Saturday, January 17, 2009


Angela, from Letters from Usedom, was kind enough to interview me, after I sent her my request.

1. You said you were born in Italy and then moved to the United States at 17. Can you tell us more about your youth and how you came to take that continent- and life-changing decision?

There were no secondary schools in my home town in Italy when I lived there in the fifties. Relatives in the United States suggested I study in the U.S. So, I applied to college, and off I went to Los Angeles. My intention was to finish four years and return back to Italy where my family still lived. But love changed everything.

2. You were working as a teacher before you retired. Was that fun? What were your most impressive experiences, and would you do it again? (always trying to squeeze more questions in one!)

I started teaching in a Catholic high school, where discipline was not a problem. Many of our students came from Watts, the location of a major racial disturbance that put the place on the map in the mid sixties. That disturbance and the effect it had on students and staff opened my eyes. It pointed me toward a life devoted to educating those who needed education to climb out of poverty. Most of my teaching experiences from that time on, took place among immigrants and poor.

3. I read your last post entry “Speak Out” and found it fabulous. How did you develop this attitude in your life?

Each of us is most happy when we are matched to our jobs, our life work. I've been fortunate. Every day of my working life was treasured; I learned how hungry each of us is to be somebody, to be a change agent, to connect to the bigger world. We are stronger and more courageous than we know.

4. Would you like to share a profound, or life-changing event that has happened to you? Was there a person who influenced you most?

I already mentioned the Watts Riots. But there is another influence, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart who ran Immaculate Heart College where I spent four years as an undergraduate and two additional years training to become certified as a teacher for California. They embodied the new spirit of an entire era. Sister Corita, one of the nuns, was an activist artist, a strong influence on all of us. She saw each of us girls as "Instrument of Grace", powerful tools against injustice and hypocrisy. There is a sad story about the nuns, however. Their outspoken behavior caused them a great deal of political trouble.

5. What is the nicest thing anybody has ever done to you, or (if you like to answer that) that YOU ever did to anyone?

The nicest thing was the opportunity to bring my baby to work, so I could continue to nurse him. One administrator gave me permission to bring my mom and my baby to school, set up a nursery in the lounge, move my classroom across the lounge, and that allowed me to nurse my baby every two hours. Plus, it allowed me time with my mom who had come to visit me and help for a few months.

As an aside, this month, the local school board is passing a policy, now mandated by the state, to provide a 'nursing area' for new mothers, complete with privacy. What was unusual and gifted, now has become a right for new mothers.

There are rules for this activity. If you want to be interviewed:1. leave a request.

2. I will send you five questions for you to answer
3.You post the questions and the answers on your blog
4 Include these rules
5. When someone requests to be interviewed you send them five questions and these rules.


Angela said...

Rosaria, what wonderful answers!! Thank you for sharing them with us, and getting to know you better! Now please fill us in with all the details of your interesting life, and everything you learned! Have you ever considered writing a book about it? We all need to learn from people like you, who made their lives a gift to God, so to say.
I am so glad I met you!

lakeviewer said...

We do look so much better from a distance, don't we? I have begun to write seriously, both fiction and non fiction. There are so many good people around who are generous and supportive that it is a good time for me to reflect and share. Now, if you know a literary agent who'd be interested in my stories, I would be forever grateful. My cannon so far includes one memoir written for my grandchild, and future grandchildren, and dozens of short stories.

Thanks for your kind words and your interest. Your presence at this moment is very encouraging.

I do think we become Angels in others' lives.

janis said...

Rosaria~ How wonderful to meet you! Funny how i am meeting people across the nation that I have common ground with. Your interview was great and you sound amazing!
My daughter Emily, is studying to become a teacher currently at Ball state University in Indiana. She has this certain passion that I am sure will make her that one teacher that will touch many and hopefully make a difference. I am enjoying reading back on your blog. I look forward to learning more about you. Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the blog world (:

lakeviewer said...

Thanks for stopping by. How wonderful that your daughter is interested in teaching. Two of my children became teachers; when we talk, it is all about their days and their challenges. Teaching is a passion and a mission.