Anna Maria (Manuele) Vallone
Anna Maria Manuele (Vallone) c. 1977, age 89
Anna Maria (Mary)
was born on February 29th, 1888 (a leap year). Her birthday was
traditionally celebrated on March 1st. She grew up in Valledolmo, Sicily
and immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl. Her family eventually settled
in Rochester. She met and fell in love with a boy named Vincenzo
(Vincent) Chimera. He was tall and slender and Maria though he was handsome and
charming. The two were married when Anna Maria was only 15. Vincenzo worked hard to
support his new wife, especially upon learning that she was pregnant. He worked
overtime to afford what he knew he would need to support his new family. One day,
while on the job, he fell down a shaft and broke his back. He was bed-ridden for
nearly a year. Together they prayed to St. Vincent, Vincenzo's namesake.
However, Vincenzo would never live to raise his child. Before he died, he
spoke tenderly to Anna Maria; "I took you as a bud and now you have blossomed and I must
leave you for someone else to love".
Anna Maria had a son. She wanted to name the baby after her beloved
husband and the Saint they prayed to together for so long, however it was tradition to
name a first born son after his paternal grandfather. So, the child was named Joseph Chimera.
About a year later, Maria met a young man named Rosario Vallone, who had ironically come
from the same small village in Sicily as she. Maria did not remember ever meeting
Rosario back in the old country, however Rosario remembered seeing Maria as a child in the
village jumping rope. He told her that she had grown into a beautiful young woman.
They began to court and fell in love. He told Maria that he wanted to be a
father to Joseph and that he would love him as his own.
Rosario lived with his father, but his mother had not yet made the trip
from Sicily. Upon hearing the news that her son was considering marrying a widow
with a child, she conceived a plan to raise money to send a nice girl from the village to
Rosario to be his wife. Before his mother had a chance to follow through with her
plan, Rosario and Maria were married on the third of May, 1907!
They moved to Rochester, NY where they bought
what would become the family homestead on Pennsylvania Avenue and where they would have 8
more children together. There was another Joseph because Rosario's first born son had to
be named after his father (he was nicknamed "Pino" so he would not be confused
with his brother Joseph). Rosario named his other sons Frank and Anthony. They
named their girls Mary, Josephine (who was nicknamed "Peggy"), and Clara.
A bit later in life, they had one more little girl. With all of the
traditional family nomenclature obligations out of the way, Maria decided it was finally
time to name a child after the saint who watched over her first husband while he was ill,
St. Vincent. The girl was Vincenzina (or Virginia).
A few years after Virginia
was born, one last child was born to Rosario and Maria, a boy they named Donald. Donald is my father, who passed his name on to me.
Three Generations, 1977