At the close of Women’s History Month, leaders from the Italian American Alliance recall their moms


Adriana Di Stefanoby Jimmy Di Stefano, IAA resident       My Mother, Adriana Di Stefano was born on August 23, 1926 in Abruzzo, Italy.  She arrived in-the United States of America on Christmas Eve of 1949, lived in the North End of Boston for five years, before moving to Watertown, a suburb of Boston, MA  

With her loving husband by her side raised a family of three boys.  Adriana worked many jobs from the Hood Rubber in Watertown, to working at Rosary Academy cooking for the Nuns and the school children. There were times she worked two jobs. Adriana only had a third-grade education in Italy because her dad died when she was an infant. Therefore, Adriana had to work the farm and take care of the house while her mom was taking care of the olive trees on their property.

Adriana learned the English language from her relationships with fellow employees and from her three boys. As hard workers she and her husband saved enough money to purchase a home in Watertown. Adriana sponsored and helped many immigrants from her home town, come to the US by providing them a home and finding employment for them.
She is a kind and generous lady who has given of herself for many, many families and friends. At the age of 93 she became seriously ill with the Corona Virus. Her doctors told us that 93-year-olds do not walk out of the intensive care unit very often and her prognosis was not good. After spending one month in intensive care, and one month in rehabilitation, all that time not being able to see her beloved family, Adriana made a complete recovery.  Her strong will, tenacity, and determination to survive and return home played a large part in her recovery. That same strength and courage she had her entire life continues and is even stronger.

Adriana is home and doing well. Adriana took care of her mother, Filomena till she was 103 years old, and her family plans on doing the same for her. At 95 she still enjoys her 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.   The Italian American Alliance Wishes continued good health to Adriana. Viva la Adriana! 

East Boston Greenway Mural
A Mural on the East Boston Greenway dedicated to Grandmothers. Photo credit:

About women, en passant  By Domenic Amara, PhD, Chairman of the IAA  
I’ve been asked to briefly share some thoughts about my mother and women in general, during a month someone declared should be Women’s Month.  Frankly, I think that a Women’s Month is a little silly, not because women shouldn’t be honored but because if one thinks about it , anyone with any sense honors women every single day of every single month of every single year.   As I write this, I’m asking myself, “do we need a month to honor women?”  Has our society moved to far away from what’s important to have to designate – even legislate – that it’s time to recognize women: implacable women, intelligent women, industrious women, kind women, wise women? 

I guess I grew up in a time when the women in my life were all of those things. Oh, perhaps they were not nuclear scientists or submarine captains, but they were no less strong, smart, productive, loving and understanding. My mother happened to be one of those women, and as much as she was to me extraordinary, as I think back she was like so many others, a loving and sacrificing mother, first teacher, first doctor, first defender, first dietician, first clothier… first everything.  In many ways that has never stopped even though she is gone

We all have memories of the important women in our lives and our mothers are right at the top of the list.  Of course, there are others, but nobody can replace the person who was – and still is, with us or not – the center of our Universe.  
What we were, are, and are yet to be can all be traced in large part to the women in our lives.  I believe we honor them every moment we are. We don’t have to say a word. Sure, have a special month if it helps, but I don’t think it’s needed. By the nature of who they are, they are always special.      Those are my thoughts. Dominic Amara, PhD, Chairman of the IAA  

Reflections of Women’s History Month. By Ginny (Papa) Gardner, IAA National Council President  
At the beginning of March I had coffee with my dear friend, Teresa Sauro. We talked about our mothers and grandmothers. I brought along my grandmother’s apron. We called her Nonie. Each day she got dressed and part of her clothing was always an apron. I had not unfolded and held that apron in almost 50 years. After my grandmother died, my parents did what many of us have had to do, that gut wrenching task of packing up all her belongings. This, unfortunately, involves having to throw some things away. My mother however, thought to gather up all my Nonie’s aprons. She washed them, ironed them, and folded them neatly. One day my mom handed me a small plastic bag, inside was my grandmother’s apron. I never ever wore it. I put it in my hope chest and saved it there forever. That day with my friend was the first time I took it out of the hope chest, out of the bag, and held it. I had a lump in my throat and it was then I realized, for me this is what Women’s History Month represents. My grandmother set the bar high always having patience, respect, hugs, and love. Her apron held me tight when I needed strength, or guidance. I hope I can pass along that same feeling to my grandchildren. Teaching by example, the importance of unconditional acceptance, kindness and love. The other thing that I remembered at this coffee – laughing, crying, talking loud, being crazy with your girlfriend – your BFF is priceless. 

East Boston