Tommaso Caputo

March 1, 1913 – February 8, 1991
































“The first 40 years are a struggle—but after that, everything comes easy!”

-Tommaso Caputo






To create a complete record of Nonno’s life.



Try to get it as complete as possible by December 2003.




Style Guidelines

q      We will remove this section, as we get more complete.

q      Whenever we think of a new convention/rule to use we will add it here

q      We will use the “Question” style format for any questions that need investigating, for example:

Ø    Where was Nonno born?

q      We will use the “Answer” style format for all answers (it is just the basic bullet) Bullets lend themselves to answers without fixating on sentence structure, for example:

·      Nonno was born in Aiello Calabro, Calabria, Southern Italy

q      Any references to anyone except Nonno should be followed by a descriptor detailing the relationship (as per Legend) and the date of their birth (mm/dd/yyyy). For example: David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967)

q      Revision Control:

o      Since this document is going to be a distributed development effort lets be extra careful on revision control

o      This document should be saved with the following filename: “Nonno mmddyyyy” where mmddyyyy is the date of last revision

o      Whenever the document is saved we should send it to each other as backup

o      If it needs to get more complicated than this we can turn on the “track changes” tools inside Word which are quite powerful

q      Early focus should be on Content gathering, we will add style later


Ø    Where was Nonno Born? In a hospital/house/other?

·      Nonno was born on March 1, 1913 close to Aiello Calabro, Calabria, Italy.  They lived in a small village called Acqua Fredda.



Aiello - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name



Entrance to Acquafredda - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Acquafredda - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name



Ø    Who are Nonno’s brothers and sisters?  When/Where were they born?

·      Nonno has one brother, Alberto Caputo (12/10/1927).


Alberto Caputo - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Ø    What do we know of Nonno’s parents?

·      Nonno’s father was Nicola Caputo (02/02/1888).  Nonno’s mother was Anna Rino (mm/dd/1889).  Nanna and Nonno lived with them after they got married.  Nonno’s mother loved to work in the fields tending the crops – she did not like cooking and cleaning the house, so Nanna took over those jobs when she moved in and this pleased Anna Rino very much.  Nicola Caputo immigrated to Canada (circa 1965) and lived with Nonno and his family. 

Nonno's grandfather, Carmeno Rino - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Nonno's Parents - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nonno’s father, Nicola Caputo immigrated to the United States, (Millbrae, California I think) in 1913 when Nonno was still an infant. The rest of the family remained in Italy. I think he also spent some time in Salt Lake City, Utah. He remained in the US until 1927, when he returned to Italy. - This explains why there’s a 14 year age gap between Nonno and his brother Alberto and why Nonno’s father spoke surprisingly good English (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))

Nonno's Father - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


·      Two of Nicola Caputo’s brothers (Ralph Caputo and Carmine Caputo (both have died)) also immigrated to California, probably between 1913 and 1940. This is why we have some relatives in California   e.g., Ida Marinaro and family, Antonia Caputo. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))


·      There is a tradition for the father to name the first-born son after his father.  Nonno received the name of his Nonno Tommaso. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))



Ø    Did Nonno go to school?

·      Yes, up to grade 3?


Ø    Did Nonno work in Italy? Where, Doing what?

·      He raised crops and animals (cows, goats).  He would sell baby goats and cows to make money.   

Nonno - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      He worked on the construction of the roads in Acqua Fredda. 

·      He also worked in Sicily trimming olive trees.  He would stay there for a few months at a time when he went. 


Ø    Did Nonno work/live elsewhere in Europe? I remember my father mentioning that Nonno had worked in mines in France prior to coming to Canada. (Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979))


Ø    Did Nonno live anywhere else in Italy? When/Where?

·      He lived only in Acqua Fredda.

·      There are a number of tiny villages situated outside of Aiello Calabro tucked away in the vast Appennini mountain range.  Acqua Fredda basically consists of one roadway with a scattering of old homes and fields.  You can see a beautiful panorama of the mountains. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

