Uncle Joe – Guest Blogger Maree O’Brien

My mother Dahlia with her brother Joe Fiore, aka the Bull.

My mother Dahlia with her brother Joe Fiore, aka the Bull.

As a special treat today, I asked my sister Maree to guest blog. She wrote Uncle Joe about my mother’s oldest brother, often referred to by his nickname – the Bull. He kept all of the Fiore children in line and was not the kind of guy you’d want to try to fool or disobey. In contrast to his role as family disciplinarian, he was one of the sweetest, kindest men I’ve ever known. Being the youngest, I didn’t get to know him as well as Maree did, so I’m happy to share her memories here.

Uncle Joe

His face wore the tanned, leather-like appearance of one who spent many years out in the elements. Not unlike his father Giovanni Fiore, Joe, his eldest son, too, possessed the tinkling dark brown eyes and the broad grin of a kind and happy man.

Uncle Joe and I were kindred spirits. We both loved animals, horses in particular. Actually anything from toads to elephants earned our interest and affection, just by being.

Neither Uncle Joe’s wife Gilda, nor any others in my immediate family shared a love of beasts like Uncle Joe and me. He had a beautiful collie named Bonny, who lived outdoors all of her life. She did have a beautiful dog house as Aunt Gilda as always eager to point out, because “Animals didn’t belong in the house.”

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Reading the Voices of Rhode Island’s Italian Americans


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Virginia Cotungo DiBiase told what happened to her and her two siblings when there were claimed by their father at Ellis Island. They had not seen their father in thirteen years. They did not recognize their father and he did not recognize them…”


“A woman from Thornton, Tribelli, I think. She was a mid-wife. She used to deliver all the babies. To prepare they used to boil water in the kitchen…They didn’t have cribs. They used to make a place with a pillow and put the pillows to the babies couldn’t move or fall. They kept the baby born with blankets. They had to watch out when the baby got big that it didn’t choose by putting the blanket in his mouth”


“Marolyn Senay absorbed the atmosphere of her grandmother’s village of Pugliano and her grandfather’s town of Sparanise…we drove into the town and it was like walking back in time. It was thrilling and more emotional than I thought it would be…”

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Voices, a dinner hosted by the Italian American Historical Society of Rhode Island celebrating the publishing debut of their newly compiled – Voices of Rhode Island Italian Americans

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Wicked Good Eats for Columbus Day – Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers


I have known Steve for over 40 years. We attended first grade, and all subseuent grades, together. He is not only an accomplished mechanical engineer and design manager, but he is, as we would say in our hometown of Johnston, Rhode Island, a wicked good cook. And a wicked good guy too.

His dad owned a restaurant and has passed on the talent. Check out all of his videos on youtube. And pay attention to Wolfie – he definitely reaps the benefits of Steve’s cooking!

Happy Columbus Day Everyone. 

I’m Baaaaaccckkkk…

The leaves are already turning here in Rhode Island

I feel like a poltergeist these days, drifting in and out of several places at once.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. Between Jeremy and I being handyman- impaired and having to paint my daughter’s bedroom before school gets too far underway, to getting her (and us) ready for Junior High, to all the other things that I have been neglecting that needed some focus and a little less divided attention, the days just flew.

So apparently summer has just sort of picked up its clothes and gotten out of here, although the damp humidity we’re experiencing here in Rhode Island today makes me wonder if its having second thoughts. But the leaves are already turning. Continue reading

Book Talk & Signing: What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner by Dr. Edward Iannuccilli


What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner – and Other Stories

Dr. Ed Iannuccilli has written two great books about growing up as an Italian American in Providence, Rhode Island during the 50’s.  If you’re local it would be well worth it to drop by the PPL to hear him speak.



The Italian American Historical Society of Rhode Island

Federal Hill neighborhood, Providence, Rhode I...

Federal Hill neighborhood, Providence, Rhode Island. Plaza with restaurants off Atwells Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian American Historical Society provides information and entertainment about the Italian American heritage and culture in Rhode Island .  There is more to Rhode Island Italians than Federal Hill and Providence and the society sheds light on it all. They sponsor wonderful events, provide scholarships and are a very active with all things Italian.http://www.iahsofri.org/

A Girl from the Hill – Where it All Began

Holy Ghost – where both my parents and my grandparents got married

Once upon a time there was a skinny little olive-skinned girl with the big dark eyes and long, straight, chestnut hair. Dahlia Lydia Fiore was born in Burrillville, Rhode Island on the Fourth of July in 1924, the eighth of eight children – four boys, four girls. Her father Giovanni came to Providence, Rhode Island, from San Giovanni Incarico, a small Italian village near Naples. Giovanni Fiore farmed. In Italy Giovanni grew vegetables and flowers; roses and dahlias were his specialty. After settling in Providence, getting work farming, he sent for his fiancée, Maria Giovanna Mollo. They married August 3rd, 1903 at Holy Ghost Church on Federal Hill. Continue reading