Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Workday Wednesday: First to Last Picking

  As much as I hate to admit it, I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did about either tobacco picking or Sicilian culture in Middletown. Sebastiano Santostefano's First to Last Picking: Sicilians in America: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow ended up being a nice education. Set across the summer of 1943, the  memoir covers Santostefano's experience tobacco picking and growing up in Middletown's North End. Each stage of picking is interspersed with descriptions of family life. Both paint a disappeared part of our local culture.  While some of the account is clearly embellished - it is unlikely the author remembered his conversation in such detail - his story is engaging and for an "Americanized" reader, a real education. It's worth the read.

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