Entrance to Aiello - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Villagers would travel by foot to near-by villages or by donkey(using a “basto” or pack-saddle) to places further away and traded crops.  My mother (Ines Caputo, 02/03/1950) remembers traveling to Acqua Fredda with her mother from Bocca Ceraso(1 hour walk) to buy peppers and eggplants (Acqua Fredda also was a big provider of chestnuts ).  They returned home carrying full baskets (“cista”) on their heads.  Traveling with a donkey, they got olives to make olive oil from the village of Marina (near Cleto, a 2-3 hour journey).  For goods that you didn’t grow or produce yourself (i.e. salt and sugar), one could get at a store in Aiello. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      Aiello Calabro (~520 metres) has a lower elevation than Acqua Fredda and was about a 1-hour walk.  You pass the village of Fargani on the way down to Aiello from Acqua Fredda.  Right next to Aiello is the San Castillo Mountain.  Atop San Castillo resides the ruins of an ancient fortress (~500 years old, used in WWII) with 4 or 5-foot thick stone walls containing holes for guns.  Used to protect the town from invaders.  Observed during my trip to Italy (March 2000).  Also saw an ancient water tower along side San Castillo as we approached Aiello.  At the entrance to Aiello, there is a war monument with the names engraved of the locals that died in the war(erected 1980).  I believe Nonno knew many of these men (including Zio Paulino Bossio, brother of Nanna and Pascquale or Giovanni Fata<to confirm which one>, brother of Zio Guerino Fata). (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

War Monument in Aiello - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Ø    When did Nonno meet Nanna? How?  Anything about their courtship?

·      Nanna and her family moved to a new house near Nonno’s house.  Their lands met.  Nanna was around 15 or 16, so that would have made Nonno 19 or 20.  Nanna noticed that when she was out in her cornfields working, Nonno would look for her as he was also working in his fields.  One day he approached her and they started talking.  After that he started visiting her at her house.  At that point both sets of parents thought that they should get married. (Nanna)  

Nanna's Father - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Nanna's Mother - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Ø    When did they get married?  Any details on the wedding?

·      Nonno and Nanna were married on February 27, 1937.  Nonno was 24 and Nanna was 19.5 years old.  They got married in a church, La Chiesa di Santa Maria, in Aiello.  All the relatives were invited.  The dinner was held at Nonno’s parents house and was prepared by a cook.  After dinner they had a dance.  Someone playing the accordion provided music.  The “tarantella” was the popular dance. (Nanna)

Chiesa Santa Maria - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Chiesa Santa Maria Altar - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Ø    List Nonno’s children? When and where were they born?

·      Nick – December 19, 1937

·      Orlando – December 10, 1939

·      Aldo – September 1, 1943

·      Robert – May 18, 1947

·      Lou – July 29, 1949

back: Orlando, Nanna, Aldo, Nicola

front: Robert, Lou - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      John – June 19, 1957, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

·      Anna – March 6, 1959, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

John and Anna - circa July 1960 - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Ø    Did Nonno fight in the War? Which one? Was he a Prisoner of War (I thought I remember hearing this)? Where was he a POW? How long? Any details on this?

·      -1935/36 –went to volunteer to fight in Africa

·      -1943-1945/46 – POW –in Germany

·      -1940 – started fighting under Mussolini (Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937))


***(Possibly a tape in existence where Nonno recorded his war experiences)***

***Personal Note: Perhaps this can be a multi-media document on a CD?***


·      He fought in World War II.  He was a POW in Germany?  And Africa?  I remember a story that he told me once about having to pick potatoes in the potato fields as a POW.  He tried to sneak some potatoes back with him by hiding them in his pockets.  The guard noticed and he was lucky that he just had to give them back.  Nonno thought that the guard could have shot him for that, so he got off pretty easy.  I asked him how he was going to cook the potatoes and he said that he was just going to eat them raw.  I guess if you’re hungry anything tastes good. (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))



Nonno in uniform 1 - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Nonno in uniform 2 - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


Ø    When did Nonno move to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada?

Ø    What is the story of how he ended up in Canada and SSM?

·      -1949: went to France to work in the coalmines for about 20 months and returned to Italy at end of 1951(Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937))

·      -1952:  Boat departs from Naples—stops in Spain and England—then on to Halifax—where he boards a train to Ontario—works in Southern Ontario (Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937))

·      -1953(early) arrives in Sault Ste. Marie—does some odd jobs—then starts at the Paper Mill – laid off-- returns to Toronto in 1954 and works construction until early 1955, when he returned to SSM to work at the Paper Mill again until his retirement circa 1978. (Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937))

·      Nonno immigrated to Canada in 1952. I think he worked on the Railway (Toronto area?) for about a year before moving to Sault Ste. Marie. He seemed to know his way around Toronto in the 1980s  - more than 30 years later. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))

Nonno at the rail yards - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      I remember driving by Brighton, Ontario with Nonno and he said that that is where he got his first job after immigrating to Canada.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))



Ø    How did the family make the trip? Over how long?

