Was she pressured to give it up while she was there, perhaps to facilitate the sale of the house? In another post, I’ll tell you more about Augusto, but in short, he doesn’t appear to have been an ideal husband.We don’t even know for sure that it was Nona who received the steel ring or what she gave up for it.I may be able to get a record from Italian archives to confirm if it was Nona.

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It was a compact little apartment, but Ma (as we all called her) kept a lot in there.

With her increasing dementia, she had been hiding valuables for some time.

We were all told to check every pocket, every box, even the sugar bowl, in case she may have hidden something there. She said that Ma had been wearing that ring for a few months before she died, but Aunty Mary hadn’t seen the ring before that.

Once we had removed almost everything from the apartment, we started cleaning. When I googled Oro alla Patria at Aunty Mary’s, I found that back in the mid-1930s, Italy was suffering from the economic recession and and Mussolini asked Italians to give their gold to the government.

Dad was vacuuming near the kitchen when he heard the vacuum knock something metallic. The campaign was called “Oro alla patria” or gold for the fatherland.

He bent over and picked up what seemed to be some sort of steel band. I came by a while later and saw this thing on the stove. It was two centimetres in diameter and a half-centimetre thick. I looked inside and was surprised to see engraving: ORO ALLA PATRIA . Apparently his wife donated her wedding rings and Marconi gave his Senatorial medal.

I picked it up and gave it a good “what the heck is this” look. In return, some people were given steel armbands or rings engraved Oro alla Patria. Mom remembered a story about Ma’s mother having given up her wedding band.

But Nona Filomena had come to Canada in 1929, with Ma and Aunty Lina.

Her husband Augusto had been here for over fifteen years at that point.