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Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Never Know Who is Watching!

You never know who is watching!
Italy Magazine gave me a shout-out this week.
Read the interview below.  Thanks Pat and Italy Magazine for this opportunity.
Here is the link:
Blog of the Week - When I was your age

Published: Jul 13th, 2010
Location: Basilicata

Topic: Blog of the week

Words by Pat Eggleton - Pictures courtesy of Rosaria D’Ambrosio Williams

Today our blog of the week is a bit different and we think you’ll find it interesting. In “When I Was Your Age – A Memoir” Rosaria D’Ambrosio Williams, who now lives in Oregon, tells the story of a young Italian woman’s journey to America and of the people she left behind.

Rosaria, you wrote the blog “When I was your age” as a memoir for your children. When did you decide to do it and what inspired you?

Right after I retired, when I moved away from my children and missed them terribly. Somehow, writing about my childhood helped me connect all the pieces.

For those who have not followed your blog, can you tell us where you were born in Italy and something about your childhood there?

I was born in the region of Basilicata, in a small town called Venosa, during WWII. My earliest memories were all about the war, the occupation, the poverty. I downplayed that part, actually.

There has been so much written about the war that I could not add to the literature. Instead, I concentrated on my family’s focus to emigrate, to find a way out of the poverty. The memoir is both about me and about my family’s tragic situation - how they survived, what they went through to keep on living with hope and faith.

When did you go to America and why?

I was seventeen when an uncle sponsored me to study in America. My town had schooling up to the fifth grade. To go beyond that was very difficult. It took all of our extra resources to continue my education past the fifth grade. I jumped at the opportunity to go to university.

Were you very lonely at first?

Very! Lonely for everything and everyone. What kept me focused was the desire to finish my degree.

Where did you live and what did you do?

I lived with my uncle and his family, serving as a babysitter and housekeeper, helping out any way I could, in exchange for room, board and tuition.

What helped you settle and what, apart from your family, did you miss the most?

Settle is a process still going on! I missed the food the most. Products were not the same and were hard to obtain at that time. Later, I fell in love with a wonderful man a few months before I was scheduled to return to Italy. Falling in love changes everything. Still, to this day, I don’t think I am settled. I’m content with my choices; I’m happy to be alive and have all the opportunities I have; I’m glad my children are well. But, if I had any choice at all, I would live half a year in Italy, and half a year in America. I miss so many things! At the beginning, it was my family. Later, even little things - a food I craved, a smell. I am still homesick.

Did any of your family follow you to America?

No! It’s one of the tragic strands of the story. They never did. They kept hoping all the time that somehow, one or all of them could join me. They visited me for short bursts.

Did you ever think about going back to Italy to live?

Right after we retired, we contemplated the idea. Italy is just too expensive. Besides, my children are here and I would miss them.

Do you ever visit Italy?

I’ve visited Italy a couple of times, for brief periods.

Do you ever think about contacting members of your family with whom you have lost touch?

Yes. We attempt to stay in touch; but, it is not easy. I am hoping that through the internet we can reach each other, or that our children can. I have many nieces and nephews whom I have never met.

If you could give the girl you were when you emigrated some advice, what would it be?

This is a good question, but most difficult to answer. I was so naïve and I knew nothing of the challenges waiting for me. I’d say, visit for a little while, say a year, as an exchange student. Enjoy each country and what it can offer before you make such a life-changing decision.

What do you hope your children and, perhaps, their children, will gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they understand how difficult my choices were. I hope they learn that every one of us is on a journey, peppered with choices, both moral and financial. That our journey defines us and gives us both strength and character.

What aspects of your Italian heritage would you like to pass on to your children?

A love of life! An appreciation for art and music and education. A sense of wonder and exploration and joy! An appreciation of the classics.

You have two other blogs, don’t you? Can you tell us a little about these?

Sixtyfivewhatnow is about living in a small town, growing old, being involved with the community. I also have an Italian language blog, Italian for Beginners. I started it for my grandchild, who has shown interest in learning Italian. She is Asian/American, speaks Mandarin, Burmese, Spanish, and now is dabbling in Italian. Who knows where she’ll go on her journey?!

Thank you for talking to Italy Magazine and happy blogging.

Thank you for your interest. I appreciated the opportunity.

ITALY Magazine - the n.1 magazine for lovers of all things italian

istos srl - web development and social media / +39 0932 950222 / Via Benedetto Spadaro 109, 97014 Ispica (RG), Italia


  1. Pat from has been following my blog for a while and chose to do this on her own. I am most grateful for the attention and the opportunity to clarify a few things. Her questions were right on the pulse and helped me put the project in perspective!

    Thanks a million Pat.

  2. Really glad I read the interview. Glad to know you better. It is quite amazing looking back at where the road has taken you.

    Your grandchild is awesome to know multi languages.

    I enjoyed the interview Rosario.

  3. way to go rosaria - wonderful interview - congrats!!!


  4. Dear Rosaria,

    The sheer act of writing this memoir is overwhelming to me. You have beautifully and poignantly written your tale.

  5. How nice that you are appreciated! You make a fine interview subject.

  6. Thanks, everyone!
    Mille grazie a tutti.

  7. p.s. I'm taking Jinksy's suggestion and leaving this up for a while. One reason is I need time to explore ways to get this printed and bound properly. Another is the amount of revising this needs. I tend to see problems each time I visit a post.

    Again, I've appreciated you, the reader, your insights and reactions.


    hope that you enjoy one or two awards there.
    Happy End of July!


    awards are fun, you win honorable mention in short stories award,
    viola lost her husband,
    I lost a general friend,
    all together,
    please visit and give love to them…

  10. Hello, saw you through Karens bbq post, nice to meet you! I brought sangria personally, I'm a soon to be Spanish Exchange student : ) But my blog is about the book I'm writing. Love your blog title!

  11. Thanks for following and commenting on my writing blog, paper-pencil-pen. It's interesting to see here what you've been up to with your memoirs. Are you considering publication beyond the blog? It's a treasure, at least, for your family and descendants.

  12. I wrote these stories for my family, for they have little knowledge of the issues and conditions I grew up in. As for publication, it's a far-fetched goal. I'm happy I was able to get this finished.

    Thanks for your interest and support; without that encouragement, I would not have been able to get to this point.

  13. It is a wonderful way to share your thoughts and feelings. You do it so well. Congrats on the interview.

  14. L.D., it tells me that it has interest beyond my family. It uplifts me, and gives me hope that others, my age, look back at their lives and write down their thoughts and memories. We have seen many world-changing events. It would be nice for our grandchildren to have those personal stories to connect to.

  15. Thanks, everyone.

    I have grown in this process, and I've forgiven myself too. Often, we live for a long time with unsettling feelings, until we face our past decisions. This process helped a great deal.

    I thank you for following along.

  16. congrats on this interview - they picked an amazing person to showcase! Great work.

  17. That is a great interview. Very interesting and tells more about you. I bet you were thrilled.

  18. Thanks, Bonnie and Teresa for the visit. As you saw, this blog has ended here. Hope to visit with you from my other blogs.

  19. Fascinating journey -- you are a strong woman. I wish you all the best, and I hope you get back to your beloved Italy and family members for an extended stay sometime soon. Blessings this holiday.


  20. By reading your blog,I remember my family living in America for almost 7years and I was left alone here in the Philippines. Thanks for sharing your story to your readers.

  21. This in itself is a fascinating read! I'll be back to peruse your memoir. :)

  22. Yeah, this interview was intriguing... will be reading your memoir soon :)