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Character Sheet

Moonshiners' Mysteries


* Red hair/ Italian parentage/ teacher in Three Forks but travels to backwoods mining camps to deliver books, teach children.
* Family immigrated from Castelmezzana in Potenza to Ellis Island and now live in NYC.
o According to ancient tradition, Castelmezzano (Basilicata) was founded in the 10th century by a fleeing people: the former inhabitants of a town in the Basento Valley, who were running away from the Saracen invasion. During their exodus, they found an ideal shelter among the region’s rocky Dolomites because from that vantage point they could bombard the approaching enemy with a rain of stones.
o Now one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages (Borghi più belli d’Italia), as well as one of the starting points for the fantastic Volo dell’Angelo, Castelmezzano was immortalized by local journalist Rocco De Rosa with an evocative description: “The history of this small town in the Dolomites is all there, summed up in its location: stern, solitary, almost untouchable. […] The landscape seems out of a fairy tale, and views turn into mythical settings from a time that never existed, when man’s relationship with nature spurred him to be completely different.”
o “Castelmezzano has a Norman Age castle, of which only a few steps are left today, bearing testimony to the various periods when the Saracens came to this hamlet with an eye to turn it into something that conveyed their own identity and presence. The entire structure makes the town fortified and unassailable by any real or hypothetic enemy” (translated from “La terra del ‘maggio’, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli 2012).

* From New York, had an affair with a married man, Family disowned her and brother sends her remittance every month to keep her away.
* Brother rushed to marry to show parents he was responsible, new grandchild
* Lots of other bothers and sisters
* She’s disowned and the lover is still with wife and family- new child
* Photo of her mother and father, wedding photo of her brother and new wife, photo of nephew, childhood photo of she and her brother, family photo, photo of her lover but not displayed: in an album?


* To be reunited with family
* Determination to succeed


* To light the spark of knowledge, create new family with students and community


* To be loved-belonging, security of family


* Exiled her family for a bad decision
* Betrayed by lover- let her go
* If they/ he could throw me aside so easily, they didn’t love me in the first place


* Love leads to pain
* Atonement- dislike of punishment
* Love and acceptance are conditional


* Loving again
* Losing control
* Letting loved ones down
* Emotion makes them unreliable
* Never seeing family again
* Losing heritage
* Being an outsider
* (Might be triggered if evicted from teacherage)


* Focus on others rather than herself, seeks love and peace between the covers of a book
* Stress intellectual rather than emotional
o +: Analytical, disciplined, mature, merciful, hospitable, independent, industrious
o -: Inflexible,
* Not spontaneous
* By leaving family, she has sacrificed identity
* Isolation, loneliness
* Depressed around holidays and special family occasions.
* Sensitive to rejection, even on a small scale (like being turned down for a drink after work)
* Big promoter of Italian heritage-
o Italian Americans have always innately understood that nothing in life is as important as creating and maintaining a strong, loving and supportive family. The second essential element of our Italian-American value system is a strong work ethic. Italian Americans have always understood that nothing in life comes easily, and if by chance it does, it is not appreciated. We have always taken pride in working hard and appreciating the fruits of our labor. The third element in our Italian-American value system is our Catholic faith, which is rooted in a 2,000-year history. The Italian peninsula has been the cradle from which the Catholic church has been nurtured and grown. Our ancestors in Italy have produced more popes, more saints and more martyrs than any other country in the world. Among our most meaningful traditions are the feast day celebrations each village in Italy held for hundreds of years to honor their patron saint or the Virgin Mary, which we continue to celebrate in Italian-American parishes in our country to this very day. The final step in truly being an Italian American is to feel a sense of pride in who we are. Pride in our family’s history and accomplishments. Pride in our values and our faith. This is not a pride that stems from a sense of being boastful or feeling superior to others. Rather it is a pride rooted in feeling confident and self-assured–in knowing who we are, and in being grateful for what we have been given.
o Cuisine (most of the foods that Americans view as Italian, such as spaghetti and pizza, come from central Italy. In the North of Italy, fish, potatoes, rice, sausages, pork and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients. Pasta dishes with tomatoes are popular, as are many kinds of stuffed pasta, polenta and risotto. In the South, tomatoes dominate dishes, and they are either served fresh or cooked into sauce. Southern cuisine also includes capers, peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, eggplant and ricotta cheese.
o The cuccìa is a typical dish of the village of Castelmezzano (Potenza) handed down from ancient times, nicknamed also as a pot of the poor, has as main ingredient wheat, beans, chickpeas and cicerchie. Tradition sees it tied to the celebration of Saint Lucia. According to a legend, once there was a tremendous famine that was decimating the population. On the day devoted to the Holy One in a year and in an place unspecified, a great load of wheat came to the population. Hunger was so great that the people, instead of grinding the ingredient to make bread, began to boil and eat it. It would seem that the name comes from the chef’s cry when the dish was ready: “cucìa, cucìa”, is cooked.
Another hypothesis about the nature of this dish comes from the Greek word “Ko (u) kkìa”, ie wheat.
During Saint Lucia’s day, the cuccìa is blessed and, at the end of the mess, is distributed among the faithful in goodwill. In the same period in Castelmezzano is celebrated the Festival of the Ciùc during which you can enjoy this typical dish. If you visit Castelmezzano you can taste the cuccìa at the Agriturismo La Grotta dell’Eremita. But let’s see how to prepare it at home: Ingredients Wheat, Chickpeas, Fava beans, Cicerchie, Pepper, Oil, Garlic, salt// Method We cook legumes and cereals separately, on a slow fire, after having them bathed in the previous evening to soften them and after rinsing them. Once cooked we mix them together and season with garlic, hot oil and pepper. The dish is served hot in a rather large terracotta bowl.
o Wine is also a big part of Italian culture, and the country is home to some of the world’s most famous vineyards.
o Espresso, caffè normale and cappuccino are types of Italian coffee, and one might wonder if there are as many types of coffee in Italy as there are pastas. Quite surprisingly, there are, and just like pasta, Italian coffee is also an art form linked to many customs and traditions. Be it a caffè corretto shot down like a drink, a cappuccino and brioche that would make a lovely snack, or a granita di caffè con panna to chill off from the hot noon sun, Italy has a coffee drink for every occasion and every mood.

