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Anello Castrucci

On a bright sunny April day following Easter weekend, with crocuses peaking up around the city, Anello Castrucci and his youngest daughter, Brigida, arrived at Il Postino office to talk about Anello's life, and what an interesting conversation it turned out to be. Introductions made, we sat around the oval table and chatted about how Anello Castrucci became the extraordinary man he is today.

Born in Carpineto, Rome, on November 18, 1929, Anello was one of five children born to Serafina and Raffaele Castrucci. The Castrucci family prospered in Italy, and their lives were good.

Anello served in the Italian Army for 15 months in 1951, where his superior leadership skills were recognized by all who had the privilege to serve with him.

Stenio Castrucci, the oldest brother, was the first to leave for Canada, followed two years later by the rest of the family.

Anello worked in a factory in Sault Saint Marie; ventured to Sudbury; and from Sudbury he came to Ottawa, where he now resides.

During the winter of 1959, Anello decided it was time to return to Italy, and after a five-year absence, this became a reality. Early one morning after his arrival in his home town, he walked to a nearby market, and this is where his life changed forever. He remembers the very first time he laid eyes on Loreta, and knew that he could never look at another woman again. The two started dating. Both knew instantly that they were made for each other.

Following a whirlwind 28-day courtship, Anello married Loreta at the age of 29. He then went to the Canadian Embassy in Rome to acquire a passport for his young wife. He produced evidence to Canadian government officials proving he was a Canadian Citizen; he owned a home, and that he was financially secure. The embassy fast-tracked the application and within two months they were on their way to Canada. The bride was only 19 years old when she waved goodbye to her mother and her two sisters who remained in Italy. Anello laughed as he stated that he used to be the handsome one in the family until he married Loreta. When they arrived in Ottawa they felt daunted, yet excited to start their lives together even though their parents resided in Italy;

In his younger days, Anello carried a gunny sack over his shoulder wherever he went. In one section he carried snacks, and in the other section he carried his precious books. He was a voracious reader, and feels his books aided him in becoming a more self-sufficient man; further developing his leadership abilities as he became a respected member of the Italian Canadian community.

Anello joined the Order of Italian Canadians, first established in Montreal in the fall of 1926. The Order is a financial services organization where, as a customer, you are a member. Members may be eligible for the Order Member Benefits such as competitive scholarships. The Order offers authorized Classes of Insurance including Life; Accident, and Sickness.

In 1938 the Order was nationally incorporated at the beginning of WWII. From 1950 to 1966, the second major wave of Italians immigrated to Canada. From 1960 to 1976, Anello and Anselmo Bortolotti rebuilt the Ottawa Order, growing its membership to 400.
"The Italo Canadian Order not only offers fraternal insurance, but is also extended to other cultural, sports, and educational activities, and invites all Italians to take part in this family." Anselmo Bortolotti

During this time the young couple started their family. Giuseppe was the first of their children to arrive on Jan. 28, 1960; and is Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Laurysen Kitchens, President Ottawa-Carleton Homebuilders Association, and President of the Ferrari Club, Ottawa Branch. Giuseppe has 3 children. Wilma Bianco, May 5, 1964; is an Executive Assistant at Bell Canada, continues to be extremely involved with the Order of Italian Canadians, and is the current President of the Local Lodge in Ottawa; Wilma has one son. Brigida was born May 2, 1973, and owns Tiny Hoppers, consisting of four children's centres in Ottawa including Orleans, Kanata and two in Riverside. Brigida hosted fashion shows for the Italo Youth Group for 15 years, and was also a Youth Group representative.

An autobiographical writer, Anello wrote "I miei lontani pascoli" published in Montreal: Riviera 1984. This is the narrative-like story of Anello's life. In addition to "I miei lontani pascoli", Anello wrote: Il Libri; VOCI CHE Tornano, La storia GABRIELLA, and would still like to write another book. The essence of Anello's life is found in his writings.

Anello continues to be active on the Board of Directors for The Order of Italian Canadians, is their Orator, and donates his time to Italian community associations. Anello and Loreta have four grandchildren, with more to come!

With our conversation at an end, we stood up, shook hands, and said our goodbyes as Anello left us with these parting words "Italian immigrants have made many sacrifices along the way. We can certainly all agree that it was worth every one."

by Ruth Perley Fortin

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