It is 1902.

You are a young girl who only speaks Italian.

You are about to arrive in America.

Ellis Island-Early 1900’s

You have bronchitis. Your doctor told you America would be good for your health.


Your husband Caesare came over a year earlier to prepare for you.

You are required to have $35. You have $45.

You have a sign around your neck with your name Maria Farnetti and it also says deliver to West Blocton, Alabama.

You would later say you were treated like cattle as you were directed to the train station.

When you walked the Brooklyn Bridge you had your possessions in one hand and your 18 month old in the other.

As if that wasn’t enough, every other board is missing due to the fact that it is under construction.

Brooklyn Bridge-under construction

I cannot imagine.

I called Mrs. Hilda to thank her for last week’s story. We talked for 2 more hours and I learned this one.

I have replayed this image in my mind over and over.

I have always admired the determination and perseverance of those who came before us.

I also wonder when we are faced with similar obstacles can we rise to the challenge?

Mrs. Hilda told me many stories that involved her grandmother.

Caesare and Maria Farnetti

One thing that stands out to me is that she says they didn’t intend to stay.

They hoped her bronchitis would be cured and they would return home.

That was not meant to be.

Five generations of Farnetti children are now here.

They may have faced different challenges but I believe they have stayed true to their bloodline.

Charles told me his Dad was the kindest man he ever met.

I personally know hundreds of local boys who would say the same about Charles.

My boys Colby and Jacob cried at their last little league game when they thought their days to play for him were over.

A few years later they would also look back on playing for the West Blocton Tigers and Charles’ son Gregg.

I believe Colby said it best,

“I would suit up again knowing I was going to lose every game.”

Records go on paper, but the best part of life is what lives on in our hearts.

I looked in the trophy case at West Blocton High School today. I saw Jodie Farnetti in a football uniform and wearing the Homecoming Queen Crown.

Jodie and Charles Farnetti

I have to think Maria would think every difficult step was worth it.

Thank you so very much for the love your family has given our community.

I know we are all very thankful for the Farnetti’s…

SOURCEThe Bibb Voice
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Cheryl Acker Dodson lives and writes in Woodstock, Alabama. She is a passionate advocate for mental health and speaks publicly to raise awareness for suicide prevention. She currently serves on the board of directors for Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition (ASPARC) and Indian Rivers Behavioral Health. She loves to share local people and their heartwarming stories.

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