My name is Nicoletta D'Avanzo Sorice. My father, Giuseppe D'Avanzo, left our family behind in Italy and came to America in January 1937, right after my birth. I dreamed daily about joining him, not knowing if this could ever become a reality. I was three years old when World War II broke out in Italy in 1939. In 1949, my mother and brother left for America, and I had to remain behind due to my being underweight. Eight months later, my U.S. Visa was finally approved. I sailed alone on the passenger ship S.S. Saturnia from Napoli to New York. I took my first airplane ride from the Fiorello La Guardia Airport in Queens, New York, to Atlanta, Georgia. I finally boarded another flight to Shreveport, Louisiana, to rejoin my family and meet my father for the first time. The excitement of all the new and unexpected things I experienced at the time, did not allow me to think, feel, or imagine what my life could be like in the United States.
At age 81, I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics – Italian from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Education gave me a space to learn. It enabled me to tell my story. Many events in my past had been submerged deep into my subconscious, and now they are recalled. I wanted to leave my children and grandchildren a legacy of understanding their family history and knowing how I lived my life. Writing this book has been a labor of love, and it has taken nearly five years for me to put these memories down. My 2023 resolution was to finish this project, and I am happy to see it published before the end of my life.