Friday, May 7, 2010

Maria Domenica Grilli Berarducci

This article titled "Wonderful Life" appeared in the Dover (Ohio) Times Reporter on March 22, 1969
Maria Domenica Grilli Berarducci has walked a long and eventful path since she was born March 4,1888 at Pettorano Sul Gizio, Italy, to Pasquali Grilli, a charcoal factory worker, and his wife, Annunciata.  While sometimes rocky, it none-the-less has been traversed with courage and an abiding faith that "God will provide."  Maria's formal education ended with "graduation" from the 3rd grade, the highest educational attainment possible in-her town at that time.  Lorenzo Berarducci's path crossed hers after he returned from America where he had gone 7 years earlier, when he was 16.   After 9 months of courtship, on September 3,1908, Maria and Lorenzo were married in the Village church.  They set up housekeeping in the Italian village and resided 3 years in the home they purchased there.  But memories of life in America haunted Lorenzo, and he yearned to return to the mills where he once had worked.  Despite the disapproval of her parents, the young couple —Maria then 24 and Lorenzo 27 — embarked in October 1911 on the long ocean voyage to the "New World."  Mrs. Berarducci vividly recalls the landing November 11 at about 4 a.m., the rush through customs and the hasty pre-dawn departure from New York aboard a train bound for Pittsburgh.  In the steel capital, the Berarducci's changed trains and steamed to Dover where Lorenzo previously had been employed by Hanna Furnace Co.  Lorenzo, returned to work for Hanna and he and Maria moved into one of the company owned homes near the factory.  It was there that Lambert, their first child, was born in December 1912.  The Berarducci's resided in the company home until 1913. 
Unusually heavy rains fell that March, and there are many, like Mrs. Berarducci, who vividly remember "the flood."  The couple and their 6-month-old child were trapped within the home when the Tuscarawas River overflowed.  Mrs. Berarducci recalled the water was so deep it filled the oven of her coal stove.  A trunk containing her prized linens from Italy was overturned and she never was able to remove the mud stains, she said.  They finally were rescued by men in boats, but Mrs. Berarducci was firm about finding a new house on higher ground, even if it meant paying a little more than the $12 per month rent on the Hanna house.  Not too long after that, they moved to the house at 404 West 7th Street which Mrs. Berarducci still owns, although she resides with a daughter at 319 West 7th.  The family continued to enlarge, and, until the seventh child was "on the way," Mrs. Berarducci did all her wash on "the old washboard."  Although it produced "snow white clothes" with the addition of a lot of "elbow grease," she decided the time had come to abandon it in favor of an "automatic" washer.  The dirt was agitated out of "quite a few" clothes in the tub of the old wooden machine she acquired. In 1928, Lorenzo permitted his wife to purchase her first electric washer.  It reportedly was "still working like new" when she "pitched" it after purchasing a more up-to-date model.  Lorenzo's death in 1941 left Mrs. Berarducci with 4 of the couple's 10 children to rear.  With the help of the children and the money she made by selling vegetable plants she raised, she managed to provide for their needs.  Not one to "slow down," for 9 years, despite brief bouts with illness, she has gone daily to the St. Joseph's Catholic Church rectory, where she cooks for the parish priests.  In her spare time, she has crocheted many afghans.  Seven of the Berarducci children survive. Lambert, Pat and Ann are deceased.  Others are: Mrs. George (Angeline) Milyiori, with whom she resides, Mrs. Daniel (Carmi) Urfer and Mrs. Herb (Dolly) Feutz of Dover; Victor of Massillon; Mrs. Robert (Virginia) Allensworth of RD 1, Scio, and Mrs. Tom (Dorothy)Stephen and Tony of Euclid.  When Mrs. Berarducci celebrated her 81st birthday, members of her family gave a party for her in the K. of C. hall at Massillon.  Fifty were in attendance.  There are 26 grandchildren and 16 great - grandchildren.

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