·      Nonno traveled to Canada by boat on mm/dd/1952

Nonno - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nick and Orlando traveled next and arrived in Sault Ste. Marie in 02/14/1954.  The boat trip from Italy to Halifax took 7-9 days.  They traveled to Montreal and the rest of the way by train.

Orlanda, Nonno and Nicola - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name


·      Nanna, Aldo, Robert and Lou traveled to Canada by boat on mm/dd/1956?  It took 15 days.

Robert, Nanna, Lou, Aldo (l. to r.) - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Ø    What happened to the house left in Italy? (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      The construction of the house in Acqua Fredda was only recently completed before Nanna and family left. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

The Family Home in Italy - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      The house was sold.  Nanna’s mother (Nanna Francesca Bossio), the late Zia Fenice Bossio (sister-in-law of Nanna), and the late Zio Bruno Bossio (brother of Nanna) and family lived in an attached house across the street. (Orlando Caputo (S, 12/10/1939))

Zia Fenice's home - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Ø    Was the new home built in a different location than the old home?  Or was it a complete re-build of the old home?  (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      It was built close to the old home. (Orlando Caputo (S, 12/10/1939))


Ø    What was the job(s) he had in SSM?  I remember the paper mill were there others?


·      I think he only worked at the paper mill while in Sault Ste. Marie. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))


File written by Adobe Photoshop® 5.0

The Pulp and Paper Company - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nonno also worked for contractors building houses (in 1953).  He worked at Abitibi until he was 65 (for 24 years from ~1953/1954 to 1978). (Orlando Caputo (S, 12/10/1939))

Ø    Should try to get an up to date family tree from Nanna and Nonno down?

·      I have a family tree down to all of Nonno’s grandchildren (John (S, 06/19/1957))

·      Need to add great grandchildren and spouses of grandchildren (John (S, 06/19/1957))


Ø    Any stories at all about Nonno’s life.

Nanna and Nonno -circa Aug. 1960 - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      He sponsored many friends and family to immigrate to Canada.  Most of these people lived with Nonno and his family until they got jobs and their own places to live.  Nonno’s house was a three bedroom with one bathroom for the nine members of his immediate family plus whoever happened to be living with us at any point in time.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      Probably the fullest the house ever got was when Zia Filistina came to Canada with her 8 children (I think Maria was already married and arrived later).  Nanna said that the men all did shift work, so the beds were in constant use all day long – some would get up to go to work and others would just be arriving home after finishing a night shift.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      I remember Zio Alberto living with us and then his family, Zia Emma, Benny, Anna and Frank when they arrived later.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

back: Zio Alberto, Frank, Zia Emma

front: Benny, Anna - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nonno made wine, sausage and salami every year.  Everybody would gather in Nonno’s basement for these yearly rituals because he had all the equipment.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959)).

Gathering in the basement - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nonno also made homemade tomato sauce.  Nonno used to buy bushels of tomatoes from vendors who trucked them in from Southern Ontario every August. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      One year he bought 80 cases of grapes for wine. I think that makes quite a bit of wine! (Robert B Caputo (S 05/18/1947)).

·      Nonno subscribed to an Italian newspaper that arrived weekly from Toronto.  He would read every word and then recycle it by giving it to relatives that were interested in reading (old news).  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      Knew history and like to tell stories about his war experiences and other stories of his youth-Knew all the world happenings from his reading (Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937))

·       He liked to read Italian Photo Romance stories (Guiseppina Caputo (DL, 03/04/1942))

·      During summer vacations, Nonno was afraid John (S, 06/19/1957) and I would forget our math, reading and writing skills, so he would make up sheets of math problems for us to do and have us read the Italian newspaper and write up some of the articles.  John and I didn’t like it because none of the other kids had to do it.  But, we did it … every day.  I think that if Nonno had had the opportunity, he probably would have been a professor or some other very academic profession. He was very intelligent and realized the importance of education.  I think he passed on some very strong “brain power” --- just look at all the really bright grandchildren he has!!  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      I remember some of the summer math “homework” Anna and I received from Nonno. He gave me math questions that I hadn’t taken at school yet. But I learned it in the summer and already knew a lot of it before being taught in school. I remember a lot of times thinking, while the teacher was teaching us these things later, that I already knew it from the summer. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      I remember that Nonno loved to play a card game called “scupa”.  He was very good at it.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      I played Scupa with him hundreds of times. He beat me 90% of the time. He was so good at it that he remembered every card that was played. The last hand of the game he always knew what 3 cards I had. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      He was very good at checkers too. I could never beat him in that. Best I could do was a rare stalemate. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      After I graduated from university (1980) my first job was in Montreal. I didn’t know anyone in Montreal at the time. Nonno and Nanna visited shortly after I moved to Montreal. I was surprised how many people he knew there. We were on the go all the time visiting and going through the Italian stores and café’s. He liked to see that I was in a good apartment and I was “taken care” of. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))


