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Sharon Cacopardo-Potter

Kingston, NY

My family came from Siciilly on my father’s side and Naples on my mother’s between 1905 and 1919. One by one they brought family over and settled in upstate NY in Goversville and Johnstown. There were other Italian settlements like this in upstate NY. This was a big leather industry area. My grandfathers worked in the leather mills, and barbershops, and my grandmothers sewed gloves at home while homemaking. My uncle was held back in 1st grade because he only spoke Italian and from that time on none of us were taught the language because we had to learn to fit in. I grew up with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins all living on the same block. They all had gardens with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. I was the first in both families to obtain a four year degree and the first woman in our family to get a college degree. The others worked as homemakers. I still travel there for holidays to have time with my Italian relatives.