The most famous of the Italian coffees are the cappuccinos – the caffè corretto and caffè latte. Cappuccino is prepared with espresso and milk. A cappuccino is commonly identified as 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 frothed milk. Cappuccino is preferably served in a ceramic coffee cup to retain the heat, instead of glass or paper that is a comparatively poorer heat retainer. Caffè corretto is a coffee “corrected” with a measure of grappa, cognac or any other alcoholic content. Latte is Italian for milk, and caffè latte refers to coffee prepared with a larger measure of hot milk in it rather than coffee.

There are many other styles of Italian coffee, and they have all become world famous. In fact, Italy is the coffee house of the world, and has contributed to the entire world many different styles of coffee that have so become a part of our culture and lives. Even espresso had its origins in Italy. It was from Italy that Starbucks got most of their coffee recipes and rose to fame quickly in the West. Despite all the progress and spread of the coffee culture, Italy still remains the coffee capital of the world.
o family focused on extended family (I’ve just extended mine to include friends, neighbors, students),
o opera (famous operas — including “Aida” and “La Traviata,” both by Giuseppe Verdi, and “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo)
o Italians celebrate most Christian holidays. The celebration of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, is much like Christmas. Belfana, an old lady who flies on her broomstick, delivers presents and goodies to good children, according to legend.
o Pasquetta, on the Monday after Easter, typically involves family picnics to mark the beginning of springtime.
o Scoppio del carro is an Easter festival held in Florence that marks the triumph of the First Crusade. Mimicking the supposed events of the Crusade (and blending the holiday with a celebration of Saint John), celebrants build a magnificent cart in the shape of a tower, then they have oxen pull it through the city. In a square outside the cathedral called the Piazza del Duomo, the oxen are led away and Easter mass is held. At the mass’s climax, someone lights fireworks attached to the tower by wire. Those fireworks ignite other fireworks which cover the tower, which soon catches fire in a shower of colored sparks and explosions. The tower will eventually burn to the ground.
o Ferragosto is an Italian summer holiday. Traditionally, it was simply a period of relaxation; in fact, Italians used to take the entire month of August off as a vacation. The Catholic Church eventually incorporated the holiday, making it into a celebration of the Virgin Mary. Modern Italians typically celebrate it as a national holiday on August 15 (they only get one day off these days). In practice, it bears some resemblance to the American Independence Day, with families enjoying the beach, cooking food together and taking part in other recreational activities.
o November 1 commemorates Saints Day, a religious holiday during which Italians typically decorate the graves of deceased relatives with flowers.
o Many Italian towns and villages celebrate the feast day of their patron saint. September 19, for example, is the feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Napoli.
o Sunday- church/ family/ The passeggiata or a family stroll is usually done by families in the small vilage. The traditional passeggiata is usually held on each Sunday.
o New Years’ Day, International Workers’ Day, Assumption Day, St. Stephen’s Day, Epiphany, and Immaculate Conception are the others national holiday in Italy.
o The Percorso delle Sette Pietre (Seven Stones Path) is a literary walk inspired by Mimmo Sammartino’s book Vito ballava con le streghe (Vito danced with the witches), based on ancient stories handed down orally. Each path includes a space that evokes a sequence of the story, with a sound environment that offers additional suggestions to the magic of nature revealed.[8] o Feast of San Rocco- August 16th is the Feast Day of San Rocco, patron Saint of the sick. Widely venerated throughout Southern Italy, he is one of the principal patrons of Potenza (PZ), Castelmezzano (PZ), Quaglietta (AV), Orsogna (CH), Locorotondo (BA), Monteleone di Puglia (FG), Pietraperzia (EN), Palmi (RC), Scilla (RC), and Gioiosa Ionica (RC), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Rocco. The accompanying photo was taken at now-closed Saint Joseph’s Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan. The beautiful papier-mâché statue has since been moved to Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in New York City’s historic Little Italy.
* Prayer to Saint Rocco: O Great St. Rocco, deliver us, we beseech you, from contagious diseases, and the contagion of sin. Obtain, for us, a purity of heart which will assist us to make good use of health, and to bear sufferings with patience. Teach us to follow your example in the practice of penance and charity, so that we may, one day enjoy the happiness of being with Christ, Our Savior, in Heaven. Amen.
o Art- Ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short/ which means leisure time is good)
o Italian Literature- Dante
o Folk superstitions; Like, when your nose is itchy, you have to slap someone’s hand; otherwise, you’ll get into a fight. Also, don’t cut a baby’s hair before his or her first birthday because it’s bad luck.


* Strong believer in second chances, loyal, forgiving, understanding, put down roots

  • Outer Goal- To teach
  • Inner Goal- To create new family
  • Outer Motivation- Security
  • Inner Motivation- Exiled from family
  • Outer Conflict- Sexism in School Trustees
  • Inner Conflict- Receptiveness of pupils

advise, aid, assist,
coach, command, convince, counsel,
educate, elevate, enlighten,
ground, guide,
impart, improve,
mentor, monitor, nurture,
question, quiz,
test, train, tutor

* “Librarians save lives by handing the right book at the right time to a child in need.” Judy Blume