·      The garden in the back yard was always huge. He tried to get me to help in the spring. Stuff like turning the soil (all by shovel) and picking rocks out. I remember how he was always way ahead of me and how little help I actually was. But he liked that I at least attempted to help. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      One time Nonno, Nanna and my parents were making tomato sauce in the basement at 43 St. George’s.  Although I didn’t do much, Nonno also liked that I wanted to help. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      Nonno, Nanna, Anna and I went on a big vacation in 1967 to 1970 timeframe (maybe Anna remembers the exact year?). This was Anna’s and my first major trip. We were gone for about a month (I think). We visited relatives and did a lot of sight seeing. It was a lot of fun. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

Nonno, Anna, Nanna and a Deer in BC - circa 1972 - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      The following are the cities and who we visited:

Denver, Colorado:                   Frank Rino and family

Trinidad, Colorado:                 Frank Rino’s sisters… names???

San Francisco, California:       Jim and Ida Marinaro and family, Antonia Caputo and more ????

McBride, British Columbia:   ??????? names

Edmonton, Alberta:                ?????? names

(John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      Nonno liked to watch wrestling on TV.  When the TV guide came he would look for the wrestling entries and circle them so that he wouldn’t miss watching them.  (Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959))

·      He liked to watch “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” on TV. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      We have an old family tree that I made for school and Nonno helped me with names and dates (Tom Caputo (GS, 08/16/1963))

·      When driving Nonno from Toronto to Ottawa, he’d have memories of different towns along the way from his railway days (Tom Caputo (GS, 08/16/1963))

Nonno looking like a politician on Parliament Hill. Circa: June, 1987. He’s holding Robert’s video camera case.  Nonno thought he should wear a suit just in case he ran into Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Photographer: name




·      A short time after VCRs were introduced (around 1985), Nonno enjoyed watching Italian movies, and collected (and borrowed) copies of them.  Often the films took place in the old country.  Nonno could understand and relate to them, and sometimes was touched by the sad stories. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975)).

Nonno and Nanna -circa 1978 - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      When I was in elementary school, Nonno got me a part time job working in a meat market. He knew the owner of the store. I think he had a way of networking with people. He had a labourer job at the paper company but he seemed to be known to some of the senior people in the company. I remember attending some company functions with my father and I was surprised at the connections he had. When I was going to school in Toronto, One of the senior people at Abitibi Paper Company was transferred from Sault Ste Marie to Toronto. Nonno, had told him that I was in Toronto and told me that I should call him in case I needed a summer job etc. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))


Nanna and Nonno.  circa: June 1979. - Additional Description if applicable photographer: name



·      When Nonno and Nanna visited us in Toronto, Nonno was very independent and adventurous. He and Nanna would go touring around Toronto on their own. They would take the bus and subway while we were at work and go all over the city - especially downtown Toronto, St Clair, College Street and Danforth. Nonno liked getting around on his own and really knew his way around. Once, when he was about 70, he went off on his own and took a train to London, Ontario, to visit his aunt and cousins. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))

Nanna and Nonno at Parliament - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Once, Nonno and Nanna were touring on St Clair and they discovered that one of the storeowners there was a neighbour of ours. They bought a few cases of olives and the storeowner delivered them to our house on his way home. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))


Ø    What was Nonno’s personality like? His sense of humour? His way with children? (Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979))


·      One night when they were visiting us in Brockville (timeframe ~1986 to 1988) he came with me to a hockey game I was playing in. It was at an arena with about 1000 seats. When we got inside the arena he commented, “that luckily we got there early enough or he wouldn’t have got a seat” (paraphrased from Italian). I thought that was funny. There was no one there yet and very few came to watch. (John Caputo (S, 06/19/1957))

