i-ItalyNY - 5thBirthday Special Issue. The Best of i-Itay - page 29

Special Issue | Winter 2017-2018 |
i-Italy Magazine
| 29
Matilda Raffa Cuomo and
Amanda Cole during the their
televised conversation for
OUR SPECIAL TV SERIES “Grandparents and Grandchildren in Italian America” (2016-2017)
Matilda andAmanda, ATale of TwoWomen
Matilda Raffa Cuomo
Amanda Cole
Despite the encumbrances of a TV crew, it
was a rare treat to hearMatilda and Aman-
da retrace their history, its ties to Italy and their
emotional memories. The place where the conver-
sation was shot – the house where Matilda lived
with her husband, Mario – was also special: the
two women seated on a sofa, behind them a cre-
denza topped with Italian mementos, a figurine
of Pulcinella peeking out from behind a shelf. In
the opposite room was Mario’s study, full of ob-
jects, books, photographs. You couldn’t not sense
the charismatic presence of the great politician
who, in the 1980s, was known as the great com-
municator of his party, believed by many to be
the only real man of presidential stature in the
Democratic Party back then. At the same time
all of his humanity was reflected in the faces of
his wife and granddaughter, as well as in their
words. Like a real Italian grandfather. Below are
a few brief excerpts, the full video can be seen at
Immigrant stories
I remember you telling me the story
of our two great grandmothers, who both came
here very young…
They were in their 20s … they both
had a very terrible trip, on the steerage in the bot-
tom of the ship. It was terrible.
In the first conversation of our series, Matilda and Amanda touched upon
everything from immigration to religion, from language to cooking and
traveling in Italy. Their extraordinary talk culminated in an emotional and
unscripted moment when grandmother and granddaughter decided to read a
letter written in 1999 by Governor Mario Cuomo, a kind of spiritual last will
and testament for his thirteen granddaughters.
Matilda R. Cuomo and
AmandaCole on i-ItalyTV
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