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Making It in America: Family Business Spelled Success for Italian Americans
by Cookie Curci
The bay area is an eclectic mix of houses and people reflecting a unique blending of styles and cultures. Perhaps thatís why this area was the chosen home for my Italian grandparents, uncles and aunts who came to America during the great Migration. The different styles and backgrounds they brought with them grace our family heritage with pride and memories. Subsequent generations proudly followed the traditions and heritage of their families, while at the same time assimilating into the American California culture, to eventually becoming the middle class.
It was to this middle class that I was born. It is where I have spent my life. Like most Italian Americans, I have a keen awareness and reverence for things past, as well as a feeling of pride in my present community. The generation I grew up in has undergone many changes and upheavals. But one thing still remains strong, the feelings of tradition and family unity that our parents and grandparents instilled in us.
Success for the Italian American immigrant depended a great deal on family unity. Working together as a unit was the catalyst for achieving a successful goal in the New World.
The year was 1939 when my Dad, Rocci Curci, and five of his younger brothers-Nick, Joe, Tony Frank and Sal, decided to take advantage of San Franciscoís busy downtown area to open a fast food diner. Growing up on a prune ranch in the Almaden valley of San Jose, they knew little about the restaurant business, but the young entrepreneurs sensed a golden opportunity in the bustling city and decided to make the best of a 50 mile commute to work to find some measure of success in a struggling economy.
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