·      He was a clever man – many people went to him for advice (Nicola Caputo (S, 126/19/1937))

·      Expression he used: “The first 40 years are a struggle—but after that, everything comes easy!” (Guiseppina Caputo (DL, 03/04/1942))

·      One time when Nonno, Nanna and company were having dinner at my parent’s place, they were talking about how to make white (Alfredo) sauce as opposed to the customary red tomato sauce.  Nonno joked that this was done by using “pomodori bianco” (white tomatoes). (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      One evening (~1985) at Nonno’s place there were a lot of visitors (including relatives from Edmonton, I think).  They filled two tables in the dinning room.  I was by myself and had to go home, so I grabbed my jacket from the closet.  I was too shy to announce that I was leaving, and everybody was talking and didn’t notice me.  But across the room, Nonno did.  He asked if I was leaving, and with authority got everyone’s attention.  So I kissed him and Nanna goodbye…of course, this led to a receiving line of kisses, so it was awhile before I left. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

Typical gathering at 43 St. Georges - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Around 1960-61 or so, Robert and I were able to acquire (traded or somehow bartered for it) a BB gun, actually a rifle.  Back then all that everybody played was Cowboys and Indians.  That first day with the gun, we were playing and with the loaded rifle in my hands, I was “the Rifleman” (a very popular TV series at the time).  I remember running from the back yard between our house and the neighbor’s house and just as I got around the front corner I saw Robert by the fence at the opposite corner of our yard.  Without much hesitation, just like the Rifleman always did, I aimed towards him and pulled the trigger.  Bang! the BB hit Robert right in the middle of his forehead.  When we saw a little blood on his forehead, we immediately started to worry.  Not about the injury but about how we would hide the “wound” from Nonno so he wouldn’t confiscate our gun.  We went  and sat quietly in the veranda trying to pull his hair over his forehead to hide the injury and in walks one of our older brothers and sees the blood.  We were immediately marched inside to explain to Nonno what kind of mischief we’d been up to this time.  I hemmed and hawed and finally confessed that I shot Robert in the head with our new gun.  Nonno didn’t seem to believe that this “toy” gun could hurt anything.  I wasn’t going to argue but then he puts up his right hand and says, “shoot”.  Well, the gun was pretty powerful and I now warned him it would hurt.  He insisted that I pull the trigger.  I warned him again; more worried about losing the gun than anything, but again he put up his right hand, covered his eyes with his left hand and commanded that I shoot.  OK…and…bang!  “OUUUUUCH!” He uttered as he shook his hand vigorously.  Goodbye BB gun, I thought.  Actually, he was pretty cool about it.  He warned us to be very careful with the rifle or it would be surely taken away. (Lou (S, 07/29/1949))

·      About a week later we were in the basement target shooting with our gun.  We were pretty good marksmen by now usually hitting our targeted bottle caps that we stood up at the far end of the basement.  BBs would be ricocheting all over the place.  John was 3 or 4 years old then and he kept coming downstairs.  I must have picked him up and carried him upstairs at least 3 times, warning him to stay upstairs or he might get hurt.  Back then; the basement had wooden steps with open space between each step.  I was at the far end of the basement, with the gun, when I look up and guess who is slowly and quietly trying to sneak downstairs again.  The backs of these 2 little legs are staring right at me between the steps.  They were small but compared to a bottle cap; they might as well have been a house.  Bang!  I shot him with a BB right in the middle of his right calf.  John screamed and shuffled himself quickly upstairs sobbing hysterically.  Was I thinking when I pulled the trigger?  Yes I was.  I was thinking that Nonno was at work today and by the time he got home from work, which was after midnight, all would surely be forgotten.  After all, what’s the memory span of a 3 year old anyway?  The gun would live to play another day! (Lou (S,07/29/1949))        


Anna, The Rifleman, and his victim - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name










·      When Nonno found out that Bryan’s middle name was going to be Thomas, he was very pleased and he said, “He must be a good-looking boy if he is named after me”.  Bryan says that he would have liked his middle name to be Tommaso instead of Thomas Anna Wilkinson (D,03/06/1959)


Nonno holding Bryan.  Circa: May 1987. - Additional Description if applicable -  photographer: name


Ø    How strong was his grasp of the English language? (e.g. he could read the t.v. guide well enough to find the entries which interested him—but did his knowledge extend far beyond this?) (Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979))


