MLG 201 Oral History Project (Fall 2022)

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Kennedy, Thomas
Modern Languages Department, Farmingdale State College
This interview focuses on the perspective of the Italian American Gaetano Sofia. Gaetano Sofia was born in Brooklyn in 1934. His father was born in Sicily and his mother was born in New York. Gaetano has two daughters and four grandchildren, one of whom includes me. I decided to pick my grandfather for the interview because I thought it would be interesting to know more about my great-grandfather’s journey to America while being able to ask my grandfather more personal questions about his perspective of being an Italian American. All the questions were categorized into three parts. First, I asked about basic biographical data such as his educational background and his parents. I then asked questions focusing on his father’s migration and settlement into the United States. Gaetano said before the interview that his father would rarely talk about his hardship in America, but the little things that he told the family stuck. In the last part of the interview, I asked questions that consisted of identity, traditions, and food. I had to leave a few questions out from this part since he felt a few of the questions seemed outlandish. Overall, this interview displays Gaetano’s love for family tradition and macaroni. I found it fascinating and impactful the hard work and dedication his father had once he come to America. The determination my great-grandfather had to migrate to the U.S. and to achieve a better life for himself and his family is what gave my grandfather his pride in not only being American but Italian American.
APPLIED LEARNING ENHANCED: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH. Oral History Project carried out in MLG201- Italian Food Culture and History with Dr. Chiara De Santi