28 Nov The Codispoti shoe store is still there, kind of
The Codispoti clan got by pretty well during World War II thanks to this little shoe store, in which the family sold imports from Torino. All the children helped out at the store, located not two minutes from Aunt Nuzza’s house.
This is notably where, in 1937, Poppy and his mother went to bid Nanny’s mother farewell on their way to Brooklyn to reunite with Poppy’s father, Bruno, for the first time in six years.
Something I wrote a while back:
A young romantic
Before leaving Sant’Andrea, Elvira Corry, and her son made the rounds to say good-bye to friends and family. One particular visit had Carlo nervous with anticipation.
On most days, Concetta Codispoti’s children could be found assisting her at her shoe store. She was alone, however, when Elvira and 11-year-old Carlo came to pay their respects.
Concetta and Elvira grew up together in Sant’Andrea, so it was easy for Elvira to share her excitement about the prospect of reuniting with her husband for the first time in six years. Concetta’s own husband had been in America for years, regularly sending back money to the family.
As the two women went on to talk about other issues in the store, which was lined with shoes imported from the northern town of Torino and other leather goods, Carlo’s anxiety bubbled to the surface. He tugged at the back of his mother’s shirt.
“Tell her, mom, tell her,” he pleaded, his head poking up just around her hip. Elvira patted him on the head reassuringly, smiled, and then turned to Concetta.
“Signora,” Elvira said skittishly, pausing for a moment. “I don’t know how to start. My son says that when he grows up, he wants your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Concetta chuckled at the notion and looked down at the boy sympathetically. “That’s sweet,” she said.
But this was serious business to Carlo, who promised his heart to Concetta’s daughter Vittoria.
This was all a big surprise to Vittoria, who was at school during Carlo’s admission to her mother. If nothing else, she thought Carlo was a nuisance.
Though he was born in Canton and spent his first four years there, Carlo remembered nothing of the experience. As far as he knew, he spent his whole life in Sant’Andrea. And six years apart from his father, he held only few memories of the man whose name would later bring tears to his eyes as the kindest, most generous person he ever knew.
Notice that the store is currently for sale.