Ø    How strong was his grasp of the Italian language?  Beyond the paper, did he read for pleasure? Did he use a particular dialect? (Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979))


·      Specifically, Nonno and Nanna spoke the dialect of Aiello Calabro as did family and friends who immigrated from there.  It is basically the same Italian dialect spoken in the larger city of Cosenza (1.5 – 2 hour drive).  Generally, it is a Calabrese dialect with only minor differences spoken by locals throughout the region of Calabria.  Italy has 20 regions and about every region has its own dialect.  With the development of the country, increased communications, affect of media, and improved education, standard Italian is becoming more dominant.  People from the north of Italy may not understand the southern dialects, and also people between regions that are closer in proximity.  The majority of Italian immigrants to Sault Ste. Marie are of Calabrian descent (estimate 90-95% of 20000 Italians (all generations) of city’s 80000 population <confirm>. The Sault’s pop. has been on a steady decline to ~65000, so the current number is lower).  To this day, our parents and relatives continue to speak our dialect with each other. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      Nonno had a strong level of comprehension of standard Italian (as shown by his reading of the newspapers, and listening to Italian radio or watching RAI broadcasted to Canadian television from time to time).  His ability to speak standard Italian may not have been as strong, but, for example, I’d say he could hold up a conversation with someone from Rome.  But with family and fellow “paesano”, Nonno spoke Calabrese. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      Note that during Nonno’s era, Calabria consisted of three provinces (Cosenza (CS), Catanzaro (CZ) and Reggio Calabria (RC)).  Aiello and its villages (Acqua Fredda, Fargani, Bocca Ceraso, Carpinetta, Canavali and others) reside in provincia di Cosenza.  In recent times, the region added two more provinces (Crotone and Vibo Valentia).  Cosenza borders with Catanzaro and Reggio Calabria is located on the most southern point of the Italian peninsula, next to Sicily. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))




The Family - circa Dec. 30th, 1978 – Nicola, Anna, Lou, Nanna, Nonno, John, Robert, Orlando, - photographer: name


Ø    When was Nonno’s retirement party?  Any details about that?  I’m not sure but I vaguely remember a large family get-together that took place in Nonno’s basement at 43 St. George’s.  I also seem to remember Robert and Rose arriving that same day from Toronto by surprise.  Is this true? (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

Ø    When did Nonno have surgery to replace a joint with an artificial one?  Which side? (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))

·      Some times when I was walking home from school, I would see Nonno going for a walk in my direction on Walnut St.  Knowing I could walk faster, he would insist I go ahead.  But I didn’t mind going slow to be with him. (Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975))


·      The 50th Anniversary party of Nonno and Nanna was held by their children at Minelli’s (in 1987).  They renewed their vows at Mount St. Carmel church. (Orlando Caputo (S, 12/10/1939))

Nonno and Nanna -circa 1987 – 50th Anniversary Party - photographer: name





The First Dance -circa Feb 28th 1987 – 50th Anniversary Party - photographer: name

Orlando, Zio Alberto, Ida, Nanna, Zia Emma, Nonno, Zia Antonia, Guerrino Caputo.  circa: February 27, 1987.  50th Anniversary Weekend.  photographer: name


Ø    When did Nonno die?

·      Nonno died on February 8, 1991 at the General Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.

Ø    How did he die? (I remember cancer, what type?)

Ø    How long was it from when it was diagnosed till he actually died?

·      Nonno’s health problems started a few years after retirement. Initially he had problems with his bladder and needed some minor surgery (at Toronto General Hospital). He seemed to recover from that but continued to see the doctor regularly as a follow-up.  Four or five years later, he had a problem with one of his kidneys and he had an operation to remove the kidney (also at Toronto General Hospital). He seemed to recover from that as well. He continued to see the doctor on a regular basis. Four or five years after that, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. I think he lived about a year and a half after this diagnosis. (Robert B Caputo (S, 05/18/1947))

Toronto General Hospital - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

·      Nonno spoke of his death at his home.  Several months before, I recall Nonno conversing with my father (Orlando Caputo (S, 12/10/39)),  He told him he would be able to see “tutti dal’Italia”.   I believe he meant his father, grandfather, and so forth, but could also mean other family and friends that passed away.  He was cheerful about that.  To me, it showed his faith in God and everlasting life.  But also saddened me because I always hoped he would get better. (GS, Steve Caputo, 07/11/1975))

View from Acquafredda - circa 19xx - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Ø    I remember the funeral being huge? Any details?


