Everyone has a Fanny
Got your attention - didn't I? Good! So let's get started. As I said "everyone has a fanny" - well of course we do. But before I get thrown off Hub Pages, let me make myself clear. This is not a story about yours and my derriere or the derriere of those we know, or might know. It is a story abut Fanny.
If you don't personally have a Fanny, quite possibly you know someone like Fanny - or at least have heard stories of such a "femme fatale". I myself, have a Fanny and this is her story.
I guess every family has to have a little spice added to life, along with a few skeletons in the closet. My family seems to have its share, but I have decided that some stories are better left untold, for the timebeing anyway. After all there are those of us in my generation, my cousins and spouses who might be just a bit annoyed at some of the stories I might tell. Fanny, on the other hand has been gone for quite some time, as are the people in her generation, so I don't think I risk hurting anyone's feelings, or run the risk of stepping on someone's toes, with this story.
My mom and aunts often told stories about their Aunt Fanny. Fanny was not really their "aunt" she was in fact the paramour of their uncle Francesco - my great uncle Francesco.
Francesco came from Italy along with his brother, my grandfather, Luigi. At one point they went back to Italy for my grandfather to find a wife, and my great uncle Francesco to bring his wife back with him to America. But his wife did not want to come. Now Francesco was quite a nice looking man and I don't imagine he had any trouble with the ladies. Enter Fanny!!
I'm not quite sure how Francesco came to get tied up with Fanny, but my grandmother had a story of her own. She said that Fanny left Italy herself, post haste, after whacking her husband over the head with a frying pan. Nobody ever told me whether or not this man met his demise, and maybe I really don't want to know. But this is the story I have always been told about how Fanny came to Canada, and it never changed over the years.
The Femme Fatale
Many stories surround Fanny and I am not sure if any of them are true, but it has always been fun to speculate, and my mom and aunts swear to their veracity. The two brothers, Luigi and Francesco, eventually joined by a third brother Antonio all went to Sydney, Nova Scotia to work in the Sydney Mines. Somewhere along the way Fanny shows up there on a 1911 census as "Francesco's wife". Well we all know that isn't true!! Really, it is quite titillating to think of such things "way back then".
Somewhere along the way they all ended up in Hoboken, New Jersey. And according to mom and my aunts, once again, they all eventually left "poste haste" because great uncle Francesco just had to get her away from the clutches of another man. I have a silly picture in my mind of them all leaving in the dead of night. I'm sure this is a figment of my imagination, but it is fun to think about how disgusted my grandmother must have been at all of this.
Rich - and - Full Bodied
"Rich and Full Bodied" this is a websters dictionary definition of robust. And robust is the best way for me to describe my great aunt Fanny!. See now I am calling her "my aunt". The photo I have of her shows a tall woman, sturdily built with ample bossoms. Am I allowed to say that? Well I don't know why not; we all have fannies and we all have bossoms. She was Robust!!
So now my grandparents found themselves in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario along with Francesco and Fanny. The men worked in the Algoma Steel Mills and the women did - well what women usually did in those days. Keeping house, raising children and cooking meals. Except that Fanny seemed to be doing what Fanny liked to do best - and after all she had no children of her own to take care of.
The story goes like this, and sometimes this is kind of hard for me to believe, but honestly this is what mom and my aunts say. One day Francesco came home early and could not find his Fanny. I think she saw him coming and she took off. Round and round he went looking for her until finally he found her - in the outhouse - hiding out with another man.
Time to Hit The Road
It seems that it was time to hit the road again. And this time the foursome, along with my grandparents first three children headed for Hamilton, Ontario where they settled into their different routines. I did not hear any more bawdy stories about Aunt Fanny. But what I did hear along with these little tales, was just how much she was loved by her nieces - my mom and my two aunts.
They told how she made them dresses and was always on hand to do things with them and take them places. Fanny had another side to her!!
Fanny Loses The Love of Her Life
Well - one of them anyway! Francesco unfortunately passed away at the age of 41 - one day before his birthday, in 1920. Fanny, never one to be alone for long I guess, met and married a man thirteen years her junior. Way to go Fanny!!
But I mentioned the "other side of Fanny", and I will explain. Besides being the aunt that the three ladies loved, as well as a femme fatale, she was a woman of purpose. In 1936 Fanny conceived of the idea of forming a ladies lodge of the Sons of Italy in her hometown. In order to get it started, a group of ladies under her leadership literally went around door to door to build up membership. Roma Lodge #13 was born, and their meetings were held in the homes of various members. The Roma Lodge tied together with the Casa D'Italia became the focus of great social activity with dances, banquets, dinners and theatrical presentations and concerts.
Through these activities they raised funds to support projects such as a camp for children, Italian cultural classes and a scholarship exchange program for students. They also offered assistance to newly arrived Italian immigrants in adjusting to their new country.
When Fanny passed away just two years later in 1938, one of the most memorable events was held in her honour. Permission was granted to allow her to lie in state at the Casa D'Italia so the community could pay their respects to the lady who had worked so diligently to create a place where her peers could meet.
Quite a lady was Fanny. Her history was rich. She obviously wasn't afraid to go out into the world, live her life as she liked, while at the same time giving of herself to her community as well as to both families - of her men - well the two that we know for sure of. And today all three, Francesco, Fanny and her husband are burried together in the same local cemetery. Quite fitting I would say! I love the story of Fanny!