“Jerry and Bridget are marvelous!”
Mary R. Pagano is Maria Elena Francesca Calabria’s daughter, a first generation Italian American who grew up in Newark’s Little Italy. For the last 12 years, she has resided in Brick, New Jersey and raised three wonderful children alone along with two beautiful dogs and five lovely cats! Although some of the times in my life were rough, I’ve always attempted to live by my mother’s wise words: La Vita E’ Triste, Ma Pure Bella!
The Fig Tree, which symbolizes fertility and heritage with its uniquely deep roots, dates back to Adam and Eve and the Roman Empire. In Italy, fig trees are highly revered. It is the symbol of heritage represented by this sacred tree that I wish the reader to focus on. Mary Rose Pagano is of Italian ethnic background, a passionate culture and mode of living that is entertaining and almost always, laced with zest and humor! The reader is invited to take an unforgettable trip through the life of an amazing Italian woman who came to America to find buona fortuna (good fortune)! Maria Elena Francesca Calabria begins her life in Italy with sadness; she is only eight years old when her mother dies and her four brothers are even younger. In spite of this personal tragedy, her life completely changes when she goes to live with her wealthy grandparents, Don Michele Pietro Mautone and Francesca Mautone in their beautiful villa. While living in this villa, Maria is groomed into a cultured, educated young lady. Maria’s four brothers attend the same parochial school, compliments of their grandparents, ensuring that all of the Calabria children are properly educated. Under the guidance of her grandparents, Maria grows into one of those rarest of people: a beautiful young woman with class who remains kind, loving and humble throughout her life. The Calabrias eventually move to America, passing through the gates of Ellis Island, New York, and escaping the effects of Mussolini’s camaraderie with Hitler in Italy. Upon her arrival in America, Maria innocently becomes related to a murderer and a very promiscuous woman! Nonetheless, throughout her journey, Maria shouts out to life that whatever hardships you may endeavor along the way, the true essence of it all is that these hardships will season you to help you to love more and stronger! It is truly a tribute to the greatness of women and mothers!