Nonno -circa 1990 - Additional Description if applicable - photographer: name

Nanna and Nonno with all the grandkids as of circaJuly 1990.  Nanna, Steve, Tom, David, Laura, Kenny, Karen, Jim, Nancy, Sandra, Carmela, Rebekah, Dave, Kristen, Nonno.  Front: Bryan, Jessica, Lisa, Naomi.  photographer: name.

Ø    Let’s try to collect/scan in as many pictures as we can

Ø    Let’s hold off adding them to this document till were well into it (to avoid making the file unnecessarily large)

Ø    Pictures to find (add to this list as you think of it):

q      that quintessential photo of Nonno

q      that quintessential photo of Nanna

q      early photo of the paper mill is Sault Ste. Marie

q      any military photos

q      the earliest whole family photo

q      the last whole family photo

q      photo of Nonno’s father and mother

q      photo of Nonno’s Nonno Tommaso (recall seeing this pic…probably only one in existence.  Nonno’s grandfather is alone in the photo).

Stats (as of <date of last revision>)

This might be fun page of facts…build it as we go?


Ø    # of children : 7

Ø    # of sons : 6

Ø    # of daughters : 1

Ø    # of grandchildren : 18

Ø    # of grandsons : 7

Ø    # of granddaughters : 11

Ø    # of great grandchildren : 4

Ø    # of great grandsons : 2

Ø    # of great granddaughters : 2

Ø    List of cities that all the progeny have lived in for at least 3 years

·      Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

·      Toronto, Ontario, Canada

·      San Jose, California, USA

·      Brockville, Ontario, Canada

·      Kanata, Ontario, Canada

·      Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

·      Bolton, Ontario, Canada

·      North Bay, Ontario, Canada

·      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

·      Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

·      Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

·      London, Ontario, Canada



List of any short forms we use:


S                      Son

D                     Daughter

DL                   Daughter-in-law

GS                   Grandson

GD                  Granddaughter

GGS                Great Grandson

GGD               Great Granddaughter

G3S                 Great Great Grandson

Revision History

Let’s try to keep a revision history that should help as we all go back and forth on this document…




Oct 2002

Anna Wilkinson (D,03/06/1959) & David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) first discuss the creation of this record via email

Nov 6,2002

David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) takes stab at template for capturing the record and email it to Anna Wilkinson and kids Lisa  (GD, 09/30/1988) and Bryan (GS, 05/02/1987)

Nov 16, 2002

Anna Wilkinson (D,03/06/1959)  inputs some of the information and records some of her memories.  She questions Nanna for more info, but still has more to ask her.

Nov 24, 2002

More info from Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959)

Dec 20, 2002

David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) does some minor tweaks and sends it to Robert B Caputo (S, 5/18/1947)

Jan 7,2003

Robert B Caputo (S, 5/18/1947) adds considerable facts and memories

Jan 19, 2003

Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) adds questions regarding Nonno’s work elsewhere in Europe, his personality, and his language skills.

Jan 20, 2003

David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) does some editing and sends it to Lou Caputo (S, 7/29/1949)

Mar 7, 2003

David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) does some editing and sends it to John Caputo (S, 6/19/1957)

Mar10, 2003

John Caputo (S, 6/19/1957) add content on Nonno’s great game playing skills and his sense of humour

Apr 11, 2003

David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) does some editing and re- sends it to all who have participated so far + Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975) just ahead of Easter Long weekend in hopes of getting more content and questions

Apr 16, 2003

Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975) adds some content about Calabria and a couple of stories and questions.

Apr 18, 2003

Lou Caputo (S, 07/29/1949) Adds stories

Apr 28, 2003

Steve Caputo (GS, 07/11/1975) updates and adds some content.

Oct 28,2003

After ignoring this for too long David Nicholas Caputo (GS, 06/29/1967) pulls together everyone’s feedback thus far with the intention of passing it to his brother Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) to add photo’s and put on a major push for more input before Christmas

Nov 11,2003

Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) adds photos

Dec 1, 2003

Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) edits captions and changes some photos

Dec 4, 2003

Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) incorporates info from Nicola Caputo (S, 12/19/1937), Guiseppina Caputo (DL, 03/04/1942), and Tom Caputo (GS, 08/16/1963)

Feb. 6, 2004

Kenny Robert Caputo (GS, 07/16/1979) adds more photos – courtesy of Anna Wilkinson (D, 03/06/1959).