Monday, October 26, 2009

"I'm From Squirrel Run!!!"

When my grandparents, Ernest and Marian (Ghione) Salvo, were married in June of 1939, their Honeymoon took them on the open road to New York. I was already aware that one of their stops during the trip was the World’s Fair, which in 1939, took place in NY. But at a family gathering this past weekend, a story that I’d heard in my youth was recounted (and expanded) over dinner, making the tale of my grandparents’ Honeymoon even more memorable.

Apparently, the Honeymoon trip appears to have included much of my grandparents’ wedding party, as well as family, in addition to the newlyweds. Some included on the trip were my godmother, Theresa (Tortarolo) Angelone, and my great uncle, Paul Ghione (one of the brothers of the bride). But another interesting piece to this event is that the agenda included another notable stop along the way: Niagra Falls.

The group, while visiting Niagra Falls, not only saw the New York side, but also ventured over the border into Canada to view the natural wonder from that location as well. It is presumed that since my grandfather was of the gardening profession, that they may also have gone to the Canadian side of the Falls to see some of the different horticultural parks and sights there, which are apparently found there as well as on the U.S. side. It is here that the story gets interesting..

After spending time on the Canadian side of the Falls, the family was required to stop at the border checkpoint and validate their citizenship to return into the U.S. The Customs agent did their regular check of the vehicle and the passengers, followed by asking each of them where in the States they were from. All of the members in the group provided replies which indicated their places of origin. For my grandparents, they indicated without hesitation that they were from Wilmington, DE. However, my godmother Theresa, for whatever reason, apparently replied “I’m from Squirrel Run!” The routine, uneventful check that the Customs agents were performing had now been escalated to the next level, since they had never heard of any Squirrel Run in the United States!

So the story goes, a few more questions, and the display of a valid birth certificate, allowed my godmother the opportunity to continue on with her life as an American.. However, none of the others present for the event ever forgot it. Remember that some of the folks on this trip had already had enough “fun” with Customs for one lifetime, when first coming to the U.S. from Italy. My Grandpop Salvo was one of them!

The impact of that Niagra event was so significant, that here it was, still being discussed at a family dinner some 70 years later. We still love and miss you, Aunt Theresa…

(thanks goes out to Rich Ghione, Paul Ghione, Marianne (Salvo) Brady, and Jim Brady Jr. for preserving this wonderful story)

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