Page 69 - A Talk with Dominic Nardocchio
ISSUE : Issue 53
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/1/1
A Talk with Dominic Nardocchio INTRODUCTION: For 57 years, Dominic Nardocchio was a shoemaker on Charlotte Street. During World War Two, he was held for 21 months in the Petawawa Internment Camp. As he explains here, after 8 months' Investigation, he was told the Italians were not a threat to the security of Canada. Still, he was held another 13 months. This article is also about his 71 years in Canada and about the Italian-Canadian community in Cape Breton. It is taken from taped interviews with Mr. Nardocchio In 1977 and 1989. Mr. Nardocchio also wrote out portions by hand. I was born in Miranda, Italy, province of Cambobasso (present-day Isernia), October the 15th, 1904. My father came here in 1904. He (went) to Massachusetts first, and then from there (the Italians) came to Cape Breton, at the building of the steel plant. That's what brought them here from Massachusetts. (What took them from Italy?) Well, because times--I mean, the same as you have in Cape Breton today. Times were no good, and they looked for to emigrate to other lands, to better their conditions.... Most of the people, when they left Italy, there were some of them in financial diffi? culty, and coming over here to get some work and make some money, send the money home. And when their debt is squared off, they go back again. (I heard there were a lot who never planned to stay here.) No, no, they didn't come here to plan to stay, no, no.... My father didn't come to stay here, or have any plan to stay here. He came here just to get a job and make some money, and with that money go back to Italy and buy himself another property or.... He had in mind at that time to buy himself a truck to take wheat to a nearby city, to the mill--so, to go in the trucking business. And the only way he could do that was to come over here and make money. (So most of them had no intention, really, of staying in Canada.) No. No, because-- one thing here, the climate is not near Italy's climate. And they minded. I know I minded the first couple of years. I was only 12 years old, but for the first couple of years, I cried most every day because I didn't want to stay here. I didn't like the climate and I didn't like the environment. Actually, I didn't like the place. Italy was a beautiful place where the climate was better and every? thing. I was young and I didn't care, you know. I had no ambition of staying here or making money or--I had none of that in my mind. I didn't like the place, and I want? ed to go back. And my father said, "I can't send you back now because, after all, I have no money, and it's wartime." (World War One.) So I had to stay. And as time went on, of course, then I-- you know, you get used to a place after awhile. You forget, too....
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