This is the story of the first Edda, as told by Clementina.
Gabriele and Ersilia, Clementina’s oldest brother and his wife, visited the family in Dosoledo with their months-old firstborn daughter at the beginning of 1914. Everyone was enchanted with Edda, and so happy to be able to see Gabriele again.
Though Italy hadn’t formally entered the great war, preparations were being made and all eligible men were being conscripted. When Gabriele was called upon to join the Italian army, he declined saying he was an American and planned to return to America shortly. The authorities argued that he was an Italian citizen and had a duty to support his country.
Gabriele was adamant but in a village of less than a thousand people, it’s difficult to melt into the background. What could he do? How could he get out of this situation? Well, somehow, he acquired forged passports for himself and Ersilia. They decided to depart from different ports and leave Edda behind, assuming that the authorities would be looking for a couple with an infant.
Gabriele made his way to France for debarkation, while Ersilia left from Genoa. Edda remained with the family for the next year. Her grandparents, as well as the rest of the family, became quite attached to the baby. When Clementina was “called over” the following year, she brought her 19-month-old niece with her. A big responsibility for a 16-year-old.
When Edda was 5 years old, she ran into the street, was hit by a truck and died. The family on both sides of the Atlantic mourned her passing. Gabriele and Ersilia had a son Delmo, and then another daughter. They named her Edda.