is clear to me, people deserve to be treated with kindness and respect and without prejudice, no matter where they come from, their race or their creed, and we need always remember that we should love all as God Loves all.