My name is Clelia (Elia) Bertolami. I was born June 22, 1926 in Pontecosi, Lucca, Toscani, Italy. My father was not in favour of the fascist regime, so he immigrated to England, where Mom and I joined him when I was eight years old.
When Italy declared war on Britain, my father was one of the hundreds of Italian men rounded up and deported to a concentration camp on the Isle of Man. Alone and scared, mother and I stayed in our house in London with only candles for light, hiding behind blackened windows and surviving on rationed food. We were terrorized, so my mother decided to apply to the Italian Embassy for help. We embarked on a treacherous three week journey back to our homeland, where we were taken in by my grandparents (Olinto and Isolina Turri). We lived with them until the end of the war.
In the early fifties, the political situation in Italy was unstable. So, my husband, Sergio, young son, Attilo (Ilio), my mother, Rosa (Turri) and I made plans to immigrate to Canada. In 1957, we came straight to Kelowna, BC, where I had two uncles; Sam and Pietro Turri, an aunt, Clelia Martinelli, and several cousins.
As I was a trained teacher, I got a job as a primary teacher and taught in the Kelowna area for 28 years. My husband, Sergio, worked for the Provincial Government in Kelowna as a soil lab technician until he passed away in 1987.
In 1962, our daughter, Angela, was born and we were happily settled in Canada. I am now 94 years old. My children visit me and take good care of me. I’m now living at Chartwell Retirement Residence, where I am well looked after.
Clelia Lunatici Bertolami
Darrell Scriver. (GUIDI)
6/25/2021 10:06:26 am
My Noni, Pietro Guidi was born in the same tear as you in the same place... beautiful coincidence.... Emma Rantucci is a cousin to my mother Sarah Guidi. We are going to Lucca next year to see my Nono and Nona's birth places and where they grew up.
9/17/2021 07:51:55 pm
Wow! This is an amazing story! I am a granddaughter of Samuele Turri. Katie (Enrichetta) Turri Mass was my Mom. I remember Rosa, your Mom, when we would visit Caesar and family.
12/8/2021 11:33:42 am
Hello my grade one teacher from 1960. You prepared me well for the world. I went on to teach at the post-secondary level. I still have my scrapbook from grade one, a treasure.
1/20/2022 01:52:52 pm
Vivo in Sicilia... mi chiamo Sergio Bertolami ... mio padre si chiamava Attilio ed era nato in un piccolo ed antico borgo montano, Novara di Sicilia.
9/20/2022 06:09:10 pm
Mrs Bertolami I adored you as my grade 1 teacher and you knew it. I was so blessed to have known you as a child and to be able to reconnect with you as an adult. I will never forget staying with you and you making us pasta for dinner. Loads of love to you
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