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'Immigrant Grandmothers' subjects

As part of the "To Immigrants With Love" campaign, we created an "Immigrant Grandmothers" mural for East Boston. The mural drew inspiration from the photos of local grandmothers. The photos and bios for those grandmothers are featured below.

The grandmother painted in the center of the mural is the embodiment of grandmothers from a variety of cultures. The action of rolling out dough is a cross-cultural commonality. Whether it’s being done for tortillas or homemade pasta, grandmothers from all walks of life may have the opportunity to connect with this idea.

Featured grandmothers

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Antoinetta DiMarino

Antoinetta came to the U.S. from the province of Avellino in Italy at 25 years old. She raised six children and was a proud grandmother of twenty-five. She worked full-time as a seamstress while raising her family in East Boston. Every Easter, she brought her family together for a traditional breakfast of pizza chena, hard boiled eggs, and many other traditional treats.

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Diane Modica and Giuseppina Modica

Diane lived a floor below her grandparents in the house the family bought in 1922. Diane currently lives in the same house after buying it from her parents and renovating it in 1998.

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Elena Bruno

Elena lived in the same house her entire 93 years. She was very active in the community through her children’s Parent-Teacher Association and her church, Our Lady of the Assumption on Sumner Street.

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Giovanni Belmonte

Giovanni was born in Italy in 1889. She lived at 6 Winthrop Street from 1907 until she passed in 1977. She was known as the rock of the family and raised 10 children on her own after becoming a widow at the age of 50.

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Giuseppina Rotella Staropoli 

Giuseppina is painted with Delia and Michelangelo, the two oldest of an eventual family of five children. Her husband was Giuseppe Staropoli. She was born in 1903, in the Calabrian town of Sambiase in Italy, which is close to the Tyrrhenian Sea.  She was twenty-four years old in this photo and living in East Boston at 71 Saratoga Street.

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Libia Bedoya

Libia immigrated from Colombia to East Boston around 2012. She is currently 88 years old and a grandmother to Juan Bedoya. She went to a catholic school for girls, "La Inmaculada." She still stays in contact with her childhood best friend, Hilma Diaz.  Libi always loved to sit on the balcony and enjoy the 85-degree weather in Cali, Colombia.

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Maria, El Salvador
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Marie Antoinette Dente

Marie was born on July 24, 1905, to Italian immigrants, Elesio and Concetta Dente. Marie lived on Maverick Street where she met her husband, Louis I. Battaglia, who she married in 1931. Together they had three sons: Louis, Paul, and Thomas. When her husband died, Marie began working as a stitcher at Hallmark Curtain Co. in Boston. Marie was two months short of her 99th birthday when she died, still residing on Maverick Street. She left behind 7 grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. She was a homemaker, daily churchgoer, and great mother all her life. 

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Rose Tino Dello Russo

Rose came to East Boston from Italy in 1958 when she was 10 years old. She owned a fabric store, Tino’s Fabrics, for many years. Currently she works at a school and volunteers for the elderly.

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Teresa Lyons

Teresa lived the first half of her life in Castelcivita, a mountain village in southern Italy. In 1953, she arrived in East Boston where she worked at the old gum ball factory and made a home first on Everett and then Haynes Street. A visit to “Nonni's” usually involved a meal of her handmade fusilli, gnocchi, or ravioli.

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