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ship 'Colombo'It was clear and crisp on that Sunday morning in New York Harbor. Not a cloud in the sky. The headlines in the New York Times screamed "20 Killed, 100 Hurt in Fertilizer Plant Explosion in New Jersey!" President Calvin Coolidge battled with Congress over a new national tax bill while an oil lease scandal among U.S. Senators spiraled out of control. Archeologists pored over the treasures of Tutankhamun, not fully realizing the magnitude of their discovery. The nation's economy roared on, while the New York Yankees enjoyed the first of many World Series Championships to come. On March 2nd, 1924 a young and confident America, and its crown jewel New York City, were full of hope and opportunity. So full of opportunity, in fact, that America was a magnet for immigrants from all over the world including the approximately 6.5 million Italians who arrived there between 1870 and 1930. While as many as half would return to Italy, the others reluctantly said goodbye to the incomparable beauty of their homeland forever. For them and their descendants, the most important news on that Sunday was found buried on page 23 of the same New York Times. Next to the weather report under "Incoming Steamships Due Today" a single line announced the arrival of the S.S. Colombo (above) from Genoa, Italy. Among its hundreds of passengers were Domenico Buccella, his wife Maria Nicola Mariotti and their young son Guerino.

This small family, like all Italian-American families, would retain its own unique character, while also sharing elements common to every Domenico familyfamily that ever left Italy seeking a better way of life. Love of family, pride, hard work and opportunity stood side-by-side with poverty, isolation and an often unbearable separation from loved ones. For those of us who did not experience those years, they are impossible to imagine and all too easy to shrug off. However, none of us can truly appreciate what our lives have become without paying respect to our own pilgrims, some of whom we never had the chance to meet. Without their sacrifice and risk, it is impossible to know how our lives would have been shaped. So where do we begin our particular unique-yet-typical story?

For some, the story begins with the first step an ancestor took on American soil. Or even later for that matter. For others only an exhaustive search of the written record, which at best takes us back to around 1600 A.D., Vestinican determine the beginning. Still others may find more relevance in describing the striking similarities and differences between the Italian and American sides of the family today. For the purposes of this history, we will begin with the ancient Italic tribes who, in the remote recesses of pre-Roman history, once inhabited that area of Abruzzo and who were never dispersed from their land in spite of the often violent history of the region. In particular, the bloodlines of the Vestini, who lived in the area surrounding Loreto Aprutino and Penne as far back as 600 B.C., still remain in existence... even in our veins. And what about before the Vestini? After all, they had ancestors too. Were the Vestini descended from the early Iron Age inhabitants of the same area? And were the Iron Age inhabitants, in turn, descended from those of the Bronze Age settlements? While proving such a point would be difficult, it is safe to say that there exists a DNA trail leading infinitely backward to who knows what origin? And since the family will proceed infinitely forward to who knows what end, I will simply submit la storia della famiglia Buccella to allow the reader to arrive at their own beginning and ending... if either really exists. Spero che vi piaccia.

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